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Herbert Smith Freehills has bolstered the bench strength of its market-leading global Financial Services Regulatory practice with the addition of new partner Charlotte Henry.

Based in Sydney, Charlotte will focus on advising clients in regards to Australian banking regulatory matters alongside partners Michael Vrisakis and Fiona Smedley, and consultant Tony Coburn. She will also work with other partners across the firm’s global network to assist clients based in Asia, the UK and Europe. Charlotte joins the firm on 18 May.

Charlotte joins Herbert Smith Freehills from Norton Rose Fulbright, where she was a financial services regulatory lawyer and partner in the firm’s London office before relocating to Australia. Earlier in her career, Charlotte was a regulator at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, focussing on conduct in retail banks, and was seconded in-house at a UK retail bank, which has equipped her to provide clients with both legal and regulatory guidance and commercial insights on regulatory issues.

Charlotte’s focus is on the financial services sector locally and internationally, helping firms in that sector with their market entrance, development of new products/services and cross border sales, their strategic direction, good governance, managing risks, implementing regulatory change, their relationships with regulators, and remediation programmes. In addition, Charlotte assists those who invest into that sector by project managing due diligence, conducting regulatory reviews, and obtaining regulator consents.

Most recently, she has advised clients in relation to the impact of Brexit, focussing in particular on corporate governance, and has also helped clients in relation to various individual accountability regimes, including Hong Kong’s manager-in-charge regime, Singapore’s senior manager liability, and Australia’s BEAR regime.

In addition to her legal practice, Charlotte is an advocate for the development of fintech and regtech, and the exploration of the use of blockchain in retail banking distribution channels.

Carolyn Pugsley, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Managing Partner for Corporate and the Regional Head of Practice for Corporate in Australia, said, “In an environment in which our clients are looking for advisors that bring the full suite of regulatory expertise, commercial insight and capacity to identify future trends, we are incredibly excited to have Charlotte joining our team.

“Charlotte not only brings a deep understanding of the regulatory issues and trends facing banks and other financial institutions, but has an excellent track record of leading cross-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams. Her wealth of experience from across multiple jurisdictions in Asia Pacific, the UK and Europe, adds a new perspective to our expert global team, which will be invaluable for our clients both here in Australia and across our global network”.

Charlotte Henry commented, “I am very excited to be joining Herbert Smith Freehills and to have the opportunity to work alongside such esteemed lawyers locally and internationally.

“Financial sector firms are facing significant regulatory change, more aggressive regulators using more dynamic supervision, consolidation, competition from technology firms entering the financial sector and with the opening up of the banking sector, and an increased focus on putting customers at the heart of the business — all set within a challenging market environment. I am looking forward to assisting firms to navigate these risks and obstacles to capitalise on global trends and opportunities to achieve their objectives”.

Charlotte’s appointment follows a string of high-profile additions to Herbert Smith Freehills’ financial services regulatory practice in Australia, which include the appointments of regulatory expert Lesley Symons last month, superannuation specialist Ruth Stringer in September 2019 and banking doyen Joe Longo in July 2019.

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Emily Coultas

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