Asian rich list hike prompts Withers’ Singapore launch

Withers is investing in Singapore as the growth of wealthy individuals in the South East Asia region ­rockets.

The firm is in advanced talks with a local law firm to take office space in Singapore for a starting initiative comprising two Withers partners. The partners, who are likely to be US- and UK-qualified, will practise tax and trust law with the aim of advising high-net-worth clients throughout the region.

Withers co-head of wealth planning Richard Cassell said the office would operate as a branch of the firm’s Hong Kong outpost. The firm has had an office in Hong Kong for three years and last year added a local law capability with the arrival of a family team led by Sharon Ser.

Cassell said the Singapore office, the establishment of which still has to be approved by a partnership vote, would not offer local law advice.

However, he added that there was significant client demand in Singapore for the firm’s private client ­services.

“Our analysis is that a ­significant proportion of our Asian clients are from ­Singapore,” Cassell explained. “What we’re ­looking at is extending the geographical footprint of our existing Asian offering.”

He said the growth of ­Singapore as a financial ­centre, which now has the ability to trade the Chinese renminbi, and the continued growth of wealth in the ­jurisdiction made it ­important for Withers to be on the ground there.