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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Arendt & Medernach

Arendt & Medernach advises on all issues regarding Luxembourg and European law, tax and regulatory matters. Experienced teams at its Luxembourg head office and foreign offices assist local and international clients in relation to their cross-border activities in Europe, their strategic expansion in Europe and the structuring of their investments throughout the world.

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Clifford Chance has a market-leading practice that is synonymous with many of the most notable first-to-the-market and big-ticket fund launches in Greater China and across the Asia-Pacific region. It has a dominant reputation in various fund types, namely hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds and registered funds. Global practice head Mark Shipman is a member of the Executive Committee of AIMA, the Technical Sub-Committee of the HKVCA, the Regulatory Sub-Committee of HKIFA, and the EMPEA Asia Council. He is also a member of Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council and a member of the Advisory Committee and Products Advisory Committee to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). In 2017, Matthias Feldmann and senior associate Benjamin Lohr were among the advisers to Allianz Real Estate on its investment in Redwood Japan Logistics Fund II LP, a Japan-specific fund managed by pan-Asian warehouse builder e-Shang Redwood. In another highlight, Feldmann and Lohr are currently assisting Chelsfield ASIA's management team with fundraising for Chelsfield Asia Fund I, which has raised capital commitments of $228m at the time of writing. Other clients of the practice include PIMCO, Vanguard, Neuberger Berman Asia and Deutsche Asset Management. Rocky Mui and Viola Lui were recently promoted to consultants. Senior associate Albert Fu (who is a member of the Beijing funds team but is currently on secondment in Hong Kong) has expertise in offshore PE funds, hedge funds and RMB funds. He is currently working with Shipman on fund mandates related to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Senior consultant Teresa Leung is also recommended.

Deacons is widely acknowledged as having one of the leading registered funds practices in Hong Kong, which is underlined by the fact that it acts for most of the leading fund managers in every aspect of their fund launches. Aberdeen Standard Investments, Invesco Hong Kong and Manulife are among the firm's clients in this area. Also notable is that in 2017, it advised six of the nine Hong Kong unit trust platforms that were approved by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) that year. In one example, Alwyn Li acted for Daiwa SB Investments (HK) on setting up a unit trust platform, with Brown Brothers Harriman acting as the trustee. The firm also handled mandates for EFG Asset Management (HK) and Nikko Asset Management. Elsewhere, Su Cheen Chuah and recently promoted senior associate Pinky Siu advised Mirae Asset Global Investments (Hong Kong) on obtaining regulatory approval for the delisting of seven exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Alternative investment funds are another bedrock of the firm's first-rate practice. In the hedge funds space, the team acts for more than half of the 25 largest hedge fund managers in Asia, including Value Partners, PAG and Greenwoods Asset Management. Taylor Hui heads this part of the funds practice, which covers areas such as long and short investments, Asian debt, macro, futures, currency trading, property, RMB and China funds, among others. On the private equity funds side, the team assists clients with managing every aspect of the funds life-cycle across a range of strategies, including real estate funds; Hui, Chuah and recently promoted partner Fiona Fong are names to note. Hybrid hedge and private equity funds are another area of expertise for the team. Jeremy Lam is the overall head of the investment funds practice. Senior associates Deepak Mahtani, Joyce Li, Ming Chiu Li and Joanna Fung are also recommended.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP's practice is jointly led by Andrew Ostrognai and Gavin Anderson, who was promoted to partner in 2017. It is well-known for its standout private funds practice, and has featured in many of the largest and most sophisticated fundraisings in Asia for over 15 years. Its leading reputation ensures that it attracts high-quality work from clients such as The Carlyle Group, China Life, DE Shaw and HarbourVest Partners. In 2017, Anderson and associate Shawn Yang acted for Baring Private Equity Asia on the fundraising for various co-investment vehicles with commitments in excess of $1.6bn to facilitate the privatisation of Nord Anglia Education. Another mandate saw Ostrognai, Anderson and Yang advise Advantage Partners on the formation of its debut $380m Asia-focused fund. Elsewhere, Ostrognai has expertise in structuring and forming country and sector-specific funds, separately managed accounts and foreign-sponsored, RMB-denominated private equity funds, as well as secondary transactions.

Kirkland & Ellis is one of the pre-eminent firms in Asia for private equity fund formation, management and associated regulatory advice. Justin Dolling and Carol Liu lead the team, which has an outstanding track record in assisting Chinese and international sponsors with complex fund structurings and fundraisings targeted at investors worldwide. Its extensive expertise spans every corner of the private equity world, including buyout funds, credit funds and special situations, growth funds, mezzanine and distressed debt, and real estate funds. It also has a highly active practice in relation to secondary transactions. Dolling and Jonathan Tadd assisted a consortium of investors with their $11.6bn acquisition of Global Logistic Properties; this entailed structuring and forming a series of complex fund structures to raise capital from institutional investors. In addition, Liu, and associates Jennifer Feng and Ling Zhu, recently acted for Orchid Asia on its fundraising for Orchid Asia VII, which closed at its $1.3bn hard cap. Another highlight involved assisting Tencent with closing its first technology fund at $650m. Damian Jacobs, Yue Zhang and associate Jamie Hill are also recommended. Tadd recently relocated to the London office.

Simmons & Simmons LLP  advises institutional and alternative fund managers across Asia on a wide range of fund products. It has made a name for itself in the retail funds arena, notably in relation to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and leveraged and inverse (L&I) products, where it maintains a dominant position in Hong Kong Stock Exchange listings. In 2017, working with the London office, Eva Chan acted as the lead adviser to Premia Partners on the establishment, authorisation and listing of two China A-Shares ETFs, namely Premia CSI Caixin China Bedrock Economy ETF and Premia CSI Caixin China New Economy ETF; this matter represented the launch of the first multi-factor smart beta China equity ETFs in Hong Kong. Further illustrative of the retail funds offering, another highlight saw team head Rolfe Hayden and consultant Ivy Yam advise Ping An of China Asset Management (Hong Kong) on the establishment, SFC authorisation and listing of Ping An of China CSI 5-10Y CGB ETF; this matter represented the first ETF listing in Hong utilising the Bond Connect initiative to invest in Chinese government bonds. In the hedge funds arena, the team is highly active in launching hedge fund start-ups; it recently handled hedge fund launches for Fort Hill Capital, Goldstream and Honghu Capital, among others. Private equity fund structurings are another area of expertise. Gaven Cheong is also recommended.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has been a private equity funds powerhouse in Asia for more than 25 years. It has a particularly strong track record in structuring China-focused funds, and is a notably top-performer in forming debut China funds; its first-rate reputation in this space has seen it handle mandates for Asia-based and global sponsors such as Blackstone, FountainVest, KKR, Shunwei and Yunfeng. In 2017, Asia private funds head Adam Furber and senior associate Michael Ceulen acted for Zebra Global Capital Management on the formation of its debut China-focused fund Zebra Capital Partners, which reached an $800m hard cap in capital commitments. Other clients of the firm in this space include Chinese state-owned enterprises and management teams. The firm is also a market-leader when it comes to pan-Asia funds and Japan-focused funds, with the Hong Kong team working closely with Tokyo-based counsel David Azcue on the latter. Furber and Ceulen recently worked with the London office to advise Affinity Equity Partners on the formation of pan-Asia-focused fund Affinity Asia Pacific Fund V; this fund closed with capital commitments of $6bn. The department also undertakes a significant amount of fund formation work in relation to vehicles focusing on investments in real estate assets, both in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Led by Anne-Marie Godfrey, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's investment management practice delivers an excellent end-to-end user service to Asian and international sponsors and institutional investors in relation to all aspects of the funds life-cycle. The firm is particularly well-known in the alternative investment funds arena, where it demonstrates equally strong capabilities on hedge funds, private equity funds and funds of funds. The scope of the advice covers fund structuring and formation, asset raising for separately managed and co-mingled accounts, regulatory advice and asset manager M&A, among other matters. Members of the team also have specialist expertise in the redomiciliation of Cayman Islands funds to Hong Kong. Retail funds are another pillar of the practice; Godfrey has expertise in Hong Kong Stock Exchange listings of ETFs, and also assists clients with obtaining SFC authorisation to distribute funds to the retail public in Hong Kong. Consultant Christopher Knight and associate Tamilia Chiu are also noted.

Baker McKenzie is a strong choice for sponsors, institutional investors and financial investors seeking advice on China-related private fund structures. Its team has vast expertise in a wide range of vehicles involving asset classes such as private equity buyout funds, hedge funds, real estate funds,  energy, infrastructure, debt and distressed assets. Reflective of the quality of the practice, the firm acts as lead counsel to Gaw Capital Partners on all of its China-related investment funds mandates; in 2017, team head Jason Ng, Edwin Wong and Karen Man were part of the cross-office team that acted for the client on the formation of its fifth flagship real estate fund Gateway Real Estate Fund V, which closed with $1.3bn in final commitments. A more recent highlight saw Ng, Wong and others advise the same client on the formation of a $349m fund, which was set up for the client to acquire (along with Allianz Real Estate and other investors) Sky Soho, a Grade A office asset in Shanghai. The firm also has an active investor-side practice, where it acts for Chinese financial institutions and other Chinese institutional investors, as well as foreign sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. In addition, the firm has a standout reputation in REIT transactions; it is advising on the ten current REITs in Hong Kong at the time of writing, acting either as manager or trustee counsel; Milton Cheng and special counsel Jeremy Ong are recommended for their REIT expertise. Karl Egbert joined the firm's New York office from Dechert; although he is now New York-based, he frequently works in Hong Kong.

Dechert 's diverse Asia funds practice, which is headed up by Michael Wong, is strong in a wide range of asset classes, including real estate funds, private equity buyout funds, debt funds, hedge funds and registered funds. The firm stands out in fund formation mandates involving highly complex structuring, operational and regulatory issues. In a recent highlight, Wong and associate Simon Wong acted for China Everbright on the formation of a $1bn fund, Everbright Overseas Infrastructure Investment Fund, which targets overseas infrastructure opportunities. Having previously advised the same client on the formation of feeder fund Everbright Dynamic Bond Fund Feed Fund I in November 2015, the firm is also assisting the client with establishing a second feeder fund, CEL Huarong Dynamic Bond Feeder Fund. Primavera Capital, Integrated Asset Management and HarbourWay Investment Management are other active sponsor clients. In addition to advising sponsors, the team is active in investor-side representations, as was evidenced when Michael Wong (and practitioners from other overseas offices) recently acted for Silk Road Fund in its US$200 million investment in the China Central and Eastern Europe Investment Co-Operation Fund II SCS SICAV-SIF.

DLA Piper's 'leading funds practice' in Asia is led by Luke Gannon, who has more than 25 years of experience in this practice area, and is 'one of the region's highest-profile partners'. Gannon acts for a broad base of clients in relation to various types of retail and private funds products, including investment banks, fund managers and investors. One of the firm's core areas of strength is real estate funds, where it acts for some of the most prominent sponsors in the market in many of their most notable fund launches, which target investments into real estate assets in greater China and elsewhere in Asia. In addition, the firm is highly active in the broader private equity funds realm, where highlights have included acting for ARM on its investment in a private equity fund which invests in the "Internet of Things" industry in Taiwan, and advising Sino-Ocean on its investment in a One Belt One Road private equity fund that invests in private equity investments in the technology and new media sector. Elsewhere, the firm captures a particularly significant share of the market from hedge fund managers; in 2017, Gannon assisted Auroville (HK) with the formation of a dual-legged master-feeder hedge fund, and also advised on associated US regulatory issues. On the investor side, Gannon acted for Huarong International Securities on its $133m investment in a hedge fund that invests in fixed-return private funds, unlisted debt investments and certain listed or over-the-counter quoted debt securities. LyGH Capital is another notable client.

Goodwin's private investment funds team in Hong Kong, which is embedded within a larger global network of funds lawyers, has closed more than 350 funds since 2013. Noted for its emphasis on acting for general partners, it acts for Asian and global sponsors as well as start-ups on their most sophisticated fund structuring mandates, and is a go-to practice for fundraisings targeted at investors worldwide. It also advises on fund operational issues, secondary transactions and fund manager M&A, among other matters. The team's expertise spans a wide variety of asset classes, including buyout funds, real estate funds, mezzanine debt funds, hedge funds and infrastructure funds. India-related funds (particularly India-focused venture capital funds) are a notable sweet spot of the practice, and make up a significant proportion of the firm's workload. In 2017, Brian McDaniel led a team that advised Indian venture capital firm Nexus Ventures on the formation of Nexus Ventures V, which focuses on investments in early-stage and growth companies. The firm also undertakes a significant amount of work for China-focused venture capital funds; in one example, McDaniel and others acted for SBCVC in the establishment of SBCVC Fund VI. McDaniel co-heads the practice with Greg Barclay, who has been practising for more than 15 years and recently relocated from the London office. Other clients of the firm include Saama Capital/SVB India, Capital Today China, Hillhouse Capital, Korea Investment Corporation and Mayfield India.

King & Wood Mallesons¬†leverages its sizeable geographical reach ‚Äď which spans the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East ‚Äď and its sector and regulatory expertise to support clients on their most complex fund formation mandates.¬†Hayden Flinn¬†leads the group, which has an all-round capability across the funds sphere, including private equity buyout funds, infrastructure funds and real estate funds. Retail funds are another area of activity, with the team assisting clients with retail funds and ETFs. It also has specialist knowledge of funds formed under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) and RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RFQII) schemes. Recent work included Flinn and senior associate¬†Torrin Nicholson¬†advising¬†Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), a division of Macquarie Group, on its $3.3bn second Asian regional infrastructure fund (MAIF2) domiciled in Singapore with a parallel fund in Luxembourg. In addition,¬†Jingjing Jiang¬†and others acted for China Resources Enterprise on the formation of an inaugural $1bn¬†Cayman fund focused on downstream investment in the consumer retail sector globally.¬†Guo Sun Lee¬†and¬†Helena Huang¬†are also recommended.

Morrison & Foerster's funds practice in Asia has expanded significantly since co-head Jason Nelms joined in 2015 from Proskauer Rose LLP and co-head Serena Tan arrived from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in February 2017. Both practitioners are based in Hong Kong, and have complementary skill-sets, with Tan having China-focused funds expertise, and Nelms being more active in international matters. Working under Nelms and Tan is a bench of associates that has recently increased in size. The firm's core areas of strength lie in headline deals connected with real estate funds and, more broadly, private equity funds (including buyout funds, growth capital funds and venture capital funds); corresponding with the growth of the team, the firm has been successful in winning work from a number of clients in these areas, such as Savills Investment Management and Intudo Capital, among others. In 2017, Nelms acted for another new client Ping An in the formation of its $1bn Global Voyager Fund, which focuses on investments in fintech and healthcare technology worldwide. In another high-profile highlight, Nelms and Singapore-based Shirin Tang were among the advisers to IndoSpace on the formation of $550m real estate fund IndoSpace Logistics Parks III, which will focus on industrial real estate across locations in India. Also notable is that Tan and others are acting for one of China's largest fund managers in the formation of $300m fund Belt and Road Glass Industry Integration Fund, which invests in the regions included in the Belt and Road Initiative. US and international tax expert Matthew Lau and Hong Kong regulatory specialist Stephen Birkett also support the funds practice.

Proskauer Rose LLP focuses on private funds, and its work spans various asset classes, such as private equity buyout funds, venture capital funds and real estate funds. Its key contact in Hong Kong is senior counsel Lynn Chan, who assists general partners and limited partners with all issues associated with fund formation and management, co-investments and direct investments into funds. In addition, a notable trend has seen the firm become increasingly active in the nascent secondaries market in Asia. The funds practice has seen an uptick in mandates from Chinese funds clients, typically in the context of cross-border fund investments. Another cornerstone of work involves advising US-based clients on forming RMB funds. Chan co-heads the practice in Asia with Yong Ren in Beijing. Active clients include Ping An Insurance Overseas Holdings, Schroder Adveq, Creditease Wealth Management Limited and LGT Capital Partners.

Shearman & Sterling, which has twin specialisms in hedge funds and private equity funds (across a range of investment strategies), offers clients a combination of Asian and international market knowledge, and regulatory expertise. It advises fund sponsors on fund formation, capital raising, operational and regulatory issues. It also assists investors with co-investments, direct investments and investments in fund sponsors. Lorna Xin Chen, who heads the practice in Asia, is a native Mandarin speaker and qualified in New York, Hong Kong and the PRC; clients are 'impressed by her professionalism and knowledge of the investment management industry'. Counsel Sean Murphy, who is a recent hire from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong), is another key figure.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, team head Geoffrey Chan has overseen the growth of the firm's impressive funds offering since his arrival from Ropes & Gray LLP in January 2017. The firm has been successful in winning work from new clients, such as Bank of China International, Temasek Holdings, HFT Securities and Baidu Capital. Chan's arrival has been followed by further additions to the team to manage the increased workflow; Xuan Zhang joined as counsel from O'Melveny and there have been hires at associate level. Private funds are the area of focus at the firm, with practitioners advising investors, sponsors and other market participants on all matters associated with fund formation, capital raising, operation and fund investments. The team assists clients with matters across a wide range of asset classes, including venture, buyout, hedge, real estate, credit, infrastructure and hybrid funds. Recent work included Chan acting for HOPU on the formation of $2bn+ fund Hopu Fund III, and also establishing the $800m HOPU-ARM joint venture fund.

White & Case has an enviable private funds offering, which makes it a major force in Asia. Practice head Sharon Hartline, who is praised for her 'first-class funds knowledge', has spent the majority of her 20-plus years in private practice in the region. She has a strong track record advising Asia-based fund sponsors on forming and launching various structures, such as private equity buyout funds, hedge funds, hybrid funds, real estate funds, distressed debt and credit funds. Hartline also has experience of acting for a variety of investors, including sovereign wealth funds, high-net-worth individuals and family offices. Anthony Wong, who has been practising for more than a decade, is another name to note in the group. A core feature of the firm's funds offering is that it is able to  provide US law advice and understand the needs of US taxable, ERISA and US tax-exempt investors. In addition, it leverages its strengths in areas such as M&A and finance to assist fund managers with their business operational issues. The firm's first-rate reputation in the private funds sphere ensures that it continues to receive a strong flow of work from existing clients, and also win mandates from new clients; its roster includes such names as Arkkan Capital, eShang Redwood, Orion Partners and Qatar Investment Authority. Hartline recently acted for longstanding client PAG in the final closing of its Asia Loan Fund III.

Ashurst acts for leading institutional investors and sponsors on mandates involving structurally complex funds that invest in heavily regulated industries (namely energy, infrastructure and real estate), or are related to markets such as Myanmar and Indonesia as well as Hong Kong. It also advises clients on funds focusing on inbound investments into China and India. Counsel Dean Moroz leads the team, which has expertise in a wide variety of platforms such as club funds, managed accounts, joint ventures and quasi-funds. Reflective of the quality of the practice, the group generates a significant amount of repeat work; APG (a wholly-owned subsidiary and asset management arm of the Netherlands’ ABP pension scheme) is a particularly active client. Elsewhere, one notable matter saw Moroz work with members of the London office to advise Sharp on an investment in the Softbank Vision Fund; this is the world's largest technology investment fund. Moroz also acted for Alberta Investment Management on its $300m cornerstone investment in the $3bn Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund II. On the sponsor side, a highlight involved assisting Provest Holdings with launching its $25m open-ended real estate fund Provest Holdings Real Estate Fund.

O'Melveny has a private equity funds practice that primarily focuses on the PRC and Southeast Asia markets. Hong Kong managing partner James Ford leads the team, which advises general partners on fund formation, capital raising and ongoing fund management issues. Ford and counsel Jonathan Shelley are assisting InfraRed with establishing InfraRedNF China Real Estate Fund III, which is targeting $600m in capital commitments. Ford and Shelley also advised Axiom Asia Private Capital on fundraisings for Axiom Asia V (a fund of funds targeting over $1bn) and Axiom Asia Co-investment Fund I (which is targeting $200m). The firm also has an active investor-side practice, where the scope of the work includes direct investments and co-investments. Recent work included advising CDC Group on investments in India-focused funds managed by ICICI and Aavishkaar Bharat, and on its investment in Myanmar Growth Opportunities II. Secondary transactions are another cornerstone of the practice.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has been providing extensive support to sponsors and investors on investment funds matters across the Asia-Pacific region for 30 years. Its practice, which is noted for its strength in the private funds arena, is jointly led by Scott Peterman and Sook Young Yeu; both individuals collectively have more than 65 years of relevant business and private practice experience. The team is knowledgeable about a wide range of vehicles, including private equity joint ventures, hybrid funds (involving private equity and hedge fund elements), venture capital funds, infrastructure funds, hedge funds and managed accounts. Since Peterman arrived from Jones Day in July 2017, the firm has won a significant number of new clients; in one example, the firm won a place on China Resources Capital Management Limited (CRCML)'s panel of external legal counsel for funds and M&A. In 2017, Peterman and Yeu assisted CRCML with the formation of $2bn fund China Resources Healthcare Fund, along with ICBC and Macquarie. In a more recent highlight, Peterman worked with the corporate team in Shanghai to advise JD.com on a $2.5bn fundraise for its logistics subsidiary, JD Logistics; this matter involved setting up a novel Cayman Islands LLC structure and represented the largest-ever private fundraising in the Chinese logistics industry. Silk Road Fund, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Vanhau Asset Management are also active clients.

Paul Hastings LLP's main contacts in Hong Kong are real estate partners¬†David Blumenfeld¬†and¬†Paul Guan,¬†who have an excellent record in headline private equity real estate funds matters, where they have acted for sponsors and investors. In addition, they work with¬†Meka Meng¬†in Beijing and members of the Shanghai office on matters involving other China-related fund structures ‚Äď such as buyout funds and venture capital funds, among other investment funds ‚Äď as part of a fully coordinated practice. Blumenfeld and Guan also leverage the expertise of practitioners in other parts of the network, particularly offices in the US and Europe, on other cross-border mandates. Guan and Meng recently acted for ICBCI on its investment in a fund sponsored by Hillhouse, which participated in the privatisation of Global Logistic Properties, along with other co-investors. The pair also advised the same client on its investment in JD Logistics' $2.5bn Series A financing; this is the single largest financing in the Chinese logistics industry to date. Other clients include Arch Capital, Baring Private Equity Asia and China Taiping.

Ropes & Gray LLP's team head¬†Vincent Ip¬†assists China-based and global investment advisers and sponsors with structuring and forming Asia-focused private investment funds. These vehicles include buyout funds, real estate funds, and distressed and special situations funds. Another pillar of the practice involves acting for institutional investors ‚Äď such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and funds of funds ‚Äď on¬†the formation of separately managed accounts. Ip is also knowledgeable about direct investments, co-investments and secondary transactions. Another name to note is¬†Chune Loong Lum, who joined as counsel from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

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