Taylor Wessing hires Morgan Stanley lawyer to launch Singaporean compliance group

Former Morgan Stanley head of compliance for Southeast Asia, Nizam Ismail, has joined Taylor Wessing’s Singapore office as a partner to lead its regional compliance solutions unit.

Taylor Wessing’s Singapore office, known locally as RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, has appointed Ismail as a partner to boost the firm’s regulatory and compliance practice in the region. He will also spearhead newly established RHTLaw Compliance Solutions, a financial services compliance consultancy firm.

Taylor Wessing’s Singaporean alliance firm RHT Law joined the Taylor Wessing group in March 2012, and rebranded to RHTLaw Taylor Wessing (9 March 2012).

Ismail was previously an executive director and head of compliance for Southeast Asia in Morgan Stanley Singapore. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2009, he served similar roles at Lehman Brothers, Nomura and Citigroup in Singapore.

Before his in-house appointments, Ismail was head of market conduct policy division of Monetary Authority of Singapore, where he worked for six years on capital markets reform, including the enactment of the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act.

At RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Ismail will lead the firm’s compliance practice and the new subsidiary together with Singapore managing partner Tan Chong Huat.

Currently, RHTLaw Compliance Solutions has a branch office in Kuala Lumpur and is in the process of setting up another office in Jakarta.

According to Ismail, the subsidiary will not only provide compliance advisory services, but also to help banks and financial institutions develop compliance matrix, draft compliance policies and programs, as well as conduct independent reviews to ensure compliance with exiting regulations.

“There are exciting times ahead for the compliance practices in the region. Regulations in key jurisdictions are fast moving and banking and financial services regulators are tightening the strings in areas that were previously unregulated. We anticipate increasing needs from clients for holistic compliance solutions,” said Ismail.

In light of Ismail’s move to private practice, Morgan Stanley has named Ngo Tong Kwee as its new head of compliance for Southeast Asia, who was previous compliance director of Barclays in Singapore.