Fintech products and anti-money laundering regulations in Vietnam

Under anti-money laundering regulations, a financial transaction using new technology is transactions which can be conducted by customers without meeting with staffs of a financial institution. If a financial service provider (which may include payment service providers such as e-wallet providers) provides financial services using new technology, the financial institution is still required to meet with its customers at the first time the customer using the services and collect KYC information.  

The requirement for physical meeting for collecting KYC information document may make the rolling out a fintech product in Vietnam much slower in other countries.

Collective actions by bondholders in Vietnam

Collective action mechanism among bondholders is one of the common features in terms and conditions of a corporate bond.  Two important features of collective action mechanism are:

·        the use of a bond trustee to act for the benefit of bondholders; and

·        the use of bondholders’ meeting to allow a decision of a majority (or super-majority) of bondholder regarding the bond (e.g. changing the terms of the bond) to bind minority bondholders who disagree with such decision.

Arguably, if the provisions of bondholders’ meeting are included in the terms of the bond and a bondholder agrees to such term then the provisions on a civil transaction under Civil Code 2015 may allow the use of bondholders’ meeting in Vietnam. However, the validity of a decision of a bondholders’ meeting which is not approved by all bondholders is still questionable under Vietnamese law. This is because:

E-signatures v.s. digital signatures under Vietnamese law

Under the Law on E-Transactions, an e-signature (chữ ký điện tử) is defined as being created in the form of words, script, numerals, symbols, sounds or in other forms by electronic means, logically attached or associated with a data message, and being capable of identifying the person who has signed the data message, and being capable of identifying the consent of that signatory to the contents of the signed data message.

According to Article 24.1 of the Law on E-Transactions, an e-signature of an individual affixed to a data message will be legally equivalent to the signature of such individual affixed to a written document if:

·        the method of creating the e-signature permits to identify the signatory and to indicate his/her approval of the contents of the data message; and

·        such method is sufficiently reliable and appropriate to the purpose for which the data message was originated and sent.

Accordingly, if an user being an individual of an e-commerce website, who can be identified by his/her username, password, and other means of verification (e.g., OTP code), clicks on a confirmation button of an online order then such action can be regarded as creating and affixing an e-signature to the online order by the individual user. This is because:

Conversion of preference shares into ordinary shares in a Vietnamese joint stock company

The Enterprise Law 2014 does not have specific provisions on alteration of rights attached to a class of shares other than ordinary shares. Since the Shareholder Meeting has the right to create a class of shares, logically, an amendment to class rights should also be approved by the Shareholder Meeting. Under Article 113.6 of the Enterprise Law 2014,

·        ordinary shares may not be “converted” (chuyển đổi) into preference shares; and

·        preference shares may be converted into ordinary shares pursuant to a resolution of the Shareholder Meeting.

There is no definition of “conversion” in the context of Article 113.6. However, a conversion from one class of shares into another class of shares would likely result in the change of rights attached to the shares being converted. Therefore, arguably conversion of shares could qualify as an alteration of class rights. Each share in the charter capital of a JSC has the same par value. Therefore, logically, one preference share should be converted into one ordinary share only. If one preference share is not converted into one ordinary share then the charter capital of a JSC will be increased or reduced which may not be clearly permitted by law.