KWM helps secure one of Hong Kong’s first virtual-bank licenses

by Sol Dolor13 Apr 2019

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) played a key role in securing one of the first three virtual-banking licenses granted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

The Sino-Australian giant advised ZhongAn Virtual Finance on its successful application, which secured the license that took effect on 27 March.

The firm handled a wide range of issues for the application, including regulatory, cybersecurity, privacy, corporate structuring, overseas direct investment approval, and antitrust. The firm said that it will continue as legal adviser for ZhongAn, tackling regulatory issues related to the virtual bank’s establishment and operations.

The Hong Kong team was headed by partners Minny Siu, Richard Mazzochi, Hayden Flinn, and Peter Bullock. Siu congratulated ZhongAn for being a pioneer in the virtual banking services sector in Hong Kong.

“This project involves the establishment of a new banking entity in Hong Kong with an innovative business model. This is a breakthrough for Hong Kong’s progression into smart banking and we are proud to be involved in this project,” she said.

The KWM team in China was headed by partners Stanley Zhou and Chai Zhifeng.

Mazzochi, who heads the banking and finance practice in Hong Kong, said that the launch of the licenses “signals Hong Kong’s commitment to propelling innovation,” which he said is one of the key pillars of the KWM business model.