Legal Business Blogs

‘We can minimise the gap between business advisers and legal counsel’: EY admits Singapore boutique into network

As Big Four accountancy giant EY continues to grow its legal services offering, it has today (2 October) announced it has brought Singaporean boutique firm PK Wong & Associates into its global network as an independent member.

The news comes just months after PK Wong ended its formal law alliance with Lawrence Graham as the City firm prepared for its recent merger with Wragge & Co.

Specialising in corporate and commercial work, PK Wong will now work closely with EY’s assurance, tax, transactions and advisory teams to provide ‘complementary, commercially focused advice to clients in Singapore and the rest of the Asean region’.

The firm was founded in 2004 by Wong Peng Koon (PK Wong) – previously senior partner at Singapore’s third-oldest firm Braddell Brothers – and barrister Mark Wong.

EY Asean and Singapore managing partner Max Loh said: ‘With the addition of legal services into our existing suite of services, we can help to minimise the gap between business advisers and legal counsel, and provide companies in Singapore and Asean with the trusted advice and business agility that they increasingly need to navigate the opportunities and risks across different markets’.

The entry of PK Wong to the EY network follows that of Shanghai-based law firm, Chen & Co, which become a member firm in January, while EY established its own of its legal services capability in Vietnam in April.

EY has been assessing its options in Asia for some time, and last December hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ Singapore partner John Dick, who specialises in energy & resources, South East Asia regional foreign investment and infrastructure.

Dick, who is now Asean law leader at EY, said: ‘In the past year, we have focused on the development of our legal services capability in Asia-Pacific, specifically Asean. Key to the development in Asean is to have a strong hub out of Singapore, and with PK Wong & Associates joining us, we have laid the foundation for our regional platform’.

EY currently offers legal services in more than 50 countries with over 1,200 lawyers.

This latest news follows the announcement by KPMG yesterday (1 October) that it has been awarded an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to operate on a multi-disciplinary basis.

In July, PwC made its own moves to enhance its legal offering in Asia-Pacific, and entered into a tie-up in Singapore with local firm Camford Law. The 10-lawyer corporate outfit joined its global network but operates as a separate partnership and retains its name.