Simon Hawkins, an experienced and trusted advisor to financial institutions and fintech companies, advises on a range of regulatory matters and transactions. He leads the financial regulatory practice in Asia and co-chairs the firm’s Digital Assets & Web3 Practice.

Mr. Hawkins advises a full range of financial industry and fintech clients — from traditional commercial and investment banks, private equity firms, broker/dealers, and insurers to innovative fintech companies, including payments companies, crypto exchanges and custodians, token issuers, and Metaverse and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects.

He provides confident and seasoned regulatory advice and transactional support to clients doing inbound and outbound business in Hong Kong. As an early mover in the fintech industry in Asia, he provides insight and skilled judgment on the dynamic fintech industry and rapidly evolving crypto regulatory landscape.

Resident in Hong Kong since 2009, Mr. Hawkins has developed strong working relationships with regulators at the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. He serves as an active member of ASIFMA and the Fintech Association of Hong Kong. Mr. Hawkins regularly steers clients safely through situations of high risk and uncertainty, coordinating a global team of Latham colleagues, and local counsel.

Mr. Hawkins has worked in London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and served as a secondee at HSBC in Hong Kong, where he assisted with the launch of HSBC’s Prime Finance business in Asia.

Mr. Hawkins’ recent experience includes advising:

Investment Funds

  • Oaktree Capital Management in connection with the establishment of its distressed debt trading platform in Hong Kong
  • Lone Star Funds on various Hong Kong regulatory and compliance matters relating to its Hong Kong business
  • SFM HK Management Limited on a broad range of Asia regulatory matters pertaining to its trading activities and engagement with regulators in Asia
  • Toscafund on the establishment and licensing of its Hong Kong subsidiary, Toscafund Asset Management (Hong Kong) Limited

Banking and Securities

  • Numerous clients on the process for and applications in respect of change of shareholders controllers of HKMA-authorized and SFC-licensed institutions, including close coordination with the regulators throughout the process
  • Numerous authorized banks in Hong Kong on their ongoing compliance with Hong Kong banking regulatory requirements (including requirements under the Banking Ordinance, its subsidiary legislation and the HKMA’s Supervisory Policy Manual (together with applicable Circulars, Codes, and Guidelines)
  • Bank of Singapore on the establishment of its bespoke investments business platform for its Hong Kong private banking business
  • A global bank in connection with the establishment of an alternative securities execution facility in Hong Kong
  • A leading investment bank in connection with the establishment of its Hong Kong Stock Exchange designated specialist program
  • A leading investment bank on Asia Pacific regulatory considerations relating to the Asia Pacific launch of its investible indices product
  • A leading investment bank on advice relating to financial resources rules, in connection with its compliant subordinated loan
  • Credit Suisse on its acquisition of a minority stake in Privé Technology, a Hong Kong based fintech company, and the integration of Privé’s products into Credit Suisse’s private banking business
  • Raine Group LLC on the establishment and licensing of its Hong Kong corporate finance subsidiary, Raine Advisors Hong Kong Limited, and advising on broad range of regulatory and compliance issues across Asia in connection with Raine’s Asia business
  • Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and other bulge bracket investment banks on regulatory issues related to share repurchase and margin financing projects
  • Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs on Hong Kong regulatory issues associated with their role in Prosus’ share repurchase program and sell-down of its shareholding in Tencent
  • HSBC on Hong Kong regulatory issues connected to its default procedures across the Markets and Securities Services business lines
  • Bank of America on various Asia regulatory issues relating to its investment research business
  • Various Hong Kong IPO sponsors on their regulatory obligations and on addressing enquiries from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the SFC
  • HSBC on the design and launch of its Liquidity Investment Solutions platform (part of the Global Liquidity and Cash Management business) in Hong Kong

Digital Assets & Web3

  • Temasek, as one of the lead investors, on the US$110 million funding round for Animoca Brands, one of the world’s leading blockchain game and Web3 product development groups
  • Temasek, as the lead investor, on the US$200 million funding round for Amber Group, a global crypto trading firm
  • Ribbit Capital, Paradigm, and other Silicon Valley-based venture capital investors on their investments in crypto companies and related Asia jurisdictional regulatory analyses
  • A major PRC technology company on legal and regulatory issues in connection with its project to hold crypto assets offshore and negotiating trading and custody terms with offshore crypto exchanges
  • Blue Pool Capital, SCMP, and Artifact Labs on the structuring and launch of the SCMP’s ARTIFACTs NFT series and on Artifact Labs’ broader NFT businessHKT on its acquisition in the secondary market of virtual land in The Sandbox metaverse platform
  • HKT on regulatory matters relating to a range of NFT-related projects
  • Binance on the structuring and launch of Binance NFT Marketplace
  • Liminal, an Asia-based crypto custodian, on its successful application to become a registered TCSP company and to conduct its crypto custody business in Hong Kong
  • Voxodeus on the structuring and launch of its NFT collection
  • HKbitEX on structuring its business and on its application to the SFC for a virtual asset trading platform license under the SFC’s “opt in” regime
  • Huobi on various Hong Kong regulatory matters, including updating and redrafting its terms of business and other client-facing documents
  • ConsenSys on its joint venture with CapBridge and the Singapore Stock Exchange to create Singapore’s first licensed tokenized securities trading platform, 1 Exchange
  • A crypto derivatives exchange on regulatory advice in relation to queries from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission
  • A Hong Kong-headquartered global capital markets and investment group on the establishment of a tokenized securities exchange in Singapore
  • Ground X, the crypto unit of South Korea’s largest internet conglomerate Kakao Corp, on international aspects its global initial coin offering and convertible securities issuance to launch the Klaytn blockchain
  • Blockstack PBC (now Hiro Systems PBC) on Hong Kong, PRC, Singapore, and Korean regulatory and securities law aspects of its offering of Stacks Tokens, conducted via the first ever SEC-approved Reg A+ offering of crypto tokens
  • Anchorage on global regulatory issues, relating to its crypto-native custodian business
  • OSL, Asia’s leading digital asset brokerage, on Hong Kong regulatory characterization analysis in relation to certain cryptocurrencies
  • OSL on US regulatory issues relating to its North America business lines
  • OSL on various legal and regulatory matters in connection with its application to the SFC to become a licensed virtual asset trading platform under the SFC’s “opt in” regime
  • A global crypto lending and dealing platform on its restructuring via Singapore Scheme of Arrangement and regulatory issues associated with the launch of its new business
  • Jane Street on various regulatory matters relating to its crypto and crypto derivatives trading activities
  • Token Bay Capital on regulatory matters relating to its crypto venture capital fund

Other Fintech

  • AsiaMiles on the expansion and extension of its frequent flyer rewards program in Asia, including in particular a new points accumulation and redemption product, and advice on HKMA regulation in connection with stored value facilities
  • A major PRC technology company on the expansion and internationalization of its payment system
  • Wise (formerly TransferWise), a global payments company, on various Hong Kong regulatory matters pertaining to the marketing and operations of its payments business in Hong Kong
  • Xiaomi, now called Airstar Bank, in connection with its subsidiary company’s successful application to the HKMA for a virtual banking license
  • Boku Inc. on various Hong Kong regulatory matters relating to its carrier billing and other innovative payments products
  • JD Digits in connection with its joint venture with Bank of China to establish a virtual bank and the virtual bank’s successful application to the HKMA for a virtual banking license (now called Livi VB)

Asset Management

  • ARA Asset Management Limited (ARA), the largest real assets manager in Asia Pacific, in relation to a proposed business combination of the ARA Group with ESR Cayman Limited for consideration of US$5.2 billion
  • A global asset management firm on regulatory matters including due diligence, business transition, and ongoing compliance in connection with its acquisition of a global network of broker-dealers and investment research companies
  • A major Chinese asset manager on anti-money laundering compliance matters
  • An alternative asset management firm on global advice in relation to the establishment of a financial technology fund

Bar Qualification

  • England and Wales (Solicitor)
  • Hong Kong (Solicitor)


  • LPC, BPP Law School, London, 2007
  • BA in Chinese & Asia Pacific Studies, University of Leeds, 2005
February 12, 2024 Recognition

Fintech Group of the Year: Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins LLP made waves in the fintech world last year by successfully defending venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in a case of first impression involving so-called scam tokens as well as through its representation of Binance's CEO in ongoing enforcement actions.

illustration Geometric abstract background with connected line and dots,Futuristic digital background for Business Science and technology
December 2, 2022 Recognition

Latham Earns Top Fintech Rankings Globally

Chambers and The Legal 500 recognize Latham’s deep global fintech capabilities and track record of landmark mandates; firm earns Band 1 ranking in Chambers’ inaugural US Crypto-Asset Disputes category.