Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Investment funds: foreign firms

Proskauer Rose LLP's team on the ground in Hong Kong and Beijing is an integral part of its global private investment funds group, predominantly advising on high-end transactions and working closely with teams in Boston, New York and London.

Investment funds: foreign firms in China

Clifford Chance LLP

At the forefront of advising the asset management industry in Greater China for over 25 years, Clifford Chance LLP‘s Beijing,  Shanghai and Hong Kong teams are instructed by both Chinese and international sponsors to navigate the fund sector’s legal and business environment at regional and global levels; and clients particularly appreciate the Greater China practice’s ability to work in both Chinese and English, as well as its leveraging of investment management lawyers in the world’s major financial centres. Working across Shanghai and Beijing, Ying White heads the China funds and investment management group, focusing on the structuring, establishment and operations of offshore private equity and hedge funds; and is experienced in advising on the structuring, establishment and promotion of all types of investment funds. Hong Kong-based Mark Shipman leads the global fund and investment management group. Also in Hong Kong, Matthias Feldmann heads the firm’s global hedge fund sub-sector practice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Shipman; Ying White

Other key lawyers:

Matthias Feldmann; Rocky Mui; Viola Lui

Key clients

Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund

TR Capital

Chelsfield Asia

Phoenix Property Investors

GE Capital

CPPIB

HOPU Investments

ICBC International

CBRE Global Investors

Neuberger Berman

Brilliance Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised CITIC Capital on the preparation of a joint venture agreement with SF to set up a logistics fund.
  • Advised Sequoia China Equity Partners on the establishment of SECP Fund, an equity long-short hedge fund established in the Cayman Islands (adopting a master-feeder structure).
  • Advised CSOP Asset Management on the launch of CSOP Hang Seng TECH Index Daily (2x) Leveraged Product and CSOP Hang Seng TECH Index Daily Inverse Product on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

Simmons & Simmons

Highly focused on investment funds and financial regulation advice in China, Simmons & Simmons has enviable international reach through its offices in Singapore, London, Dublin and Luxembourg, in addition to its four offices in China. Representative work for the practice covers significant hedge fund launches; advising private equity fund managers on the launch of funds in both the PRC and overseas; and acting in relation to exchange-traded funds and leveraged and inverse products. Other areas of notable strength are retail funds, as well as acting for global asset managers on regulatory matters. Melody Yang in Beijing, who is ‘business savvy and understands the difficulties foreign fund managers face in China‘, is consistently sought out by institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and companies for her advice on fund formations, regulatory issues and fund investments. In Hong Kong, Asia financial markets group head Rolfe Hayden has extensive experience in collective investment schemes.

Practice head(s):

Rolfe Hayden

Other key lawyers:

Melody Yang

Testimonials

S&S has a strong China practice that we rely on for all China-related advice.

Their strengths are deep knowledge and understanding of the market (including both awareness of regulatory thinking as well as market practice), well-reasoned and thorough advice, and the ability to understand the perspective and pain points of global investors.

Melody Yang in Beijing is very responsive, always willing to help, and always able to find out the Regulator’s stance on issues.

Melody Yang is business savvy and understands the difficulties foreign fund managers face in China. If she does not have the answer immediately, she will find out and come back to us with the information or a viewpoint shortly afterwards. I also find her to be more practical and less conservative with her advice than other leading practitioners in the same space, which is a breath of fresh air.

Melody Yang has been an excellent counsel for us on all PRC-related matters. Her knowledge on securities trading regulations has been exemplary. Her advice is sound, well-reasoned, and informed. She can clearly articulate the risks and reasons for her advice, and thoroughly understands the perspective of global managers. I also appreciate her thoughtfulness, responsiveness and attention to detail.

They are very responsive, and they have a very profound understanding of issues such as fundraising and operations for US dollar funds with Chinese investment.’

Key clients

Hang Seng Investment Management

Mirae Asset Global Investments (Hong Kong)

Samsung Asset Management (Hong Kong)

BlackRock Asset Management North Asia

China Asset Management (Hong Kong)

CSOP Asset Management

Value Partners

Harvest Global Investment

Haitong International Asset Management

UBS Asset Management

Baker McKenzie FenXun

Acting across all asset classes and industry lines, Baker McKenzie FenXun‘s China and Hong Kong private funds practice has particular strength in the private equity real estate segment; and in addition to its strong track record in advising active funds players across Asia (both on the general partner and limited partner side), the group is a go-to practice for the formation of bespoke joint venture fund platforms between established managers and heavyweight investors. Recent work includes assisting with several new fund formation mandates, ranging from blind-pool funds and co-investment vehicles to highly bespoke and sophisticated fund arrangements. With over 25 years’ experience in advising clients on the structuring and formation of a broad spectrum of fund products, Hong Kong-based Jason Ng co-heads the firm’s global investment funds group, in which experienced practitioners Sophia ManEdwin Wong and Jeremy Ong are also key members.

Practice head(s):

Jason Ng

Other key lawyers:

Sophia ManEdwin WongJeremy Ong

Key clients

APG

Ardian

B Grimm Capital Partners

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Cambium Grove Capital

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Gaw Capital Partners

Gemini Investments

Keppel Capital

Alpha Investment Partners

Link REIT

M3 Capital Partners

Pleiad Investment Advisors

SF REIT

Spring REIT

Taubman Centres

Weave Living

Yuexiu REIT

Work highlights

  • Acted as fund counsel for longstanding client, Gaw Capital Partners, on the formation of thematic fund platforms in high-growth sectors, including its inaugural Internet Data Centre fund platform in China and its third Centurion logistics fund platform in China.
  • Advised SF Holding, the largest express delivery company in China, on the formation, initial public offering and listing of SF REIT.
  • Advised Keppel Capital on the formation of its inaugural China-focused logistics property fund focused on investments in developing high-quality logistics assets in key logistics hubs in China.

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP‘s Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong-based funds practice advises the full range of participants in the venture capital space, including major venture capital firms with many billions of dollars under management, as well as emerging fund managers attracting external investment for the first time; and clients additionally benefit from its integrated US-Asia venture capital fund formation practice. A partner in the firm’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, Pang Lee advises sponsors and investors on the formation of active venture capital funds in Greater China and the broader Asia-Pacific region. In Beijing, Xun Zeng advises on the formation, operation and structuring of venture capital, private equity and other alternative investment funds. Private equity and venture capital funds specialist Jingyi Xu was made partner in 2021. San Francisco-based Jordan Silber is a further name to note who focuses on advising venture capital and growth equity funds in Asia and US.

Practice head(s):

Pang LeeXun Zeng; Jordan Silber  (San Francisco)

Other key lawyers:

Jingyi Xu

Testimonials

Cooley’s China fund formation and US deal teams are extremely commercial and pragmatic – they focus on key issues that can impact business dynamics while covering the legal bases.

The level of service stems from their deep understanding of market best practices and standards, which translates into every facet of their work.

Reasonable and fair in their billing practices, while other firms often provide much less value for smaller clients like us (but with the potential to grow). They care about their clients, in that they will always provide adequate capacity to fulfil clients’ requirements.

We are very happy with the services and expertise provided by Cooley. They deliver professionalism with custom-made solutions and advice – throughout our fundraising, preparation, execution and post-fundraising phase, Cooley demonstrated world-class professionalism, exactly what you would expect of a global firm.

Absolutely flawless execution with extremely well-written responses to comments – effectively helped us evaluate the situation and negotiation dynamics. This is a real plus for GPs, we don’t have the time to write responses to each LP or edit them, and what Cooley wrote was so good we didn’t need to put in any extra effort into drafting LP responses, which was a big time saver. This also goes to show their expertise and ability to tailor their services for each client. As a bonus, it was fun to work together!

Pang Lee’s team is easy to work with. They always provide sound, practical advice and follow up with solid implementation.

Xun Zeng is extremely professional, client friendly, and practical with legal advice. Helps provide true solutions with an innovative approach.

Jingyi Xu is very approachable, hardworking, extremely organised, and able to work across firms and cultures, always keeping her client’s best interests in mind. Very responsive and strong on detail – you can really depend on Jingyi.

Key clients

APES Partners

China Renaissance

Creacion Ventures

Future Capital

Gaorong Capital

GGV Capital

Hony Capital

Lightspeed China Partners

Qiming Venture Partners

Source Code Capital

Vitalbridge Capital

XVC Capital

Zhen Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised GGV Capital on raising $2.52bn across four funds, which will focus on tech startups and growth deals in the US and China.
  • Advised Qiming Venture Partners on the formation of its $1.2bn Fund VII, which will focus on early-stage healthcare and technology investments.
  • Advised Gaorong Capital on the formation of its $1.15bn Fund V.

Paul Hastings LLP

With specialists in sophisticated private equity investment funds work, Paul Hastings LLP acts for a roster of high-profile clients, including major global and PRC-based investment funds and investors; and the team is particularly noted for its prominent real estate sector expertise. Handling the full array of investment fund work, the group’s expertise covers the structuring and establishment of private equity, venture capital, and other investment funds throughout Asia; cross-border offshore and onshore lending structures; joint ventures; and fund restructuring. Located primarily in Beijing, Meka Meng has extensive experience in investment fund work; and in Hong Kong, Vivian Lam is an established cross-border transaction expert, and Paul Guan is Greater China real estate practice head.

Testimonials

Paul Hastings has extensive experience in offshore fund formation, LP investment and related co-investment transactions.

Unlike many international firms that are generally considered as Paul Hastings’ competitors in the region, Paul Hastings is very cost-efficient and their partners are very hands on.

We really appreciate the Paul Hastings team’s professionalism and dedication.

Paul Hastings has offered very flexible billing arrangements that can be tailor-made to satisfy our needs.

Extensive experience obtained from representations for various China-based managers and institutional investors.

The Paul Hastings team based in China has very good connections to various practice groups in other jurisdictions, so we can easily get advice on relevant legal matters relating to other jurisdictions.

They have demonstrated exceptional client service.

Meka Meng’s team in the Beijing office is one of the best teams in the market. Although it’s a small team, it does offer a full service in relation to the funds practice.

Key clients

Arch Capital

Baring Private Equity Asia

The Carlyle Group

JP Morgan

SDP Investment

ICBC International

Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust

Ping An

China Life

Vanke

UBS

Warburg Pincus

ARA Asset Management

China Cinda

Proprium Capital Partners

China International Capital Corporation

ICBC Asset Management

Sino-Ocean Capital

Ascent Real Estate Investors

NRL Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised ARA Asset Management on its formation of a partnership with Straits Real Estate and ICBC International for the  acquisition of Sanlin InCity (via one of its private real estate funds).
  • Advised SDP Investment on the formation of a joint venture with an international institutional investor, in connection with the acquisition of U-Show Plaza in Beijing.
  • Advised Apollo Global Management on its formation of a joint venture with Hong Kong Shanghai Alliance Holdings, and the joint venture’s RMB3.1bn acquisition of Great Wall Financial Building.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP‘s Greater China team has extensive experience in assisting fund sponsors and investors across the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa; and in a recent 12-month period, the Asia investment funds team worked on over 100 fund formation projects, predominantly in relation to private equity, venture capital and co-investment funds. Private equity fund managers consistently look to the team to achieve the most advantageous investment structures from an economic, tax, legal and regulatory perspective, and to advise on private equity M&A, co-investments, capital markets transactions, recapitalisations, and portfolio company financings. The practice also has a strong reputation for its advice to major investors from the global private fund asset class. Drawing on substantial experience from working in both New York and Asia on complex, cross-border mandates, Hong Kong-based Lorna Xin Chen leads the firm’s Asia asset management and investment funds practice.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Xin Chen

Other key lawyers:

Iris Priddy; Anil Motwani

Testimonials

Lorna Xin Chen leads a very well resourced and experienced team, providing fast turnarounds even on complex matters.

They operate to very high standards and with great visibility in the market.

Lorna Xin Chen is clearly behind the scenes overseeing everything, with the support of Iris Priddy who is an exceptionally capable counsel.

Key clients

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

China Creation Ventures

China Huarong International Holdings

China Investment Corporation

China Merchants

China Renaissance

CITIC Capital Holdings

ICBC International

International Finance Corporation

Investcorp

Korea Investment Corporation

Noah Holdings

Qatar Investment Authority

SAFE Investment Company

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP‘s Greater China team has longstanding experience in advising large asset management firms on their key activities and transactions. Representative work includes assisting sponsor and investor clients with a wide range of investment management activities including the formation, capitalisation and operation of investment funds and fund managers. The Hong Kong-based team also acts for venture capital clients on the restructuring of venture capital firms and funds, and on portfolio transactions, as well as fielding a robust regulatory and compliance practice. Leading the Asia-Pacific investment management practice, Geoffrey Chan is experienced in the formation and structuring of Asia-based US dollar-denominated private investment funds, particularly in Greater China; and counsel Xuan Zhang assists with fund formation, co-investment, internal carry arrangements, secondary transactions, and regulatory and compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Chan

Other key lawyers:

Xuan Zhang; Sophie Xue 

Testimonials

Geoffrey Chan is knowledgeable about market terms and trends on both the LP and GP side, and he shares his thoughts about business considerations (when relevant) and has helpful perspective.

Key clients

CITICPE Advisors

HOPU Capital

FountainVest Partners

RRJ Capital

Tencent Capital

Huatai Principal Investment Group

Unicorn Partners

Citi Private Bank

China Media Capital

INCE Capital

Sky9 Capital

Cowin Capital

Vision Plus Capital

Cenova Capital

Turmeric Capital

Atma Capital

Ping An Overseas Holdings

JD.com

DLA Piper

Fielding several investment funds specialists, DLA Piper‘s bilingual team offers on-the-ground capabilities in Hong Kong, US, UK, Australia and the PRC law. The practice is particularly active in relation to China-based hedge, real estate and private equity fund formation work, and the group has also recently expanded its market presence in the tokenised funds space. Leading the Asia funds and investment management practice, Luke Gannon has practiced in investment funds for over 25 years, and has been involved in various significant landmark fund deals in the region.

Practice head(s):

Luke Gannon

K&L Gates

Highly experienced in the formation and management of investment funds, K&L Gates‘ Hong Kong-based Greater China team is particularly active in private equity and venture capital fund formation, regulatory advice surrounding initial coin offerings, blockchain-enabled platforms, crowd funding, and hedge fund formation and restructuring. Asia managing partner David Tang heads the team, which includes Shanghai partner Chloe Duan, who focuses on investment management, and private equity and venture capital work. The practice recently welcomed Scott Peterman, who advises on the formation of alternative investment vehicles, and private investment fund specialist Sook Young Yeu from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Practice head(s):

David Tang

Other key lawyers:

Chloe DuanScott PetermanSook Young Yeu

Testimonials

This is a practice that can deal with complex, bespoke structures and strategies.

Scott Peterman is a creative thinker, who comes up with innovative solutions that are deeply routed in his knowledge, not only of financial markets and instruments, but in his broad knowledge of the best practices in the legal industry globally.

Key clients

Cedareach – Brocade River Merchants Asset Management

Federated Hermes

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Group

VS Partners

Work highlights

  • Assisted the principals of VS Partners with the implementation of an endowment investment model, comprising a blend of stocks and bonds, in addition to less traditional offerings such as hedge funds and private equity.
  • Assisted Cedareach – Brocade River Merchants Asset Management with organising one of the very first limited partnership funds under Hong Kong’s new Limited Partnership Fund Ordinance.
  • Advised a One Belt One Road investment fund in relation to a Series D round investment in SenseTime.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

With a core focus on private equity matters, the areas of expertise for Kirkland & Ellis International LLP‘s investment funds group cover buyout funds, funds of funds, credit and growth funds, limited partner representations, placement agent representations, restructuring, and carry and co-investment structuring. The Hong Kong-based team also includes experts in relation to Security and Exchange Commission-registered advisers, and assists with the regulatory issues surrounding private investment funds and their management companies. The principal figures are Justin Dolling, who regularly acts for high-profile general partners, China private funds practice head Carol Liu, and fundraising and secondary specialist Damian Jacobs.

Practice head(s):

Justin DollingCarol LiuDamian Jacobs

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Feng; Liyong Xing

Key clients

Tencent

Lilly Asia Ventures

Integral Group

Hosen Capital

Jeneration Capital

Ocean Link

A consortium including HarbourVest Partners, LGT and GIC

GL Capital

Long Hill Capital Partners

Legend Capital

Mayer Brown

Addressing the legal, regulatory, tax and commercial challenges facing investment fund clients, Mayer Brown‘s Hong Kong-based practice acts for investment fund sponsors, institutional investors and other market participants in the alternative investment fund space. The principal practitioners are Robert Woll who advises both sponsors and investors, and private equity practice head Mark Uhrynuk who is recommended for establishing private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds, and assisting with private equity and venture capital investments, secondary transactions, and strategic alliances.

Practice head(s):

Robert WollMark Uhrynuk

Key clients

Excelsior Capital Asia

CICC Capital Management

Macquarie Capital

Jade Invest (Jade Private Capital Management)

CITIC

BEI Capital Partners

Wang On Properties

Dragon Capital Group

GLy Capital Management

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Acting for leading fund manager and investor clients, Morrison & Foerster LLP‘s funds practice recently attracted several new clients, spanning private equity, real estate and venture capital funds, as well as large bank and insurance company clients on the limited partner side. The Hong Kong-based team is co-led by Serena Tan, who is experienced in the formation of (and investment in) private funds and has significant international experience; and Nicholas Sheets, who advises Asia-based and China sponsors on the structuring, formation and offering of private equity funds, along with co-investment activities and secondary transactions.

Practice head(s):

Serena TanNicholas Sheets

Other key lawyers:

Sylvia ChengMarcus ToBryan LamConan ChenJoanna Wang; Marcia Ellis (Hong Kong)

Testimonials

The team members are drawn from diverse backgrounds and the team has a good understanding of both China and the international funds market.’

We’ve worked with MoFo for over 3 years. We find MoFo’s bilingual funds team is extremely hard to find on the market and unique. Their bilingual offering is a significant value-add. In addition, they are extremely knowledgeable in various key jurisdictions (we’ve engaged them on US/EU/mainland China/HK matters) to actionable business plans that line up with our business goals and expansion. This high-quality standard is the reason why we engage them on multi-jurisdictional matters.’

‘Serena Tan has given us highly practical legal advice and useful market practice insights. Her advice is always delivered in a timely manner, even over weekends and public holidays. Her support facilitates our work and enables us to negotiate and work more efficiently.

Marcia Ellis (Hong Kong-based) is probably the best private equity lawyer you can find in Hong Kong and China markets, after practicing law for many years. She led multiple investment work for us last year and we were very impressed by her deep legal knowledge as well as commercial awareness. I can completely trust and rely on her to lead our projects.’

Key clients

Ally Bridge Group

Ascendent Capital Partners Asia

BHG Long Hills

C-Bridge Capital

Fosun International Group

FWD Group

GLP PTE

Hony Capital

KHL

Makers Fund

Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia

SBVA Future Innovation Fund

Silicon Valley Bank

SoftBank Ventures Asia

Sympath Capital

The Wharf (Holdings)

Work highlights

  • Advised Softbank Ventures Asia on the operation of China Ventures Fund I, LP, a fund that makes venture capital investments in the consumer internet, media and AI sectors in mainland China.
  • Advising a sponsor’s private equity investment arm on its formation of a PRC-domiciled, RMB-denominated private investment fund that focuses on investments in China.
  • Advised a sponsor on the formation of a real estate fund, which plans to invest in prime retail projects in cities across mainland China.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP‘s funds practice is particularly notable for the repeat business it attracts from large US-dollar fund clients, as well as many of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Clients benefit from the expertise of several Asia-based fund formation lawyers; and the team regularly advises on multiple fund investments, forming high-value separate accounts, special focus vehicles, direct investments, co-investments and secondary transactions. In Hong Kong, Vincent Ip is regularly instructed by investment advisers and fund sponsors; and Chune Loong Lum, who was made partner in November 2020, has significant experience in relation to Asia- and China-focused investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Vincent Ip

Other key lawyers:

Chune Loong Lum

Testimonials

The team’s strength is knowledge of investment funds in multiple jurisdictions.

Chinese-speaking and PRC lawyers based in China, who are proactive in their commercial negotiations and plan ahead for their clients.

Innovative in the way they work with clients, and open to communications over various social media platforms.

Vincent Ip is an excellent funds lawyer – great at client management, supported by a solid team, and efficient in delivering in good-quality work products.

Chune Loong Lum stands out at Ropes because of the dedication and quality of work given to clients, accompanying them throughout the journey and warning clients of any potential pitfalls.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Fielding on-the-ground funds lawyers in Asia for over 25 years, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP‘s globally respected fund formation practice is regularly instructed on substantial private equity fundraisings (including regulatory issues) by the world’s leading sponsors; and the team is particularly noted for its expertise in large pan-Asia funds, China and China-focused funds, and Japan and Japan-focused funds. Adam Furber heads the firm’s Asia investment funds practice from Hong Kong, where former counsel Michael Ceulen, who specialises in the organisation, structuring and operation of global private equity funds, was made partner in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Adam FurberMichael Ceulen

Testimonials

Simpson Thacher is able to leverage best practices globally at a local level.

They have a wealth of experience and deep knowledge of the market; and the fact that they are well balanced between being technical and commercial sets them apart from the crowd.

Adam Furber, who leads the fund formation practice in Asia, is clearly superior compared to peers in what he can bring to the table.

Key clients

Advantage Partners

Affinity Equity Partners

Apax

Ant Group

Aspirant Group

Blackstone

Brummer & Partners

CapSquare Asia Partners

Carlyle

China Logistics Properties

CLSA Capital

CVC

Delos Capital

Diamond Realty Management

EmergeVest

EQT

Excelsior Capital Asia

Hillhouse

Integral Corporation

Japan Growth Investment Alliance

Japan Post Investments

J-Star

KKR

Kyoto Pacific Capital

Lexington Partners

Morgan Stanley

New Frontier China

Nippon Investment Company

Nippon Sangyo Suishin Kiko

Nissay Asset Management

NSSK

PAG

Polaris Capital Group

Seven Seas Advisors

Shunwei Capital

SK Group

Silver Lake

SL Capital

T Capital Partners

Tor Investment Management

Unison Capital

Vivo Capital

Welkin Capital Partners

Yunfeng Capital

Zebra Global Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised KKR on the formation of its first Asia real estate fund, KKR Asia Real Estate Partners SCSp, an approximately $1.7bn fund.
  • Advised PAG Real Estate on the formation and fundraising of SCREP VII, its flagship opportunistic real estate fund, with $2.75bn capital commitments.
  • Advised Polaris CG Singapore Pte on the formation of the Polaris Fund V Series Funds.