Rebecca Leon

Rebecca Leon

Partner
Baker & McKenzie LLP

Biography

Rebecca Leon is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Financial Regulation & Enforcement Practice Group and Co-Lead of the North America Broker-Dealer Regulation Team. Rebecca has extensive experience in advising financial services clients on their cross-border programs world-wide. She is an experienced broker-dealer and investment adviser regulatory attorney who focuses on counseling clients on global regulatory and compliance matters. She works closely to guide clients on structuring and developing their international operations.

Practice Focus

With an international focus, Rebecca's holistic approach looks beyond licensing requirements to help clients better understand and mitigate risks. Rebecca considers myriad areas beyond securities brokerage, asset manager, bank, and other financial services licensing requirements. She works to understand clients' business models and the impact of  jurisdictional legal differences on those models, including in areas such as privacy, data protection and cross-border data transfer, tax, exchange controls, provision of credit, deposit taking, consumer protection, fly-in meetings, and reporting requirements. Rebecca assists clients in building their global and country-specific policies, procedures, documentation and training programs with a view to mitigating identified domestic and foreign legal and compliance risks.

Additionally, Rebecca assists financial services clients in achieving their strategic goals by advising on the organization of regulated and unregulated entities globally, personnel sharing, referral programs and outsourcing.  Through these and other arrangements she helps multi-jurisdictional financial service providers work efficiently while remaining compliant with local regulations. Her counseling on the complexities of jurisdictional legal and regulatory differences enables clients to make informed decisions about the advantages and disadvantages of setting up distinct types of foreign operations. 

Rebecca also counsels domestic and foreign clients to comply with U.S. laws applicable to broker-dealers and investment advisers, including with U.S. federal and state securities laws, and the rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She assists clients with a panoply of intercompany, customer and industry agreements.

Rebecca's previous experience includes assisting clients with hedge fund formation, public offerings, private placements, securities arbitrations, and investigations by the SEC and FINRA. Notably, she has prior experience as a staff attorney in the Enforcement Division of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. During law school, she maintained internships at both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Representative Legal Matters

  • Prepared cross-border policies, procedures and customer documentation for use with customers in over 75 countries for private wealth businesses of dually registered broker-dealers/investment advisers.
  • Assisted both U.S. and foreign clients in determining whether to open financial services affiliates in additional countries or to structure arrangements with third parties in order to achieve their expansion goals.
  • Prepared legal guidance on licensing requirements with respect to the provision of consumer and wholesale banking and securities products in Latin America and the Caribbean in relation to both cross-border and in-country operations, including licensing associated with provision of credit, taking deposits, treasury management and payment services, investment banking and capital markets, sales and trading, and trustee services. We also analyzed the application of local privacy laws, anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, consumer protection regulations,  anti-money laundering laws, social media marketing, and reporting requirements.
  • Analyzed the risks associated with the use of electronic signatures, social media, and virtual group marketing events in more than 60 jurisdictions as applicable to cross-border financial service providers.
  • Counseled U.S. and foreign clients on the regulatory considerations related to provision of cross-border securities custody, execution, clearing and settlement services, as well as margin financing, cash and money market sweep programs and other ancillary services.  This included significant work on piggyback clearing arrangements with  non-FINRA member foreign firms.
  • Advised private bank groups and broker-dealers on global considerations related to paid and unpaid cross-referrals with affiliates and third parties in such areas as lending, real estate investment management and discretionary portfolio management.
  • Counseled clients on regulatory considerations with respect to global distribution of investment funds, annuities, and new issue securities. 
  • Advised on the provision of financial services to participants in more than 60 jurisdictions in connection with employee stock option plans, retirement plans, wrap account programs, and transfer on death accounts. 
  • Advised domestic and foreign clients on the application of the U.S. securities laws to their cross-border business, including exemptions under Exchange Act Rule 15a-6, the availability of chaperoning and referral arrangements, outsourcing arrangements and compensation arrangements under  FINRA rules 
  • Assisted portfolio manager in analyzing and reporting ownership interest and short sales in foreign public companies.

Professional Honors

  • Recognized as one of the Top 100 Female Lawyers in Latin America, Latinvex, 2020

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Compliance and Legal Society
  • National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP) 

Admissions

  • Florida~United States (2005)
  • New York~United States (1996)
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York~United States (1996)
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York~United States (1996)

Education

  • Brooklyn Law School (JD) (1995)
  • Case Western Reserve University (MBA) (1992)
  • Case Western Reserve University (BA) (1990)

Languages

  • English

Presentations

  • Speaker, "Marketing & Providing Services to Clients Outside the US," 2020 National Society of Compliance Professionals National Conference, 19-21 October 2020
  • Speaker, "COVID-19 - Latin America Wealth Management Discussion: A Webinar for Financial Services Firms," Baker McKenzie webinar, 14 April 2020
  • Speaker, "Global Marketing and Distribution Compliance Practices," 2019 National Society of Compliance Professionals National Conference, 21-23 October 2019
  • Speaker, "International Cross-Border Regulatory Issues," SIFMA Regional Firms GC/CCO Roundtable, 17 September 2019
  • Speaker, "What’s Next for LatAm?," Pershing’s Latin America Symposium, 25 September 2018