Digital transformation post COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to all facets of everyday life, from public health measures to changes in how businesses must operate.

The New Zealand Government’s lockdown measures to protect public health highlight the importance of building a robust digital economy.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ innovation team has helped clients to grow much needed digital infrastructure, facilitating digital commerce, including:

  • Developing good and flexible FinTech regulation – New Zealand Treasury’s report on the global regulation of Fintech (available here) was drafted by MinterEllisonRuddWatts, and through bodies such as FinTechNZ the team continues to lobby Government and regulatory agencies to remove roadblocks preventing the growth of digital financial services.
  • Digital identity infrastructure – New Zealand needs digital identity infrastructure to support its growing digital economy. Our team has analysed the legal issues for using digital identity infrastructure, including its implications for AML/ CFT compliance in conjunction with Digital Identity New Zealand and some of its members.
  • Growth in consumer demand for “trustworthy” products – immutable ledger technologies (such as blockchain) will likely improve New Zealand products’ already strong global brand. Our team helped establish a multi-industry consortium using supply chain distributed technology for TrackBack.
  • Support for the Kiwi FinTech Accelerator – our team has supported New Zealand’s only FinTech accelerator programme since its inception as advisers and mentors, and continue to act for alumnae of the programme (including Sharesies).
  • Supporting New Zealand’s startup ecosystem – with shortages in private capital across New Zealand and Australia predicted, the country’s economic backbone, SMEs could suffer. However, startups which are short on capital can create new industries and jobs, and will grow in importance as New Zealand recovers. Our team has helped startups and venture capital investors with their fundraising initiatives, however there is merit in exploring emergency Crown funding for startups (outside of existing Crown support packages). We have been working with the Angel Association of New Zealand on submissions to Government.

We want to help businesses manage the effects of COVID-19 and identify and pursue opportunities that arise from the new economy. Our innovation team consists of some of the country’s leading legal advisors who are at the forefront of advising on technology issues (e.g. internet use, protecting data, privacy compliance) and the legal structuring of digital solutions. Our expertise includes:

  • Digital savings, investment and trading platforms
  • Equity crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending
  • Innovative payment solutions
  • Algorithmic technology solutions (including copy trading / social trading services)
  • Online solutions for AML compliance
  • Security token offers and token arrangements
  • Virtual asset service providers (including exchanges and brokers)
  • Blockchain and other distributed ledger issues, including smart contracts
  • Capital raising for innovative businesses
  • Data management (including hacks and other breaches)
  • IT procurement
  • Liaising with the Financial Markets Authority, Reserve Bank, Department of Internal Affairs and other agencies on innovation projects

In addition to our legal services, we develop innovative solutions to advance innovation in the legal sector and better support our clients. This ambition has led to us being recognised again as one of New Zealand’s most innovative firms in the NZ Lawyer Innovative Firms 2020 Report and being named New Zealand Law Firm of the Year at the Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2020 and 2017.

We were co-founders of startup McCarthyFinch in 2017, investing in AI powered legal drafting solutions such as authorDOCS (AI document drafting add-in for Microsoft Word). Another successful business tool is Safetrac, providing customisable online compliance training for organisations.

Our team can help you navigate digital transformation, which we predict will accelerate following the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of a new global economy.

If you would like to learn more about our innovation experience or discuss how we can help your ideas come to fruition, please contact one of our experts.

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