Mallesons sends in the big guns to boost Asia

Corporate finance and M&A partners sent to HK; London gains first finance partner

Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques has boosted its Asia practice by transferring several key Australian partners to Hong Kong. The firm is also transferring a further partner to London to bolster its UK presence.
Mallesons' Hong Kong practice is currently focused on projects and construction, but three out of the four partners transferred are corporate finance and M&A lawyers. Corporate partners Richard Mazzochi, Adrienne Showering and Stephen Mead have all moved out to Hong Kong within the last two months. The relocations are part of a plan to offer full-service commercial capability from the Hong Kong office.
The firm has also bolstered its projects and construction practice, which already ranks among the best in the area. Star partners David Bateson and Paul Starr lead the practice. Australia-based partner Robert Milliner has relocated to Hong Kong and another partner Damian McNair moved across last December.
London partner Tim Blue, who is on Mallesons' strategy committee for Asia, said: “Essentially, the change is driven by client demand in that some key clients are looking for a regional service. Up until now, we've been able to manage from Australia, but now the need to have more regional presence is too significant. We've committed some of our best and most experienced partners to Hong Kong.”
The relocated partners previously ran Asia-focused practices out of Australia. One of the key advantages of Australian firms in the Asia-Pacific region is that they can offer geographically close back-up. However, the decision to put more resources on the ground in Asia represents a change of emphasis. Further Asian expansion will focus on the China practice, which is run out of Hong Kong.
Mallesons has also added a partner in London. Finance and capital markets partner Ken Astridge will join resident corporate partner Tim Blue in mid-August. Astridge will give the firm a London-based finance capacity for the first time. Blue said: “M&A is holding up well in Australia, but the funding is still done out of major financial centres like London, it made sense to bring in a finance partner.”