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Hong Kong > Structured finance and securitisation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Structured finance and securitisation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Andrew Heathcote - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Peter Kwon - Ashurst
    • Chin-Chong Liew - Linklaters
    • Andrew Malcolm - Linklaters
    • Richard Mazzochi - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Yvonne Siew - Allen & Overy
    • Minny Siu - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Michelle Taylor - Jones Day

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jonathan Chapman - Allen & Overy
    • Polly Chiu - Eversheds Sutherland
    • Jonathan Green - Ashurst
    • Kenneth Pang - Ashurst
    • I-Ping Soong - Linklaters

Who Represents Who

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At the vanguard of reform in the derivatives industry, Allen & Overy leverages its cutting-edge regulatory knowledge to assist major banks with negotiating their way through regulatory changes impacting the industry, in addition to utilising this knowledge to provide best practice and commercially viable advice to clients on the transactional front. Ross Stewart has had a key role in structuring the firm’s groundbreaking web-based IT system – TransforMatrix – a supplement to the initial proprietary system MarginMatrix aimed at providing regulatory margin-compliant documentation for the Asian market in response to the recent new margin regulations impacting the global derivatives market. On the transactional front, Stewart recently advised ENN Energy on its total return swap transaction with Nomura designed to hedge exposure to future share appreciation. Yvonne Siew has significant regulatory and transactional expertise and recently advised the Hong Kong government on its $1bn Sukuk offering (only the third such offering under its government bond programme). Senior associate James Yao is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons continues to be ‘one of the dominant players’ in the structured finance and securitisation space, and is active for issuers across a broad spectrum of products including Korean cross-border asset-backed security (ABS) deals and listed and unlisted retail structured products. Employing a cross-office Asia Pacific team, which included lawyers from the Hong Kong office, the firm recently advised The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) on the publication of the ISDA 2016 China Collateral Memorandum – designed to assist market participants with navigating the legal issues involved in exchanging collateral with a counterparty in China. Other highlights included Minny Siu’s representation of Guotai Junan Securities, as arranger, in relation to various structured notes issuances under a secured note programme with an Irish orphan SPV as issuer. Richard Mazzochi is also recommended and recently advised the trustees on the first China green covered bonds issuance.

Linklaters’ three-partner team provides ‘excellent advice’ across derivatives, structured products and securitisation matters, both in the context of regulatory advice as well as on transactions. The team is also able to call upon the expertise of lawyers throughout the firm’s vast international network, enabling it to work very effectively on multi-jurisdictional mandates but also to tap into knowledge of the latest innovations in Europe and the US and to use this in the context of new structures and products offered in the Chinese market. The ‘superb’ Victor Wan has a strong reputation for derivatives and structured finance mandates including cash and synthetic securitisations and structured repos and securities loans. Alongside Andrew Malcolm and counsel Simon Zhang, Wan recently advised Bank of China on the establishment of its $5bn medium-term note (MTN) programme and the initial offering of $500m China green covered notes. Led by counsel Mary Matson, the office’s securitisation practice is recognised as ‘one of the best in the market’ and acts for arrangers, issuers and trustees on the securitisation of a broad range of assets including residential mortgages, and consumer loan and credit card receivables. The ‘commercial and business-minded’ Chin-Chong Liew has considerable experience advising on over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, structured equity, structured credit, market access and fund-linked products across Asia. ‘Commercial and pragmatic’ associate I-Ping Soong is an ‘excellent derivatives lawyer’. Other clients include HSBC, ICBC, Credit Suisse and Shanghai Clearing House.

Praised for its ‘commerciality and strong industry knowledge’, Ashurst has significant strength in depth in its five-partner team and has the critical mass to advise sell-side institutions on complex structured finance transactions including structured products, OTC derivatives, repos and repackagings. Team head Christopher Whiteley is particularly noted for his advice on OTC derivative transactions. ‘Able to explain even the most complex matters in simple terms’, Nigel Pridmore provides ‘excellent legal analysis and commercial advice’ to investment banks on the structuring of complex securities issues (including repackagings). Christopher Tang regularly advises leading banks on the structuring of exotic equity derivative products, while Peter Kwon has a superb track record advising on securitisations in the region across a broad spectrum of asset classes. Clients include Bank of China, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs and Nomura.

Leveraging the firm’s strong ties with major global financial institutions, as well as regularly acting for Chinese and Hong Kong banks, securities firms and financial investors, Clifford Chance handles an array of complex derivatives, structured products and securitisation transactions, often involving multi-jurisdictional issues. Team head Francis Edwards handles a range of OTC derivatives and finance transactions, including credit and equity-linked products, and also has significant regulatory prowess, which has recently been brought into great effect for buy and sell-side clients seeking to navigate the new OTC derivatives margin requirements in Asia Pacific. Edwards also regularly provides derivatives input for private equity sponsors including CVC Capital Partners and TPG seeking to hedge their exposure to interest rate and FX risk in relation to large acquisition finance transactions. Connie Heng is head of the firm’s Asia Pacific capital markets practice and also has a strong reputation for handling structured finance matters; she recently acted for the joint lead managers on Bank of China’s issuance of $500m of green covered bonds (the first-ever sale of green covered bonds from a Chinese bank). Newly promoted partner Terry Yang is also recommended. Other clients include Bank of China, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Natixis.

The ‘proactive’ five-strong team at Eversheds Sutherland provides ‘pragmatic advice’ to an impressive range of clients, including China Merchants Securities, DBS and Hong Kong Capital Finance Corporation. ‘Very flexible, responsive and accommodating’ team head Kingsley Ong is very well known in the Asia Pacific market for his securitisation expertise and is regularly involved in many of the most significant transactions in the region. Ong also regularly acts for ratings agency Fitch Ratings; recently advising it on its rating of a S$223m credit card securitisation originated by Dinners in Singapore. Ong also has restructuring and insolvency expertise and therefore was uniquely placed to advise KPMG in the role as liquidators of failed derivatives brokerage MF Global.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s two-partner team advises an impressive roster of clients including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Deutsche Bank across a broad spread of complex derivatives and structured finance mandates, ranging from conventional derivatives through to structured notes and tax-driven structured products. Richard Perks is active on the buy and sell side in domestic and cross-border mandates, and recently advised Yunfeng on its investment in the subordinated tranches of the Madison Park Funding XXV collateralized loan obligation arranged by Citigroup. Aided by colleagues in London and New York on the provision of EU and US regulatory advice, Perks also acts for China Zheshang Bank on a series of derivatives trades with a raft of international banks. Andrew Heathcote is also recommended.

Under the leadership of the ‘excellent’ Michelle Taylor, Jones Day’s two-partner team has a justifiable reputation as ‘one of the best securitisation firms’ in the market, as a result of her vast experience acting for major international banks including BNP Paribas, Citibank and The Korea Development Bank on deals across the spectrum of asset classes and geographical locations. Taylor recently advised Standard Chartered Bank, as arranger, and Deutsche Bank, as note trustee and agent, on a $200m securitisation of future flow US cargo receivables originated by Korean Air Lines through an asset-backed loan structure and an issuance of secured floating rate notes. Other recent highlights include acting for Standard Chartered Bank in its role as arranger on the establishment of and first issuances under a $5bn MTN programme collateralised by PRC local government bonds. The ‘hardworking, responsive and detail-minded’ Graham Lim handles structured finance work as part of his broader finance practice.

K&L Gates’ two-partner team has significant derivatives and structured finance expertise that it deploys to advise arrangers, issuers, counterparties, dealers and investors. Neil Campbell regularly handles work at the intersection of asset and structured finance and has advised Korean Air on six of its airline receivables transactions to date. Philip Hyde also handles securitisation transactions as well as derivatives mandates including interest and exchange rate derivatives, total return swaps, options and forwards.

Under the guidance of the ‘excellentPosit Laohaphan, Latham & Watkins LLP’s structured finance and derivatives practice has rapidly gained market penetration since his arrival five years ago. The recent recruitment of dual-qualified Hong Kong and UK counsel Simon Hawkins from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer enhances the firm’s ability on the regulatory front (of particular importance given the ever-increasing regulatory hurdles impacting on derivatives and structured products work). Laohaphan has particular expertise advising on equity derivatives matters and recently acted for UBS as underwriter on the $300m exchange bond issuance by an offshore subsidiary of Thailand’s largest agribusiness company, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company. Able to utilise the expertise of regulatory and transactional colleagues globally, particularly in the UK and US, the Hong Kong office is in a strong position to structure deals with the knowledge that it will be enforceable across many different jurisdictions. Although the majority of the work is on the sell side, the team also picks up some work for end-users including Tencent Holdings.

Leveraging the firm’s market-leading US practice as well as the ability to call upon experts throughout Europe, Mayer Brown JSM Hong Kong team forms the Asian part of the firm’s global offering and is particularly well suited to handling complex cross-border matters across the spectrum of derivatives and structured finance. Active for a variety of stakeholders including sponsors, issuers, servicers, trustees and underwriters, the team has an excellent perspective on transactions from many different angles and is therefore able to provide a ‘very commercial offering’, which is cognisant of regulatory issues impacting the industry. Team head Vincent Sum is experienced in handling sophisticated capital markets mandates, including equity derivatives and commodity derivatives, as well as securitisations across a range of asset classes. Clients include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Sheng Yuan Securities Group, Credit Suisse and Japan Rail West.

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