Fintech

‘The FinTech practice at Bowmans is fantastic, spectacular.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2021

  • Overview
  • Significant Matters

Overview

Africa has a well-deserved reputation for fintech innovation, and many jurisdictions in Africa are among the world’s most prolific users of fintech products such as mobile money and payment services. Various regulators have flagged concerns over issues around consumer protection, data privacy and protection and the competition implications of the digital economy.

Our lawyers on the ground are finely attuned to conditions in various strategic jurisdictions and regularly assist clients to understand and navigate the shifting regulatory landscape on the continent.

We have been at the forefront of advising start-ups, investors and corporates in relation to mobile money and payment systems businesses. We have experience in the fast-developing area of crypto assets, having advised local and international cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms.

Fintech products, services and partnerships are multifaceted. Our teams of lawyers are not only multijurisdictional; they are also multidisciplinary. On any given fintech matter, we are able to advise across the range of pertinent legal disciplines including:

  • regulation of payment services, lending, banking and exchange control
  • data protection and data privacy
  • insurance
  • tax
  • corporate/mergers and acquisitions
  • competition
  • dispute resolution
  • intellectual property
  • corporate finance
  • anti-money laundering

One of the most exciting aspects of the fintech ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa is the range and diversity of fintech players and partnerships, a growing trend being collaboration between start-up tech disruptors and mature organisations in banking, insurance, telecommunications, retail and over-the-top services. We have advised organisations across the spectrum.

Chambers and Partners, 2021 

‘Bowmans is called upon by clients for its pan-African network and pronounced expertise in the FinTech sector. They are especially adept in handling issues in the areas of blockchain, regulatory compliance and payments. They are regarded as a one-stop shop for entities of all sizes in the sector, including emerging startups. Bowmans are dedicated to educating the wider ecosystem on new theoretical and legal developments, by authoring various articles on such topics as blockchain and crowdfunding.’ 

‘Bowmans is held in high regard by clients for its ability to provide legal support on cross-border transactions and intellectual property matters in the FinTech sector. A full-service firm, Bowmans is called on by clients for significant mandates concerning payments, blockchain, cryptocurrency and financial services regulation, among others.’ 

Client comments include: ‘The FinTech practice at Bowmans is fantastic, spectacular. They were able to call on various African resources and give clients advice from multiple locations. They do that very well – present their advice in a uniform manner.’ 

Chambers and Partners, 2020 

‘Renowned for its work with internet service providers, financial institutions and telecommunications players, with major clients drawn from across the African continent in addition to its deep client base of South African companies…Also active on mandates relating to fintech and cryptocurrency.’ 

Chambers and Partners, 2019 

Client comments include: ‘I wish there was a Bowmans in every country where we work…they have done a phenomenal job.’; and ‘I feel like they are an extension of my team – I feel confident in relying on their expertise.’ 

Legal 200, 2121 

‘Bowmans is frequently cited as a market leader in banking, finance and capital markets. It has certainly set the pace in capital markets, fintech, structured trade and commodities finance, and project finance, though its extensive and rounded abilities should not be overlooked.’ 

Legal 500, 2020 

Client feedback on Bowmans includes the fact that the firm, ‘has an impressive reputation in capital markets issuances and is at the forefront in the fintech space’.

Significant Matters

Our recent experience includes:

CRYPTO-ASSETS AND EXCHANGES 

  • Acting as local counsel for Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP, who in turn acted for Digital Currency Group Inc. on the acquisition of the Luno Group in South Africa and Singapore.
  • Advising Coinbase through Simmons & Simmons LLP on cryptocurrency-related activities in South Africa.

PAYMENT AND REMITTANCE TECHNOLOGY

  • Acting for Accion Frontier Inclussion Mauritius and Partech on a Series C funding round in the fintech startup company known as Yoco Technologies (Pty) Ltd.
  • Acting for Network International in its acquisition of Africa payment service provider, DPO Group. DPO Group’s Africa online commerce platform operates across 19 countries.
  • Advising the insolvency administrator over the assets of Wirecard Technologies GmbH, on the disposal of its South African subsidiary, Wirecard Solutions South Africa (Pty) Ltd, to adumo (RF) (Pty) Ltd.

INSURETECH, INSURANCE AND RISK

  • Providing financial regulatory (product development and compliance) and data protection advice to creditAIs, on its artificial intelligence insurance product. creditAIs is a South African startup that targets financial inclusion by using machine learning to credit score people who do not fit traditional models.

PLATFORM SOLUTIONS AND COMPARISON SOLUTIONS

  • Acting for Tugende, a technology-enabled asset finance group based in East Africa, on an extension of its Series A funding round led by Partech with participation from Enza Capital and other angel investors. We previously advised Tugende on the first close of its Series A funding round, which was announced in September 2020 and led by Toyota Tshusho’s Mobility 54.
  • Acting as local counsel for Thoma Bravo, L.P on a merger filing to the South African Competition Commission in relation to the acquisition of Calypso Technologies, Inc.