Stefanie Yuen Thio comments in BT: “Ringfencing of clients’ funds beyond conveyancing may not be necessary: lawyers”

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News

27 May 2019

Stefanie Yuen Thio comments in BT: “Ringfencing of clients’ funds beyond conveyancing may not be necessary: lawyers”

Features Stefanie Yuen Thio

Stefanie Yuen Thio was quoted in a follow up story on Allied Technologies’ S$33 million in funds gone missing from an escrow account managed by JLC Advisors, with the latter’s managing partner Jeffrey Ong now uncontactable. The article, published in the 25-26 May 2019 weekend edition of the BT, explores whether ringfencing of clients’ funds beyond conveyancing was necessary.

Stefanie Yuen Thio said: “It’s also cumbersome to have to open a fresh bank account or maintain signing instructions that include a third party’s signature for one-off transactions.” Nor would having such an additional safeguard prevent fraud or acts of deliberate dishonesty, she added.

“First, I think the client should consider the reliability of the law firm,” she said. “In the case of Allied Tech, it’s not clear why the S$33m in private placement proceeds had to be kept with the law firm – which is highly unusual – and not in the listed company’s bank account.”

Beyond complying with rules, law firms may want to have more stringent internal controls, she said. At TSMP, all withdrawals from clients’ accounts are signed by two partners.

The story may be found here: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/ringfencing-of-clients-funds-beyond-conveyancing-may-not-be-necessary-lawyers