Law firm Allen & Gledhill and its associate firm, Rahmat Lim & Partners, have launched their financial technology practices for Singapore and Malaysia respectively.
The aim is to help clients deal with issues related to fintech, as the authorities here step up efforts to regulate the sector.
The co-heads for the Singapore fintech practice are Allen & Gledhill's Mr Adrian Ang and Mr Alexander Yap. The Malaysia practice's co-heads are Mr Wan Kai Chee and Mr Raymond Yong of Rahmat Lim.
The launch of the new practices is timely, given the growing number of new fintech entrants, technology service providers and banks putting resources into this field, industry watchers say.
At the same time, the authorities, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore, are creating a regulatory environment that supports innovation and risk-taking.
For example, a major component of MAS' regulatory system towards fintech has been the "regulatory sandbox". This provides a safe space where Singapore's banks can experiment with new technology without potentially affecting their main operations or customers, even if the project fails.
According to Allen & Gledhill, "fintech in its current form combines three main legal concerns - financial regulatory issues, technology-related agreements and intellectual property protection".
Allen & Gledhill said it is working with the industry to provide feedback in public consultations on new legislation to regulate equity crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending platforms and online payment systems.
"We are often in dialogue with regulators and fintech facilitators, such as incubators and infrastructure providers, and believe that this enables us to have a holistic view of the workings of the fintech ecosystem, with greater clarity on its development," it said.
The team has experience advising, negotiating and drafting fintech-related agreements, and can advise on data protection and IP matters, including prosecuting, enforcing and defending copyright, patents, trademarks and domain names in Singapore and Asia, in general.
Allen & Gledhill's clients include venture capitalists, traditional fund managers, global banks, fintech companies, start-ups and technology service providers.