Banking and finance: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP is at the forefront of traditional domestic and cross-border financings, while setting the standards in new products such as sustainable finance. It continues to dominate the big-ticket real estate finance segment, illustrated by it representing the lenders on the S$8.67bn financing to Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Syndicated and bilateral loans, refinancings, and project finance also feature strongly. Department heads Kok Chee Wai and Mark Hudspeth have an excellent record in big-ticket financings, including syndicated lending and project finance. Lim Wei Ting has now emerged as a major player in the market, in real estate finance and other key areas.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hudspeth; Kok Chee Wai

Other key lawyers:

Aloysius Ng; Jafe Ng; Lim Wei Ting

Testimonials

‘Good overall market knowledge and depth of experience.’

‘A&G is our go-to law firm for Singapore law related transactions, especially for event-driven deals and slightly less vanilla deals.

‘The individuals we work with are characterised by quick turnaround times coupled with sound transaction advice that seeks to find a balance between legal technical versus commercial.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on the S$8.67bn facilities to Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. This was the single largest Singapore dollar financing in 2019.
  • Advised the lenders on the S$2.5bn committed revolving credit facility to Singtel Group Treasury, a subsidiary of Singtel Telecommunications.
  • Advised DBS, SCB and UOB on the approximately S$945m term loan facilities to Ophir-Rochor Commercial. The green loan was structured in accordance with Ophir-Rochor Commercial’s Green Loan Framework, established under LMA/APLMA Green Loan Principles.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP has a sizeable market share of major domestic and regional banking and finance transactions. The firm represents an array of influential lenders, including local, regional, and international banks. It is also close to alternative lenders, corporate borrowers, and private equity sponsors. Susan Wong is at the forefront of the market, earning accolades for her work in acquisition finance, syndicated lending, refinancings, and project finance, among others. Senior figure Alvin Chia has a fine record in structured lending, refinancings, acquisition finance, real estate finance, and project finance. Christy Lim also has an impressive record in headline and complex financings.

Key clients

Raffles Medical Group

Far East Organization

ARA Asset Management

GuocoLand Limited

CIMB Bank

BNP Paribas

Ascendas Group

DBS Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Parkway Holdings

United Overseas Bank

UOL Group Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Lend Lease Investment Management

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

Keppel REIT (K-REIT)

TCC Assets

Temasek Holdings

Frasers Centrepoint

Khazanah Nasional

City Developments

Perennial Real Estate

Goldman Sachs

EFG Bank

Morgan Stanley Asia International

Credit Suisse

Société Générale

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP has maintained its prominence in real estate finance, while seeing continued growth in green loans and sustainability-linked finance. Islamic finance is another burgeoning area for the Singapore team, which is close to a number of Singapore, regional and international banks. Doreen Sim is a leader in real estate finance and is gaining recognition for her work in green loans. Tan Joo Thye is recommended for energy sector financings. Janice Ngeow is noted for Islamic financing structures, ship finance, and trade finance.

Practice head(s):

Doreen Sim; Joo Thye Tan

Key clients

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

DBS Bank

Citibank

Work highlights

  • Acted as Singapore counsel for the lender parties for the refinancing of an existing loan facility to a Singapore company operating one of the largest independent petroleum storage terminals in Singapore.
  • Acted as lead counsel to OCBC in three sets of bilateral onshore/offshore financing to a Singapore special purpose vehicle to finance the acquisition of shares in three property holding PRC companies.
  • Acted for the borrower in its club financing from a syndicate of banks of more than S$300m for the acquisition and development of Manulife Centre, Singapore.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP continues to be recognised for cross-border deals, including financings that involve Southeast Asia jurisdictions where the firm has a presence. Key fortes range from real estate to energy and acquisition finance. Project finance, green loans, and hospitality sector financings are also areas of strength. It advised on the first green loan in ASEAN for a portfolio of rooftop solar projects, compliant with the Green Loan Principles issued in 2018 by the Loan Market Association and the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association. The firm continues to make an impression in financial services regulatory matters, notably in fintech and digital currencies. Regina Liew is a leader in financial services regulatory matters, while Angela Lim is noted for cross-border finance, including acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance, and structured financings.

Practice head(s):

Angela Lim; Regina Liew

Testimonials

‘The R&T team is very much in tune with market developments and is always able to advise on the market practice/standard to client.’

‘Exceptionally professional and time effective team that is willing to go the extra mile in the best interests of their clients.’

‘Angela Lim stands out as one of the serious banking and finance practitioners in the region.’

‘Ng Sey Ming  has valuable experience in cross border transactions involving Indonesian borrowers. His legal work is delivered in a prompt and effective manner. He provides ad-hoc legal advice above and beyond the current scope of engagement.’

‘Ho Mei Shi is extremely knowledgeable and always provides good legal advice in banking deals.’

‘Chor Zhi Chao is an outstanding lawyer who anticipates his clients’ needs. He is very proactive in getting matters resolved.’

‘Lee Xin Mei demonstrates good compassion for clients, great communication skills, strong legal knowledge, and is also commercially savvy of M&A and financing transactions.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for the bookrunning mandated lead arrangers and the syndicate of lenders in a $1.2bn banking facility granted to Mercuria Asia Group Holdings and Mercuria Energy Trading.
  • Acting for the banks and financial institutions on the restructuring of debts of the Ezion Group.
  • Advised Sunseap Commercial Assets on a S$50m loan from ING Bank for the construction and development of a portfolio of rooftop solar projects in Singapore, the first green loan in ASEAN for a portfolio of rooftop solar projects that is compliant with the Green Loan Principles issued in 2018 by the Loan Market Association and the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP has committed a great deal of resources and senior expertise to maintaining its illustrious traditions in the banking and finance sector. This has been rewarded by an enviable client base of Singapore, regional and international banks, enabling the team to inhabit the high value and mid-market spaces. The broad-based practice ranges include particular strengths in acquisition finance, structured finance, trade and commodity finance, REIT finance, and Islamic finance. Debt restructuring and recovery is another particular forte. The group operates in the domestic Singapore market and is active in cross-border financings across Southeast Asia. Liew Kai Zee is hugely experienced, while Stanley Lim is noted for bilateral and syndicated loans, collective sale financing, trade finance, project finance, and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Liew Kai Zee

Other key lawyers:

Stanley Lim; Pok Eu Jin

Testimonials

Professional, knowledgeable, and in tune with the latest regulations. Constantly providing updates, feedback, and classes to keep clients informed of the latest developments.

‘Stanley Lim is approachable, helpful, knowledgeable and responsive.’

Asia Practice LLC

Asia Practice LLC's foundations remain centred on banking and finance with notable strength in real estate and construction finance, trade and commodities finance, and ship finance. Real estate and construction finance was a growth segment for the firm prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. It continues to represent a range of local, regional and international banks. Leon LowJonathan Tan, and Lee Chien Herr provide a variety of skills, though are genuine banking and finance specialists.

Practice head(s):

Leon Low; Jonathan Tan

Work highlights

  • Advised a club of banks on a $285m receivables finance facility.
  • Advised the Singapore branch of a major Malaysian Bank on a $211m trade facility.
  • Counsel to Amer International Group on a S$166m refinancing.

Drew & Napier LLC

Drew & Napier LLC has a well-developed banking and finance practice, centred on key segments such as project finance, acquisition finance, and real estate. Restructuring and green loans are also important areas for the core team. The firm advises a wide range of Singapore, regional and international banks, along with corporate borrowers and financial sponsors. Pauline Chong has an excellent record in bilateral and syndicated lending and project finance. Renu Menon is also recognised for bilateral and syndicated lending, acquisition finance and debt restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Pauline Chong

Other key lawyers:

Renu Menon

Testimonials

‘The team is highly professional in their dealings and advice. They are responsive and approachable in meeting timeline and providing solutions and alternatives to protect the interest of the bank.’

‘Pauline Chong is highly competent and provides sound advice. Her follow up actions are good and timely.’

Key clients

United Overseas Bank

DBS Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Far East Organization Centre

CIMB Bank

Guthrie GTS

Tuan Sing Holdings

Overseas Union Enterprise

Bank of China

Bank of China

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

COSCO SHIPPING International

The Bank of East Asia

Meinhardt Group International

Hotel Properties

CWT

Credit Industriel et Commercial

Work highlights

  • Acted for property developer Tuan Sing Holdings and its wholly owned subsidiary Superluck Properties on the establishment of a S$500m secured multicurrency MTN programme.

Lee & Lee

Lee & Lee has maintained an impressive flow of engagements in the real estate finance segment, including green loans. The core team is active in financing real estate portfolio acquisitions and developments including en bloc deals. Louise Tan is hugely experienced and prominent in the market.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC impresses with its extensive expertise in Singapore, English and US law. Acquisition and leveraged finance, corporate finance, and general banking are at the heart of the practice. The group has close connections to international banks, development banks, credit funds, and Indonesian corporates. Wai Ming Yap and Sin Teck Lim provide further senior-level and versatile expertise. The team lost Guan Feng Chen to Withers KhattarWong LLP in August 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Wai Ming Yap; Sin Teck Lim 

Key clients

Indospace Logistics Parks III

Ezion Holdings

CIMB Bank

EFA RET Management

Work highlights

  • Represented Fund III as borrower in connection with a $80m fund financing from ANZ Bank to Fund III to finance its ongoing working capital requirements.
  • Represented Ezion in the $1.5bn refinancing of various bilateral bank facilities granted by various banks to Ezion and its subsidiaries.
  • Assisted CIMB Singapore with a new Islamic Structured Deposit based on the Shariah principles of Commodity Murabahah via Tawarruq (commodity trading arrangement), Musawama (commodity trading and profit sharing agreement) and Bai Al Sarf (foreign currency exchange). This new structure deposit has yet to be launched in Singapore.

CNPLaw LLP

CNPLaw LLP has an impressive history in transactional and regulatory matters in the banking and finance segment. This includes Singapore and cross-border financings under Singapore law. The firm is making headway in fintech and the digital asset space. Quek Li Fei and Bill Jamieson are senior practitioners with extensive banking and finance expertise, while Wong Pei-Ling was elected to the partnership in January 2020.

Other key lawyers:

Bill Jamieson; Wong Pei-Ling

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP

Duane Morris & Selvam LLP's extensive resources and senior expertise in Singapore brings it a range of banking and finance engagements, including project finance, structured lending, and bank regulatory matters. The firm represents a range of Singapore and Asia-based banks, along with a number of major corporates. Leon Yee and Ramiro Rodriguez are versatile practitioners with considerable experience in banking and finance.

Practice head(s):

Leon Yee

Other key lawyers:

Ramiro Rodriguez 

Key clients

Sembcorp Utilities

Work highlights

  • Advised Sembcorp Utilities on its $250m financing of its gas fired power plant.

Harry Elias Partnership

Harry Elias Partnership established a fully-fledged banking and finance practice through the hire of Gerard Ng from RHTLaw Asia LLP in 2019. This puts the firm in a strong position for fintech, payment services, and digital currency-related transactions. Along with representing a number of new economic institutions, the team is also active in traditional financings, including receivables facilities, acquisition finance, and structured lending. The firm separated from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2020.

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC's banking and finance practice is largely centred on India-related business, including Indian businesses investing in Singapore and Southeast Asia, and non-Indian corporates moving into India itself. Moreover, the firm represents numerous Singapore branches of Indian banks. It has experienced a notable upswing in restructuring and insolvency engagements and is further noted for its activities in non-bank lending. M Rajaram has four decades of experience in banking and finance practice.

Practice head(s):

M. Rajaram

Other key lawyers:

Ahmad Khalis; Lai-Foong Chan

Key clients

UCO Bank (Singapore)

Indian Overseas Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel for UCO Bank, an Indian bank with a Singapore branch, in liquidating various residential properties it owned in an asset restructuring exercise.
  • Acted as counsel for IOB, an Indian bank headquartered in Chennai, which owns a Singapore asset portfolio, in liquidating various residential properties it owned in an asset restructuring exercise.

Legis Point LLC

Legis Point LLC has a small but rounded practice operating in multiple areas, including asset finance, acquisition finance and real estate finance. Young Chee Foong is an experienced practitioner and leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Young Chee Foong

Key clients

MUFG Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank

BOC Aviation

INTL FCStone

Lloyds Bank

Mizuho Bank

LGT Bank

Addleshaw Goddard

Loo & Partners LLP

Loo & Partners LLP has a small but versatile banking and finance practice, operating across the field, from asset finance to regulatory and compliance matters. The firm is closely associated with Chinese and Taiwanese lenders. Loo Choon Chiaw leads the firm.

Practice head(s):

Loo Choon Chiaw 

Oon & Bazul LLP

Oon & Bazul LLP's compact team is primarily known for trade, commodities, and receivables finance. The firm advises a range of commodity traders and banks, including a number of key Indian banks that are located in Singapore. It also depends on a solid flow of referral engagements from law firms in France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Japan, and other jurisdictions. Ship finance, fintech, and payment systems also form a significant part of the banking and finance practice. Ting Chi Yen is an experienced name in trade and commodities finance.

Practice head(s):

Ting Chi Yen

Q.E.D. Law Corporation

Q.E.D. Law Corporation is primarily recognised for its experience in real estate and REIT financings. It represents a number of key lenders and real estate groups. The firm is also active in general corporate lending. Susan Kong has a huge amount of experience in Singapore and Southeast Asia and South Asia financings.

Practice head(s):

Susan Kong

Other key lawyers:

Marilyn Goh; Linda Cai

Testimonials

‘Nimble and able to react quickly to requests. Especially good at advising on non-plain vanilla deals.’

‘Susan Kong is a veteran lawyer who has played a leading role in deals with difficult structures.’

Key clients

Ascott Group

United Overseas Bank

PT Bank UOB Indonesia

Kajima Group

TSMP Law Corporation

TSMP Law Corporation continues to focus on corporate real estate financing, particularly land acquisition financing and land development financing. It represents several of the key Singapore banks and a number of developer conglomerates. More recently, the firm has turned its attention to deals involving foreign investors targeting industrial and commercial property assets in Singapore. In addition, it remains active in working capital facilities for multinational clients. Jennifer Chia is an experienced figure in the real estate finance space.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Chia; June Ho

Testimonials

‘Good follow up and professional in their dealings. Constantly updating clients on the latest developments.’

‘Jennifer Chia is highly meticulous and reliable. She is professional, approachable, and responsive.’

Key clients

INEOS Styrolution APAC

Pan Asia Realty Advisors (Singapore)

Ashurst ADTLaw

Oxley Beryl

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Provided Singapore counsel to the INEOS group in its issuance of a €500m senior secured instrument.
  • Acted for OCBC Bank as lender in a S$455m green club loan for the purchase of a 15-storey office tower in the Singapore CBD.
  • Acted for the borrower in its refinancing of S$483m credit facilities granted by a consortium of lenders.

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance's traditional strengths lie in shipping and offshore finance, aviation, and structured finance. This forms the basis for a broader banking and finance offering, including acquisition finance, project finance, and refinancings. Restructurings and insolvencies are also key areas for the team. The firm continues to expand its lender, corporate borrower, and sponsor client base. Colin Jarraw and Jason Yang are versatile banking and finance specialists.

Practice head(s):

Colin Jarraw; Jason Yang

Testimonials

‘The team is very helpful and prompt in their turnaround times.’

‘Colin Jarraw is an experienced partner. He was very responsive and was able to provide insightful advice to our queries in a timely manner.’

Key clients

Australian and New Zealand Banking Group

Think Gas Investments

The State Bank of India

Nordic Trustee

PT Bank UOB Indonesia

MBSB Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

DNB

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing

FIMBank

ING Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised DNB Asia and DNB Bank ASA on the transfer of their $2bn  loan portfolio to their head office in Norway.
  • Advised Bank of Communications Financial Leasing in connection with the $900m lease financing of the cruise ship Genting Dream.
  • Advised The State Bank of India in a share purchase agreement connected to certain banking facilities made to an Indian-based company engaged in the development of a road project in India

Withers KhattarWong LLP

Withers KhattarWong LLP is widely recognised for its work in the private capital segment, including facilities for high net-worth individuals and their businesses. In addition, it has a fine record in real estate finance, including acquisition and development-related facilities. Distressed debt, project finance, and receivables finance are also core fortes. It represents a range of Singapore, regional and international lenders. The team enhanced its cross-border banking and finance as well as restructuring and insolvency expertise following the recent recruit of  Guan Feng Chen who joined from Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC in August 2021.

Practice head(s):

Kenneth Szeto

Other key lawyers:

Guan Feng Chen

Testimonials

‘The firm exhibits keen knowledge and fast turnaround times in banking transactions including real estate related financing matters. Although smaller in size than the largest local firms, the firm has demonstrated that it can punch above its weight.’

Key clients

DBS Bank Ltd.

Bank of Singapore

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

United Overseas Bank

CIMB Bank

Malayan Banking

Standard Chartered Bank

Credit Suisse

JP Morgan Chase Bank

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for the client in relation to banking facilities of S$168.75m  to finance the acquisition of Bay Hotel Singapore as well as for asset enhancement initiatives to be carried out at the hotel after the completion of the acquisition.
  • Acted for DBS Bank in the extension of the S$210m project financing to a Singapore borrower in relation to the development of Centrium Square.
  • Acted for Boustead Projects as borrower in the S$74m secured credit facilities from United Overseas Bank to partially finance the acquisition of the land and the development of the project to develop a high-specification multi-tenanted industrial building.

Wong Tan & Molly Lim LLC

Wong Tan & Molly Lim LLC is principally known for ship finance and benefits strongly from its formal law alliance with Watson Farley & Williams LLP. Corporate facilities are also a key part of the practice, which advises a range of international lenders and borrowers. Ong Beng Hong and Tan Swee Gek are experienced banking and finance practitioners.

Key clients

Prime Partners Corporate Finance

Sing Investment Finance

UOB Kay Hian

Sumitomo Banking Corporation (SMBC) Group

ABN AMRO

KSH Holdings

Hiap Hoe

JB Foods

New Silkroutes Group