Akin Gump has opened an office in Singapore, with two lawyers relocating from the US to lead the base.
Investment funds partner Robert Griffin has relocated from Dallas to Singapore to lead the new office. Project finance counsel Susan Dean has joined Griffin in Singapore from the firm’s Washington DC office.
The team in Singapore has moved to the premises in Marina Bay Financial Centre. The team has already worked on regional matters for the firm’s clients, including US private equity firm Apollo’s investment funds in India and South East Asia and Indian power group Lanco Infratech.
“We need to be geographically aligned with our clients’ requirements. Singapore itself is an important hub where a lot of regional businesses are located and it’s an important market to be in,” said Gregory Puff, the head of the firm’s Hong Kong office and Asia practice.
“Our plan is to be an independent international firm in Singapore with great relationships with local firms. We’re not seeking to apply to practise local law.”
The Singapore office will work closely with the firm’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices and focus primarily on M&A, capital markets, private equity/investment funds and trade.
It is understood that the firm will hire associates for the new office and will look opportunistically at adding senior talent to expand its Singapore offerings to the energy and resources, telecoms and healthcare sectors.
“As clients continue to expand their operations and investments into Asian emerging markets, in particular China, India and South East Asia, it’s increasingly important that we have a robust presence on the ground in that region,” said the firm’s international managing partner Rick Burdick in a statement. “The development of the firm’s office in Singapore — an important hub for investing across Asia — is a great fit with our overall strategy of expanding into markets in a way that responds to our clients’ needs.”
The Singapore launch follows the firm’s opening in Hong Kong in February 2012 (20 February 2012) and the appointment of a Beijing head later in the year (20 September 2012).