Ogier takes Channel Islands services to HK market

Marcus Leese

Funds partner Marcus Leese will lead the team of lawyers moving to Hong Kong, where the firm has had an office since 2006, in May.

The exact make-up of the Channel Islands team is undecided, although Leese estimates that it will ­comprise two or three lawyers along with himself.

The new practice will offer private client, private wealth, investment fund and banking advice.

“Over the past 18 months, with the continuing and explosive development of business in Asia, we’ve been looking more closely at the region and asking what other services we can offer,” said Leese. “There’s appetite not only for what we’re already providing [British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands services], but also for offering Jersey and Guernsey law.”

The move comes shortly after the October 2009 announcement that Jersey-registered companies are permitted to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ogier acted on the first ­listing of a Jersey-registered company in Hong Kong when it advised Rusal in January.

Other Channel Islands law firms are also looking at the region.

Mourant partner James Hill said: “Certainly there are opportunities there and we’re already making ­significant efforts to build relationships within Hong Kong.

“The market there is doing very well and they have a kind of perfect storm of ­circumstances in that they have Chinese growth opportunities as well as a history of English law ­traditions and structures in place, which are well-respected.”

Guernsey has also applied for permission for its companies to list in Hong Kong, with a decision expected in the first half of this year.