Masons decides to put down roots in Singapore

Masons is to open an office in Singapore next month, making it the latest in a series of firms to establish a permanent presence in the country.

The office, due to be officially launched in mid-August, will be headed by Iain Black, a former resident senior partner at the firm's Hong Kong office who had returned to London last year to concentrate on major projects.

He will be joined by Vincent Rowan, a partner from the Hong Kong office, and senior associate Ashley Howlett. The practice plans to send out another associate in the next few months.

Lawyers in the new office, situated in the Raffles City Tower, will rely on the firm's resources in Hong Kong and London using Masons' internal IT system.

Black said the firm first considered opening a Singapore office four years ago and had since been asked to get involved with many projects in Indonesia and Malaysia.

“South-East Asia is a rapidly developing area. A lot of the countries have a wealth of natural resources and quite often need base infrastructure. From a work point of view the move is very exciting,” he said.

“We are acting in response to client demand. It seems sensible to set up a base that is more conveniently situated than Hong Kong or London.”

He added: “The focus of the office will be major projects, construction, financing, IT and telecommunications.”

Masons, which recently announced the launch of an office in Dublin, is the latest of a steady stream of firms to open up shop in Singapore. In the past two years Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Stephenson Harwood and several US firms have opened offices in the country in the hope of capitalising on the area's dynamic economy.