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Withers is investing in Singapore as the growth of wealthy individuals in the South East Asia region rockets.
The firm is in advanced talks with a local law firm to take office space in Singapore for a starting initiative comprising two Withers partners. The partners, who are likely to be US- and UK-qualified, will practise tax and trust law with the aim of advising high-net-worth clients throughout the region.
Withers co-head of wealth planning Richard Cassell said the office would operate as a branch of the firm’s Hong Kong outpost. The firm has had an office in Hong Kong for three years and last year added a local law capability with the arrival of a family team led by Sharon Ser.
Cassell said the Singapore office, the establishment of which still has to be approved by a partnership vote, would not offer local law advice.
However, he added that there was significant client demand in Singapore for the firm’s private client services.
“Our analysis is that a significant proportion of our Asian clients are from Singapore,” Cassell explained. “What we’re looking at is extending the geographical footprint of our existing Asian offering.”
He said the growth of Singapore as a financial centre, which now has the ability to trade the Chinese renminbi, and the continued growth of wealth in the jurisdiction made it important for Withers to be on the ground there.