China > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Banking and finance: PRC firms
Next generation lawyers
JunHe LLP’s full-service practice stands out for its particular expertise in acquisition finance; the team has been particularly active in take-private transactions, advising clients including assisting Qihoo 360, Wuxi PharmaTech, China Cord Blood and iDreamSky Technology. In another illustration of its ability to handle significant mandates, it advised a number of financial institutions on structured finance made available to real estate funds and REITs. Nelson Zhou heads the team, in which Gavin Wang and Jun Zhou are the main contacts.
King & Wood Mallesons continued to invest in its banking and finance practice with a partner-level hire – Laurence Yuan joined from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in November 2015 – and five internal partner promotions. Recent highlights include advising on a financing transaction in the newly established Tianjin Free Trade Zone and handling a number of cross-border project finance transactions. The group is also developing a significant reputation in the evolving area of fintech. Practice head Jack Wang is widely regarded as being ‘one of the best lawyers in the market for banking and finance’. Within the team, the ‘commercially minded’ Stanley Zhou has particular expertise in Shanghai Free Trade Zone matters; Ling Wang, Xin Zhong, Roy Zhang, Eddie Hu are also highly recommended.
Zhong Lun Law Firm advises domestic and multinational financial institutions, as well as large corporates; clients include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Everbright Financial Leasing and Export-Import Bank of China. Dongyue Chen advised Punch Powertrain and its Chinese subsidiary, Punch Powertrain Nanjing, on obtaining syndicated loans from BNP Paribas Fortis and the European Investment Bank. Wantao Yang specialises in project finance, syndicated loans and securitisation; Shirley Lu, Borong Liu, Dageng Han, and Rong Fan are other key figures.
Fangda Partners is a prominent name for lender and borrower work on acquisition finance, project finance and infrastructure development projects. Stanley Chen and Xie Zheng handled a number of high-end leveraged financings and bridge financings for take-private transactions. Chen recently assisted a bank with the financing of the construction of factory facilities.
In keeping with its capability to handle large domestic and cross-border instructions, Global Law Office’s ‘excellent’ ten-partner team acts for clients such as Export-Import Bank of China, Bank of China, HSBC and BNP Paribas. Lawrence Lin and Xin Zhang are the practice co-heads; Lin recently advised The Bank of East Asia on providing a $120m offshore facility to a Cayman Islands company and Zhang acted on a $2bn financing of the construction of an infrastructure project and a cross-border PPP project financing. Ben Zhong, who ‘understands the need of his clients’ worked alongside Tracy Wang to assist a banking consortium with providing a term loan facility of up to $1.24bn to a large Chinese SOE. Xuemei Liu specialises in asset and trade finance.
Jingtian & Gongcheng’s recent work includes a number of cross-border acquisition financings and project finance transactions. The well-regarded Hongjiu Zhang focuses on financing, FDI and capital markets, and Jiejiang Wu advises domestic and international clients on complex aircraft and project finance. Representative clients include China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China, China Huarong International and United Overseas Bank.
Maggie Qin at AllBright Law Offices assisted China Development Bank Hong Kong branch as appointed coordinator with regard to a syndicated loan facility for China Cinda Asset Management to acquire Nanyang Commercial Bank. The team also handles trade finance and real estate loans. Xianming Li is another name to note.
DeHeng Law Offices has particular expertise in cross-border project finance and acquisition finance and also advises foreign banks on establishing operations in China. The team handled a number of project finance mandates in the mining and construction sectors. Notable practitioners are Xu Zhang and corporate finance specialist Kai Ma in Beijing, as well as Shenzhen-based Haobo Zeng.
Dentons China recently acted for China Construction Bank (Asia) and China Construction Bank Hong Kong branch to establish a number of cross-border financial products, including syndicated and structured loans. Beijing-based Qing Guo and Leo Zhou jointly lead the sizeable team, notably which also includes cross-border trade finance specialist Chunyang Wang.
Han Kun Law Offices’ outstanding aircraft finance team is led by the highly regarded Shu Wang and Jun Zhu; it advises a large number of well-known domestic and foreign aircraft leasing companies, commercial banks and domestic airlines on the financing of aircraft and aviation equipment. Recent highlights include acting for Bank of China (Hong Kong) on its refinancing of seven aircraft leased by ICBC Leasing to a number of PRC-based airlines. The team also assisted C. Banner International with the financing aspect of its acquisition of Hamleys toy retailer and is acting for Reignwood Group on its $500m financing of the purchase of 10 Trinity Square. James Miao returned to AllBright Law Offices in July 2016.
Llinks Law Offices’ client roster features a healthy balance of local and international lenders, borrowers, sponsors and export credit agencies. Michael Mei assisted Export-Import Bank of China on its $1.5bn loan facility to a Pakistani port joint venture company, which is indirectly owned by Sinohydro. Charles Qin is a key name to note for project finance and syndicated lending transactions.
Anjie Law Firm is a prominent name for cross-border project finance work; it also has substantial experience acting for international financial institutions with their interests in China. Gulong Ren is assisting China Development Bank with its £300m loan to China General Nuclear to finance its investment in the Hinckley C nuclear power plant project. The team also acted for Generali China Asset Management on fundraising through setting up a debt investment plan for the southeast belt freeway project in Kunming. Managing partner Hao Zhan is also recommended.
Echo Liu heads the finance and corporate department at Boss & Young, Attorneys At Law. Liu has advised various parties on setting up venture capital funds and renminbi funds.
East & Concord Partners advised a bank on a debt restructuring and financing project of a real estate group. Clients include a mix of domestic and foreign banks as well as large corporates, among them Bank of China, HSBC, New Century International Leasing and New China Life Insurance Company. Managing partner Dorothy Xing, Feng Chen and Xuan Zhang are the main contacts.
FenXun Partners handles a broad range of structured finance transactions and its tie-up with Baker McKenzie adds an international aspect to its resources. Xusheng Yang acted as Chinese counsel to Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services regarding the financing of an aircraft purchase and lease deal with Spring Airlines and assisted ICBC with an A$80m syndicated facility to Poly & Southlink Developments for the development of a residential apartment project in South Yarra, Melbourne.
Run Ming Law Office is best known for its aircraft finance practice, where it acts for lessors and airlines on cross-border transactions. Yi Liu recently acted for an export credit agency and HSBC on a syndicated export facility to purchase an Airbus A330.
Index of tables
- Banking and finance: foreign firms
- Other recommended firms
- Leading individuals
- Next generation lawyers
Banking and finance: foreign firms
Allen & Overy LLP安理国际律师事务所
- Clifford Chance LLP 高伟绅律师事务所
- DLA Piper 欧华律师事务所
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer富而德律师事务所
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP史密夫斐尔律师事务所
Other recommended firms
Next generation lawyers
Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘highly rated PRC banking and finance team is very strong indeed; it combines technical excellence with a pragmatic, solution-focused approach to commercial and legal issues’. The practice is a particular favourite among bank clients for outbound acquisition financing. Shanghai-based Matthew Bisley, who is ‘technically excellent and whose hands-on approach is particularly valued’, led the advice to Asian Development Bank on proposed loan facilities for CT Environmental Group to finance the development of SME industrial wastewater and sludge treatment plants. Beijing counsel Daniel Lau is experienced in advising on debt-related transactions, such as structured, acquisition finance, real estate and project finance, and syndicated loans. In Hong Kong, practice head Roger Lui is recommended for his advice on corporate loans, pre-IPO financing and equity-backed financing; he is also highly rated for a range of structured, acquisition, real estate and project financing. In borrower-side refinancing, ‘the very responsive’ Beijing-based Yvonne Ho has been advising commodity trading company, Noble Group, on a high-value credit facility to contribute towards repayment of existing revolving credit facilities and for general working capital requirements; Ho ‘has astute commercial sense and is a brilliant lawyer who is hardworking and business-oriented’.
Clifford Chance LLP has experienced a number of changes with Timothy Democratis being promoted to partner, Beijing-based China private equity head Terence Foo and Tim Wang being elected co-managing partners of the mainland China offices, and Maggie Lo relocating from Beijing to Hong Kong. Former mainland China managing partner Stephen Harder retired from the firm after 20 years; former counsel Paul Wee Ei Don joined Norton Rose Fulbright’s Beijing office as partner; and former associate Priscilla Chen joined Ashurst in Hong Kong as counsel. Jiahua Ni, who divides his time between Shanghai and Beijing, focuses on significant outbound financings for major Chinese banks, including export credit, project, structured and general corporate finance.
Linklaters stands out for its assistance to arrangers on private equity-backed LBOs. Beijing-based Xiaohui Ji is ‘a truly impressive adviser and negotiator, who always keeps clients’ objectives firmly in mind’; she advises Chinese and international banks on cross-border financing transactions and her recent outbound experience includes being part of the team advising CDB, ICBC and CCB on the project financing of Thar Block II coal mining and the 2×330MW coal-fired IPP in Pakistan. Hong Kong-based advisers include practice head Nathalie Hobbs, David Kidd, recently promoted partner Frank Cui and Davide Mencacci, who relocated to the Hong Kong office from Milan. Hong Kong-based James McLaren and Stuart Salt are project finance experts. David Irvine joined Kirkland & Ellis in Hong Kong.
Baker McKenzie is recommended for advising on complex commercial loans, including syndicated facilities, and project finance. Other areas of specialisation include structured finance, financial services regulation, acquisition and trade finance, and aircraft and asset finance. Shanghai-based Harvey Lau’s practice is focused on PRC lending and aviation and equipment financings; he advises on syndicated and bilateral loan transactions involving PRC borrowers and security providers, and regularly advises financial institutions and other corporate clients on financial regulatory issues in China. Other recommended practitioners include Beijing-based Simon Leung and department co-heads Andrew Lockhart and Barry Cheng, who are both based in Hong Kong.
Norton Rose Fulbright hired project and export credit finance lawyer Paul Wee Ei Don from Clifford Chance LLP to become a partner in Beijing; the addition enhanced the practice’s outbound project finance capability and strengthened its offering to Chinese banks, particularly for cross-border lending and outbound investment. Outbound highlights for the practice included advising Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on the financing of solar projects in India. Head of China banking Fei Kwok divides her time between Shanghai and Beijing; she advises on financings of oil and gas, petrochemicals and LNG projects, as well as renewable energy and independent power projects, and the asset financing of ships, aircraft, rail and heavy industrial equipment. Beijing-based Tom Luckock specialises in projects in the power, infrastructure and water sectors, while Shanghai-based senior associate Simon Barrell is noted for asset, structured, trade and project finance. Jinnan Li left the firm.
As part of its mainland growth drive, White & Case LLP relocated ‘brilliant and reliable’ project and asset finance specialist Hallam Chow from Hong Kong to Beijing. Recent acquisition finance highlights for the team include advising Bank of China and China CITIC Bank on an aggregate $1.6bn secured term loan provided to a consortium (led by Apex Technology and Pacific Alliance Group) to finance the headline purchase of Lexmark International. Other major matters included the Hong Kong and Beijing offices acting for Bank of China Macau Branch and Ping An Bank on the $2bn financing of the take-private transaction for Shenzhen-headquartered Mindray Medical International. Beijing-based Xiaoming Li and David Li are also recommended, as are Hong Kong-based Baldwin Cheng and global banking practice head Eric Berg, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Singapore. Since publication, Xiaoming Li has joined Han Kun Law Offices.
Ashurst’s ‘team is outstanding and provides better service and value for money than some of the other international law firms’. The practice is recommended for acquisition and asset finance, but is especially strong in structured finance; its expertise also spans outbound investments for Chinese banks and the team has substantial energy and infrastructure sector experience. Beijing-based Patrick Phua heads the PRC banking, derivatives and structured finance practice; he has ‘a wonderful grasp of legal and regulatory developments in the China market and translates his understanding of China issues for international clients in a concise and effective way’. Energy and financing transactions specialist Chin Chuan Chen, who divides his time between Beijing and Singapore, is also recommended, as are Beijing senior associates Zhibin Fan and Emma Zhang. The firm hired Hong Kong counsel Priscilla Chen from Clifford Chance LLP.
DLA Piper’s recent work includes advising on complex cross-border financings, RMB dim sum bonds, project finance, syndicated loans and secured lending. Hong Kong-based Asia finance and projects head Paul Lee led the advice to Mettlesome Investments (Cayman) II (as borrower) on the approximately $1.2bn loan to fund the acquisition of Ironshore. China energy head Carolyn Dong, who divides her time between Hong Kong and Beijing, acted for the lenders on a $1bn club facility to Sinopec Canada Energy to refinance its inter-company loan; the matter was connected to the purchase of a stake in an LNG project and upstream oil and gas assets in Canada.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s banking team maintains a strong record of international and M&A-driven financings. It also stands out for its corporate treasury practice and its work with international investment banks and private equity funds on complex financing products. Daniel French, Thomas Ng, Richard Perks and Andrew Heathcote are all highly rated. All named practitioners are based in Hong Kong.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP stands out for its experience in trade, real estate and structured finance. Greater China finance head Alexander Aitken is well known for borrower and lender-side secured financings of companies, as well as outbound infrastructure, real estate and projects for borrowers and lenders; Fergus Smith is another key contact and the team recently recruited debt capital markets partner William Ku from King & Wood Mallesons. All named advisers are based in Hong Kong.
Hogan Lovells International LLP has a solid name in the market for acquisition, export, corporate and project finance, as well as sovereign lending matters. Beijing managing partner Jun Wei is recommended for project finance matters and Michael Zou is a highly rated counsel, who is recommended for his advice to state-owned oil companies and Latin American experience.
Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘team provides a high-quality service to clients and gives sensible and commercial advice’. The practice distinguishes itself through its notable expertise in real estate and infrastructure finance, project and leveraged finance, and shadow banking. The key advisers are Hong Kong-based Vivian Lam, who is ‘a very experienced partner and is very diligent and conscientious in her work’; Raymond Li, ‘a smart, quick thinker who often thinks outside the box’; and Brett King.
Shearman & Sterling’s project finance specialist Andrew Ruff divides his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Hong Kong and Beijing-based Xiaogang (Sean) Wang is a member of the firm’s project development and finance group; he regularly represents large Chinese SOEs and state-owned banks on their outbound transactions globally.
Simmons & Simmons’ key specialisms are acquisition and margin finance and trade and commodity finance. Beijing-based Yongmei Cai is a partner in the financial markets group, who specialises in banking, cross-border finance, derivatives, debt capital markets and real estate finance work.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acts for lenders but has a particularly strong borrower-side practice. The team has been especially busy advising on financings for PRC take-private acquisitions, as well as syndicated and bilateral loans. Department head Clive Rough in Hong Kong has over 15 years’ experience in the Asia finance market.