Taylor Wessing’s Singapore arm plans to list business services units

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, the Singapore member of the Taylor Wessing group, plans to list its affiliated group of business services companies in Singapore by year end.

The entity to be listed on the Singapore Exchange’s Catalist board is RHT Holdings, which was set up to provide corporate clients a range of non-law professional services, complementary to RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s legal advice.

RHT Holdings currently consists of six main companies, RHT Analytics, RHT Capital, RHT Compliance Solutions, RHT Corporate Advisory, RHT i-Assets Advisory and RHT Management Services.

The main shareholder of RHT Holdings is RHT Lex Ultra, whose shareholders in turn include partners of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. The Singaporean firm’s senior partner Rajan Menon and managing partner Tan Chong Huat both sit on the board of the holding company while former COO of the legal practice Jayaprakash Jagateesan now serves as the CEO of RHT Holdings.

It is understood that partners in the wider Taylor Wessing group do not hold shares in the holding entity.

According to the firm, RHT Holdings has already put the listing process in motion and the target is to complete its listing by the end of 2016.

“Essentially, this ‘innovation’ arises from a vision of the potential of professional services, outside the legal sector, in Asia,” said the firm in a statement. “As Asia continues to be a hothouse of transactions and economic growth, RHT Holdings was founded with a vision of growing the company into a leading professional services group in Asia.”

RHT is only the second ASEAN firm to target this strategy. In a ground-breaking move in November 2014, Malaysia-based ASEAN firm ZicoLaw’s affiliated group of companies branded as Zico Holdings went public on the Catalist board of Singapore’s stock exchange, raising $14.4m (£10m). PrimePartners Corporate Finance was the sponsor and lead manager of the listing. Most of the proceeds will fund the network’s further ASEAN expansion.

The listing was hailed as a novel way for legal services providers to tap into capital markets while abiding by local rules that prohibit non-lawyers from owning and investing in law firms.

Zico Holdings was designed and established by ZicoLaw’s former managing partner Chew Seng Kok, who is the managing director of the listed company. It provides professional services in areas such as trust advisory, business support and advice on sharia, or Islamic law. It also provides all the management and business support services to ZicoLaw network firms, as a business contractor in effect.

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing declined to reveal any specific figures on how much it hopes to raise through the listing. It said: “our target for equity capital raising is somewhat dependent on prevailing valuations at the point of listing.”