31 Oct 2022

Charles Russell Speechlys set to join raft of international firms launching in Singapore

City-state's rise as global economic hub sees UK firm apply to open office serving private capital clients in H12023

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Charles Russell Speechlys has today confirmed its intention to launch an office in Singapore, becoming the latest international law firm to look to the city-state amid its rise as a legal and economic hub. 

The top 35 UK firm will open doors in Singapore in the first half of next year following regulatory approval and said the move was in line with its aim to service private capital clients from the world’s international financial centres.

Managing partner Simon Ridpath described the move as “an exciting opportunity for the firm to continue to build its business in Asia, which is one of the fastest growing regions internationally.”  

The firm debuted in Asia five years ago when it opened an office in Hong Kong focused on private wealth and dispute resolution as a Foreign Registered Law Firm. It has since registered as a Hong Kong firm and grown the office to house a team of more than 20 legal professionals including six partners, with Ridpath noting the firm’s success in Hong Kong had fuelled its plans to open doors in Singapore. 

“We already act for a number of clients and intermediaries based in Singapore and by establishing an office there, we will be able to offer support to those clients from within the jurisdiction,” he added. 

The move sees Charles Russell Speechlys become the latest international firm to build a presence in Singapore amid its rise as a global economic and legal centre. 

Last week top 10 Spanish firm Pérez-Llorca announced it was launching in Singapore to make good on its plan to have a physical presence in the global financial capitals of London, New York and Singapore and to have a hub from which to develop across the Asia-Pacific region. 

And earlier in the month top 20 US law firm Goodwin Procter relocated private investment funds partner Greg Barclay from its other Asian base in Hong Kong to chair its new Singapore office, while Mayer Brown said it was significantly expanding its presence in the city-state through a joint venture with local firm PK Wong & Nair

Other firms to launch in Singapore since the start of last year include US heavyhitters like McDermott Will & Emery, Greenberg Traurig and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, all of which have opened shops focused on energy & infrastructure, leading Indian firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan & Co and London-based arbitration boutique Three Crowns. 

News of Charles Russell Speechlys’ planned Singapore debut follows the firm adding disputes partner Simon Hofstetter in Zurich from local law firm MBH Attorneys at Law earlier this month. The firm is one of the few to offer tax, regulatory, funds, dispute resolution and commercial advice with a full private client offering across Europe's wealth centres of London, Luxembourg, Paris and Switzerland as well as in Dubai, Hong Kong and soon in Singapore.  

The firm grew revenue outside the UK by 24% in the year ended 30 April 2022 as firmwide revenue grew 3% to approximately £178m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) was 526k, a slight dip on the previous year when PEP rocketed by more than 40% to hit 533k. 

The firm attributed the revenue increase to ‘supporting clients with their growth plans and new client wins, particularly in Switzerland, Paris, Luxembourg and the Middle East offices’ when reporting the financial results in August. It said it saw an increase in high-profile work across its tax and advisory, complex transactional and contentious practices for private clients and corporates, as well as private capital-led transactions for individuals with global interests and their family offices.

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