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Asia-Pacific: Pinsents continues expansion with high-profile appointments in Singapore and Shanghai

Pinsent Masons has continued to develop its Global 100 credentials, this time bulking up its Asia-Pacific corporate capability with the hire of a three-partner team in Singapore from leading local firm KhattarWong and a further senior appointment in Shanghai from SJ Berwin (now part of King & Wood Mallesons). These latest appointments add to a number of key hires made by Pinsents in the region over the course of last year.

In Singapore, partners Perry Yuen, Kelvyn Oo and Bethia Su will join the firm from KhattarWong’s general corporate and commercial advisory practice in early 2014 along with up to five associates.

The team has experience in joint ventures, M&A and compliance issues and has acted on the unwinding of investors PT Borneo’s and Bakrie’s joint interests in international mining group Bumi.

These are the only three partners listed for M&A and general corporate advisory work on KhattarWong’s website and their exits follow the departure of a 50-lawyer team that formed RHTLaw in 2011, later becoming Taylor Wessing’s Singapore outfit in July 2012.

Pinsents has also appointed the former head of SJ Berwin’s Shanghai office, Philipp Senff, as a senior lawyer into the firm’s corporate practice. A German-qualified lawyer, Senff will focus on advising manufacturing and industrial clients operating in China.

Pinsents’ Asia head Ian Laing said: ‘These appointments are a real statement of intent for the firm. We have had 30% turnover growth in Asia Pacific for each of the past two years and are confident about our future prospects.

‘Singapore has cemented its place as a regional hub for South East Asia, in particular Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia. Meanwhile Shanghai remains a crucial centre of manufacturing for China with strong links into Europe through Munich. We have a significant opportunity to win greater corporate work in a number of important areas.’

Head of Pinsents’ corporate practice Andrew Masraf said: ‘We have made significant investment into the Asia Pacific region in recent years, with the doubling of our team in Shanghai in 2012 and the launch of a TMT practice in Singapore in 2013. This latest wave of investment will have a transformational impact on our corporate capability in region, allowing us to service work emanating from our clients in the energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors which until now we have had to turn away.’

This news marks the latest phase of expansion for the firm’s Asia Pacific practice after it brought in Bryan Tan from local IT boutique Keystone Law Corporation to launch the firm’s TMT practice in Singapore, while in June 2012 the firm appointed Bernd Uwe Stucken and Liu Wei from legacy Salans’ Shanghai office.

Recent work for the firm’s corporate practice included advising Octal Capital on the listing of Willas-Array Electronics (Holdings) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and assisting Quam Capital as sponsors on the HK$100m listing of U Banquet Holdings and China Binary Sale Technology on the Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market.

Other recent hires for the firm elsewhere in the world include a six-strong team from Paris-based technology boutique firm Ichay & Mullenex Avocats (IMA), led by partners Diane Mullenex and Frédéric Ichay, along with Annabelle Richards who joined as a legal director, brought in to launch its Paris TMT team.