Academic Staff

Syren Johnstone

Executive Director, LLM Compliance & Regulation Programme
BA (Hons), MSc (Oxon.), MA (Law) (Lond.)
Solicitor (England & Wales and Hong Kong)

Following private practice with Linklaters (London, Tokyo and Hong Kong), and in Tokyo with Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Syren undertook senior management roles including as Regional Head (Asia) of Legal & Compliance at Banco Santander, and Regional Head (Asia) of Transaction Management with Société Générale where he was licensed with the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) as responsible officer for Equity Corporate Finance and as a Principal with The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

He is a Fellow of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law, a Member of the Fintech Advisory Group of the SFC, and a Consultant and Examiner to the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute (HKSI) for the Licensing Examinations for securities and futures intermediaries, the industry benchmark examination recognized by the SFC.

As an educator at HKU he teaches courses forming part of the Master of Laws including Securities Regulation, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Compliance in the Hong Kong Securities Industry.

He has published widely in recognized academic journals and co-authored "Financial Markets in Hong Kong: Law and Practice" published by Oxford University Press (2ed 2016), regarded as a cornerstone publication in this field. His academic works have been referenced in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and the Court of Appeal.

Specialized areas: regulation of the securities industry, financial services law, listed companies, compliance processes, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, Fintech, joint ventures.



SSRN papers:

Journal articles

S. Johnstone, "Taxonomies of digital assets: recursive or progressive?" Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy, Vol 2 No. 1 (2019)

S. Johnstone, "How can blockchain and other consensus driven cryptographic technology be regulated?", Hong Kong Lawyer, November 2018

S. Johnstone “ICO utility tokens and the relevance of securities law”, Hong Kong Lawyer, March 2018

S. Johnstone and N Davis “Transparency of information in the market: the CITIC case before the Market Misconduct Tribunal” Hong Kong Lawyer, July 2017

S. Johnstone “Credit Ratings: The Moody’s case” Hong Kong Law Journal, vol 47(1) 2017, 193-219

S. Johnstone “Equity crowdfunding: caveat emptor?” International Financial Law Review, May 2016

S Johnstone, A da Roza and N Davis “Deconstructing sponsor prospectus liability”, Hong Kong Law Journal, vol 46 2016

S Johnstone, “A Flawed Debate”, International financial Law Review, May 2015

S Johnstone, A da Roza and BFC Hsu “Regulator Accountability”, International Financial Law Review, May 2009

S Johnstone “Hong Kong Equity Offerings:  An Analysis of Credit Risks”, Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, Vol 12, No 8., 1997

S Johnstone “A Safe Harbour”, New Law Journal, July and August, 1993

Books and book chapters

DW Arner, S Goo, B Hsu, S Johnstone and P Lejot “Hong Kong financial markets: law and practice”, Second Edition, Oxford University Press 2016

DW Arner, B Hsu, CK Low, GP Lienke and S Johnstone “Hong Kong commentary”, chapter in International Securities Regulation eds RC Rosen, IM Pollac and E Levy, published by Oceana Publications, 2006

B Hsu, DW Arner, M Tse and S Johnstone “Hong Kong financial markets: law and practice”, Oxford University Press, 2006

S Johnstone and D Mullarkey “Exchange Traded Equity Options and Financial Futures in Hong Kong”, chapter in The Capital Guide to Financial Futures and Traded Options in Asia, published by The International Securities Institute, 1996

Monographs and other papers

S. Johnstone, "Regulating cryptographic consensus technology: oxymoron or necessity?", AIIFL Working Paper No. 32, October 2018,

S Johnstone "A red flag for the licensing regime", AIIFL Working Paper No. 29, July 2018,

S Johnstone and SH Goo “Report on improving corporate governance in Hong Kong”, December 2017, Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants Report on CG

S. Johnstone, N. Davis and D.W. Arner, “Moving forward on listing reform”, AIIFL Working Paper No. 22, October 2017

S Johnstone “Does Hong Kong Remain an Equivalent Jurisdiction for the EU Credit Rating Regime? February 2017

S Johnstone, N Davis and DW Arner “A principles-based response to the proposed reform of the governance structure for listing regulation in Hong Kong”, submission in response to the SFC/HKEX Joint Consultation Paper on listing reform, November 2016.

S Johnstone “A red flag for Hong Kong credit ratings”, AIIFL Working paper No. 18, August 2016.

S Johnstone, A Da Roza, N Davis, “IPO sponsor prospectus liability: the bridge too far?” AIIFL Working Paper No. 17, 2015.

S Johnstone, “Law, Regulation And Smart Regulation – Where To Next?” Colloquium on Current Issues In Financial Regulation, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 12 January 2010

DW Arner, B Hsu, A De Roza, F Da Roza, S Johnstone and P Lejot “The Global Financial Crisis and the Failure of Financial Regulation in Hong Kong” AIIFL Working Paper No. 4, 2009.

S. Johnstone, “Financial markets in Hong Kong – developing regulation”, Hong Kong Law Journal, Law Lectures for Practitioners, 2006, pages 101-122

S Johnstone, Guest Speaker, Merrill Lynch Investment Management Workshop, 24 April 2004, KL, Malaysia

Manuals written and kept updated for the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute

S Johnstone “Regulation of Corporate Finance”, 2ed, 2018

S Johnstone and DW Arner “Fundamentals of Securities and Futures Regulation”, 2ed 2018

S Johnstone and P Espinasse “Study Manual for Paper 15 Sponsors (Principals) and Paper 16 Sponsors (Representatives) of the Licensing Examination for Securities and Futures Intermediaries”, 2017

S Johnstone and D Arner “Regulation of Asset Management”, 2ed, 2016

DW Arner and S Johnstone, “Regulation of Securities”, 2ed, 2014

S Johnstone and D Arner “Regulation of Credit Rating Services”, 2011

S Johnstone, D Arner, B Hsu and M Tse “Corporate capital, governance and takeovers”, Coursebook for the Professional Diploma in Financial Management, Module 5, 2006

DW Arner, B Hsu, S Johnstone and M Tse “Regulatory framework: securities and futures industry”, Coursebook for the Professional Diploma in Financial Management, Module 4, 2006

Summary of scientific publications

ET Rolls and S Johnstone, “Neurophysiological analysis of striatal function” in Neurophysiological disorders associated with subcortical lesions, Oxford University Press, 1992

P Wenderoth, R van der Zwan, & S Johnstone, “Mechanisms of orientation illusions” in Human information processing: Measures, mechanisms and models, Elsevier science Publishers, 1989

Other journal articles:
- Brain Research (1990)
- Vision Research (1988)
- Perception (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)