Mallesons Stephen Jaques will transfer two senior partners to its Hong Kong office later this year as part of its post-Linklaters strategy of flying solo in Asia
Energy and resources partner and Mallesons board member Robert Milliner and banking partner Richard Mazzochi will increase the partner count in the office to 10. In the past six months, M&A partner Damian McNair, project finance partner Stephen Mead and construction partner Graham Thomson have all been transferred to the Hong Kong office. While Mallesons declined to comment on the transfer, it is understood that the partners moving to Hong Kong have been picked on the basis of their clients. This is in keeping with the strategy previously outlined by Mallesons chief executive officer Tony D'Aloisio of following the firm's key clients into Asia. These clients include Mirant, Telstra, National Australia Bank, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and the Asian Development Bank. McNair was the lead partner for Telstra on the Project Five Star joint venture with Pacific Century Cyberworks, while Thomson has recently finished a secondment stint with Mirant. McNair has also recently worked on the new Hong Kong Airport project and on a range of other projects in China and Thailand. Mazzochi is one of the firm's key banking and finance partners to clients such as National Australia Bank, ANZ and Deutsche Bank. The biggest move is undoubtedly that of Robert Milliner, who is one of the firm's leading energy and resources partners. Milliner was the lead partner on Cheung Kong's acquisition of ETSA's electricity transmission assets in South Australia and has has been advising the Asian Development Bank on the restructure of the power industry in China. Like its major competitors Freehills and Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR), Mallesons is concentrating its Asian push on the areas of project finance, corporate advisory and energy and is wary of its previous failed Asian push in the early 1990s, when it overextended itself. This time around, it has modelled its Asian strategy on London and New York firms in the region. These moves follow the firm's failure to find an international merger partner and D'Aloisio's pledge to increase the firm's exposure and client base in Asia to make itself an attractive merger proposition. The firm has rejected the approach taken by AAR of entering into a best friends arrangement with a UK firm.