Ashurst, one of the UK’s oldest law firms, has helped secure a joint-venture between fintech TymeGlobal and JG Summit Holdings to create a new form of digital banking in the Philippines. TymeGlobal, a fintech with a banking license in South Africa, announced on February 23 it had inked a deal for the first digital bank in the archipelago after new banking regulations came into force in November.
The Ashurst advisory team was led by Hong Kong-based partner Joshua Cole supported by counsel Hoi Tak Leung and associates Lisette Chan and Jessica Leung. Cole said the joint venture “will set an example for other potential market entrants in offering innovative financial services to the market.” He added that the legal firm reviewed the proposed business structure and assisted with the joint-venture agreements to “ensure the commercial and regulatory requirements of the new business are reflected.”
The deal followed a $US110 million Series B funding round for TymeGlobal, spearheaded by JG (which invested $US5 million) and private equity fund Apis Growth Fund II. Apis was advised by ENSAfrica, the largest law firm in Africa. TymeGlobal retained South African law firm Webber Wentzel for its part of the capital raise. The deal is the latest step in the South African digital bank’s push into the Asia Pacific region and represents the first major commercial interest in leveraging the Philippines’ new digital banking framework.
This updated legislation sets equivalent requirements for digital banks as for traditional lenders, with a minimum capital of at least 1 billion pesos ($US20 million) and outlines governance, infrastructure and data management requirements for digital banks.
According to the BSP, only 22.6% (15 million) Filipinos have a bank account. Of that number, a tiny 1.3% of adults in the country own an electronic account. TymeGlobal said it will apply for a digital bank license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank.