Head of Insurance Sector, Australia
International Board Member
Samantha O'Brien focuses on the regulation of financial services product providers and advisers. She has over 20 years’ experience of helping clients with the sale, acquisition and transfer of insurance businesses and portfolios.
Samantha is a trusted advisor to many of Australia's largest financial institutions and financial services businesses, and some of the most innovative fintech companies entering the market.
Her clients include insurers, underwriting agencies, mutuals and insurance intermediaries, banks, payment product providers and credit providers. Her practice spans product development and distribution, prudential regulation, AFSL and ACL licensing, compliance and breach management, and the development and implementation of customer remediation programs.
Samantha has worked with a number of financial institutions on strategic, industry shaping acquisitions and transactions, including providing regulatory advice and support in the due diligence phase of transactions.
She has also assisted a number of financial services clients to navigate their way through high impact regulatory changes. This has included a number of roles in relation to the recent regulatory reform cycle that fell out from the Financial Services Royal Commission.
Samantha has particular experience helping global financial services organisations to navigate local regulatory regimes.
She has presented papers and published articles on numerous issues such as plain English drafting, insurance and risk management, GST for insurers and, on many occasions, financial services reforms and compliance.
- Advising IAG in relation to:
- its AFS licence consolidation project; and
- the development and implementation of the Swann add-on insurance remediation program.
- Undertaking a full compliance framework review and development project for a significant travel insurance business
- Acting for PSC Insurance Group in relation to its IPO and its acquisition of the insurance broker businesses of the Reliance Group
- Advising AirPlus on the regulation of its payment products in Australia
- Advising Bank of Queensland on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Centrepoint Alliance and follow-up by its insurance premium funding business
- Advising the founders and shareholders of Ezidebit on the regulatory aspects of its sale to Global Payments Inc following a competitive sales process
- Acting for the Suncorp Group in respect of the regulatory and product distribution aspects of its acquisition of MTA Insurance Limited, a bespoke national provider of consumer credit insurance and guaranteed asset protection insurance products to the motor vehicle sector
- Acting for Steadfast in its acquisitions of a number of insurance brokers including National Credit Insurance Brokers, PI Direct and Austcover
- Acting for Steadfast in relation to the due diligence aspects of its IPO
- Acting for FM Global in relation to the restructure of its insurance operation in Australia
Awards and recognition
- Ranked lawyer, Insurance, Australia, Chambers Asia Pacific 2014-22
- Recommended lawyer, Financial Services Regulatory and Insurance, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2018-22
- Acritas Star, 2018-20
Memberships And Affiliations
- Australian Institute of Company Directors