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.
Investment funds: foreign firms in China
Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund
Phoenix Property Investors
CBRE Global Investors
- Advised CITIC Capital on the set up of logistics fund with SF which focuses on logistics property investment opportunities.
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
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
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 Man, Edwin Wong and Jeremy Ong are also key members.
B Grimm Capital Partners
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Cambium Grove Capital
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Gaw Capital Partners
Alpha Investment Partners
M3 Capital Partners
Pleiad Investment Advisors
- 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‘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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.‘
Lightspeed China Partners
Qiming Venture Partners
Source Code Capital
- 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.
‘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.‘
Baring Private Equity Asia
The Carlyle Group
Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust
ARA Asset Management
Proprium Capital Partners
China International Capital Corporation
ICBC Asset Management
Ascent Real Estate Investors
- 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‘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.
‘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.‘
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
China Creation Ventures
China Huarong International Holdings
China Investment Corporation
CITIC Capital Holdings
International Finance Corporation
Korea Investment Corporation
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.
‘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.‘
Huatai Principal Investment Group
Citi Private Bank
China Media Capital
Vision Plus Capital
Ping An Overseas Holdings
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.
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.
‘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.‘
Cedareach – Brocade River Merchants Asset Management
Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Group
- 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.
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.
Lilly Asia Ventures
A consortium including HarbourVest Partners, LGT and GIC
Long Hill Capital Partners
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.
Excelsior Capital Asia
CICC Capital Management
Jade Invest (Jade Private Capital Management)
BEI Capital Partners
Wang On Properties
Dragon Capital Group
GLy Capital Management
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
Acting for leading fund manager and investor clients, Morrison Foerster‘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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Ally Bridge Group
Ascendent Capital Partners Asia
BHG Long Hills
Fosun International Group
Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia
SBVA Future Innovation Fund
Silicon Valley Bank
SoftBank Ventures Asia
The Wharf (Holdings)
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.
‘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.‘
Affinity Equity Partners
Brummer & Partners
CapSquare Asia Partners
China Logistics Properties
Diamond Realty Management
Excelsior Capital Asia
Japan Growth Investment Alliance
Japan Post Investments
Kyoto Pacific Capital
New Frontier China
Nippon Investment Company
Nippon Sangyo Suishin Kiko
Nissay Asset Management
Polaris Capital Group
Seven Seas Advisors
T Capital Partners
Tor Investment Management
Welkin Capital Partners
Zebra Global Capital
- 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.