Latest updates

Limits set to client communication via e-banking
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Austria
  • December 15 2017

The Supreme Court recently rendered its first judgment on the admissibility of the use of electronic mailboxes, which are exclusively incorporated and only accessible via the e-banking system of a credit institution for serving client account notices and statements to consumers. This ruling will significantly affect Austrian banking practice.

Supreme Court decides on enforceability of electronic promissory notes
Advokatfirman Törngren Magnell
  • Sweden
  • December 15 2017

A case regarding the enforceability of an electronic promissory note was recently decided by the Supreme Court. The court investigated whether the relevant electronic loan document was to be viewed as a non-negotiable or negotiable instrument, and settled that it was indeed a non-negotiable promissory note. This meant that the requirement to present an original document to the Enforcement Authority did not apply.

Launching an ICO in British Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • December 15 2017

Interest in the setting up and distribution of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore locations has increased rapidly during 2017, and this is expected to continue. No ICO or blockchain-specific rules or guidelines have yet been issued by the government or regulator; however, there are several important issues for parties in the British Virgin Islands to consider, including the key laws and regulations surrounding the issue.

CFPB principles for data aggregation services could have broad implications
Sidley Austin LLP
  • USA
  • December 08 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a set of consumer protection principles designed to protect consumer interests in the market for services built around consumer-approved use of financial information. The principles are targeted at so-called 'data aggregation' or 'screen scraping' services that collect customer information in order to provide financial planning or other services.

SHCP releases first draft of Financial Technology Institutions Law
Hogan Lovells BSTL SC
  • Mexico
  • December 08 2017

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit recently circulated a substantially amended draft of the Financial Technology Bill, which has been renamed the Financial Technology Institutions (FTIs) Law. The law aims to regulate the financial services provided by FTIs – including those which are bound to specific regulations and offered or rendered through innovative means – as well as the organisation of such institutions and their operations.

PBOC announces revised measures for registration of pledge of accounts receivable
Jingtian & Gongcheng
  • China
  • November 24 2017

The People's Bank of China recently released revised measures for the registration of a pledge of accounts receivable. The revised measures have broadened the definition of 'accounts receivable' and introduced a procedure for registering to transfer accounts receivable. For flexibility and convenience, the revised measures also adjust the registration term of a pledge of accounts receivable and extend the time limit for notifying a pledgee of any objection to its registration.

Supreme Court addresses issue of supervening usury
Legance Avvocati Associati
  • Italy
  • November 17 2017

The Italian courts, as well as scholars and legal practitioners, have debated the concept of supervening usury for many years. Until recently, it was unclear whether interest stipulated below the usury threshold at the time of contract, but exceeding such threshold at the time of payment, was usurious. The Supreme Court finally addressed this issue in a recent decision, which ruled out supervening usury entirely.

Launching an ICO through Cyprus – an overview
Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis LLC
  • Cyprus
  • November 10 2017

Unlike many other popular initial coin offering (ICO) jurisdictions, Cyprus is an EU member state and, as such, founders of ICOs must comply with the panoply of single market regulation. However, as they are largely unregulated at present, the benefits of launching an ICO in Cyprus can be significant. These include an EU base, a central time zone, access to Cyprus's vast array of tax treaties and white-list status among tax authorities globally.

Structuring an ICO through the Cayman Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • November 03 2017

It seems that 2017 will be remembered as the year of the initial coin offering (ICO). The Cayman Islands is witnessing an upsurge in ICO-related business and structuring an ICO through the territory remains an attractive proposition. However, ICO-specific guidance is yet to be issued by the government or the regulator, and a number of legal uncertainties remain. Existing statutory and regulatory regimes must therefore be considered when structuring an ICO.

Implementation of Fourth Anti-money Laundering Directive in Austria – what to expect
Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Austria
  • October 27 2017

Following the Fourth Anti-money Laundering (AML) Directive coming into force, Austria transposed the directive into law through two major legislative acts. This update provides an overview of the effects and obligations arising from the implementation of the Fourth AML Directive – in particular, the due diligence that banks will have to undertake on prospective clients.

FINMA publishes supervisory notification on token sales and ICOs
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal
  • Switzerland
  • October 20 2017

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recently published a supervisory notification on token sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also announced that it was examining whether several ICOs or their corresponding business models violate supervisory provisions. A FINMA press release cited the marked increase in ICOs carried out in Switzerland in recent months as a reason for its action.

The rise of cryptocurrencies – an overview
  • Turkey
  • October 13 2017

Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the Turkish market in July 2013 under the Law on Payment and Security Settlement Systems, Payment Services and Electronic Money. However, there are no limitations on or controls over cryptocurrencies, which is why many investors choose to invest their money in this area. While the interest in and impact of blockchain and cryptocurrencies are growing daily, the legal risks for blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms have yet to be fully understood.

National Banking and Securities Commission amends general rules for credit institutions to curb identity theft
Hogan Lovells BSTL SC
  • Mexico
  • October 06 2017

In recent years, Mexico has been rated as having one of the highest rates of credit card fraud in the world. The National Banking and Securities Commission recently published the Resolutions that Modify the General Rules Applicable to Credit Institutions, which require credit institutions to verify information and documentation filed by users and customers with different government bodies in order to assure the identity of each prospective customer.

New policy on ICO fundraising activities
Jingtian & Gongcheng
  • China
  • September 29 2017

The Internet Financial Risk Special Rectification Work Leading Group Office recently issued a notice on rectification work regarding tokens issuance financing. In addition, a number of national authorities issued a joint announcement on the prevention of financial risks associated with token issuance. Following issuance of the notice and the joint announcement, initial coin offerings are now an illegal and unregulated method of raising money.

Volcker Rule: OCC requests public input on potential revisions
Sidley Austin LLP
  • USA
  • September 29 2017

The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently released a notice seeking public input regarding how to revise the Volcker Rule. The notice cites a report released by the US Treasury Department, which included recommendations for significant changes to the rule. Although the OCC did not propose specific changes to the rule in its notice, it stated that the information that it is soliciting could support the revisions to the final rule advanced in the Treasury report and elsewhere.

FINMA implements new fintech rules in circular on public deposits with non-banks
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal
  • Switzerland
  • September 22 2017

The revised Banking Ordinance of April 30 2014 regarding new financial technology (fintech) regulations recently entered into force. The purpose of the proposed revisions is to enhance the competitiveness of Switzerland as a major fintech hub and to create an appropriate regulatory framework for fintech companies providing services outside traditional banking business by taking into account the specific risk-profile of their business models and service offering.

Acquisition of Japanese loans by non-Japanese financial institutions
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Japan
  • September 15 2017

Financial institutions that have no operations in Japan can readily acquire loans made to Japanese borrowers by purchasing the receivables relating to such loans. A number of requirements and considerations must be taken into account when transferring loan receivables, including with regard to novation, money lending operations, registered money lenders, perfection and the upcoming amendments to the Civil Code.

New regulations to prevent financial crises and improve financial stability
Ali Budiardjo, Nugroho, Reksodiputro
  • Indonesia
  • September 08 2017

New regulations require the banking and finance industries to comply with heightened supervision by financial authorities and will be welcomed by foreign investors and customers concerned with Indonesia's financial stability. Key developments include intensifying reporting obligations for systemically important banks, introducing tiered supervision and raising safeguard measures.

Are arrangement and processing fee clauses in commercial loan agreements invalid?
Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP
  • Germany
  • September 08 2017

The Federal Court of Justice recently issued two rulings declaring that processing fee clauses in standardised commercial loan agreements are invalid as they unreasonably disadvantage borrowers. Previously, the majority of lower German court rulings had upheld the validity of such clauses in commercial loan agreements. Going forward, lenders have a number of options to deal with the issues raised in these new court decisions.

PBOC to establish unified network platform for all non-bank payment entities
Jingtian & Gongcheng
  • China
  • September 01 2017

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) recently issued Announcement 209/2017 regarding the establishment of a non-bank payment entities network payment and clearing platform. The announcement is a major step towards the PBOC's establishment of a centralised and transparent online payment system with unified regulatory requirements for all non-bank payment entities, which should enable the PBOC to control any financial risks that may arise in the market.

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