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Hong Kong > Asset finance (including aviation and shipping finance) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Aviation finance
  2. Shipping finance
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Belinda Lee - Reed Smith Richards Butler
    • Lorraine Mok - Ince
    • Elian Wong - Stephenson Harwood
    • Dora Ying - Mayer Brown

Headed by Andrew Lockhart, Baker McKenzie's two-partner aviation finance team handles a broad range of work for a varied mix of clients including lessors, airlines, lenders and lessees. Able to leverage the expertise of practitioners spread across many Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, the team excels at handling complex transactions in the region, with Lockhart and Allen Ng having a particularly strong track record advising on leasing and finance deals in Thailand. Harvey Lau retired in December 2017.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (HK) LLP's three-partner team provides 'cost-effective' expertise to a wide array of stakeholders engaged in aviation and shipping finance transactions. The 'excellent' Jackson Chow has a particularly strong reputation on behalf of lessors including CCB Financial Leasing, which he recently advised on the long-term secured Japanese Operating Lease with Call Option (JOLCO) financing relating to six aircraft (three of which were on lease to WizzAir, and three to Thomas Cook). Team head William Ho has garnered a strong reputation for advising lessors on structuring their operations in Hong Kong to take advantage of the new Hong Kong tax concession regime for qualifying aircraft leasing companies. Spearheaded by Nigel Ward and aided by of counsel Jonathan Lam, the office is also accomplished at handling shipping finance work, primarily on behalf of lessors and banks.

While it lacks the partner depth in Hong Kong of some of its competitors, Clifford Chance's one-partner team is an integral part of the firm's overarching Asia-Pacific aviation finance offering, which draws on specialist practitioners based in mainland China, Japan, Singapore and Australia. The team is particularly attuned to the demands of banking and lessor clients and remains the firm of choice for many of the most significant players in the market, including CMB Financial Leasing, GE Capital Aviation Services and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). 'Excellent' team head Paul Greenwell has been very active on behalf of SMBC Aviation Capital, and recently acted for it on the sale of one aircraft to Tibet Financial Leasing and the related lease novation with Beijing Capital Airlines. The team is also noted for its ability to handle big-ticket structured finance transactions, including its recent representation of Avolon on a $768m asset-backed securitisation backed by a portfolio of 41 mid-life aircraft.

With its Hong Kong office acting as the hub for the firm’s activity in the Asia-Pacific region as well as handling standalone transactions, Clyde & Co LLP handles a significant volume and range of shipping finance transactions on behalf of lenders, investors and shipowners.

Leveraging the firm's longstanding and overarching transport sector focus, and able, when needed, to tap into the expertise of practitioners based in key jurisdictions such as Dubai, London, Singapore and China, HFW has an excellent reputation in the market across the spectrum of asset finance mandates. Spearheaded by the 'hardworking and knowledgeable' Justin Sun, the team is gaining increased visibility and penetration in the aviation sector, particularly in relation to work on behalf of lessor clients. In addition to his aviation finance expertise, Patrick Cheung is also well-known for his 'professional and competent' work in the shipping sector, across both commercial, corporate and financing matters. Cheung recently advised a borrower on a secured loan provided by a European bank for the refinancing of a Hong Kong flagged vessel. At associate level, Harriet Fung and the 'hardworking' Tatianna Wong are recommended.

Traditionally best-known for its expertise in the shipping sector, where it is active across the gamut of litigation, corporate and financing, Ince has become increasingly busy handling aviation finance matters, largely as a result of the recruitment in 2016 of Balbir Bindra, who heads that practice. Bindra's expertise encompasses the corporate jet and commercial airline sectors where clients include finance providers and operators. He recently acted for China Export-Import Bank on the $450m financing of two A380 aircraft for China Minsheng Financial Leasing. On the shipping front, the arrival in May 2018 of Janice Lee from Stephenson Harwood has bolstered the team, particularly in light of her track record among banks and PRC-based leasing companies. UK- and Hong Kong-qualified partner Gary Wong leads the team on the shipping finance front, and is regularly involved in complex financing structures on behalf of lenders and operators. The 'practical, pragmatic' David Beaves also has significant finance experience as part of his overarching corporate and commercial shipping expertise. Managing associate Lorraine Mok is another name to note.

With an excellent track record for handling financings in both the aviation and shipping sectors, Mayer Brown handles a tremendous volume and variety of transactions on behalf of a varied roster of clients including banks, operators and lessors. Effectively able, should the need arise, to marshal the resources of practitioners in other Asia-Pacific jurisdictions (including mainland China, Singapore and the Philippines), the firm excels at handling complex cross-border transactions. The arrival in August 2017 of Conor Warde from Clyde & Co LLP affords the firm an even greater capacity for shipping finance work, particularly in light of Warde's excellent reputation among PRC leasing companies. The increase in lessor-related work brought about by Warde's arrival complements a varied client base that includes shipowners (Mitsui O.S.K Lines and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha) and banks (China Development Bank and Bank of China). Maggie Cheung is particularly accomplished at acting for lenders on bilateral and syndicated finance transactions; she recently advised an international bank as lender on a secured syndicated loan to finance the acquisition of eight tankers. Richard Stock has excellent credibility among local lessors and airlines, and regularly handles work for marquee names including Cathay Pacific, ICBC Financial Leasing and Air Hong Kong. Consultants Stuart Miller and Dean Young are also recommended, as is senior associate Dora Ying. Ashley Wong has left the firm.

Very well connected to the traditional banks that remain active in the shipping finance market, and benefiting from deeply entrenched relationships among many of the Chinese lessors that are increasingly providing finance solutions, Norton Rose Fulbright remains at the forefront of the market. Able to leverage its international network, particularly in prime maritime locations including Singapore, the firm has the critical mass and the expertise to handle not just commoditised mandates but also heavily structured ones that involve significant cross-border expertise. 'Very experienced' team head Jonathan Silver provides 'solution-oriented and commercial advice'.

Led by the 'excellent' UK- and US-qualified Paul Jebely, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is attracting a significant amount of work for lessors and lenders on Asian transactions and African mandates, for which he has a 'very strong reputation'. Able to tap into the resources of a significant global network that includes highly rated practitioners based in London and the US, the team excels at handling complex multi-jurisdictional mandates financed according to US and/or UK law. Recent highlights include advising Orix Aviation on its proposed $2.2bn acquisition of a minority stake in global aircraft leasing company Avolon Holdings.

Reed Smith Richards Butler is 'very experienced in the shipping industry', and leverages deep subject matter knowledge to provide 'excellent service' to owners and banks across a range of financing matters. Peter Lee handles a mix of commercial and finance work for an owner-focused client base; Chris Tang has a strong pedigree advising borrowers and lenders across both syndicated and bilateral asset finance facilities. Associate Belinda Lee is also recommended.

Benefiting from 'strong knowledge of the shipping industry', Stephenson Harwood provides 'practical and effective advice' to banks and lessors including Credit Suisse and China Development Bank Financial Leasing. Benefiting from a strong presence on the ground in mainland China, and also with offices in other key maritime jurisdictions including London, Singapore and Dubai, the team is well-equipped to handle complex cross-border mandates including bilateral and syndicated facilities. Hongkai Zhou is well-versed in handling shipping finance work involving PRC lessors, and benefits from significant expertise in advising on transactions involving Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) in China. On the shipping front, other recommended practitioners include Elton Chan and Roy Chan; the latter has a niche in advising high-net-worth individuals on financings in the superyacht sector, as well as advising on conventional commercial shipping transactions. The 'absolutely superb' Simon Wong spearheads the office's work on the aviation finance front and generates a significant amount of work as a result of his strong relationships with traditional banks, lessors and airlines across the Asia-Pacific region. Associate Elian Wong continues to develop a strong reputation in the market across cross-border aircraft transactions and domestic PRC aircraft transactions involving both commercial aircraft and corporate jets. Other clients include Spring Airlines, JIC Leasing and ICBC.

The 'superb' two-partner team at Watson Farley & Williams is at the vanguard of the shipping finance market and is frequently involved in the most complex financing structures for myriad clients including Credit Suisse, CSIC Leasing and Minsheng Financial Leasing. Team head Madeline Leong has 'a deep understanding of all legal matters in this area' and is instructed by a varied roster of banks, lessors and operators engaged in new money financings and restructurings. Recent highlights include her work for ING Bank as facility agent for a banking syndicate on the provision of a $150m secured term loan facility to BW LPG Holding. In a matter that also involved input from the firm's London office, Leong acted for MUFG Bank as facility agent for a syndicate of international lenders on the $180m refinancing of two K-Line LNG vessels, Arctic Voyager and Arctic Discoverer, that are time chartered to Statoil, the world’s largest offshore operator. The 'excellent' Christoforos Bisbikos is particularly noted for his work on behalf of Chinese lessors, particularly where there is a Greek nexus; he recently acted for CSIC Leasing on a $65.5m sale and leaseback transaction with Eletson, a Greek tanker owner and operator. Senior associate Ryan Tan is 'very diligent'; senior associate Valerie Lee is also recommended.

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