Investment funds: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP is at the forefront of private funds and retail funds, despite the recent retirement of Tan Sai Hong and the departure of Danny Tan. Shieh Lin Lai and Sarah Teo have stepped up to lead the retail funds side of the practice while managing partner Jerry Koh and Jonathan Lee are the senior names on the private funds front. Given the firm’s wide-ranging corporate relationships, it has landed a series of major engagements in the Variable Capital Company (VCC) segment, along with additional growth in technology, real estate, sustainability and debt funds. In the retail space, the team is increasingly active in ESG-driven funds, while the wider group is also building its experience in blockchain and tokenisation; it advised Elite Partners Capital on the establishment of Elite Logistics Fund with units in the fund being tokenised and issued through iSTOX, the digital securities platform.

Practice head(s):

Jerry Koh

Testimonials

‘The team is very solutions orientated, yet practical, in their approach to regulatory/legal challenges that are presented to us in Singapore. Their innovation is their ability to offer solutions, which has helped our firm deliver on arguably its bigger strategic initiatives locally.’

‘They know the firm, the fund, the history (sometimes better than we do) which is an important value-add as they understand the context and perspective of each engagement.’

‘The team works well together and for a client, you can deal with any individual and know you’ll get a consistent delivery. Leadership is strong, and the team is efficient too.’

‘Responsive and professional team, extensive knowledge in the investment funds and asset management space.’

‘Shieh Lin Lai has been the stand out partner for me. The technical regulatory/legal knowledge, coupled with her ability to build and manage relationships – importantly this has given us a high level of confidence and trust in A&G.’

‘Special shout-out to Shieh Lin Lai, who has been able to provide that continuity and instil the same within the team. She has always been prompt and willing to share her extensive experience to provide practical advice. Working with her and her team has been amazing.’

‘The team led by Jerry Koh with several partners offer a complete and wide range of expertise that is able to help with every aspect of fund and investment activities. The team has the largest share of the Singapore market, which gives the team deep and extensive experience from sheer caseload coverage. Their extensive network through engagements with regulators, other adjacent professional service providers is also a very significant advantage in their ability to work seamlessly across various parties to deliver efficient services to their clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advised EAAA, the manager of Edelweiss Special Opportunities Fund III and the general partner of ESOF III, as Singapore counsel on the establishment and final closing of ESOF III, which raised $900m.
  • Advised NTCP, as transaction/fund counsel, on the closing of its second fund, Novo Tellus PE Fund 2.
  • Advised AIAIM, as transaction/fund counsel, on the establishment of a private fund platform, AIA VCC, which is a Singapore umbrella variable capital company (VCC).

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has a principle emphasis on private funds, most notably funds formation and regulatory engagements. It is at the forefront of the trend to bring funds onshore into Singapore. It has experienced further growth in private equity funds, along with an increase in M&A and joint-venture arrangements. Arnold Tan has an outstanding reputation in the market, thanks to his experience and commitment to the investment funds segment. Anne Yeo is also highly rated, particularly for her regulatory expertise. Jasmine Chew and Philip Yeo are key names amongst the next generation.

Practice head(s):

Arnold Tan; Anne Yeo

Other key lawyers:

Jasmine Chew; Philip Yeo

Testimonials

‘Hard working, always busy, the go-to guys for fund establishment in Singapore. A very good blend of both understanding the regulatory and technical aspects of fund structuring and also the practical aspects.’

‘The investment funds team is highly professional and technically proficient. Despite the pandemic, they continue to provide timely updates on regulatory changes and are readily available for advice.’

‘They are commercially-minded and provide comprehensive advice when required.’

‘Arnold Tan – Hard working, switched on, innovative, creative and just happens to be a super nice guy.’

‘Arnold Tan – a clear leader in the field. His knowledge, experience and expertise are market leading and he has earned a reputation in the field of being a leader of the industry and is well trusted by clients. Arnold’s experience is second to none.’

‘Anne Yeo is a thorough and dedicated legal advisor who has a deep understanding and experience in the industry as a Singapore legal and regulatory adviser. She is well known by the market and is a leader in her field.’

‘Anne Yeo – the queen of the regulatory world.’

‘Jasmine Chew – Jasmine is an experienced practitioner with a commercial approach to matters. Jasmine has deep knowledge of the Singapore legal and regulatory framework and provides added value to her clients.’

‘Philip Yeo – responsible, good sector knowledge, commercial, willing to travel the extra mile.’

Key clients

Havenport Asset Management Pte Ltd

Tahan Capital Management Pte Ltd

Amansa Capital Pte Ltd

New Silk Road Investment Pte Ltd

Unison Capital Management Pte Ltd

RV Capital Management Pte Ltd

Nuvest Capital Pte Ltd

Mizuho Asia Partners Pte Ltd

Griha Pte Limited

Beenext

Drew & Napier LLC

Drew & Napier LLC has extensive experience in Variable Capital Company (VCC) structures, having worked intensively in this area since 2015. In the wider field, the firm has an impressive record in open-ended funds. The team is also recognised for its engagements in real estate funds and REITs, debt and private credit funds, and pre-IPO investing. Petrus Huang, who has experience with the open-ended funds regime and in real estate funds and Ron Cheng co-head the team. The latter is well versed in alternative investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Petrus Huang; Ron Cheng

Testimonials

‘Based on my experience working with Drew & Napier LLC so far, they are extremely knowledgeable about fund structures and investment vehicles. They also keep themselves up to date on the various developments within the industry. They provide professional advice and guide clients on practical issues. ’

‘Drew and Napier LLC went above and beyond to provide exceptional legal services and advice to my firm. When presented with complex and unconventional cases, the team at Drew and Napier LLC were able to comprehend, navigate and provide us with tailored solutions quickly and professionally. In addition, we have received invaluable industry insight and advice from them to improve on our investment product. We have found communications and reply to be almost immediate and work delivered in a timely manner. Legal fees are transparent with all indicative fees being advised upfront. The team at Drew and Napier LLC also provides us with consistent updates on the fees throughout the cases. We are honoured to be a beneficiary of the hard work and professionalism of a truly exceptional team.’

‘In particular, Ron Cheng, whom I work closely with, has demonstrated that he has a strong grasp of the legal matters for fund structures. Rather than just providing template advice, he would provide advice tailored to the client’s situation and would also highlight the practical matters which clients have to take note of. Ron is also extremely responsive and is able to put across complex legal issues to clients in a clear and concise manner.’

‘Ron Cheng – his expertise and ability to navigate through complex and unconventional fund structures is admirable. He provides honest and insightful opinions on how we can improve on our work which we are forever grateful. I also truly admire his work ethic and how he is always there for his client even when he was on leave.’

Key clients

Raffles Venture Partners

Harvest Fund Management Company

PT. Nikko Sekuritas Indonesia

Citicorp Trustee (Singapore) Limited

OurCrowd Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

UBS Bank AG Investment Funds (Singapore branch)

Golden Horse Fund Management Pte. Ltd.

SG Trust Asia Ltd

Payfazz

TIH Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in a significant investment into one of Singapore’s pioneer digital lending platforms.
  • Advised a client on the establishment of a Singapore private credit fund, as well as its underlying loan transactions to a private borrower.
  • Acted for multiple clients on the establishment of umbrella variable capital companies and sub funds.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP remains prominent in the REIT segment, along with having a growing presence in VCCs. The firm has advised a series of Singapore fund managers on the establishment of Singapore umbrella VCC funds along with Cayman Islands limited partnership funds. Tan Woon Hum is an established name in the market. Andrea Ng is another senior practitioner with an excellent record in REITs.

Practice head(s):

Tan Woon Hum

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Ng

Work highlights

  • Acted for an Information Technology Consultancy in the establishment of a Singapore umbrella VCC fund to be managed by a Singapore fund manager with the objective of providing guarantees and/or loans to borrowers in Asia.
  • Acted for HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited, the trustee of CapitaLand Mall Trust and CapitaLand Commercial Trust in the proposed merger of CMT and CCT.
  • Advised DBS Trustee Limited on REIT Trustee’s duties, following an event of default on Eagle Hospitality REIT’s $341m syndicated loan, triggered by the failure of Urban Commons.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP is focused on the institutional funds market with an extensive record in private equity, for both domestic and international fund managers. The firm has also developed a burgeoning venture capital funds practice, principally linked to Indonesia’s high-growth technology sector. Moreover, the firm has deep experience in real estate and infrastructure funds. Low Kah Keong is one of few funds specialist amongst the Singapore firms to have strong connections to international private equity funds. Felicia Marie Ng is another experienced figure, including in the real estate, infrastructure and venture capital spaces.

Practice head(s):

Low Kah Keong

Other key lawyers:

Felicia Marie Ng

Key clients

TPG Capital, L.P.

KKR Asia Limited.

Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited

L Catterton

Lendlease Investment Management

B Capital Group

East Ventures

Indies Capital Partners

Morgan Stanley Real Estate

Silver Lake Partners

ABC World Asia Pte Ltd

CapitaLand Limited

Jungle Ventures

Tower Capital Asia

Redbadge Pacific

Work highlights

  • Acted as Singapore counsel to GLP in the establishment of GLP Japan Income Fund, Japan’s largest private open-ended logistics real estate income fund.
  • Acted as Singapore counsel to Clime Capital Management in the establishment of the South East Asia Clean Energy Facility, the world’s first high-risk philanthropic fund to invest in clean energy projects across South East Asia.
  • Advised Temasek Trust, Pavilion Capital and Seletar Fund Investments as sponsors on the establishment of ABC World Asia Fund I LP, an impact investment fund focused on Asian markets.

CNPLaw LLP

CNPLaw LLP has an established record in open-end and closed-end funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds and mutual funds. The team is also noted for its funds formation and regulatory expertise, and the firm is increasingly active in the open-ended VCC space. Rounded lawyer Bill Jamieson is a specialist in Singapore and international law matters, with extensive expertise in cross-border matters. Amit Dhume provides further specialism in funds formation and regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Bill Jamieson; Amit Dhume

Key clients

Dios Asset Management Pte Ltd

Impact Capital Asset Management Pte Ltd

Blue Ashva Global VCC

Hera Capital Partners Pte Ltd

Hera Capital Partners Holdings V Pte Ltd

NAV Fund Services (Singapore) Private Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Dios Asset Management Pte Ltd on the formation of Dios AM VCC, an open-ended umbrella variable capital company incorporated in Singapore.
  • Acted as lead counsel in the formation and launch of Impact Capital Asset Management Pte Ltd, an open-ended variable capital company incorporated in Singapore.
  • Drafted the fund documents for Hera Capital Partners Pte Ltd and assisted the fund manager to negotiate the terms of the convertible loan note pre series B investment in Nutrition Technologies.

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk is another firm with extensive experience in VCC structures for private equity, venture capital and investment portfolios. The team is principally focused on Singapore fund managers and family offices. Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related matters are also fortes for the members, along with passporting of funds into Singapore and other licensing and regulatory issues. I-An Lim co-heads the team and has a high degree of focus on investment funds, with fellow co-head S Sivanesan having an excellent reputation in the venture capital sphere.

Practice head(s):

I-An Lim; S Sivanesan

Other key lawyers:

Loh Kia Meng; Sarah Chan

Testimonials

‘The key difference is the Dentons network of firms across the world. In particular, Dentons Rodyk has helped to connect us to its offices in various parts of China and Indonesia to explore business opportunities. So, in a way, Dentons is not only a service provider to us but also a business partner.’

‘Highly-regarded and reputable legal partner in Singapore and globally. The team generally is excellent in communication and attentive to details. The team took time to fully understand our needs, has a hands-on, consultative approach with the right balance of protecting our interests to the fullest while remaining realistic at all times. Client-centric pricing with a focus on building long term relationships. We have no qualms bringing them along to meet with our business partners and clients to explore business opportunities. Value-added activities such as training workshops and networking events.’

‘Lim I-An has been providing top-notch advice as the Head of the Investment Funds Practice at Dentons Rodyk. His leadership and experience show in his dealings on our matters. He is direct and gives to the point advice. He will lend his views on the conceptualisation and structure of investment funds. We appreciate his sharing of how other funds work and him giving strategic advice to ours. This helps us avoid detours and save precious time. He is hands-on and gives us the assurance that his advice is solid and dependable.’

‘Sarah Chan is an up and coming associate in the funds business. She is gradually becoming the number two to I-An and has been assisting on investment funds and the creation of VCCs. She works seamlessly with I-An in ensuring our matters are kept within schedule and is responsive to our needs.’

‘Loh Kia Meng is the strategist that we needed to help implement our business plans. He is patient takes the time to listen and understand our needs. We discuss business plans and directions with him and we appreciate his sharing of ideas. As a co-head of their Private Wealth Practice, he straddles between matters involving investment funds and family offices, which are complementary to each other – so having someone like him to connect the dots for us helps us tremendously. He is very responsive to our needs and we feel that we can approach him at any time of the day and he will be there to provide support.’

Key clients

J O Hambro Capital Management Limited

City Developments Limited

BNP Paribas Trust Services Singapore Limited

APS Asset Management Pte Ltd

DBS Trustee Limited

Vertex Venture Management Pte. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Reviewed the offering documents/information memorandum for the J O Hambro Funds.

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC

Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC continues to build its investment funds practice, bringing to bear its expertise in both Singapore and international laws. The firm has remained at the forefront of VCCs, including new structures in this area. In private equity and venture capital, the team has advised on a series of social impact and sustainability-related investments. It has also experienced growth in family office investing. Edward Bennett is a key name in the venture capital and start-up segment, often representing institutional investors. Joel Seow is building the firm’s Singapore law capability and the GP fund formation side of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Edward Bennett; Joel Seow

Testimonials

‘Excellent quality legal product, highly knowledgeable, commercial and client focused.’

‘Responsive, very commercial, practical. Excellent understanding of the market.’

‘Joel Seow – practical, proficient and a highly driven individual.’

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Pantheon Ventures

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors Pte Limited

Fenghe Fund Management

MainNet Capital

JCube Capital Partners

Armour Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Acted as Singapore counsel to Edelweiss in its establishment of a $350m fund-of-one for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPPB) and a $200m fund-of-one for the State Board of Administration of Florida (SBA).