According to Gan Khong Aik, a partner at Gan Partnership, the two firms have been in a formal association for the last four or five years. The firm, which has a broad corporate and commerical practice, as well as a focus on dispute resolution and intellectual property, is hoping to expand its offering in reinsurance and insurance through formalising its relationship further with DAC.
Speaking to Legal Business, Gan said: ‘We have a portfolio in insurance but this JV will formalise that to some regard. To get the licence there is a certain process to go through. We make an application to the bar council and then there will be a selection committee chaired by the attorney general of Malaysia.’
Malaysia, which is also a strong market for Islamic banking, construction and arbitration, has been increasingly popular with UK law firms in recent years since local legislation provided a mechanism through the Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012, which has liberalised the market and encouraged foreign firms to join together with local practices or practice law as a qualified foreign law firm (QFLF).
According to The Law Society, interest in legal services opportunities between Malaysia and the UK has soared given the recent liberalisation of the Malaysian legal services market. At the time, the Law Society of England and Wales president Andrew Caplen said: ‘With Malaysia opening its legal services market and both countries pledging to double the value of bilateral trade to £8bn by 2016, we also have every reason to talk business.
Last February, Trowers & Hamlins applied for a QFLF licence in the country and in 2012 was the first foreign firm to launch a representative office in Kuala Lumpur after it received approval from the Malaysia Investment Development Authority