Herbies’ Asia chief quits to become CEO at Hong Kong regulator

Herbert Smith has lost its Asian managing partner Ashley Alder, who has resigned to become chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Alder will replace Martin Wheatley, who left the SFC in June after six years with the regulator to take up a new appointment in London, first with the Financial Services Authority and then heading the new Consumer Protection and Markets Authority.

Under Wheatley’s direction, the SFC became more active in its enforcement, aggressively prosecuting insider trading investigating allegations of corporate misconduct.

Alder’s new appointment will be his second stint at the SFC, after he previously left Herbert Smith in 2001 to serve as executive director of the SFC’s corporate finance division before returning to the firm in 2004.

Alder, who has been head of Herbert Smith’s Asia practice since 2005, will leave the firm for the second time on 30 September to take up his new role, which is believed to carry a salary in the region of $1.2m a year.

The capital markets and M&A lawyer has worked on many of Herbert Smith’s most high-profile deals in Asia, including representing Chinese oil producer China National Offshore Oil Corp in its ultimately unsuccessful $18.5bn bid to take over US oil company Unocal Corp in 2005.