Financial services advisory and regulatory

A&O Shearman’s financial services advisory and regulatory group acts as trusted counsel to the world’s leading financial services firms.  

Blue progress logo

Our international team advises banks, broker-dealers, asset managers, investment funds, fintechs, insurers and reinsurers, exchanges, SEFs/MTFs, clearing and settlement providers, payment platforms, governments, regulators and corporates in a wholesale and retail context. 

We have strong relationships with the regulators overseeing our clients’ operations globally and deliver innovative solutions to complex regulatory issues, helping our clients to mitigate risks and capitalize on emerging regulatory opportunities. 

Bank regulation 

We advise on all aspects of bank regulation, including authorization, policies and procedures; conduct of business; market conduct and customer protection; corporate and data governance; individual accountability; regulatory capital and liquidity; recovery and resolution planning; crisis management; and derivatives.  

We also help banks structure and optimize their corporate and capital structures and operating models, and design and market new services and products.  

Broker-dealer and securities-related regulation 

We represent many of the leading broker-dealers and securities firms globally on business-critical regulatory matters including licensing; capital requirements; trading and sales practices; intra-group agreements; terms of business; and research.  

We have expertise in the formation and registration of broker-dealers and securities firms and the expansion of their business operations across the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific, and in providing products and services across borders.  

Regulatory enforcement and managing regulatory risk 

Our lawyers have worked on a significant number of high-profile financial services enforcement investigations. Our experience with regulators and criminal authorities – and the fact our team includes former regulators and prosecutors – gives our clients a strategic advantage when they are facing scrutiny.  

Our team’s experience includes representing financial services clients in connection with regulatory enforcement and internal investigations into a broad range of issues, from market abuse to insider trading, financial crime, economic sanctions, cyber and data security breaches, mis-selling, operational resilience, systems and controls failures, whistleblowing, cultural issues, and financial and non-financial misconduct.  

We work closely with our global employment and compensation team on the employment, remuneration and individual accountability issues that often arise in these investigations.  

We also regularly advise clients on how to handle regulatory issues before they become enforcement investigations. This includes advising on regulators’ use of supervisory and non-enforcement powers, such as imposing business restrictions and commissioning third-party reviews.  

Our financial regulatory team works closely with our Consulting group on these matters, drawing on their extensive experience as former senior regulators to help our clients navigate their non-enforcement and supervisory interactions with regulators, and minimize the risk of enforcement actions against them.  

Insurance and digital asset regulation 

We cover the full spectrum of insurance and reinsurance regulatory issues, including licensing, governance, and solvency. We also help digital finance providers develop and launch innovative products and services, obtain authorization, and future-proof their strategies, advising on cross-border arrangements for the trading of digital assets. 

Retail, payments, consumer protection, and ESG 

Our team covers consumer credit, mortgage regulation, fairness, money laundering, payment services, and data protection regulation.  

We advise on all aspects of ESG in financial services, including disclosure and cross-border compliance. 

Financial institution proprietary transactions  

We provide strategic advice on national and cross-border acquisitions, sales, capital-raisings, reorganizations and establishing new financial institutions. 

Special economic zones and legislative drafting 

Our team conceives and drafts legislative and regulatory regimes for new financial (and commercial) zones with a view to helping them attract commercial activity.