Helping Bermuda foster innovation

Banking & Finance
| The European | 14th May 2019
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Leading law firm Walkers Bermuda works in exclusive association with Walkers globally. The firm provides legal advice on Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey, and offers full-time zone coverage to its clients.

The services provided by Walkers Bermuda spans all types of international and cross border transactions, with a particular focus on corporate and finance, investment funds, private equity, structured products, capital markets and trusts.

Natalie Neto is a partner in the firm’s corporate, funds and finance department. She leads the fintech team and regularly advises on Bermuda’s digital assets legislative and regulatory framework. Ms Neto spoke to The European about how Walkers Bermuda supports companies that are looking to expand into the jurisdiction’s fintech space.

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With regards to fintech, what issues and legal complexities do you assist your clients with?

Natalie Neto: Our offshore market-leading fintech team globally advises businesses specialising in blockchain, digital assets, alternative model finance and a wide range of related activities and services, including funds, issuers, custodians, digital asset exchanges and trading platforms, and broker dealers. We have specialist knowledge of licensing and regulation, marketing, data protection, tax transparency, outsourcing, anti-money laundering, sanctions legislation and other legal issues and complexities, which need to be understood by successful fintech companies. We also have excellent relationships with leading onshore firms, meaning we can offer assistance for all of our international clients’ legal needs.

Fintech is a huge growth sector, within which Bermuda has become a leader – how has a reliable legal structure helped to drive this progress?

NN: Bermuda has a long-standing reputation for conservative and effective supervision and regulation in the financial services sector and operates one of the largest re/insurance markets in the world. The approach of the sole financial services regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) and the Government of Bermuda is to embrace and foster innovation whilst ensuring that investors and consumers are adequately protected.

Our experience is that fintech businesses and their investors seek regulatory certainty and Bermuda’s legislative and regulatory framework provides this. Issuers wishing to sell tokens can be confident of their legal position under the Companies Act 1981. Digital assets businesses, including digital asset exchanges and trading platforms, custodians, wallet and other service providers who wish to operate under the supervision of a well-respected regulator with a proven track record can apply under the Digital Assets Business Act 2018 for a license from the BMA, which is well regarded by both institutional and retail investors and customers.

Bermuda has created a regulatory sandbox for insurance companies, managers and intermediaries who wish to establish proof of concept of innovative or experimental solutions.

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How do you see this sector developing and how will Walkers Bermuda work with clients to ensure a smooth and profitable business model?

NN: I see tremendous growth opportunities in this sector but, of course, no business comes without risk. The inherent risks in this sector are generally being addressed by regulators globally and I expect international standards will follow.

I’m confident that Bermuda is ahead of the
game in this regard. We will continue to work
with our clients to provide practical solutions and advice to help them to comply with applicable laws and best practice. ν

Further information

www.walkersglobal.com/bermuda

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