find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Fin services lawyers face tech challenge

Fin services lawyers face tech challenge

Astrid Raetze

All lawyers working in the financial services sector will be affected by the rise of fintech and they need to get their head around these changes, one partner has said.

Financial services technology – known as fintech – has been earmarked as an area of priority for the Turnbull government, with a number of initiatives in the works to foster its development.

Among these are the expansion of the regulatory framework around crowdfunding and robo-advice, ASIC’s creation of a ‘regulatory sandbox’ to help facilitate communication between start-ups and regulators and the introduction of the Blockchain database.

Baker & McKenzie partner Astrid Raetze suggested fintech is the latest “hot topic” and that its impacts would be long lasting.

“Any lawyer working in financial services is going to be affected by it,” she said.

Current fintech innovations are happening in both front-office and back-office processes, with particular emphasis on mobile phone technology and artificial intelligence.

Even firms not working directly with start-ups or technology providers will be affected by these trends, especially as major banks and financial institutions invest in the sector, according to Ms Raetze.

“Existing clients – who may not even be technology clients, but for example a financial planner or an investment bank – will be looking at technology in respect of their back offices,” she said.

“Plus existing customers will also be looking at how they can generate new income and revenue from their front offices.”

For lawyers in this area, understanding the new technologies will be critical, she warned.

“If you don't understand how the technology works, you can't advise on it properly – you won't understand how the regulation impacts the technology,” she said.

The other major challenge will be regulatory uncertainty, particularly as many promised initiatives are still in the planning stages.

“The government has indicated that these regulations […] are all coming but they are not here yet. One of the issues is navigating your way through existing regulations, but bearing in mind that in the future that's likely to change.”

This means lawyers will need to keep clients in the loop on regulatory changes and new opportunities, she suggested.

These rapid changes are likely to remain a feature of the financial services landscape for the foreseeable future.

“The regulators are effectively having to keep pace or catch up with technological change,” she said.

“And that's going to continue because technological change tends to be exponential. So I think regulation in this area will continue to change for the next five years.”

As an example, she pointed to the regulators’ ongoing grapple with algorithmic trading and high-frequency trading, both of which came to the fore in 2010.

Given the shifting regulatory landscape, she encouraged lawyers to gain a comprehensive understanding of their clients' business plans and strategies.

“It's only when you understand your clients' businesses and their view on fintech that you can properly advise them,” she said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Fin services lawyers face tech challenge
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...