Rory Copeland


Rory advises financial institutions, payments providers and systems, e-commerce and tech platforms and central banks on a broad range of financial services regulatory matters.

His advice focusses on new product structuring and regulatory characterisation, regulatory compliance, and rules and legislation drafting, in the areas of payment services and systems, AML and financial crime, consumer finance, financial promotions and consumer protection, and foreign exchange.

Rory advises a range of crypto-exchanges, issuers and global financial institutions on the legal and regulatory treatment of their services and impacts of legislative changes. He has advised on the development of policy and legal frameworks for the regulation of virtual assets, the issuance of central bank digital currencies, participation in cross-border CBDC networks, and the tokenising of real-world assets. He provides technical expertise for structured finance and securitisation transactions involving cryptoassets.

Rory also provides specialist support in drafting and negotiating commercial contracts and on M&A for established and growth financial institutions. He regularly assists clients with ‘change in control’ submissions associated with acquisitions of regulated firms.

Rory’s academic writing and speaking has focussed on regulatory change in payment services, fintech and virtual assets, central bank digital currencies and emerging forms of payment fraud. He is the co-authority of an upcoming book chapter on central bank digital currencies (Oxford University Press, 2024).


Representative matters

Numerous banks, electronic money institutions and payments institutions on all aspects of regulatory compliance for provision of a broad range of payment services, including safeguarding, strong customer authentication, customer T&Cs and emerging regimes like the Consumer Duty.

Numerous clients, including BigTechs, e-commerce platforms, a global banking group and a multi-currency corporate card issuer on their applications to become UK-authorised electronic money or payment institutions. This entailed drafting and review of the application documents, internal policies and the relevant Ts&Cs. We continue to provide ongoing regulatory support to these clients and have significant experience in engaging with the FCA.

A UK payment system operator on the structuring and drafting of a new Authorised Push Payment Fraud Reimbursement Scheme within its rulebook, as directed by the Payment Systems Regulator.

A global card scheme on the regulatory and contractual structuring and rulebook for a novel open-banking based payment arrangement, covering UK and EU payment systems and services, and consumer protection.

Pro bono

Rory is a trustee and co-founder of Prosper, a financial inclusion charity registered in the UK and Sierra Leone which provides business training and support to woman-led businesses in West Africa. He sits on the board of the UK Financial Inclusion Forum.

Published Work

  • Copeland, Regnard-Weinrabe (2020), “Stablecoins and central bank digital currencies: a developing landscape”, Practical Law, Thomson Reuters
  • Copeland (2020), “A global stablecoin: Revolutionary reserve asset or reinventing the wheel”, Journal of Payment Strategy & Systems, Volume Thirteen, Issue Four, London: Henry Stewart Publications
  • Copeland (2020), “Virtual Asset Trading Platforms: an assessment of the stability risks and potential for self-regulation”, Journal of Digital Banking, Volume 4, Issue 3, London: Henry Stewart Publications
  • Copeland, (2018), “Regulatory revolution and new competition in the European Union payments industry", Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, Volume 69, Issue 2, Belfast Queens University Belfast



Admitted as a solicitor (Northern Ireland) 2019

Admitted as a solicitor (England & Wales) 2021


DipIPLS, Queens University Belfast, 2019

MA (Cantab), Cambridge University, 2021

BA (Cantab), Law, Cambridge University 2017

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.