Hall Of Fame

Firms To Watch: Asset finance: foreign firms

Mishcon de Reya LLP has continued to make inroads into the region’s asset finance with a focus on financings and luxury assets related matters. The team is led by Ethan Tan and Hong Chong Yi.

Asset finance: foreign firms in Singapore

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team continues to be prominent within the region’s aviation, shipping, and offshore industries. Able to draw on its expansive Asian and global networks, the team consistently advises lessors, lessees, financiers, and manufacturers on a range of high-value transactions including acquisitions of aircraft and aviation equipment and portfolio management, often acting for high-profile financial institutions and major regional airliners. Its shipping team acts act as a regional hub offering a wide range of capabilities. Aviation industry veteran, Keith Sandilands, and Ben Rose, renowned for his shipping and offshore expertise, jointly lead the practice. Sue Ann Gan is recommended for ship financing and litigation. Edward Bentley, a regular advisor to lessors, banks, and export credit agencies, Chloe Goodwin, who focuses on aviation transactions, and Sophie Polisena are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Keith Sandilands; Ben Rose

Other key lawyers:

Sue Ann Gan; Edward Bentley; Chloe Goodwin; Sophie Polisena


Norton Rose Fulbright has a great practice based out of Singapore and other offices in Asia. They are supported by other teams from around the world in their firm, including Islamic finance, hedging/derivatives, tax and corporate so they can advise on everything on a transaction, good one-stop shop. I think that makes them stand out against other Asia practices which may not be able to manage some of the more complex stuff in so much depth. You would therefore go to NRF for bigger more complicated deals where you need specialist advice, and you’ll get a good service.’

‘Keith Sandilands is hugely experienced – there are probably very few scenarios in which he does not have some direct or related experience, so he is an absolute wealth of knowledge (and where he needs there is the wider practice to call on). He keeps a keen eye on the commercial drivers and focuses on what’s important, so we meet deadlines and get things done. Keith is now supported by two very good associates – Ed Bentley and Royce Lee. Ed in particular is really professional, very smart, hardworking and careful, you can trust him to get all the details through accurately and diligently which takes the burden off in-house counsel.

Ben Rose would be your go-to guy in Asia Pac for offshore oil and gas deals, supported by Rob Driver (in London) and Sophie Polisena. His drafting and legal advice and knowledge are very impressive and of course, he knows the industry and the commercial issues facing it inside out. Sophie Polisena is excellent, smart, and detailed, plus very diligent and hard-working. You can entirely trust her to handle your matter from start to finish. The firm also has Singapore shipping capability with Sue Ann Gan which is a good support for maritime advice.’

‘NRF is one of the leading maritime law firms, with a strong presence across different jurisdictions. They are able to provide diversified legal support.’

‘We have worked with Ben Rose and Gan Sue Ann for many years, and we appreciate their agile thinking and suggestions on how to manage the discussion with borrowers.’

Key clients

Singapore Airlines

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW)

Carlyle Aviation Partners

PT Pelita Air Service

Philippine Airlines

Pembroke Capital Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Malaysian Airlines Berhad

TATA – SIA Airlines Limited


Work highlights

  • Advising Pembroke Capital Limited on the sale and leaseback of four Boeing 737 Max 8 and one Boeing 737 Max 8-200 aircraft with Akasa Air.
  • Assisting PAL with the negotiation of its purchase order with Airbus for the purchase of nine A350-1000s.
  • Assisting PAL with the negotiation of its Product Agreement and Total Care Agreement with their Rolls Royce Trent XWB-97 engines that will power PAL’s new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Stephenson Harwood LLP

Stephenson Harwood LLP’s structured and aviation finance, shipping and offshore finance team advises a range of major financial institutions, banks, lessors and lessees, on contentious and non-contentious matters. It has seen numerous restructurings and refinancings alongside lease work, sales and purchases, and portfolio management in the aviation space. Saugata Mukherjee is praised for his ‘unparalleled depth of aviation industry knowledge‘, and Clement Leung is recommended for advising on the hedging aspects of aviation finance transactions. Piloted by practice co-head Gregg Johnston, the team handles a broad mix of multi-jurisdictional complex transactions including sustainability-linked loans, restructurings, and disputes. Gregory Xu, with over 15 years of experience in the maritime sector, excels in complex financing and restructuring issues. Huay Yee Kwan is noted for her expertise in PRC leasing, together with Pedram Norton and Jeffrey Tanner, who bring further depth and breadth to all aspects of ship and offshore finance.

Practice head(s):

Gregg Johnston; Saugata Mukherjee

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Xu; Huay Yee Kwan; Jeffrey Tanner; Perdram Norton; Clement Leung; Matthew Seah


‘Very knowledgeable in their fields of expertise – considered market leaders – provide first-class advice – most importantly as a team, they work together well and as a client that is very important.’

‘Prepared to spend the extra time when needed to address particular issues that might be unique to our internal requirements without complaining that it was not part of the original fee structure – prepared to do that extra work as requested.’

‘The team is highly knowledgeable on shipping matters and is considered one of the best in the industry. The work scope for projects is well thought out and transactions are closed smoothly.’

‘Both Gregg Johnston and Matthew Seah are highly reputable in the Korean ship finance market. Their work is well appreciated as they often remember and anticipate lenders’ and clients’ needs in upcoming projects thereby saving us a lot of time and effort when reviewing loan documentation. With their help, transactions are closed smoothly with no surprises. Very often our first preference would be to work with them for new projects.’

‘Highly skilled, cohesive, wide experience, excellent depth of knowledge, excellently resourced, friendly, well able to articulate points of law, efficient management of transactions involving many stakeholders, driven and hardworking.’

‘Saugata Mukherjee – unparalleled depth of aviation industry knowledge, commercially astute, hugely experienced, excellent at finding solutions, very client-focused.’

‘I have a long history of working with SH (particularly Saugata Mukherjee) in Singapore. Saugata is very astute, practical and sufficiently hands-on to ensure that his associates deliver sound advice and transactional support.’

Key clients

Air Asia


ANZ Bank

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing

BNP Paribas

Cathay United Bank

Cebu Pacific


ICBC Aviation Leasing

ING Bank

Lion Air Group

MUFG Bank, Ltd

National Australia Bank Limited

Pacific International Lines

Standard Chartered Bank

StraitNZ Limited, Ferry Lines Limited

Transportation Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised a syndicate of lenders – comprising ABN AMRO Bank, ING Bank, TIAA FSB, and Clifford Capital – on a sustainability-linked loan.
  • Advised a syndicate of banks led by National Australia Bank Limited (NAB) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) on a US$405 million debt financing of 10 crude oil tankers (the vessels) to subsidiaries of ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (ICBCL).
  • Advised Singapore-based Transportation Partners on the restructuring of the Indonesian airline group, Lion Air.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is a regional ‘go-to’ for aviation matters across the Asia Pacific. Recent mandates include financings, restructurings, sales and leasebacks, JOLCO structured leasing transactions and sustainability-linked financings. It has garnered an impressive client list featuring major financial institutions, banks, and other investment groups. Practice head Fergus Evanstakes a commercial and problem-solving approach to transactions‘, specialising in finance and leasing matters including tax-driven structures and export credit-backed transactions. Nattawat Vilasdechanon counts a number of Korean institutional investors as his clients and handles a steady flow of structured finance and aircraft leasing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Fergus Evans

Other key lawyers:

Nattawat Vilasdechanon


‘Year after year, Clifford Chance asset finance teams consistently deliver expert, practical and fast services.’

‘Fergus Evans is the go-to partner for aviation finance transactions. Fergus is extremely knowledgeable, seemingly always available and prompt to find practical alternatives when negotiations hit a difficult point.’

Nattawat Vilasdechanon is a solid member. He is quick, analytical, and provides clear advice.’

‘Fergus Evans is the one who always provided me efficient and accurate advice whenever I need any questions, doubts, or curiosity. Fergus can understand our concerns and sticking points fast and precisely and then let me know the pros & cons or consequences right away.’

‘Clifford Chance is, in my opinion, the premier aviation financing law firm in the Asia Pacific region and globally. CC has the widest experience, in-depth know-how across most of the key Asian jurisdictions and has overall the most professional approach to the business. CC is the “go-to” law firm in this sector, particularly in representing the lender and lessor side of the transactions.’

‘Fergus Evans is one of the finest aviation lawyers in Asia and globally. Fergus is one of those rare senior partners who makes himself personally available to his clients. Fergus is always fully engaged and committed and takes a commercial and problem-solving approach to transactions. Fergus always finds solutions to the issues that face us in transactions.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas


Deutsche Bank


Bank of America

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CACIB)


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Work highlights

  • Advised Citi, HSBC and Bank of America on the issuance of Singapore Airlines’ benchmark US$500 million 3.00 per cent. notes due 2026 under Singapore Airlines’ S$10 billion multi-currency medium term note programme.
  • Advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on a JOLCO for Cathay Pacific Airways Limited with equity being provided Financial Products Group Co., Ltd. (FPG).
  • Advised international bank Natixis SA in connection with a bridge financing and an EXIM Bank financing for Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. for the purposes of refinancing Korean Air Lines’ acquisition cost of two Boeing 737-MAX8.

HFW Singapore LLP

HFW Singapore LLP’s team handles a mix of shipping and aviation finance mandates.  The practice, led by ship finance specialist John Forrester, is particularly prominent for advising lessors on portfolio management, warehouse financings, aircraft portfolio acquisitions, and lease structuring, and has a wealth of experience in aviation finance transactions in China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian countries. The team also has notable knowledge in the aviation space, an area in which Ling Lui excels. Siri Wennevik is recommended for ship finance both in the APAC region and in Scandinavia.

Practice head(s):

John Forrester

Other key lawyers:

Ling Lui; Siri Wennevik

Key clients

ICBCIL Aviation Company Limited

Avolon Aerospace Leasing Limited (Avolon)


Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (BoComm FL)

KDB Asia Limited

Work highlights

Watson Farley & Williams LLP

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s asset and structured finance team is renowned for its wide-ranging capabilities in aviation and shipping finance matters. It is prominent in a range of ESG and sustainability-linked financings. Led by Madeline Leong, the team has substantial experience in acting for leading banks, leasing companies, and other financial institutions. On the aviation side, it is experienced in financing transactions, restructuring, and the processing of JOLCO financings which Charles Viggers is particularly eminent. Lizzie Roe is recommended for financing and leasing, and Margaux Ith is noted for sustainability-linked and JOLCO financings.

Practice head(s):

Madeline Leong; Charles Viggers

Other key lawyers:

Richard Williams; Andrew Nimmo; Lizzie Roe; Margaux Ith


‘Great breadth and strength across the geographies.’

‘Richard Williams is excellent.’

‘Great availability of Charles Viggers with strong negotiation skills. Great availability of Margaux with strong negotiation skills and profound knowledge of the industry.’

Key clients

Commerzbank AG

Maldivian Airlines

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Development Bank of Japan

La Banque Postale


Deutsche Bank

Korea Transportation Asset Management

MUFG Bank, Ltd.


Euler Hermes

Société Générale

China Aircraft Leasing Corporation

Hamburg Commercial Bank

ING Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for CACIB, DBJ and LBP in the first ever sustainability linked ANPI supported JOLCO financing of one A350 aircraft leased to Air France.
  • Advised BNP Paribas on US$1,170m JOLCOs backed by Chinese ECA SINOSURE arranged for Seaspan Corporation.
  • Advised the China Aircraft Leasing Company and the lessor entities in the operating leasing of x 4 737-Max-8 aircraft to Virgin Australia Airlines.

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP  excels in aircraft and engine financing, refinancing, and leasing, regularly acting for a range of lenders and lessees. The team is also well known for airline restructurings and portfolio management. The widely respected aviation expert Leo Fattorini leads ‘a fantastic team of hard-working, solution-orientated and well-respected professionals‘. Fattorini counts blue-chip companies, leasing institutions, and aircraft financiers as his key clients, and his recent caseloads include sales and leasebacks, debt financing, and purchase agreements. The recent addition of Niel Liebenberg who joined from an in-house role further strengthens its aviation transaction capability.

Practice head(s):

Leo Fattorini

Other key lawyers:

Niel Liebenberg; Christopher Healy


‘Bird and Bird provides exceptional advice on our aircraft leasing matters. We rely on the firm heavily for advice on English law matters. Their advice is timely, practical, and extremely cost-effective. ’

‘Leo Fattorini and Christopher Healy understand our business and are extremely proactive in their approach. They are receptive to our needs and experts in matters relating to aviation law.’

‘Terrific team – industry experts, hard-working, solution orientated and great people to deal with.’

‘Leo Fattorini leads a fantastic team of hard-working, solution-orientated and well-respected professionals. A pleasure to work.’

‘Bird & Bird’s main strengths are in commercial aviation or leasing. They are unique in the Singapore market for having capability to advise on a wider range of aviation legal issues – maintenance, sale/purchase, wet lease/ACMI, OEM/supplier contracts, liability, insurance, indemnity protection. They have a depth of knowledge of the aviation industry and airlines including from a regulatory and operational perspective. Their legal rigour in negotiating is also impressive – focus on allocation risk, liability, and what is really important. ’

‘Leo Fattorini has an outstanding level of detail, care, and consideration. Technically he is superb, but he balances that with focusing on what is actually important and critical to protect your interests and provides great guidance given his extensive experience and knowledge. He’d be my absolute go-to for commercial aviation advice.’

Key clients


ST Engineering Aerospace Resources Pte. Ltd


CCB Leasing

ICBC Leasing

AirAsia Berhad

Turkish Airlines

Akasa Air

Standard Chartered Bank


Work highlights

  • Acted for CCB Leasing, a PRC-based leasing company, on its refinancing with CACIB of two A321neo aircraft on lease to Volaris.
  • Acted for ST Engineering Aerospace Resources Pte. Ltd, a government linked aircraft leasing company based in Singapore, on the purchase of four used A321 aircraft from AerCap.
  • Acted for IndiGo, an Indian low-cost airline, on the leasing of 15 new A320/A321neo aircraft with Avolon.


Described by one client as a ‘skilled team that can handle with ease the most daunting of transactions’, Milbank remains a highly active player in the region’s aviation finance and restructuring scene. Following the departure of Paul Ng in summer 2023, David Paterson, noted for his transaction and leasing experience, is the key point of contact for the Singapore office. Paterson also works with the London Office’s asset and trade finance partners, Nick Swinburne, and James Cameron (the latter is a member of the firm’s transportation and space group.)

Practice head(s):

David Paterson

Other key lawyers:

James Cameron; Nick Swinburne


‘Skilled team that can handle with ease the most daunting of transactions.’

‘Knowledge and skill set – concise advice and ability to turn big projects.’

Key clients


SMBC Aviation Capital Limited

Nomura Babcock & Brown Co., Ltd

ICBC Leasing

Castlelake LP

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holding Limited

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing

BOC Aviation

Carlyle Aviation

Korean Air Lines


Minsheng Financial Leasing

China Construction Bank Financial Leasing

Muzinich & Co

AFIC Insurers


Aviator Capital


Work highlights

  • Handled a series of transactions involving the delivery of 30 737-8 aircraft over the next 5 years.
  • Advising ICBCFL in the restructuring of a French tax lease financing involving a Boeing 777-F bearing MSN 65743 being novated from Türk Hava Yollari A.O. to THY’s new cargo company, in a two-phase process.
  • Representing Chinese lessors in the Garuda restructuring involving over 250 aircraft and over US$2 billion of assets.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has significantly enhanced its asset finance offering following the hire of K&L Gates Straits Law LLC‘s aviation team. The practice is led by James Bradley, who oversees aircraft and engine transactions and lease work, as well as high-value reorganisations and debt restructuring. As the aviation sector looks to improve its sustainability, the firm also increasingly provides advice on ESG and SAF matters. Of counsel Terry Chang, recommended for cross-border financings and transactions, and associate director Ivan Qiu, noted for his expertise covering the JOL/JOLCO mandates, are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

James Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Wai Ming Yap; Terry Chang; Ivan Qiu; Irina Sia


Strong knowledge of the sector, good client focus and care.’

‘James Bradley and team are good to work with. Terry Chang is worthy of mention – puts in the hard yards.’

Key clients

Malaysia Airlines Berhad

Nok Airways

Avation PLC


Avenue Capital

KDAC Aircraft Holding

Fly Firefly

Rolls-Royce & Partners Finance


Skymark Airlines Inc.

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Malaysia Airlines in a four-prong transaction.
  • Advised Avation plc (AVAP) on the leasing of aircraft to Air Tahiti.
  • Advised Skymark Airlines on its purchase of six 737MAX aircraft with various additional option aircraft.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP fields a well-established asset finance team advising on complex and multi-jurisdictional financings, sales and leasebacks, restructurings, portfolio transfers, and secured lendings, with further specialisms covering engine leasing and financing. Practice head Simon Spells has ‘an extensive knowledge of the aviation financing and leasing market which is often demonstrated in the focused and pragmatic advice he provides‘.

Practice head(s):

Simon Spells


‘Personal, professional and efficient service.’

‘The Reed Smith Singapore team has built an impressive practice. They are incredibly good at transaction management and work efficiently to meet the short time frames of aviation deals. As local counsel, we find Reed Smith a pleasure to work with as they are clear in instructions, the documentation is always to a high standard and they have a commercial and pragmatic approach.’

‘Simon Spells maintains extremely strong relationships with his clients and goes the extra mile to ensure that the clients aims and needs remain at the centre of a transaction as it progresses. Simon is highly commercial and has an extensive knowledge of the aviation financing and leasing market, and this is often demonstrated in the focused and pragmatic advice he provides clients. Simon has excellent communication skills which help to foster a collaborative approach to deals and enable him to resolve any deal issues effectively when they do arise.’

Work highlights

Vedder Price

Vedder Price has a wealth of experience advising leasing companies and airlines on operating lease transactions across Southeast Asia Pacific as well as Japan, South Korea, and India, counting a large number of well-known lessors as its key clients. Praised for its 'pragmatic and market-driven approach' and leveraging its strong ties with its US offices, the team is well-equipped to advise on English and New York law and on cross-border financing transactions as well as operating lease restructurings for airliners. The team is jointly led by Singapore-based Ji Woon Kim who is 'armed with global and in-depth knowledge and experience in the aviation industry', notably in transactions, financings, JOLCOs, and sales and leasebacks, and Geoffrey Kass who is based in its Chicago office.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey R. Kass (Chicago); Ji Woon Kim


‘Ji Kim is not only a lawyer, but he is also a brilliant businessman. He is qualified for English and New York law, which is a big advantage in the aviation sector.’

‘The Vedder Singapore team is tight-knit and led with paternal authority by Ji Woon Kim, who ensures he’s on top of all his associates’ matters to provide guidance and leadership as needed. The associates are all very capable and incredibly hard-working!’

‘Vedder Price is commercially oriented, very client-focused, and is able to offer a pragmatic, market-driven approach to the legal advice they offer.’

‘I have been working with the Vedder Price team since 2018. Ever since Vedder Price has been one of my preferred law firms. They are very professional, swift on execution, commercial mind,ed and goal-oriented.

‘Ji Woon Kim is the partner I have collaborated with over the past 5 years on multiple transactions. He is very knowledgeable and emphasizing deliverables, highly trustworthy with high integrity.’

‘The Vedder Price Singapore practice’s regional expertise and vast know-how in all aspects of aircraft financing transactions make it unique. This includes, among other areas of expertise: drafting and negotiating aircraft leases, loan agreements, subleases, charter and wet lease agreements, sale and purchase agreements, aircraft/engine warranty and MRO agreements, aircraft registration and deregistration documentation. Additionally, Vedder Price Singapore’s practice boasts expertise in restructurings, compliance, and sanctions issues, LIBOR remediation, and Cape Town convention queries and has mastered the legal and logistical issues that banks, ECAs, airlines, security and indenture trustees and operating lessors face in aircraft finance transactions.’

‘Vedder Price Singapore is the legal counsel I would recommend working within any aviation deal.’

Ji Woon Kim is a solution provider with a partnership mindset, who is armed with global and in-depth knowledge and experience in the aviation industry.’

Key clients

AerDragon Aviation Leasing


BNP Paribas


CDB Aviation

Citi Private Bank

Export-Import Bank of the United States

ING Bank

Jackson Square Aviation

KEB Hana Bank

Korea Development Bank


Nordic Aviation Capital


SMBC Aviation Capital

ST Engineering Aerospace Resources Pte. Ltd.


VMIC Co., Ltd.

Woori Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) in connection with two separate ECA-supported financings of a total of four 737MAX aircraft for Korean Air Lines involving ING Bank (for two aircraft) and Natixis/TD Bank (for two aircraft).
  • Acted for MUFG on the back-leveraged financing for two (2) A220 aircraft on lease to Air Baltic.
  • Advised KDB Bank on the finance lease transaction for Korean Air Lines and Bank of Communications Financial Leasing for two (2) B737 aircraft.