The Legal and Compliance team at Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific is responsible for ensuring the business complies with its regulatory obligations throughout the Asia Pacific region. In Australia, this includes the Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and adherence to the ATHOC Code of Practice.
The team also oversees the company’s privacy, Do Not Call, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing obligations; handles government relations, including dealings with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and Australian Financial Services Commission;
The VP in the team holds the position of company secretary for all Australian entities; is an alternate director on the Board of the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC); and is a director of Wyndham’s registered charity, Wishes by Wyndham.
In addition to increased regulatory demands locally, Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific has experienced strong growth in the last 12 months and expansion into a number of new jurisdictions, including Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. The team has continued to provide high-quality advice to the business in this demanding environment and expanded its own collective knowledge and learnings to further assist regional growth and evolving business demands.
The team’s expertise helps the business meet its growth objectives and ensure its legal compliance. The team’s early input and proactive approach ensures the right growth opportunities are seized from the beginning. They also provide innovative solutions to enable the business to fulfil its regional strategy; for example, they introduced the concept of utilising the existing Wyndham corporate structure to work as an asset custodian for overseas jurisdictions during recent acquisitions, which allowed the Club to acquire additional resorts while also meeting Australian regulatory requirements.
Within the business, the legal team is valued by stakeholders for their ability to think ’outside the box’ when providing commercial input. Thanks to their efforts, the business has this year been able to meet its strategic goals of expanding its club properties and numbers while meeting its compliance requirements.
The team ensured the business met its Asia Pacific regulatory obligations last year, including the requirements set out under ACL, privacy laws, Do Not Call laws, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing laws, the ATHOC Code of Practice and the Australian Financial Services Commission as well as fulfilling conditions of its AFSL.
In the past 12 months, the team has been instrumental in introducing new monitoring processes and improved compliance training for all sales representatives. They also implemented a revised mystery shopper program, resulting in savings to the business of more than $100,000 per annum while delivering improved monitoring results. Over the course of the year, the team has also contributed to a number of ATHOC submissions and helped in timeshare industry lobbying of the government with a role on the working group committee that liaises with ASIC for regulatory change – including the current review of RG160.
This year, Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific finalised a series of large acquisitions as it underwent the sharpest portfolio growth in its 19-year history. These have included the purchase of rooms in properties in Bavaria, Germany, and Tuscany, Italy; the acquisition of a property in Normandy, France and the proposed acquisition of a pre-existing vacation club in Japan. Each transaction has been different in scope and logistics, and the deals have required different methods, information and documentation according to local market requirements. The legal team has provided invaluable support to the acquisitions team and has shown great versatility and perseverance to conduct accurate due diligence in dual languages to advance the transactions and prepare the documentation required to complete the acquisitions.
An extremely deserving recipient of this nomination, the Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific legal team is seen by colleagues, peers and the industry as a key contributor to the company’s growth story in the region.