Cains targets East’s emerging markets with Singapore office launch

Cains targets East’s emerging markets with Singapore office launchOffshore firm Cains has opened an office in Singapore with a three-strong team, creating a base from which to serve its Asian clients.

Cains managing director Andrew Corlett said the firm felt a Singapore launch was vital given the strength of the region and the country’s position within it.

“We ;think ;that ;the emerging markets will be our strong growth area in the foreseeable future,” he said. “We need a hub in Singapore because it straddles the right regions. Also it was relatively easy to set up in Singapore – from dealing with landlords to the local regulators.”

The firm, which scooped Offshore Law Firm of the Year at this year’s Lawyer Awards, has relocated director Mike Edwards to the office from its Isle of Man headquarters. Corlett said Edwards, a capital ­markets and asset finance lawyer, had previously been instrumental in driving the growth of Cains’ presence in India.

Edwards will be joined by Joanna Teng, formerly a ­corporate partner with ­Singapore-based David Lim & Partners, and Stephanie Chew, who joins as an ­associate from Singapore firm Drew & Napier.

Teng’s practice focuses on M&A and the restructuring of Chinese companies for listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange. She acts for a range of companies in the tobacco, printing, data technology, food and education industries.

Chew’s areas of practice include general corporate, funds, asset finance and ­corporate finance.

Corlett said the plan is to bulk up the office with further lateral hires in the short to medium term, with a view to building a significant base in the jurisdiction.

The Singapore office will predominantly service work coming out of the surrounding region, including Hong Kong, India and Malaysia.

Edwards said the office launch ;was ;a ;great ­milestone for Cains, adding that it was a logical step to open in the country.

“It’s evident that, as ­markets in the West slow down, investors are looking to the East, and ­Singapore’s well positioned as Asia’s financial hub and a gateway to emerging global markets,” he said.

Earlier this year Mourant and Appleby both signalled their intentions to open in the jurisdiction.

In February Mourant’s former managing partner Stephen Ball told The Lawyer this was primarily in response to the level of cashflow coming from the region.

Appleby global managing partner Peter Bubenzer said the jurisdiction had “good business potential” and that his firm was “keeping a watchful eye” on the region from its Hong Kong base.

Of The Lawyer’s top 20 offshore firms, just Bermuda-headquartered Conyers Dill & Pearman already has a presence in Singapore, having established an office there in October 2001.

SINGAPORE: THE HUB OF ASIA

Singapore is steadily ­becoming the jurisdiction of choice for both onshore and offshore firms. Lured by the prospects of capital flowing from the East, the country is ideally placed to tap in to Asian markets.

In February insurance firm Kennedys announced its move into the region. Senior partner Nick Thomas insisted: “Now it’s much more important that any firm with a South East Asia presence is based in Singapore.”

US firms have also noted the growing importance of the jurisdiction. In May Los Angeles-based Gibson Dunn & Crutcher opened an office there.

“Opening the Singapore office is an exciting step that will help extend Gibson Dunn’s geographical reach to important markets in Asia,” said Jai Pathak, who serves as the partner in charge of the office.