Irfaan Rashid
Maddie Morgan
Lawyer
Suwathie Rajeswaran
Lana Knaggs
Akshya Perera
Sally Yang
Lawyer
Gonzalo Castro
Consultant
Maddison Morgan

Michele Levine

Partner

Michele is an innovative and trusted financial services lawyer that fosters strong and attentive relationships with her clients. She combines her personable nature with her extensive financial services background to provide innovative, strategic, commercial and pragmatic solutions for clients. She possesses deep knowledge and experience in legal, governance, risk, and compliance across the full spectrum of financial services.

Michele is passionate about collaboration and works closely with colleagues to provide holistic advice and solutions for complex legal issues that can be readily embedded in the business.  In providing advice, Michele understands the commercial imperative of striking an appropriate balance between strategic objectives and risk appetite.   Clients value Michele’s ability to bring together her industry and technical knowledge to apply legally creative and commercial solutions that are tailored to their objectives and circumstances.

Michele acts for a broad range of clients across financial services, credit, fintech, payments, cryptocurrency and insurance. She provides support on all legal aspects, including regulatory advice on product design, service offerings, distribution, licensing, agreements, compliance obligations, transactions and regulator engagement and enforcement.

Michele understands the regulatory environment (current and emerging) and is well-placed to advise on regulatory requirements and risk mitigation strategies for businesses of all sizes.

She is passionate about fintech and leads our relationship with Blockchain Australia and Fintech Australia. Michele has also been a mentor for Startupbootcamp since 2021, where she mentored and provided advice to a range of fintech start-ups globally.

Michele regularly contributes to and informs regulatory reform. Most recently, she has drafted submissions, attended roundtables with Treasury, regulators and politicians as well as engaged with industry bodies on the digital asset licensing and payments reforms.

Michele is a regular speaker at conferences, most recently events held by Blockchain Australia, Blockchain APAC and Insurtech PitchLIVE.

She joined Hamilton Locke as a Partner on 1 September 2022 as part of its merger with boutique law firm, The Fold Legal. Prior to her promotion as Partner of The Fold Legal in July 2022, Michele held the roles of Senior Associate and Special Counsel.

Before this, Michele was General Counsel at a fintech start-up, Flare HR and held a number of senior non-legal roles for financial services companies, including Company Secretary, Head of Government Relations and Head of Regulatory Affairs for Mercer Australia. She has held senior roles in the financial services practices of Norton Rose Fulbright and Clayton Utz.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Financial Services; Credit; Insurance; Fintech; Payments; Cryptocurrency; Regulatory

 

AWARDS

  • Australasian Lawyer, Most Influential Lawyers List, 2023
  • Australasian Lawyer, Elite Women 2023
  • Blockchain Australia, Blockies, Professional Advisor Leader of the Year, Finalist, 2023
  • Client Choice Awards, Best Banking, Finance & Insurance Firm (<$30m revenue), Winner, 2023
  • Client Choice Awards, Best Law & Related Services Firm (<$30m), Finalist, 2020 – 2022
  • Client Choice Awards, Best Banking & Finance Firm (<$30m revenue), Winner, 2020, 2022
  • Client Choice Awards, Best Insurance Law Firm (<$30m revenue), Winner, 2021 – 2022
  • Chambers and Partners, Asia-Pacific Guide, Financial Services Regulation, Ranked Firm, Band 4, 2020 – 2022
  • Chambers and Partners, Fintech Legal Guide, Ranked Firm, Band 2, 2019 – 2022
  • Fintech Australia, Finnies Award, ‘Excellence in support Services’, 2022

 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor of Commerce – The University of New South Wales
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours) – The University of New South Wales
  • Certificate in Governance Practice – Governance Institute of Australia
  • Admitted to practice in New South Wales

 

SELECTED REPRESENTATIONS

  • Advised several stablecoin issuers on the structure and design of their stablecoin under the current laws as well as proposed reforms.
  • Advised various global and local digital currency exchanges (including Independent Reserve and CoinSpot) on token listings, token due diligence processes, product and service offerings, payments, margin trading, share trading solutions, ETFs and corporate transactions.
  • Designed staking and yielding solutions for crypto assets and advised on lending protocols and other DAO structures for crypto assets.
  • Advised on the design, structure distribution and regulatory requirements of CashD’s early wage access product and other payment solutions for B2B and B2C offerings including Divipay (Weel), Azupay, Intuit and escrow payments service providers.
  • Advised Employment Hero on the distribution of superannuation and payments solutions as well as drafted and negotiated commercial agreements with customers and service providers (including master services agreements).
  • Advised BetaCarbon on its Australian Carbon Token’s design, licensing and regulatory requirements.
  • Advised Prospa, Australia’s leading online lender to small businesses, on its successful acquisition of the Zip Business loan portfolio from Zip Business Pty Ltd for approximately A$15.6 million. This was Prospa’s first M&A transaction which was funded through Prospa’s existing warehouse funding arrangements.
  • Advised a payment service provider on various pre-paid, debit and credit card programs.
  • Advised a client on the design of a blockchain based carbon offset solution that will provide customers with the ability to offset product and service transactions at point of sale.
  • Advised venture debt funders (including Longreach and Wingate) on a range of transactions that involved providing lending facilities to different payments businesses.
  • Advised ZIP on the distribution of insurance offerings.
  • Advised BNPL providers and other credit providers on their legal obligations, licensing and agreements, including LimePay, OnDeck and Payright.
  • Advised wealth and credit comparison websites on their licensing and regulatory requirements, including Finspo and Komparative.
  • Advised premium funders and other online insurance platforms on their regulatory obligations, licensing requirements and agreements, including CoverPay and CoverMy.
  • Advised Bamboo on its regulatory obligations, product and service design and rewards program in relation to its micro-investment app.
  • Advised a fintech on regulatory solutions for fractionalised share trading.
  • Advised a fintech on regulatory solutions for providing consumers with a home deposit solution.
  • Conducted unfair contract term reviews of customer contracts including credit agreements and payment provider agreements.
  • Engaged by Aon to undertake a comprehensive review of the regulatory compliance and risk frameworks and governance systems which support its broking business. This included management and staff interviews, surveys and document review and analysis to examine key areas for improvement.
  • Advised numerous clients on AML / CTF obligations including the provision of designated services, KYC obligations, the registration process and reviewing and drafting AML Programs.
  • Advised a client on the laws that apply to payments to white hackers including the AML / CTF laws, sanctions and criminal code.