ExpertiseFinancial services

Highlights of our experience in the financial services sector:

  • Assisted a major UK bank with advice in relation to a proposed strategic investment
  • Advised a top-3 Myanmar private bank on a strategic M&A opportunity involving a foreign investor
  • Assisting one of Myanmar’s state-owned banks with strategic legal issues
  • Assistance in relation to the market entry of a North American insurance company
  • Advising the investment agency of a European Government on its proposed investment in the microfinance industry, securing a microfinance license for an independent provider

The financial services sector is poised for significant growth in Myanmar, but the challenges are daunting. Improving the capacity and regulatory architecture, and increasing foreign investment in certain areas are some of the Government’s immediate policy objectives. VDB Loi has assisted clients with a wide range of issues regarding Myanmar’s financial services sector. We have created a knowledge center for financial services law to meet client needs for transparency in the web of bank supervision regulations, foreign exchange rules and licensing of foreign investment in banks and insurance.

Foreign exchange regulations

In the increasingly liberalized context of Myanmar’s foreign exchange management, clients are faced with questions and problems on a daily basis with respect to inward and outward remittances. Our clients are Myanmar state-owned and private banks, foreign investors and financial intermediaries. Foreign exchange is one of the area where the firm’s nuts-and-bolts philosophy truly works.

Licensing

Our team often assists clients with advice and assistance in connection with securing business licenses in the financial sector, such as for finance companies, foreign banks, consumer finance, hire-purchase, Dedicated E-Money Issuers and mobile banking

Investment licensing by the MIC

As Myanmar is poised to admit access to foreign banks and insurance companies, our team advises clients on the investment licensing aspects of their market entry.

In order to meet clients’ needs for a flexible, highly responsive team with interdisciplinary skills, we have formed core teams of foreign lawyers, financial specialists and local attorneys. Time is of the essence in Myanmar deals. To ensure an efficient licensing process, our partners personally drive the effort, from advising on the investment structure to less glamorous but equally crucial tasks such as document collection.

Regulatory

Our financial services team is often asked to advise on regulatory aspects including banking supervision regulations, foreign exchange rules, competition rules, and new areas such as mobile banking and issuance of e-money.

Secured lending

Our firm’s team is at the forefront of the developments in relation to creating, perfecting and enforcing various types of secured interests including mortgages, fixed and floating charges, pledges and guarantees. As is often the case in Myanmar, it is not the theory but the practice which is of particular concern to clients. Our team works very closely with the authorities to implement secured interests in actual practice.

Banking

With over 30 foreign banks already present through representative offices, Myanmar is poised for significant growth as soon as the industry is opened to foreign investment. The country is a significantly underbanked market, where less than 20% of the population has access to basic financial services. Currently, there are four state-owned and 11 private banks in Myanmar, all locally owned. The country is seen as a major area of interest for regional and international banks. The central bank, which supervises financial institutions and manages currency, was made an independent institution in 2013.

Our clients seek us out for advice on market entry, banking regulations and financial laws.

Insurance

The nature of risk in Myanmar is constantly changing. Legal, political and economic dynamism make for a high risk, high reward environment. Insurance is a comparatively new concept in Myanmar, but it has a very important role to play. For insurance providers, this is a high-growth market with incredible potential. The state-owned insurance agency, Myanma, ended its monopoly in 2013 and already, numerous private insurance companies have opened for business. But with new laws and regulations continuously reshaping the market, a local ally is essential.

We can assist you in identifying these opportunities and guiding your investment into this sector. In the first few months of an open insurance market, we have already provided assistance to a North American insurance company entering the market. While this insurance sector remains small, VDB Loi has already positioned itself as a leader.

Microfinance

In emerging markets, microfinance forms a cornerstone of entrepreneurship, consumer spending and future growth. Myanmar is no exception. It has been estimated that demand for microfinance exceeds supply by as much as four times. The industry is still in its infancy, but the growth potential is tremendous.

Microfinance clients face unique risks in Myanmar, including a rapidly evolving regulatory framework and complex foreign exchange restrictions. Our professionals understand the microfinance sector in Myanmar and take the time to listen to our clients’ needs.

The firm’s financial services knowledge center ensures that we are always prepared to solve the practical challenges faced by our microfinance clients.

Whether the issue is obtaining a license, obtaining foreign financing or expanding your company, VDB Loi has the knowledge and experience to be a partner in the microfinance sector. With experience in the commercial and policy aspects of microfinance, as well as important tax issues, VDB Loi brings the same high standard of service to its microfinance clients, whether they be high-growth start-up microfinanciers or multinational microfinance institutions.

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