Private wealth and family law – local firms in Singapore

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow is a major global player in private wealth and family law. The Singapore office represents a range of high net-worth, ultra high net-worth individuals and their families from across Southeast Asia and beyond in their estate and succession planning, including vehicle and trust structuring. The team has experienced a major uptick in engagements from existing family offices and in family office set-up instructions. Dawn Quek heads the wealth management group and is a highly rated tax specialist.

Practice head(s):

Dawn Quek

Drew & Napier LLC

Drew & Napier LLC targets the growing flow of wealth into Singapore from China, building on its already strong presence in representing individuals and family offices from Southeast Asia, Japan and India. It has established its name in trusts and tax structuring and continues to leverage its status as a leading dispute resolution firm. Ong Sim Ho is a prominent name in private wealth and asset protection, while Randolph Khoo is a leading figure in private client disputes. Seah Ching Ling is an emerging talent.

Practice head(s):

Ong Ken Loon; Randolph Khoo

Other key lawyers:

Seah Ching Ling

Work highlights

  • Acting for James Copinger-Symes, Christina De La Sala and Edward De La Sala of the De La Sala family, one of Australia’s wealthiest families in relation to a dispute concerning the De La Sala family legacy.
  • Successfully represented a client in arguing that the operative date for identifying matrimonial assets in an ancillary matters hearing is the date on which Interim Judgment was granted.
  • Advising a Forbes 50 billionaire family on family office issues, as well as setting up of family trusts for worldwide assets for succession planning and asset protection.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP continues to up its emphasis on private wealth work, particularly in light of the growing number of engagements coming from ultra high net-worth families in India, China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. The team has an especially strong record in tax structuring thanks to the presence of Vikna Rajah, who has excellent connections to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Economic Development Board. Chandra Mohan is an experienced name in matrimonial and trusts disputes.

Practice head(s):

Vikna Rajah; Chandra Mohan

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP demonstrates a deep commitment to private wealth and family law, with significant growth in family office engagements. Much of this has historically been driven by Indonesian and Malaysian clients, with a further uptick in China-related matters along with capital flows to Singapore from Hong Kong. The team covers a spread of non-contentious structuring and estate planning engagements along with contentious matters, including matrimonial and trusts disputes. Philanthropy platforms are a growing part of the practice too. Sim Bock Eng is a leading name in matrimonial and trusts disputes, while Hui Choon Yuen is noted for capital markets related engagements. Khoo Yuh Huey and David Chee are key figures in trusts, wealth and succession planning.

Practice head(s):

Sim Bock Eng; Hui Choon Yuen

Testimonials

‘The team is always professional and easy to communicate with.’

‘Wong Partnership is a well-renounced law firm in Singapore whose expertise is well recognized. From a Private Wealth perspective, they are indeed the ‘go to’ firm.’

‘Sim Bock Eng – very professional and with her vast experience in her professional field, I am always assured that she will always do her best to provide the best advice.’

‘I primarily work with Ms Sim Bock Eng. She has a wealth of experience under her belt and this is evident in the work that is produced, be it formal advice or a general seeking of opinion and the like. From Bock Eng, you get a sense of a lawyer who genuinely wants to help, resolve matters, find the best options with no over arching agenda. This sense of genuity is quite rare a find. Working with her is always a sheer pleasure.’

Key clients

HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited

DBS Trustee Limited

Trident Trust Company (Singapore) Pte. Limited

UBS Trustees (Singapore) Ltd.

Singapore Trust Company Pte. Ltd.

LGT Bank (Singapore) Ltd.

Asiaciti Trust Singapore Pte Ltd.

Zedra Trust Company (Singapore Limited)

Vistra Trust (Singapore) Pte. Ltd

Morgan Stanley

SG Trust (Asia) Ltd

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP draws on its extensive funds, transactional and dispute resolution expertise to provide a rounded offering to the private wealth sector. The firm’s exceptional corporate and financial institutions client base provides it with a wealth of contacts that deliver a stream of high-quality engagements. It receives instructions from clients around Asia Pacific, with a notable increase in matters coming from China, India and Myanmar. Contentious probate work is another area of expertise. Lim Pek Bur leads the team and has a strong background in tax structuring.

Practice head(s):

Lim Pek Bur

Key clients

‘The advice and strategies of the team were always honest, and be clear, both from the team and the same expectation from me, the client. I respected that very much.’

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk has experienced a further influx of private wealth engagements in Singapore, in line with the additional flow of capital coming into the jurisdiction, including from China, Hong Kong and the rest of North Asia. The Singapore team has extensive experience in tax structuring for high net-worth individuals, along with trusts and family holding company structuring. Edmund Leow SC is an experienced figure in tax and estate planning for high net-worth individuals. Kia Meng Loh is a key name for contentious matters, including trusts and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):

Edmund Leow SC; Kia Meng Loh

Testimonials

‘Highly professional and highly experienced in their speciality. Client’s needs first approach. Timely and appropriate. Dentons is a one-stop shop for all things legal. Potential clients will get what they are looking for here.’

‘The team is resourceful and has a strong commercial sense.’

‘Dentons Rodyk’s differentiator is its strong global network, which enables it to work seamlessly with other Dentons offices. In the Singapore market, it is regarded as a premium and leading law firm. Yet, it is able to provide competitive prices and give more value to clients. I have worked with several clients who have good experiences with them and that makes my own work easier. I will always refer my ultra-high net worth clients to Rodyk for peace of mind as I know they will be well taken care of and their legal needs efficiently achieved.’

‘Specially curated legal advice and services for each individual case based on the country requirement.’

‘The team is always friendly and professional. Always appreciate their quick response and turnover which makes things easier when the client is involved.’

‘Edmund brings with him extensive experience in family trust matters. He understands his client, very insight and is practicable in his approach. Truly a professional!’

‘Edmund Leow and Loh Kia Meng – Both are very professional and based on their extensive years of experience in their field, I am always reassured about the quality of advice received.’

‘Very professional and personalized service. Kia Meng established a very good rapport and have our clients’ interest at heart.’

‘Loh Kia Meng (Senior Partner) – We see Kia Meng as our key relationship partner as he enjoys and excellent working relationships with our management team. We see him as a strategic partner to our growth and our go-to person at Dentons; we discuss business plans and directions with him and we appreciate’

RHTLaw Asia LLP

RHTLaw Asia LLP is well established in representing high net-worth individuals, family offices and charitable foundations. In this segment, it advises on investments through cryptocurrencies and other digital assets and is at the forefront of philanthropy and art in the private wealth arena. Kaylee Kwok is the key partner in the team, with further senior-level support from Tan Chong Huat.

Practice head(s):

Tan Chong Huat; Kaylee Kwok

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP‘s deep resources and expertise are frequently deployed in the private wealth sphere, with department head Tan Woon Hum having a solid background in representing private clients and trustees in the launch of private trusts, family offices structures and family funds. He and the team represent high net-worth, ultra high net-worth individuals and families from around Asia, including those from China and North Asia, in estate planning and protecting their wealth through Singapore structures and vehicles. This includes advising high net-worth individuals and families on the establishment of Singapore umbrella VCC funds.

Practice head(s):

Tan Woon Hum