Banking and finance: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP is a huge market participant that dominates real estate finance and continues to be prominent in syndicated and bilateral loans, refinancings, and project and PPP financings. The team is very lender driven for a range of local, regional and international banks, along with a number of credit funds. The firm has built a further presence in Indonesia and Malaysia financings. Kok Chee Wai and Mark Hudspeth are giants of the market, with Aloysius NgJafe Ng and Lim Wei Ting also highly rated.

Practice head(s):

Kok Chee Wai; Mark Hudspeth

Testimonials

‘The firm is the market leader in Singapore with the sheer depth and strength of the practice. It maintains a very strong bench.’

‘The practice takes a holistic approach that offers comprehensive and innovative solutions to its clients like us. It has a deep bench of motivated and knowledgeable lawyers that never fail to provide top notch expertise and advice.’

‘Kok Chee Wai has a strong grasp of the transaction and was able to advise the bank on intricacies of the financing structure and highlight issues for banks to consider. Dealing with a demanding borrower, he was also able to negotiate on behalf of the bank effectively.’

‘Aloysius Ng has the ability to lead the negotiations on behalf of club banks. He is able to work quickly and systematically, guiding the banks whenever we need clarifications to the various turn of discussions.’

‘Lim Wei Ting has a sharp legal mind with an astute understanding of commercial considerations. He is a dedicated professional that you want on your side to give you an edge.’

‘Jafe Ng appreciates the client’s history, preferences and precedents and has an ability to propose and structure innovative and workable solutions.’

Work highlights

  • Advised OCBC, DBS and UOB on a S$1.3bn term loan and revolving loan facilities to Sim Lian (Treasure) to finance the en bloc acquisition and redevelopment of Tampines Court.
  • Advised HSBC, DBS, Maybank and SMBC on a S$1.25bn term loan to Ho Bee (One-North) to refinance existing facilities.
  • Advised Frasers Property on a S$1.2bn term loan facility to Frasers Property Aquamarine Trustee to refinance existing facilities.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP is at the forefront of big-ticket and high-value transactions, including those in the acquisition finance and real estate finance segments. The firm is routinely engaged in market-first financings and innovative transactions. The large team, which features six partners, also advises a wide range of lenders and borrowers. Susan Wong is a true market leader with a wealth of experience, known for her advice in big-ticket and innovative transactions. Alvin Chia is held in similarly high regard, while Christy Lim provides further senior-level firepower.

Practice head(s):

Susan Wong

Testimonials

‘The team is an extremely competent and professional group. The team has good bench depth, is very commercial oriented and backed by strong legal expertise and knowledge.’

‘Susan Wong is a guru, with a wealth of experience, is technically very good and fights tooth and nail for her clients.’

‘Alvin Chia has strong technical skills and wide experience, such that he is able to advise not only on the law, but also on practical and commercial matters. He grasps issues quickly and is able to provide concise explanations.’

Key clients

Raffles Medical Group

ARA Asset Management

CIMB Bank

Ascendas Group

Standard Chartered

United Overseas Bank

Lend Lease Investment Management

Keppel REIT

Frasers Centrepoint

Work highlights

  • Advised GuocoLand on a S$1.54bn loan to the borrowers, Wallich Residence, TPC Commercial and TPC Hotel for the continuing development of an integrated office, residential, hotel and retail space in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore.
  • Advised a club of lenders on a S$1.2bn green loan to Frasers Property Aquamarine Trustee for the refinancing of Frasers Tower, a premium Grade-A energy-efficient office tower with its own park and podium roof gardens, next to the Singapore central business district.
  • Advised a club of lenders on a $925m financing for the development of a commercial and residential site located at Holland Road, Singapore.

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP has healthy traditions in real estate finance, which has provided a platform for its leading current position in sustainability-linked loans and collective sales projects. Project and infrastructure finance is also an important element of the practice. Doreen Sim and Tan Joo Thye  are rated for general corporate lending, real estate finance and project finance. Janice Ngeow is another key name to note. 

Practice head(s):

Doreen Sim

Key clients

Sim Lian Treasure

FEC Skypark

Florence Development

Hotel Properties

Work highlights

  • Advised DBS Bank on CapitaLand’s landmark S$300m sustainability-linked loan, the first in Asia’s real estate sector.
  • Advised UOB and Hong Leong Finance on syndicated facilities for Kingsford Huray Development to finance its enbloc purchase and development of the former Normanton Park, which was sold en bloc for $830m and was one of the largest en bloc sales in 2017/2018.  
  • Advised SCB, CBA, ING, UOB, Maybank, ANZ and RHB on facilities of up to S$345m and A$175m to AIMS AMP Capital Industrial Reit and AA Reit Macquarie Park Investment Trust.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP is at the forefront of cross-border financings, including a significant portion of transactions under English law; the banking and finance team has a number of English- and foreign-qualified lawyers. It remains active in real estate and REIT financings, has a fine standing in financial services regulatory matters, is a growing presence in fintech, and is further developing its client base of local, regional and international banks. The highly rated Angela Lim continues to draw accolades, while Regina Liew is noted for financial services regulatory and fintech. Terence Choo and Nicholas How are also highly rated.

Practice head(s):

Angela Lim; Regina Liew

Work highlights

  • Advising The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and NEC Capital Solutions on the financing for the project to develop, construct, complete, own, operate and maintain a state of the art, high capacity fibre-optic submarine cable system connecting Japan, Guam and Australia.
  • Advised Asia Pacific Exchange and Asia Pacific Clear on the development of inter-connected trading and clearing procedures and policies to ensure an orderly, safe and efficient electronic trading platform and electronic clearing platform for an exchange and clearing house based in Singapore.
  • Advised Lu International (Singapore) Financial Asset Exchange on the launch of the international investment platform operated by the Singapore subsidiary of the Lufax Group, which runs the world’s largest retail digital wealth manager.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP has one of the largest teams in the market. It has strong connections to the top Singapore banks, a number of other Asian banks and a series of international banks. The team handles a sizeable volume of mid-market deals and a healthy share of big-ticket financings, including acquisition finance, refinancings and restructurings. It is also at the forefront of green and sustainability finance, having advised on a series of headline deals in this segment. Liew Kai Zee is hugely experienced, as is Stanley LimPok Eu Jin is also rated.

Practice head(s):

Liew Kai Zee

Work highlights

  • Advised CapitaLand Treasury on a S$300m multi-currency sustainability-linked loan from DBS Bank (DBS), the largest sustainability-linked loan in Asia’s real estate sector.
  • Advised a syndicate of creditors comprising financial institutions and investment funds on a group and debt reorganisation of a group of companies operating in more than 10 jurisdictions.
  • Advised SoftBank Group on its $500m investment in the OneWeb group.

Asia Practice LLC

Asia Practice LLC has a deep commitment to the banking and finance space, including structured trade finance, bilateral and syndicated loans, acquisition finance and real estate finance. The oil and gas sector is a particular forte of the team, which has impressed in cross-border and offshore deals. It has close connections to local, regional and international banks that have a presence in Singapore. Lee Chien Herr Jonathan Tan and Leon Low are prominent names.

Practice head(s):

Lee Chien Herr; Jonathan Tan; Leon Low

Testimonials

‘The team is able to respond to our request very quickly and propose feasible solutions. They are also very easy to contact and this helps immensely for deal closures. They also are able to help us with foreign law issues via their off-shore affiliates and contacts.’

‘Jonathan Tan is very approachable and always able to give good recommendations and solutions.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on syndicated loans to two borrowers within a real estate development group to finance their acquisition of land and the construction of two luxury resorts in the Maldives.
  • Advised a South Korean multi-national conglomerate on a refinancing for a South Korean multinational conglomerate.
  • Advised a global bank on the restructuring of a S$100m financing to the largest 24-hour departmental store in Singapore.

Drew & Napier LLC

Drew & Napier LLC has continued to develop its standing in traditional and non-traditional finance for both lenders and borrowers, including big local and regional banks, credit funds and major corporate borrowers. The firm is an active force in acquisition finance, refinancings, project finance and receivables financings. Pauline Chong  leads the practice, which includes Renu Menon; both have a fine record in syndicated and bilateral lending, acquisition finance and project finance.

Practice head(s):

Pauline Chong

Testimonials

‘The team is experienced in its field. It is also very prompt and responsive.’

‘The firm is very familiar with local rules and regulations and offers a full suite of services, which is very useful to the clients. The lawyers are highly trained and professional.’

‘Pauline Chong offers sound advice and is always helpful and professional.’

Key clients

United Overseas Bank

DBS Bank

Standard Chartered

CIMB Bank Berhad

CWT

Bank of China

Industrial and Commercial

Bank of China

COSCO Shipping International

Lee & Lee

Lee & Lee is an established name in real estate finance, especially property acquisition and development financings, including en-bloc acquisitions. The firm advises a range of real estate developers and investment vehicles, along with a number of Singapore and Asian lenders. Louise Tan is an experienced and respected lead partner.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC significantly reinforced its team with the hire of prominent player Guan Feng Chen  from White & Case Pte. Ltd.; Chen has an excellent record in Indonesia and restructuring-related financings, including debtor-in-possession financings. General banking, corporate finance, acquisition and leveraged finance and pre-IPO financings are also part of the wider team's practice. The team is working closely with a range of banks, credit funds and borrowers. Wai Ming Yap and Sin Teck Lim are also key names in the group.

Testimonials

‘Guan Feng Chen’s dedication to his clients is second to none. He is always available and a proven deal closer who will see a deal from start to finish. He possesses vast knowledge and experience in cross-border financing and restructuring, particularly in the Indonesian market.’

‘Guan Feng Chen has the perfect combination of legal expertise and commercial acumen. With him as my advisor, I know I am with a safe and trusted pair of hands.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO Bank

Credit Suisse

United Overseas Bank

PT. Trans Corpora

PT. Rajawali Corpora

Indorama Corporation

Oxley Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Ezion Holdings on the $1.5bn refinancing of various bi-lateral bank facilities.
  • Advised PT Trans Corpora on its first financing from International Finance Corporation (IFC).
  • Advising the trustee-manager of First Ship Lease Trust, a Singapore-listed shipping business trust, on the refinancing of existing S$120m senior debt.

CNPLaw LLP

CNPLaw LLP has a longstanding presence in the finance segment and continues to make an impression in conventional and alternative finance, including engagements from credit funds. Much of the firm's work is in the cross-border finance segment, particularly where there is a strong Singapore law component. The team, under Bill Jamieson and Li Fei Quek , has extensive regulatory expertise.

Practice head(s):

Quek Li Fei

Testimonials

‘The strong team is very efficient with allocation of time and tasks. It responds in a timely fashion and progress is properly scheduled.’

Key clients

Lend Collective

Beijing Enterprises Water Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Beijing Enterprises Water Group on a corporate guarantee by members of the UEEV group connected to a S$95m project financing by MUFG Bank and OCBC for the BEWG-UESH NEWater Plant.
  • Advised Lend Collective on a cross-border financing involving an Australian lender and an Australian borrower with a Singapore parent company.

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC

K&L Gates Straits Law LLC provides Singapore and international legal advice under one roof, this following the January 2019 merger between international firm K&L Gates and Singapore's Straits Law Practice LLC. The Singapore banking team has a strong leaning towards India, where it has close connections to the local banks and is especially active in corporate loans, and trade and commodity finance; wind energy finance is a growth area. Chairman of the Singapore office M Rajaram leads the banking team.

Practice head(s):

M Rajaram

Legis Point LLC

Legis Point LLC has a background in asset finance, providing a platform for a wider general finance practice and considerable expertise in regulatory and compliance. The firm is active in bilateral and syndicated lending, acquisition finance and real estate finance. Young Chee Foong leads the small team.

Practice head(s):

Young Chee Foong

Key clients

MUFG Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank

BOC Aviation

Lloyds Bank

Mizuho Bank

Loo & Partners LLP

Loo & Partners LLP has a fine banking and finance heritage, representing a number of Singapore and foreign banks, including a series of Chinese and Taiwanese lenders. Asset finance is a forte of the team, though it is active across the financing product range and in the financial regulatory field; the firm is especially active in the fintech space. Loo Choon Chiaw is hugely experienced, noted for his transactional and regulatory experience.

Practice head(s):

Loo Choon Chiaw

Testimonials

‘A wonderful and professional legal team.’

‘Loo Choon Chiaw is approachable and client oriented.’

Key clients

Bank of Taiwan

China Development Bank

First Commercial Bank

Korea Development Bank

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Shanghai Pudong Development Bank on a new revolving loan facility to Karara Mining, which owns one of the largest iron ore reserves in Australia.
  • Advised Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank on a $30m revolving credit facility to Halcyon Agri Corporation.
  • Advised Land Bank of Taiwan on a cross-border revolving loan facility to Yuanta Securities (Thailand).

Oon & Bazul LLP

Oon & Bazul LLP is noted for trade and commodity finance, restructurings and refinancing. Compliance and regulatory expertise is also a forte for the firm. It has a wealth of banking relationships around Asia, especially amongst a number of Japanese and Indian banks. Ting Chi Yen leads the department and has a wide-ranging practice for a range of international lenders.

Practice head(s):

Ting Chi Yen

Key clients

Various Japanese banks and shipping companies

C&P Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised C&P Holdings on the S$95m sale of a logistics facility at 15 Greenwich Drive to ESR-REIT, and the collateral discharge of existing bank financing and security on the property along with the assignment of lease with JTC and sub-tenants.

Q.E.D. Law Corporation

Q.E.D. Law Corporation is an established name in banking and finance, particularly in real estate and REIT financings. The team features four partners that have extensive experience in this segment. Clients include a range of lenders and borrowers, especially real estate players. Susan Kong is hugely experienced in financings in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region. Marilyn Goh and Linda Cai provide additional real estate finance, project finance and general banking expertise.

Practice head(s):

Susan Kong

Testimonials

‘The firm responds to us promptly and thoroughly and their work has been diligent and of good quality. The team is also courteous and friendly.’

‘Susan Kong has vast knowledge and experience in banking and finance and real estate. All the time, she finds out the solution to overcome the various issues.’

Key clients

Ascott Group

Mapletree Group

United Overseas Bank

PT Bank UOB Indonesia

Work highlights

  • Advised Ascott Capital and Sapphire Global Investment on a $15m term loan facility from Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation to finance the acquisition of an 80% stake in Synergy Global Housing.

TSMP Law Corporation

TSMP Law Corporation is noted for corporate real estate financing, including land acquisition financing and land development financing. The firm advises both borrowers and lenders. Jennifer Chia is a corporate real estate specialist with an extensive finance background.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Chia; June Ho

Key clients

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

Oxley Group

United Overseas Bank

Ineos Group

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank

ValueMax Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) on a S$208m term loan facility to Westgate Commercial, a joint venture of Low Keng Huat (Singapore) and Sun Venture Group; about 100 units of office space at Westgate, Jurong, were used as security.
  • Advised OCBC Singapore on a S$225m facility to HPL Resorts (Maldives) and Leisure Frontiers as borrowers.
  • Advising Oxley Beryl on a S$483m term loan facility to finance the purchase of Chevron House.

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance

Virtus Law LLP - Stephenson Harwood (Singapore) Alliance has a history in asset financings, which has evolved into a broader practice involving trade finance, general banking, and restructuring and insolvency. The team is also active in bank regulatory matters and re-domiciliation. Colin Jarraw and Jason Yang are versatile finance lawyers.

Practice head(s):

Colin Jarraw; Jason Yang

Key clients

MUFG Bank

Mizuho Bank

Danske Bank

National Bank Of Fujairah

BNP Paribas

PT Bank UOB Indonesia

Work highlights

  • Advised Industrial Bank Co (Hong Kong Branch) on trade finance facilities of up to $300m to E-Commodities Holdings.
  • Advised Agricultural Bank of China (Hong Kong Branch) on an extension of trade finance facilities of up to $300m to Advaita Trade Private.
  • Advised Danske Bank on a $200m secured term loan facility for Stolt Tankers.

Withers KhattarWong LLP

Withers KhattarWong LLP is an established name in the banking and finance segment, with strong levels of activity in real estate finance, project finance, receivables finance and distressed debt transactions. The firm advises a range of Singapore, Asian and international lenders. Pearl Lim leads the six-partner banking, finance and property department. Kenneth Szeto is also highly rated.

Testimonials

‘Performance-wise, the firm exhibits keen knowledge and fast turnaround times in banking transactions including local real estate related financing matters. The firm has demonstrated that it can punch above its weight when compared to the larger firms out there.’

Key clients

DBS Bank

Bank of Singapore

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

United Overseas Bank

CIMB Bank

JP Morgan Chase Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Boustead Projects on a secured S$74m land loan and construction loan facilities to partially finance the acquisition of an industrial leasehold land parcel to be developed into a high specification multi-tenanted industrial building.
  • Advised United Overseas Bank on senior secured credit facilities for Snakepit-BP, a joint venture entity between Razer and Boustead Projects, to partially finance the acquisition and subsequent development of a new development in Singapore’s research and business park.
  • Advised United Overseas Bank on secured S$74m credit facilities for Boustead Projects, to partially finance the acquisition of a managed industrial leasehold land parcel to be developed into a high specification multi-tenanted industrial building.

Wong Tan & Molly Lim LLC

Wong Tan & Molly Lim LLC frequently acts as Singapore counsel on cross-border financings. The small firm, which is in a Formal Law Alliance with Watson Farley & Williams LLP, operates in multiple financing segments and draws on further expertise in the capital markets arena; it is active in syndicated finance, general corporate lending and asset finance. The firm advises a range of Asian and international banks and lenders, a number of Hong Kong- and Singapore-listed corporates, and numerous multinationals. Ong Beng Hong and Tan Swee Gek are the key figures in the team.