about liam

Liam Hennessy is a Partner with Gadens Lawyers in Brisbane, a preeminent commercial law firm. His sizeable and accomplished Team assist him in servicing his clients’ specialist needs, and work collaboratively across various practice groups. The early adoption of technology and innovation are central to the Team’s ability to consistently meet and exceed expectations. As an example, see the Gadens Breach Manager.

Due to the attainment of four university qualifications and his work experience spanning across international borders, Liam is considered a thought leader in both the academic and policy sphere. Notably, he is a lecturer at a Brisbane university and an author of LexisNexis publications on cryptocurrency and financial regulation.

More specifically, Liam has considerable experience and knowledge with structuring, licensing, privacy, crypto regulation, risk, governance, and regulatory compliance. While on the contentious side, he has acted in several commercial disputes, class actions and regulatory inquiries across international jurisdictions – working for leading banks, funds, corporates and individuals.

Liam Hennessy specialises in financial services risk and compliance,  licensing and regulatory matters as a Partner at Gadens and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Griffith University.  With his sizeable and accomplished team of over 25 lawyers and professionals in this space,  Liam tailors his international experience in London,  Sydney,  Brisbane and Melbourne to his clients are inclusive of major banks,  insurers,  funds and fintechs.

Liam is considered as a committed thought leader,  serving in a number of academic and policy positions.  He holds a Master of Laws from Sydney University,  specialising in advanced corporate governance and regulation,  is the creator and lecturer of financial services regulation law at Griffith University (5342LAW),  and remains active in the digital assets and fintech space – where it concerns financial services licensing and product design.  In addition to his authoring LexisNexis and general commentary in the media,  Liam maintains the Australian Regulators Weekly Wrap to provide the industry with a weekly overview of the latest developments within the space.

The financial services industry is experiencing a regulatory wave

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in:

1 ) the introduction of principles-based laws;
2 ) focus on individual liability and
3) hawkish regulators.

Liam and his Team continue to advise clients within the Financial Services industry to ensure continued compliance with new and significant laws, regulatory reforms and contentious regulatory matters.

General advisory

  • Governance, risk and culture reviews
  • E-payments, payment systems regulation and products
  • Fintech/regtech regulation, development and launch
  • Development and launch of financial and credit products
  • Finance and mortgage broking and financial planning
  • Privacy – credit reporting and private sector regime
  • Australian Consumer Law
  • Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing and sanctions
  • Financial services regulation, licensing, compliance and risk assurance
  • Consumer and commercial credit, licensing and industry codes of practice
  • Danking licensing, including ACL, AFSL and restricted ADI applications
  • Alliances and acquisitions – including white labeling and co-branded products
  • Domestic and international funds management and investment funds
  • Financial and investment products and structures and corporate matters
  • Advising board on best practice corporate governance (such as director’s duties, risk appetite and risk management policy as well as conflict of interest management)
  • Providing advertising sign-off for websites and promotional materials
  • Obtaining licences and varying authorisations or conditions of the licences

Current Reforms

  • Licensing for cryptocurrencies
  • Financial accountability regime
  • Design & distribution regime
  • Mortgage brokers’ best interest duties regime
  • Anti-hawking reforms
  • Unfair contracts terms regime
  • New regulatory guides e.g. CPS 511
  • Updated breach reporting regimes for AFSLs and ACLs

Contentious

  • Regulatory breaches
  • Critical incident management
  • Dealing with regulators such as ASIC, APRA and AUSTRAC

Recent Experience and Transactions

  • Technology creation – Gadens Breach Manager: Liam co-created and implemented an Australian-first platform where clients can protect themselves from the risk of liability posed by regulatory breach reporting rules. Breach Manager streamlines seven mandatory reporting regimes which require rapid declaration of breaches into an effective online platform. You can see the solution here: Gadens Breach Manager.
  • Financial Accountability Regime: Liam has led over 15 UK SMCR,  HK MIC,  AU BEAR and AU Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) implementation. He is current working on implementing FAR for 9 different general insurers,  super funds and banks,  many with complex disaggregated domestic and international structures.
  • Global FX Company: Leading the defence of a large global FX company against multiple international regulatory investigations,  inclusive of strategic realignments of the business,  licensing amendments and major documentary reviews.
  • CCIV Structure: Creating one of Australia’s first CCIV fund structures for use in attracting investment from Asia Pacific region, together with all associated licencing, governance and compliance requirements.
  • Tokenised Fundraising: Working with leading Web3 businesses to create tokens for capital fundraising,  including through trading on secondary markets through centralised exchanges.
  • AFSL Licensing: Leading clients in amending their AFSLs to obtain complex authorisations,  for example “make a market” provisions, and obtaining multiple AFSLs for new entrants (MIS,  financial advisory etc.).
  • ASIC/APRA Investigations: Defending banks, insurers and super funds in multiple ASIC and APRA investigations, including wholesale document reviews, AML/CTF reviews, strategic advice and remediation.

What Clients Say

What We Can Help You With

General Advisory

  • Governance, risk and culture reviews
  • Financial services regulation, licensing AFSL, compliance and risk assurance (e.g. breach reporting, DDO, structure product design, personal/general advice and CAR arrangements)
  • Prudential licensing, including R/ADI applications and compliance (e.g. CPS 511 and APS 222)
  • Consumer and commercial credit licensing, and compliance (e.g. marketing reviews), disclosure materials (e.g. CGs and FSGs), and policies (e.g. complaints and RL, product design, broker engagements, SMSF lending and general advice)
  • Preparing compliance policies, procedures, and controls across all financial services entities
  • Development and launch of financial and credit products, including PDS and SPDS preparation, and advice
  • Advising on National Consumer Credit Code 2009 (Cth), Chapter 7 of the Corporation Act 2001 (Cth), ASIC Act 2001 (Cth), SIS Act 1993 (Cth) and related laws
  • Advising on APRA and ASIC regulation guides and standards, and codes of practice (e.g. BCoP)
  • Advising on AML/CTF compliance, including developing frameworks and processes, and sanctions
  • e-payments, payment systems regulation and products
  • FinTech/RegTech regulation, development and launch
  • Finance and mortgage broking and financial planning
  • Privacy: Credit reporting and private sector regime
  • Australian Consumer Law
  • Domestic and international funds management and investment funds
  • Financial and investment products and structures, and corporate matters
  • Advising boards on best practice governance, (e.g. director’s duties, risk appetite and risk management policy, conflict of interest policy)
  • Providing advertising sign-off for websites and promotional materials
  • Advising on privacy obligations, and the CDR
  • Developing ‘three lines’ of defence models
  • Finance and mortgage broking and financial planning
  • Alliances and acquisitions, including white labelling

Current Reforms

  • Financial accountability regime (‘FAR’)
  • Design & distribution regime
  • CPS 511 – Remuneration
  • Anti-hawking reforms
  • Unfair contracts terms regime and reforms
  • Whistle blowing and modern slavery regimes
  • Updated breach reporting regimes for AFSLs and ACLs
  • ESG-related product and policy design
  • Policy engagement with Treasury/Regulators
  • New regulatory guides
  • Privacy reforms
  • Code of practice reforms (e.g. COBCOP)

Contentious

  • Regulatory breaches
  • Critical incident management
  • Dealing with ASIC, APRA and AUSTRAC enquiries
  • Cyber breaches, and reporting to OAIC and ASD
  • Complicated licensing mandates
  • Stop orders
  • Licensing hearings