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Freshfields hires HSF financial services regulatory partner

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continues to boost its disputes practice in Hong Kong with Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) financial services regulatory partner Tim Mak set to join the firm.

Mak will work alongside Asia head of financial services Royce Miller and contentious regulatory partner Georgia Dawson. Mak is tri-lingual and will specialise in both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters but has particular experience in civil and criminal proceedings and investigations.

‘We have seen increasing client demand for banking related advice, investigations and arbitration,’ said Christopher Pugh, global head of disputes at the firm. ‘We are strengthening our contentious regulatory expertise for banks with Tim Mak, who has a strong profile for contentious and non-contentious work for major financial institutions in Asia.’

The hire is in line with Freshfields’ strategy to bulk up its disputes team in Asia. Previously, the firm named global heads Lucy Reed as head of international arbitration and Geoff Nicholas as co-head of global investigations, who both relocated to Asia in 2012. Additionally, John Choong will make partner in May while Dawson made partner in May last year.

‘Additionally, the firm re-opened in Singapore last September and aims to expand its arbitration practice further as well as its investigations practice in Singapore, Indonesia and elsewhere in the region,’ added Pugh.

Mak’s departure is the latest in a number of HSF disputes partner exits, including senior litigation partner Simon Bushell who left the firm to join Latham & Watkins in February and financial regulatory duo Nikunj Kiri and Martyn Hopper who joined Linklaters in January 2013 and September 2012 respectively. More recently, veteran litigator Ted Greeno announced his departure for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Mak first joined Herbies in 1995 as a paralegal in Hong Kong. He trained, qualified and became an associate in 1998, and then worked in-house at the Securities and Futures Commission as assistant counsel in May 2000. He re-joined the firm two years later and made partner in the financial services regulatory department in April 2007.

Freshfields’ Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth said: ‘The regulatory environment in which global financial institutions operate has become more and more challenging over recent years and our clients require access to outstanding advice and support on both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters in all the key global financial centres. Tim is a fantastic addition to our international team.

‘With 15 years on the ground experience in Hong Kong, including acting for PRC clients listed in Hong Kong on SFC matters, Tim knows the market and knows the regulators.’