19 Oct 2021

Funds and crypto partner leaves Simmons for Hong Kong independent with PwC ties

Gaven Cheong to serve as head of investment funds at Tiang & Partners

Gaven Cheong Image courtesy of Tiang & Partners

Gaven Cheong has left Simmons & Simmons in Hong Kong to be head of investment funds at local independent law firm Tiang & Partners, which collaborates closely with PwC’s global legal services network.

Cheong was a partner at Simmons, which he joined in 2013 from a role as a counsel at Sidley Austin. He brings more than 15 years of experience in fund formation to his new firm and focuses his practice on the establishment and structuring of collective investment schemes including hedge funds, real estate funds, private equity arrangements and hybrid funds, as well as regulatory advice in relation to investment management activity generally.

Cheong is also active in the crypto fund formation and regulatory advice space, and helped to obtain the first regulatory licences in Hong Kong for the management of a fund of crypto funds and a pure virtual assets fund.

Michelle Taylor, partner at Tiang & Partners and a member of PwC’s global legal leadership team, described Cheong as a “highly regarded lawyer in the funds industry” and his practice as complementary to the firm's broader range of funds services. 

“His appointment also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to further develop our legal capabilities in Hong Kong and Mainland China,” she added.  

Cheong highlighted Tiamg & Partners’ financial services and corporate capability, which works closely with other disciplines at PwC. 

“My fund formation and regulatory practice, in particular, is well placed to find specific synergies with the tax, accounting, deals and crypto advisory practices,” he said, adding: “The ability to provide clients with an end-to-end, integrated business solution will make for a powerful offering. I look forward to growing the firm’s presence in the funds and regulatory practices, and helping the wider network to cement its dominance in the financial services and asset and wealth management space.”   

Cheong’s arrival will bring the firm’s partner headcount to nine and raise its number of fee earners to 20. The firm advises clients in a range of areas including competition law, digital and tech, employment and M&A and in August added industry veteran Chiang Ling Li from Jones Day to head its IP practice.

PwC’s global legal services network, meanwhile, is the largest by geographical coverage and is made up of more than 3,700 legal professionals in around 100 territories. A recent survey from LexisNexis indicated just how much the Big Four's legal arms have grown in the past few years, with their global reach and tech integration potentially leaving some law firms outgunned. 

In other Hong Kong news, London disputes specialist Mishcon de Reya announced a tie-up with Hong Kong firm Karas in September ahead of its planned listing on the London Stock Exchange. And top 50 US firm Dechert hired restructuring and insolvency specialist Daniel Margulies from rival Kirkland & Ellis last week to launch a new global financial restructuring practice in the city.

Mayer Brown, meanwhile, is facing controversy after it announced it would no longer act for the University of Hong Kong, a long-time client, in the removal of a statue commemorating pro-democracy protesters killed during the Tiananmen Square massacre. Leung Chun-ying, a former Hong Kong chief executive who currently serves as the vice-chair of Beijing’s legislative consulting body, has subsequently called for a ‘China-wide boycott’ of the firm.

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