Kristi Swartz is an experienced fintech lawyer and has been instrumental in developing Hong Kong’s fintech ecosystem. As the leading fintech partner at DLA Piper, she advises clients on an array of matters including structuring, licensing, and corporate governance. She also provides advice in respect to digital assets, stablecoins, payments/alternative payments, and the licensing and development of equity crowdfunding, robo advisory and the running of compliant crypto exchanges to name just a few.
Kristi has practiced in Hong Kong for over 20 years. With a background in regulatory compliance, she is committed to bringing new concepts to market. Recognised as an industry leader, she is known for championing client with a client describing her as a “fintech superman”.
The Legal 500, Regulatory 2021 comments that “Kristi has in-depth knowledge and is commercially orientated. She offers the most pragmatic solutions to clients and is an expert in her field. Her understanding of the commercial and evolving industry allows her to provide the most suitable advice to clients”. Chambers Fintech Guide 2023 notes that she has "Strong knowledge of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Her experience and current work are immensely valuable. She is a leading proponent of the Hong Kong FinTech landscape, beyond the scope of legal counsel.”
Kristi cares deeply about our community and sits on the board of directors of the Faith In Love Foundation Limited (a Hong Kong registered charity) and Global Women Connect Limited (a Hong Kong registered charity), as well as being a founding member of the 30% Club’s Hong Kong chapter. Kristi also serves on The Women’s Foundation’s Fundraising Committee and is an active Ambassador.
Advising Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) on drafting of digital asset regulations for the region. The regime covers all aspects of digital assets, including crypto-currencies and NFTs, as well as providing a framework for various digital asset-related services such as custodians, crypto-exchanges and DeFi.
Advising Hong Kong’s first Securities and Futures Commission licensed equity crowdfunding platform on its successful Securities and Futures Commission licensing applications for type 1 (dealing in securities) and type 4 (advising on securities) regulated activity.
Advising a Hong Kong licensed online lending platform on its review and restructuring in compliance with the SFC regulations. This included balancing the Money Lender’s Ordinance alongside the Securities Futures Ordinance ("SFO") (Collective Investment Schemes) and HKMA requirements for Deposit Taking Authorities.
Advising a global remittance company following its acquisition by a major PRC-based technology firm on its proposed offering of US-based virtual bank accounts to customers in Hong Kong.
Advising a major cryptocurrency exchange on their proposed market entry strategy in Japan including regulatory licenses and policy advice on market entry strategy and current appetite for additional licensees in the Japan market.
Advising a UK-headquartered alternative payments company offering prepaid debit cards for online transactions. Advised on the role of its Hong Kong operations in servicing the Asian market. Conducted a review of the client’s operating model and relationships with merchants and customers and analyzed the and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615).
Advising a global payment specialist on intra-group transfer of shares in a wholly owned subsidiary as part of its corporate reorganization of its US, European and Hong Kong subsidiaries and affiliates.
Advising a FinTech company on its proposed issuance of its Hong Kong Dollar-linked stablecoin.
Advising a digital private wealth platform on the acquisition of Hong Kong regulated entity holding Securities and Futures Commission licences for type 4 (advising on securities) and type 9 (asset management) regulated activity.
Advising a multinational technology company on its regulatory and compliance policy for its fraud protection service implemented for e-commerce payment transactions by various regulatory bodies, including the Customs & Excise Department, Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in consideration of money services, credit rating services and sharing of transactional data.
- University of Hong Kong Law School (1998) LL.M.
- The College of Law, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, (LPC), 1996
University of Westminster (1995) , Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE)
University of Central Texas, Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), 1994
University of Texas at Austin (1992) B.B.A., Bachelor of Business Administration
- Ranked Band 1 in the 2023 Chambers Fintech Guide (China)
- Recognized as a Leading Individual for Fintech in 2023 Legal 500.
- Ranked by Chambers & Partners, Fintech Guide 2022 (Fintech Hong Kong Band 2)
- Ranked by Chambers & Partners, Fintech Guide 2021 (Fintech Hong Kong Band 2)
- Recognized as a "Leading Individual for Fintech" by Chambers & Partners in 2020
- Winner of the Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law, Corporate Governance Award, 2015-2017
- Hong Kong provides long-awaited policy and regulatory updates on virtual assets, Dec. 2022
- SFC and HKMA Joint Circular on intermediaries' virtual asset-related activities, Feb. 2022
- Decentralised Exchanges: The relevant considerations when mapping out how DEXs might be regulated, Nov. 2021
- UPDATE | FSTB's Public Consultation on Legislative Proposals to Enhance AML and CTF Regulation, May 2021
- FSTB’s Public Consultation of Legislative Proposals to Enhance AML and CTF Regulation in Hong Kong, Nov. 2020
- Virtual Banks in Hong Kong: Bringing Risk and Opportunities to Asia, Aug. 2018
- Panellist in the Dispute Resolution in the Age of Cryptos Seminar – September 2023
- Crypto in the Payments Sector: Managing risk in the crypto network – Webinar series, April 2023
- Panellist “The metaverse, Web3 and virtual assets: opportunities in 2023” in the Middle East Tech Summit, March 2023
- Panellist, “Compliance in Web3 Era”, “Regulations in Different Jurisdictions, FinTech and Digital Assets”, Scale Up Impact Summit 2022
- Panellist, “The Age of Tokenisation”, The Connected City Conference 2022
- Moderator at DLA Piper’s WIN (What In-house lawyers Need) Seminar “Evolution of Technology: What is next? Hong Kong, 2022”
- Crypto presentation to WorldPay, FIS APMEA conference, February 2022
- Joint crypto briefing with KPMG, January 2022
- Panellist, “LawTech, RegTech and Tokenisation”, SIS4.0, Hong Kong, December 2021
- Moderator, “Where Law and IT Meet”, ScaleUp Impact Summit, May 2021
- Judge, WHub Global Startup Competition, April 2021
- StartUp Impact Summit, July 2020
- “Purposeful Leadership”, World Café, 2020 Leadership Forum, July 2020
- Panellist, World Blockchain Summit, Singapore, July 2019
- Key Note Speaker & Panellist, Blockchain.News, Hong Kong, July 2019
- Panellist, “Being diverse, being inclusive – what does it mean to you and how do we get there?”, Global Women Connect, London, United Kingdom, June 2019
- Panellist, “BigLaw Partner to Firm Owner”, Women’s Power Summit, Center for Women in Law, Texas, USA, April 2019
- Panellist, “#HeForShe”, CEIBS Female
- Leadership Forum, Shanghai, PRC, February 2019
Kristi has practiced law in Hong Kong for approximately 20 years and works with emerging growth companies through to listed multinational corporations in Hong Kong, United States, Asia and Europe. In 2018, she established a boutique firm, which in the few short years since its inception has garnered industry recognition as a bespoke fintech firm.
Prior to this she held the role of Hong Kong Managing Partner at an international law firm for five years.
Memberships And Affiliations
- Founding Member, Web3 Harbour Limited
- RegCom Co-Chair, Hedera Hashgraph LLC
- Board Member, Global Woman Connect
- Board Member, Faith in Love Foundation
- Circle of Leaders, Center for Women in Law – The University of Texas School of Law
- Ambassador, The Women’s Foundation
- Stanford SELP Alumni Association, Chief Events Officer
- Founding member of the Hong Kong chapter of the 30% Club
- Advisory Committee, LITE Lab (Hong Kong University)
- AIIFL, Faculty of Law, HKU, Honorary Fellowship
- Littlefield Society, The University of Texas at Austin