Asia Newsletter | February 2021

Chinese new year

NEWSLETTER: January can often be quiet, with strategic decisions being deferred until after the Chinese New Year celebrations. This year seems to be an exception to the rule. Perhaps because CNY falls later, or the Covid vaccine has brought a sense of optimism, we are seeing businesses making bold decisions – be it opening a new office or adding to their fund stable or product range.

The same can be said for our Regulators. Two of the more significant updates from the MAS are, first, the updated Technology Risk Management Guidelines, focussing primarily on governance and cyber resilience. The guidelines took effect immediately, and so there’s no time to waste in carrying out a gap analysis against your existing framework. Second, almost in record time the MAS issued the final version of its Environmental Risk Management Guidelines. With an 18-month transitional period there is plenty of time, but for some there’ll be a lot of work to do.

In Hong Kong, AML continues to be a hot topic. At the end of 2020 the SFC issued its findings following inspections of licensed corporations; last week police arrested several bankers in relation to alleged money laundering offences; and industry is awaiting the finalisation of proposed amendments to the AML guidelines.

In other news, Damon Batten, Bovill’s Capital Markets Practice Lead is relocating from London to Hong Kong from where he’ll continue to lead our work in the sector. While Covid has meant his journey has taken longer than anticipated, he is now on Hong Kong business hours (albeit from the UAE!).

I will end by wishing you and your families all the best for the new year – may the Year of the Ox be healthy and prosperous for us all.

Billie-Jo Dixon
Practice Lead, Singapore

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