Sara Or is a partner of Mayer Brown. Sara currently heads up the Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practice in Mayer Brown's Hong Kong office, a key focus of which is to provide a full range of legal services to financial institutions, and is a member of its global Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice. Sara advises clients on banking, securities and insurance regulations on a regular basis. In addition to helping clients structure and set up regulated businesses, she also provides legal services needed by clients in operating the businesses. Sara's practice also includes provision of strategic advice and assistance to clients in connection with enquiries, inspections or investigations by regulators. She has established good working relationship with both financial institutions and regulators (including, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Securities and Futures Commission and Insurance Authority), and accumulated invaluable experience and knowledge on market practice as well as supervisory philosophies of regulators.
Sara has experienced with clients and the Hong Kong market the developments and events in the past 30 years, including the establishment of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and its replacement of the Banking Commission, the enactment of the Securities and Futures Ordinance in replacement of the Securities Ordinance and other statutes then governing the securities market, the public consultation on and the establishment of an independent insurance authority to replace the previous regulatory body which was a governmental agency, the enactment of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and public debates on handling of customer data, and the global financial crisis in 2008 and ongoing evolution of the regulatory landscape.
Sara is a member of Hong Kong Securities Institute. She was listed as an Up-and-Coming Financial Services Lawyer by Chamber Asia Pacific (2010). In 2011, Chambers Asia Pacific praised Sara's "quality advice and timely service". She has been nominated as a Leading Financial Services Regulatory Lawyer in the 21st/2011 Edition of the IFLR1000. Sara speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Licensing, Regulatory and Compliance
- Sara has assisted numerous clients in setting up banking, securities, insurance and other regulated businesses. In these cases, her input would include advising clients on how to structure the activities having regard to the licensing and regulatory implications (including the scope of permitted activities without triggering licensing requirements), handling and seeing through the licence applications, preparing standard client agreements and account opening documentation, advising on ongoing compliance requirements, helping clients handle and address complaints from customers, and providing advice and assistance in connection with enquiries, inspections or investigations by regulators.
- Sara has also assisted a number of banks and banking groups in closing down business and surrendering licences and registration to regulators.
- Sara has acted for banks that distributed Lehman Minibonds and provided advice on a number of aspects, including, handling customer complaints, reviewing internal control procedures and compliance audit, revising sales materials and compliance manuals, attending interviews of bank staff by regulators, assisting banks in negotiation with regulators on the re-purchase arrangement, and working with public relations teams and agencies on reputation management.
- Sara regularly advises financial institutions on the regulatory requirements on sale of investment products, primarily sale of authorized investment products to the public, but also sale of unauthorized investment products from time to time.
Personal Data Privacy
- As financial institutions make up a major class of data user constantly under public scrutiny, Sara's practice also includes advice on personal data privacy, and the implications of the privacy requirements on daily operations and outsourcing initiatives.
- Sara acts for Hong Kong Association of Banks in responding to the public consultation of the review of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance and of the sharing of positive mortgage data.
- Sara advises data users in different industry sectors (including banks and financial institutions, land developers, utilities companies, retail service providers, and clubs and associations) on the amendments to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance including, in particular, the heightened requirements on use of personal data in direct marketing.
Acquisition and Disposal of Financial Business
- Sara handles acquisitions and disposals of financial business from time to time. In these cases, her input would include advising on the regulatory requirements and the respective obligations on buyer and seller, preparing sale and purchase agreement and related documentation, advising client on the negotiation with the counterparty, and preparing necessary notice or consent documentation with respect to the seller's customers.
The University of Hong Kong, LLB
- Hong Kong
- Hong Kong Securities Institute
- The Investment Products and Financial Services Committee Member, The Law Society of Hong Kong
- Leading Individual - Who’s Who Legal: Banking (2021)
- Acritas Star – Acritas Stars Report (2017)