Baker sees ‘bursts of opportunity’ in financial services and funds

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Global law firm Baker McKenzie’s Australian financial services and funds team is growing and ready to respond to emerging trends and challenges, the report said.

As recently reported by Lawyers Weekly, Baker McKenzie has appointed a new partner in its Brisbane office, Trudi Procter, to its financial services and funds team.

Speaking at the time about her appointment, Ms Procter said: ‘The firm occupies a pre-eminent position in the global legal market and presents me with a tremendous opportunity to grow my practice in Australia and overseas.’

She’s not the only one chasing growth. In a conversation with Lawyers Weekly following the appointment, Baker’s head of financial services and funds, Bill Fuggle, said that with the addition of Ms Procter to the team, as well as the promotion of ‘Alan Darwin as partner in Sydney, Baker McKenzie has a strong financial services presence in all three of its Australian offices (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane).

“Our growth plan involves: the potential appointment of a specialist financial services partner in Melbourne within the next 12 months; add associate-level team members to all offices; building on our market-leading position in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) space (our team has arguably acted on every game-changing fund in the ETF space over the past 20 years, including the world’s first gold ETF in 2002, exchange-traded bonds (XBT), first actively managed ETFs, first listed/unlisted single-class ETFs and first crypto ETFs); grow our digital assets and fintech practice, as well as our extensive experience advising on a full range of payment systems and platforms; continue to leverage the expertise of our senior teams in the deeds sector (as well as our direct legal expertise); and finally, working with our clients on their financial services operational needs, including litigation and interactions with regulators,” he emphasized.

Such growth will not come without challenges, of course. Mr. Fuggle noted that there is currently a shortage of good mid-level lawyers in this area of ​​practice, due to the reduction in recruitment at the very beginning of the pandemic.

As such, he said, “internal training and development is extremely important”, while “increasing compliance standards and reducing risk appetite pose challenges for our clients. and to us as lawyers”.

Mr. Darwin argued that: “Financial services legal teams need to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest lawyers; offer practical achievable solutions to their clients’ needs in the context of ever-increasing regulatory expectations; and finding workable and compliant solutions for digital innovation and fintech customers. »

That being said, there are still inherent opportunities for teams in this space.

“Increased regulation and technical innovations offer many opportunities,” Mr. Darwin proclaimed.

“Our goal should be to thoughtfully revamp the existing and more traditional legal building blocks that we have developed from past experience to provide new solutions for new technologies, different methods of delivering financial services and diverse forms of financial products.”

Plus, there’s plenty to be excited about in the area of ​​financial services and funds, Ms. Procter said.

“Despite the ‘crypto winter’, crypto products and other digital assets in the market will only increase, there are some exciting regulatory developments in the crypto space and retail market in Australia,” she said. declared.

“Furthermore, the government’s ongoing review of the regulatory architecture of Australia’s payments system will produce new regimes for Financial Services Regulator (FSR) lawyers to gain insight into. There is nothing more exciting for the lawyers of the FSR than this question of new legislation! »

Looking ahead, Mr Fuggle believes the Bakers team is “well placed” in this practice area moving forward.

“Given our firm’s role as a leading legal innovator in financial products and services over the past 20 years, and our well-established global footprint that can advise in the borderless jurisdictions in which many of our clients operate, we are uniquely positioned to meet the challenges posed by an increasingly innovative financial services industry and regulatory environment.

“We hope our clients have a better chance of commercial and legal success by engaging with us than they otherwise would,” he concluded.

Baker sees ‘bursts of opportunity’ in financial services and funds

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Last update: August 29, 2022

Posted: August 30, 2022

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