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Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance has a genuinely diverse practice covering private equity, hedge funds, REITs, authorised funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and is active in the China-Hong Kong mutual recognition segment. The firm represents a range of international financial institutions right down to hedge fund start-ups, including BlackRock, HOPU Capital, Invesco and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Mark Shipman is globally recognised and Matthias Feldmann is a big name in Asia.

The team at Deacons is β€˜very responsive, accessible, reliable and very commercial’, a dominant name in retail funds and the β€˜pre-eminent firm in Hong Kong for mutual funds’; it has high market share of funds under the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition regime. The department now has an impressive roster of Chinese asset manager clients and has successfully leveraged its large team of native PRC lawyers and Chinese-speaking associates. The firm is also noted for regulatory and compliance work, and its growing proportion of private funds mandates. Jeremy Lam is a β€˜rock star of the funds industry’ and β€˜has built a solid business working relationship with the SFC’; Susan Gordon is recommended for mandatory provident funds (MPF); and Taylor Hui is the name to note for β€˜China-related funds work’.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Arendt & Medernach

Arendt & Medernach advises on all issues regarding Luxembourg and European law, tax and regulatory matters. Experienced teams at its Luxembourg head office and foreign offices assist local and international clients in relation to their cross-border activities in Europe, their strategic expansion in Europe and the structuring of their investments throughout the world.

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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a market leader in private equity fund formation, thanks largely to the presence of Andrew Ostrognai, who is a β€˜giant of the private equity space’. Ostrognai is particularly praised as a β€˜good operator’ and β€˜a smart guy’. Furthermore, he has a β€˜great client book’ having β€˜put time into this market’. Clients include Baring Private Equity Asia, The Carlyle Group, CDH Investments, HarbourVest Partners, Hony Capital and Quilvest.

Kirkland & Ellis has β€˜good strength in depth and resources each project very well’. The team β€˜combines solid technical knowledge with good commercial judgement’, and has a β€˜very strong handle on what market terms are’. The large and broad practice spans private equity, hedge funds and mutual funds, and it is expanding its reach into new areas such as credit and special situations funds. Furthermore, it is increasingly active on behalf of LPs and in secondary transactions. Justin Dolling has a β€˜very good depth of insight into legal and regulatory technicalities but is able to combine that with sound commercial advice’. Jonathan Tadd β€˜quickly gets to the nub of the issue’, and PRC native Carol Liu is also recommended. Dolling and Liu recently advised Forebright Capital Partners on the launch of its first private equity fund, Forebright New Opportunities Fund. While much of the focus centres on China, the funds practice has a genuinely broad Asia outlook.

Sidley Austin is especially prominent in the hedge fund space, though it has an excellent standing in infrastructure and real estate funds. The firm advised Acion Holdings on the establishment of Acion Partner Funds, the first hedge fund launch to be seeded by KKR in Asia. Recent work also includes assisting Oxbow Capital Management with the TPG Capital spin-out and establishment of the Oxbow Fund, and advising Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing on the establishment of the $1bn Morgan Stanley Asia Core Real Estate Fund. Effie Vasilopoulos has an outstanding reputation.

Simmons & Simmons LLP’s global focus on asset management gives the Hong Kong office a strong standing in retail and hedge funds; it is considered a β€˜market leader’ in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and is β€˜extremely strong’ in authorised funds. The department is awash with Chinese-speaking lawyers and was reinforced at partner level with the promotion of retail fund specialist Eva Chan. Gaven Cheong is known for private funds and regulatory work, while Rolfe Hayden is a multi-skilled and experienced team leader. Clients include BlackRock Asset Management North Asia, CICC Investment Solution Management and Huatai-Pinebridge Fund Management.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has a β€˜great funds platform’ and is β€˜building market share’ in the private equity, real estate and special situations funds segments; the team includes Chinese, Korean and Japanese speakers, and is strong in these markets, as well as in pan-Asia funds. The β€˜very commercial’, β€˜proactive’ and β€˜responsive’ team acts for clients such as PAG, Boyu Capital, CITIC Capital Partners, CLSA Capital Partners (Sunrise funds) and Anchor Equity Partners. The β€˜highly dependable’ Albert Cho recently advised Anchor Equity Partners on the $850m formation of the Korea-focused Anchor Equity Partners II fund. John Fadely, who is β€˜unquestionably a market leader’ and a fluent Mandarin speaker, advised CLSA Capital Partners on the formation of the $1bn pan-Asian real estate fund Fudo Capital III.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is principally known for hedge funds work, while private equity is another burgeoning component of the practice. The firm has a fast-developing Asian and PRC asset manager client base, and acts for a series of institutional investors. The β€˜excellent’ and β€˜highly proactive’ team β€˜goes the extra mile’, and includes Anne-Marie Godfrey, who is β€˜business savvy’ and β€˜knows the funds world inside out’.

Clients highlight Baker McKenzie’s expertise in private equity real estate transactions, with Jason Ng praised for his β€˜industry knowledge’ and β€˜commercial sense’. The large practice also extends to retail and authorised funds, listed funds and a wide range of private funds. It recently advised Gaw Capital Partners on the formation of Gateway Real Estate Fund V. The firm also acts for a number of LPs including sovereign wealth funds.

DLA Piper is praised for its β€˜efficient and knowledgeable lawyers, who provide prompt turnaround times’ and expertise in hedge funds. Luke Gannon is commended for his β€˜professional judgement’; he recently advised Serenity Capital Management on the restructuring of its flagship Serenity Investment Fund.

Dechert provides broad expertise across the retail, private equity, hedge funds and regulatory spectrum. Clients include a variety of retail funds, financial services arms of Chinese SOEs and boutique hedge fund managers. Angelyn Lim heads the Asia financial services group that includes hedge fund specialist Karl Egbert.

Jones Day provides a β€˜great service’ and is a β€˜clear leader in the private equity and hedge funds space’. The firm is also known for real estate and hybrid funds, and benefits from the presence of the β€˜outstanding’ Scott Peterman, who has β€˜unparalleled’ expertise in β€˜complex economic structures’. The team acts for an impressive number of PRC and Asian asset managers. It advised Cortus Group on the establishment of a hybrid real estate fund for investing in Asian senior-assisted living complexes.

β€˜One of the best teams in Asia’, King & Wood Mallesons handles both GP and LP work, with strength in the private equity and retail spaces, and a solid record on behalf of sovereign wealth funds and SOE funds. Noted for its standing in real estate and infrastructure funds and ETFs, the firm advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the establishment of the $3.1bn Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund. Hayden Flinn is β€˜truly excellent’.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Proskauer Rose LLP advises a mix of international and PRC fund managers, and is making solid progress in the secondaries market. Clients include Ping An Insurance, Adams Street Partners, China Development Bank and Grand China Real Estate Fund. The firm recently advised NTUC on a secondary transaction relating to the sale of 18 fund interests to three global institutional buyers. Hong Kong senior counsel Lynn Chan works alongside PRC native Yong Ren in Beijing, who is β€˜extraordinarily good’.

Ropes & Gray LLP is recommended for private equity fund matters; clients include CITIC Private Equity, FountainVest Partners and Temasek. The firm has a large share of the China market and has a genuine pan-Asia practice. It advised Asian investment firm RRJ Capital on its $4.5bn fundraising for the RRJ Capital III fund. The β€˜very smart’ Geoffrey Chan provides β€˜a business perspective’ and is β€˜available when needed’.

Shearman & Sterling has a strong presence in private equity and hedge funds, and has a fine record in matters involving policy funds and sovereign wealth funds. It is known for its effective bridge between GPs and LPs. Native Mandarin speaker Lorna Xin Chen has a β€˜good reputation among Chinese clients’ as well as extensive New York experience.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a giant of the private equity industry and represents some of the biggest GPs in the market including Blackstone, KKR and Advantage Partners. The team advised the latter on the establishment of AP Fund V, a Japan-focused mid-market buyout fund. It also acted for NewQuest Capital in the formation of NewQuest Asia Fund III, a pan-Asia direct-secondaries fund. Adam Furber heads the team.

Slaughter and May has an excellent standing in the regulatory field with a fine record in market manipulation and SFC issues. It is also prominent in fund restructuring. Clients include a range of asset managers and prime brokerages. Jason Webber and Peter Lake lead the practice.

White & Case has a broad-based investment funds practice with a mix of open and closed-ended funds work. PAG is the team’s principle client, though others include ADM Capital, Orion Partners, Qatar Investment Authority and Redwood Group Asia. Anthony Wong is noted for his real estate funds work for PAG, while experienced figure Sharon Hartline is β€˜very responsive’, providing β€˜strong awareness of the latest market practice’. Hartline is increasingly active in the credit and special situations segment. The team recently advised ADM Capital on the establishment of ADM Capital Somei Lending Platform.

The team at Ashurst is β€˜commercially minded’, β€˜solution-focused’ and β€˜highly responsive’. It remains focused on closed-end institutional funds in the real estate and infrastructure sectors, though private equity is growing part of the practice. The firm advised APG Strategic Real Estate Pool as the cornerstone investor in Project Fort, a $275m investment platform focused on infill residential development projects in India. Dean Moroz is β€˜client-focused’.

K&L Gates established a funds practice in 2015, through the hire of Michael Wong from Allen & Overy. Wong is β€˜an excellent, efficient and professional lawyer, with strong industry knowledge and high integrity’. The new team’s emphasis is on retail, hedge and private equity funds, and acts for a number of major Chinese financial institutions such as China Everbright, which it advised on the formation of CEL Global Investment Fund.

Morrison & Foerster bolstered its presence with the hire of Jason Nelms from Proskauer Rose LLP’s New York office. The team is principally private equity, venture capital and real estate focused, with an emphasis on middle-market GPs. It is praised for its β€˜sector specialised knowledge’, β€˜deep bench’ and β€˜top-shelf clients’. Nelms is β€˜energetic and approachable’, β€˜ahead of the game’, β€˜insightful’, and β€˜responsive’.

O’Melveny is known primarily for secondary transactions. It advised India-based mid-market private equity firm Gaja Capital on the formation of its second India-focused private equity fund. James Ford is the key name in Hong Kong.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has a broad platform covering hedge funds, private equity, venture capital and real estate. Clients include Mongolia Opportunity Partners, Overlook Investments, APC Fund Management and a number of high-profile institutional investors. Sook Young Yeu leads the team.

Paul Hastings LLP is a leader in real estate funds, with real estate partners David Blumenfeld and Paul Guan at the fore. The two advised Ping An on raising a Chinese RMB fund and forming two joint ventures for the development of two US residential real estate projects in San Francisco and Malibu.

Timothy Loh, Solicitors has a fine record in regulatory matters and fund formation. Founding partner Timothy Loh is recommended.

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