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Asset management and funds boutique MJ Hudson has launched in Hong Kong, creating the firm’s third office alongside London and Jersey.
The office will be led by new lateral partner hire Simon Fraser, who has joined MJ Hudson from Ogier where he headed its private client offering since 2002. Prior to joining Ogier he spent more than a decade working in Hong Kong.
Fraser will work alongside existing MJ Hudson corporate lawyer Hiren Patel, who is heading up the firm’s Asia practice and leading expansion into the region.
Managing partner Eamon Devlin said that the office launch was a response to demand from the firm’s clients - primarily hedge funds, private equity houses and property funds which are increasingly opening in Hong Kong.
Having finally secured a licence to practice in the jurisdiction, which took about four months, the firm now plans to bulk up the office with more lateral hire partners over the next two years.
The firm’s Hong Kong launch follows its two mergers last year, with VerrasLaw in Jersey (10 September 2013) and City-based hedge funds boutique MW Cornish & Co. The latter move followed the decision of name partner Martin Cornish to leave K&L Gates to restablish his own firm, having originally merged it with US firm Katten Muchin in 2005 (13 June 2005).
It plans to add to its current trio of offices over the next two years, with Devlin citing the Caribbean and another location in Asia as likely jurisdictions for further expansion.
The office opening comes alongside several partner promotions in MJ Hudson’s City base, which saw former Clifford Chance private equity lawyer Andrew Mills and former legacy SJ Berwin funds lawyer Ted Craig join the partnership.
The firm also made up its non-lawyer finance director Peter Connell to partnership level. Connell joined the firm in early 2014 from Mayo Wynne Baxter, having previously held the mantle of CEO at Hastings Insurance Services.
Devlin added: “A finance director is such a critical part of a young and growing business that they should have the same title as fee-earning partners.”
The latest additions bring MJ Hudson’s tally of partners up from six to 10 - almost doubling the size of its partner headcount.
MJ Hudson was launched in July 2010 by former SJ Berwin private equity partner Matthew Hudson (19 July 2010), and has since welcomed a number of other former legacy SJ Berwin lawyers including private equity partner Graham Nicholson last year (19 November 2013).