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Deacons

5TH FLOOR, ALEXANDRA HOUSE, 18 CHATER ROAD, CENTRAL, HONG KONG
Tel:
Work +852 2825 9211
Fax:
Fax +852 2810 0431
Email:
Web:
www.deacons.com.hk
Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai

Hong Kong

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 4

Deacons

Deacons assists borrowers and lenders with negotiating secured and unsecured cross-border syndicated and bilateral finance transactions, structured finance, acquisition finance and commodities finance, among other types of products. In addition, another core pillar of the practice involves advising clients on regulatory and compliance issues, which includes assisting lenders with applications for banking licences, as well as advising on matters such as anti-money laundering policies, data privacy and consumer protection. Simon Deane and others recently advised various Hong Kong and international companies, including banks and payment services providers, on issues arising from the new regulatory regime on stored value facilities and retail payment systems. Work in the fintech arena is a notable growth area of the practice; Deane and associate Chris Wong have advised several fintech companies on the regulatory aspects of the use, storage and trade of cryptocurrencies. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Bank Al Habib and Noble are among the firm’s clients. Philip Gilligan, Teresa Lau and consultant Wing Wo Lam are also recommended.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 3

Deacons

The ‘solid team’ at Deacons is best known for its experience handling large infrastructure projects. Kwok Kit Cheung leads the practice and has expertise advising major developers, contractors and subcontractors on construction projects and related disputes across Hong Kong, Macau and the PRC. His recent work includes defending a developer and architect in arbitration proceedings regarding a final payment, commenced by a contractor and relating to the renovation of a building and its subsequent conversion into a hotel. Joseph Chung recently acted for a Mongolian energy company in a dispute over the purchase of a mine in Mongolia from a Russian vendor. Clients include Chevalier Group and LCH Group.

Leading individuals

Kwok Kit Cheung - Deacons

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Corporate (including M&A)
Corporate (including M&A) - ranked: tier 3

Deacons

Providing ‘good value for money’, Deacons’ diverse workload covers big-ticket public and private M&A, joint ventures and group reorganisations, among a multitude of matters. The firm has an excellent reputation in the Hong Kong market, winning sophisticated and high-profile work directly from local blue-chip clients, and also generating referrals from international law firms. It is also increasingly sought-after by PRC-based clients for advice on outbound investments. Ronny Chow, senior associate Maynard Leung and associate Doris Leung acted for Hong Kong Main Board-listed company The Wharf (Holdings) in the HK$9.5bn disposal of its telecoms unit Wharf T&T to MBK Partners and TPG, representing the largest M&A deal in the Hong Kong telecoms industry in since 2014. In another standout transaction, Chow was the lead adviser to Luen Thai Holdings on its proposed HK$1.49bn takeover by Shangtex, as well as on Luen Thai’s disposal of its non-core businesses for $110m. Alexander Que, who ‘thinks outside of the box to provide constructive advice’, assisted Tianjin Cali Industrial Company with its RMB916m divestment of Mega Convention Group to Lisi Group (Holdings). Eugina Chan, Cynthia Chung, Machiuanna Chu and Rhoda Yung are other names to note.

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 1

Deacons

Deacons continues to show tremendous commitment to the insurance and reinsurance sector and is a clear market leader in personal injury claims. Clients include Essar Insurance Services, Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance, China Taiping Insurance and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance. The firm also represented MTR Corporation in several cases, including a claim concerning safety measures on platforms. Christina Hung and Alfred Tam are especially senior practitioners with fine records in personal injury and employee compensation claims. Esther Lai and Linda Lee are also big names.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Deacons

A ‘prominent player in the market’, Deacons’ seven-partner team benefits from deeply entrenched ties with local Hong Kong entities, as well as regional Asia Pacific and international clients, and has the critical mass to handle the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work for an impressive proportion of leading global brands. Patsy Lau heads the firm’s thriving trade mark prosecution practice and coordinates the trade mark portfolios of an impressive roster of large multinationals and regional clients, as well as leading on any enforcement actions that may be required to protect them from infringement. Charmaine Koo also has a leading reputation in the market.

Next generation lawyers

Nina Fitzgerald - Deacons

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Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 1

Deacons

Deacons is widely recognised as the dominant player in the Hong Kong retail funds market. Led by Jeremy Lam, whose track record in this area dates back more than 20 years, the team assists clients with structuring (and obtaining authorisation for) new funds, marketing and post-authorisation compliance issues. It has a particularly strong track record in launching cutting-edge products, as was illustrated by Alwyn Li and Pinky Siu advising BlackRock Asset Management North Asia on the rollout of Hong Kong’s first MPF default investment strategy index funds in 2016. On the regulatory front, Lam has been advising issuers of new authorised funds products on the practical implications of the Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) revamped fund authorisation process. Alwyn Li has been assisting clients with issues associated with the Hong Kong and Switzerland Mutual Recognition of Funds programme. The team also has extensive expertise in various types of private funds, including hedge funds, QFII and RFII funds, private equity funds and hybrid vehicles. Reflective of the size and scale of the practice, the firm fields 50 fee earners (including eight partners/consultants), who act for 90% of the top 20 fund houses in the Asia Pacific region by assets under management. It also acts for nine out of ten of the fastest-growing asset managers in Asia. Clients of the practice include Aberdeen, Manulife and Janus Capital Asia. Susan Gordon - Taylor Hui, Joanna Fung, Deepak Mahtani and Ming Chiu Li are among other recommended individuals.

Leading individuals

Jeremy Lam - Deacons

Next generation lawyers

Deepak Mahtani - Deacons

Joanna Fung - Deacons

Ming Chiu Li - Deacons

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 2

Deacons

Deacons has strong ties with many domestic companies and international companies with offices in Hong Kong and is active across the gamut of contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Team head Cynthia Chung is particularly well known for her pension’s expertise and knowledge of employment visa matters; she recently advised a large UK bank with a significant presence in Hong Kong on the pension implications following a major restructuring exercise. Although Chung prides herself on helping clients avoid disputes, she is increasingly active on the contentious side (as employees become more inclined to litigate in light of market conditions) and continues to defend a US retailer in a claim brought by a former employee for wrongful and unlawful termination while she was pregnant. At associate level, Elsie Chan and Vickie Leung have significant local employment law expertise, while the arrival of senior associate Helen Liao from Thomson Reuters in April 2017 enhances the team’s ability to act on PRC employment law matters given her expertise in the area and language skills.

Leading individuals

Cynthia Chung - Deacons

Next generation lawyers

Elsie Chan - Deacons

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 1

Deacons

The team at Deacons is ‘beyond compare’; it is ‘extremely detail-oriented, diligent and knowledgeable, especially in relation to conveyancing matters’. Practice head Lilian Chiangis extremely smart and resourceful, and is willing to go the extra mile to help clients resolve problems’, and Karen Chan is ‘very meticulous in drafting agreements’. Chiang is leading the advice to Zung Fu Land Investment on the HK$1.1bn sale of numerous floors of the Zung Fu Industrial Building, Central Hong Kong which includes issues such as unauthorised structures, insurance, lease back arrangements, title issues and fire safety installation requirements. The team is also advising an international law firm on titles and tenancies relating to the HK$10bn share sale and purchase of 108 Gloucester Road, Central Hong Kong.

Leading individuals

Lilian Chiang - Deacons

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Regulatory
Regulatory - ranked: tier 2

Deacons

DeaconsSimon Deane advised a Japanese bank and its Hong Kong subsidiary on Banking Ordinance matters, and a ride-sharing company on financial services matters concerning stored value facilities, an area in which he also advises several banks and fintech companies. As far as more traditional financial services work is concerned, Taylor Hui advises on the SFC regulatory aspects of capital markets matters. Cryptocurrencies are also an area of expertise. In addition, Richard Hudson is also representing the Law Society of Hong Kong regarding interventions into two firms. Jane McBride’s expertise includes advising on SFC regulatory aspects of securities matters, one example of this being assisting Mirae Asset Securities with its acquisition of Daewoo Securities. Charmaine Koo has data protection expertise, with Joseph Kwan, the head of the firm’s overall dispute resolution practice, handling heavyweight contentious matters.

Leading individuals

Joseph Kwan - Deacons

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Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 3

Deacons

Deacons handles contentious and non-contentious work for office holders and financial creditors, as well as in the context of referral work from international law firms. Richard Hudson has an ‘excellent reputation’ in the market for contentious insolvency matters, both on the personal insolvency front as well as corporate insolvencies. Hudson is advising a US retail conglomerate on complex issues arising from a dispute with the provisional liquidators of one of its manufacturers. On the non-contentious front, Philip Gilligan regularly handles the Hong Kong aspects of international restructuring work and also has experience of handling debt trading and non-performing loan transactions.

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Tax and trusts
Tax and trusts - ranked: tier 4

Deacons

At Deacons, associate Stefano Mariani heads the tax and trusts team and is active across a range of advisory and contentious work, ranging from corporate tax matters and restructurings to personal tax, trusts and estate planning.

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Hong Kong: Capital markets

Debt
Capital markets (debt) - ranked: tier 4

Deacons

Deacons handled a notable share of issuer-side landmark transactions in 2016; Kevin Tong and senior associate Icarus Yuen acted for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in the issuance of the first Silver bond for subscription by Hong Kong residents aged 65 and above. Another highlight involved Tong, Yuen and senior associate Christine Li advising Chinese state-owned construction company Xi’an Municipal Infrastructure Construction Investment Group on its $500m offshore bond issuance, representing the first offshore issuance by an SOE based in Xi’an. Tong and others also assisted Guangxi Communications Investment Group with being the first SOE in Guangxi Province to undertake an offshore bond issuance. Underwriter-side highlights included advising the joint lead managers on the issuance of bonds by CALC Bond 1, CALC Bond 2 and CALC Bond 3. Tong and others also acted for the issuing and lodging agent, as well as the joint lead managers in the issuance of RMB28bn sovereign bonds in two tranches by the PRC Ministry of Finance.

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Equity
Capital markets (equity) - ranked: tier 3

Deacons

Deacons’ longstanding track record has made it a reliable choice for sponsors, underwriters and issuers in Hong Kong Main Board IPOs and GEM listings, placings and rights issues, among other matters. This was evident in 2016 when Ronny Chow and Kelvan Cheung acted for sole sponsor, South China Capital, and the underwriters in the global offering and Hong Kong Main Board listing of China Art Financial. Chow also worked with Ronnie Bow to advise joint sponsors China Industrial Securities International Capital and Haitong International Capital on CISI Financial’s HK$1.39bn global offering and GEM listing. Another notable individual, Sabrina Fung was the lead partner acting for the sole sponsor, Guotai Junan Capital, and the underwriters in the Hong Kong Main Board IPO of Pine Care Group. Rhoda Yung is recommended for her expertise in listing rules compliance. Doris Leung is a highly regarded associate.

Next generation lawyers

Doris Leung - Deacons

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Hong Kong: Dispute resolution

International arbitration
Dispute resolution: international arbitration - ranked: tier 3

Deacons

Deacons represents international clients in arbitrations in Hong Kong and elsewhere, covering construction and infrastructure disputes and well as some natural resources matters. Construction disputes are a particular area of note, where key matters are led by Joseph Chung and Kwok Kit Chueng, who on top of his arbitration work, represented a Chinese insurance company in court proceedings to defend an application by two businesses to set aside an ICC arbitral award. Robert Clark is also highly regarded. Mongolia Energy Corporation is a client.

Leading individuals

Robert Clark - Deacons

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Litigation
Dispute resolution: litigation - ranked: tier 2

Deacons

The team at Deaconsis very responsive and good value for money’. Department head Joseph Kwan is highly regarded for his expertise in handling large familial disputes involving listed companies, and HKMA and SFC investigations, and newly promoted partner Peter So is ‘sensible, practical, and a sharp-shooter’. Other names to note include investigations expert Daisy Tong; commercial disputes lawyer Robert Clark; Kwok Kit Cheung, who handles contentious construction matters; ‘sensible adviser’ Paul Kwan; Richard Hudson, who handles contentious insolvency matters; gaming disputes expert Alex Lai, and Joseph Chung, who is ‘very hardworking, intelligent, personable and a good team player’. Clark successfully defended a large international law firm against a $400m professional negligence claim brought by Greater Beijing Region Expressways.

Leading individuals

Robert Clark - Deacons

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