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Hong Kong > Regulatory > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Regulatory
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Simon Clarke - Allen & Overy
    • Mark Johnson - Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
    • Joseph Kwan - Deacons
    • Paul Li - Simmons & Simmons LLP
    • Mark Lin - Hogan Lovells
    • Alan Linning - Mayer Brown
    • Tim Mak - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Richard Mazzochi - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Royce Miller - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • David Morrison - Minter Ellison
    • Martin Rogers - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Mark Shipman - Clifford Chance
    • Cynthia Tang - Baker McKenzie
    • James Wadham - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Stephanie Chan - Ashurst
    • Grace Fung - Baker McKenzie
    • Simon Hawkins - Latham & Watkins LLP
    • Will Yip - Allen & Overy

Charlotte Robins and Simon Clarke head up the practice at Allen & Overy, which is described as being 'particularly good at managing and coordinating multi-jurisdictional advice'. The team has expanded with of counsel Andre Da Roza joining from Linklaters, and associate Bernita Lun from Baker McKenzie. Recent work includes assisting new client MarketAxess in obtaining authorisation under Part III of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) to provide automated trading services, a time-sensitive process in light of the substantial reporting requirements under the incoming MiFID II regime. HSBC, Credit Suisse and Aviva also count among the team's clients. Senior associate Will Yip is singled out.

Clifford Chance's growing team has seen the promotion to partner of Terry Yang and the promotion to consultant of Viola Lui and Rocky Mui. The practice is noted for its ability to ‘combine regulatory and technical derivatives knowledge’, have acted for Standard Chartered in a number of regulatory matters involving two fraud schemes perpetrated by various former employees and former customers, successfully obtaining a Mareva injunction in one case, freezing a total amount of more than $26m in the defendant's banks in Hong Kong. The team also advised the bank on the first Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) investigation of Financial Resources Rules (FRR) breaches that involves amounts receivable from a general clearing participant. Mark Shipman is singled out, alongside Matthias Feldmann, who is both ‘commercial and practical’. Clients also include Goldman Sachs, UBS and RBS.

Royce Miller and Tim Mak are key names to note in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's ‘extremely responsive and knowledgeable’ team. Recent work includes advising HSBC on the establishment of a securities joint venture with Shenzhen Qianhai Financial Holdings, the first full licence investment bank under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Agreement. Jonathan Wong was promoted to counsel. Clients also include Blackstone, Prudential and Zurich. Contentious regulatory specialist Georgia Dawson is also singled out.

Cynthia Tang leads on the contentious side at Baker McKenzie, focusing on domestic as well as global litigation and financial services regulatory enforcement; Karen Man heads the non-contentious regulatory practice, with a strong focus on fintech. In recent highlights, the team advised LGT on its acquisition of ABN AMRO's private banking business in Asia and the Middle East, particularly regarding the asset purchase agreement, which triggered a number of regulatory considerations. It also represented China Galaxy in the acquisition of the cash securities business of CIMB in various jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, UK, US, Indonesia and India. Clients include China Construction Bank Asia, DSB and the Carlyle Group. Associate Grace Fung is another name to note.

At Deacons, Jane McBride heads up the firm’s dedicated SFC licensing, compliance and regulatory team, assisting clients in obtaining local securities licences for their business, or where possible avoiding the need for a local Hong Kong SFC licence. The firm also has a busy contentious regulatory practice led by Joseph Kwan, which includes Richard Hudson and Peter So. Key areas of work, among others, are representing clients in anti-money laundering related investigations, insider dealing investigations and issues related to mis-selling of financial products.

Herbert Smith Freehills' practice, led by William Hallatt, is noted for its ‘great technical skills and good client service’; it has deep contentious expertise and regularly advises on high-profile enforcement proceedings brought by regulators, including the Hong Kong SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). On the non-contentious side, the team acts for major global financial institutions, including advice on governance structures, senior management accountability, anti-money laundering and terrorist financing compliance. Focusing on contentious cross-border regulatory and criminal matters, Kyle Wombolt is a ‘premier regulatory and white collar lawyer’. Associate Jeremy Birch is ‘very solid and experienced and a safe pair of hands'.

Gavin Lewis is a key contact at Linklaters, with extensive experience in investigation work and complex litigation, with a particular focus on the financial sector. Clients include BAML, JP Morgan and KPMG. Also recommended are financial regulatory expert Anabella Fu, who ‘understands the dynamics of the overlapping Hong Kong and Chinese markets’; and fintech specialist Sumit Indwar, who ‘brings an international perspective to the market having previously worked in London’.

Reed Smith Richards Butler is particularly active in Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT) proceedings. Other advice includes the application of the SFO and the various regulations applicable to the financial industry. Companies from the energy and commodities sectors count among the team's clients. David Morrison, Nathan Denitce, and Eddy So have left the firm for Minter Ellison.

Simmons & Simmons LLP primarily covers the capital markets space and maintains a small niche fintech practice. Rolfe Hayden has experience in bank regulation under the Banking Ordinance, mergers by way of private ordinance, SFC licensing issues as well as disclosure of interests under the SFO. Asia practice head Paul Li assists clients during regulatory and criminal investigations; Ian Wood and Jay Lee are also singled out for their deep regulatory experience. Associate Sara Troughton and consultant Ivy Yam are also names to note.

Ben Hammond and Beijing-based Patrick Phua lead Ashurst's practice on the non-contentious side. Hammond comes highly recommended: ‘he is never fazed, seems to know the background to issues off the top of his head, and radiates a sense of calmness’. Gareth Hughes leads on the contentious side, with experience in defending allegations of mis-selling, breach of duty of care and misrepresentation, and also in successfully challenging the jurisdiction of the Hong Kong courts. Counsel Stephanie Chan is also singled out. A number of major international banks and investment companies instruct the team.

At Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, recent team highlights include representing the key defendant, Henry Fan of CITIC, in allegations of market misconduct against the company and five former directors relating to foreign exchange contracts in 2008. The team also successfully represented Deutsche Bank and RREEF China REIT Management in dismissing an appeal brought by Tin Lik against the dismissal of his High Court claim seeking HK$500m arising from the listing of RREEF China Commercial Trust. James Wadham, Karen Chan and Patrick Sinclair are also key contacts. Martin Rogers' ‘deep regulatory market experience coupled with his confident advice is always very reassuring’.

Michael Wong and Kareena Teh head up the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Dechert. Recent work includes advising Stifel Financial Corp on its acquisition of Eaton Partners, addressing all US and Hong Kong regulatory matters in connection with the application, including the relevant shareholder approvals and regulatory disclosures. The Investment Company Institute also counts among the team's clients. Karl Paulson Egbert departed for Baker McKenzie LLP’s New York office in January 2018.

Mark Lin and Tim Fletcher head up the practice at Hogan Lovells. The team regularly advises the Greater China legal and compliance teams of Société Générale, covering issues relating to compliance with the new OTC derivatives business regulations, margin finance, scope of licence, registration, and the roles of individual bankers. Clients also include AXA and Chau Chi Yin, the former director of CITIC.

King & Wood Mallesons' practice, led by Richard Mazzochi, has been advising an applicant on its joint venture with a HKMA regulated bank to set up a virtual bank, one of the first virtual bank applicants in the market. Clients also include OAX Foundation, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange and the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange, and PrimeCredit. Urszula McCormack is noted for her ‘excellent knowledge of the Hong Kong regulatory regime’; having ‘embedded herself in the digital assets community, she has become a trusted adviser to clients and within industry bodies’.

At Stephenson Harwood, Mark Reed leads on the non-contentious side with ‘excellent knowledge of the banking and financial sectors’; Ian Childs heads up the contentious practice. The team advised China Hanya Securities on successfully obtaining a type 1 securities licence and assisted the client with various licensing and compliance issues with the SFC. Aetna International and PrimeCredit also instruct the team. Senior associate Katherine Liu is ‘diligent and responsive’.

Kevin Chan heads up DLA Piper's practice jointly with Harris Chan, whose ‘commercial acumen and deep understanding of doing business in China is just exceptional’. The team has seen significant expansion: Andrew Chin joined from Baker McKenzie, Benjamin Ng from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and Michael Turnbull from Tilleke & Gibbins’ Bangkok office. The team acted for Haitong International Financial Company, recovering debt arising out of a HK$435m loan facility granted to a BVI investment holding company under SFC investigation. Clients also include Ping An.

‘Trilingual, expertly strategic and very experienced in dealing with difficult regulatory investigations’, Kevin Yam, along with the ‘helpful and knowledgeable’ Peter Cashin, head up the team at Kennedys. Recent work includes representing a listed company executive with significant public profile in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations that involved the first ever joint operations between the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the SFC, as well as associated civil proceedings.

Litigation partner Denis Brock,  Ronald Cheng and Edwin Kwok lead the team at O'Melveny. Clients include Lombard Odier, Aon and Grant Thornton. The team also acts as investigation and prosecution counsel for the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers.

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