Michael’s primary area of focus and expertise is on the regulation of retail financial services, wealth management, insurance, superannuation, platforms and products and in particular, strategic regulatory advice and investigations.
He is widely recognised as a market leader and authority in the area of non-contentious regulation and is regularly at the forefront of debating and developing new law, nominated as a leading practitioner in this space and quoted in the financial press. His advice is routinely sought in relation to strategic management of regulatory matters, including liaising with APRA and ASIC.
He was most recently named as a leading practitioner in the area of regulation in Best Lawyers 2015 and Best Superannuation Lawyer in 2014, as well as being awarded Industry Excellence Awards by the Financial Services Council in 2014 and 2016 for outstanding contributions to the Australian financial services industry.
In the 2016 edition of Chambers, clients praised his strategic approach, and his ‘ability to always find new angles and insights’, adding that ‘he is one of the top lawyers in those areas and his reputation in the market reflects that.’
In 2017, Acritas Stars - an independent report commissioned by a global panel of General Counsels – listed Michael as one of 23 ‘stand-out’ lawyers globally.
Michael’s experience includes:
- advising on the sale of MLC Limited from NAB to Nippon Life
- advising Challenger on arrangements to reinsure Australian dollar fixed rate annuities with Mitsui Sumitomo
- providing leading edge advice on distribution arrangements between life companies, product manufacturers, banks and distributors to address the full range of legal issues under the FOFA legislation, including structure of advice, commissions, and other product and advice payments
- advising BT Financial Group on the development of its innovative BT Panorama platform, including the development of new flagship superannuation and investment products
- advising on several major incidents involving the charging of adviser fees in relation to remediation and dealing with the regulators, including in relation to enforceable undertakings
- advising several major platform operators on all legal aspects of product, entity and platforms rationalisation, resulting in significant cost savings
- advising on more life insurance company mergers than any other Australian lawyer
- advising the Financial Services Council on the FOFA reforms including providing constitutional advice on grandfathering issues which led to grandfathering relief
- providing novel advice on regulatory interactions with major clients in the life insurance sector, including providing strategic advice on the implementation of the Trowbridge reforms
- advising several major banks on their merger of superannuation funds