Hong Kong Hires Illustrate The Benefit Of Experience
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One of the hallmarks of strong legal services is a well-rounded practice and practitioners to service them. With the move of Charles Mo from Winston & Strawn to Morgan Lewis & Bockius, the US firm has certainly succeeded in blending experience with insight.
Mo’s practice is a tripartite one; he brings the traditional heft of his litigation skills to the table, alongside experience in corporate investigations and compliance, and his international arbitration capabilities. All of these will inform the firm’s wider practices and his new colleagues’ work in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and other corporate and commercial matters.
Much like his London counterpart, Chris Warren-Smith, whose career focus has spanned the investigations, insurance, financial services and private equity sectors, Mo has a broad-based practice, ranging from those sectors mentioned above, to professional negligence, life sciences, shareholder disputes, complex commercial litigation, product liability claims, defamation and white-collar crime cases.
In a statement, the firm’s chair, Jami McKeon, said the experience Mo would bring would benefit not just the firm’s Hong Kong office, but further beyond that: “He will collaborate closely with our colleagues in Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore to significantly strengthen our existing service to clients in these vital centres of global commerce.”
He added: “In welcoming Charles, we continue to build upon the strong commitment we made to clients with interests in Hong Kong when we established our presence there earlier this year.”
The firm recruited 13 corporate partners from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai in February, with subsequent hires accenting the intellectual property practice in Shanghai, while the firm’s promotion round saw one partner made up in Asia, Singapore-based Adrian Tan.
Mo represents companies in investigations conducted by Hong Kong regulators and enforcement authorities, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Securities and Futures Commission, as well as Hong Kong’s highly respected Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the Customs and Excise department. He also handles employment law related representations.
Gordon Cooney, heads of the litigation practice, described Mo as “a versatile litigator” and one “who can assist clients with a remarkably wide range of matters, including disputes and international arbitrations”.
He added: “He will work closely with our capital markets team in Hong Kong, handling disputes and investigations for Hong Kong-listed companies, and he will collaborate with our partners globally on disputes and investigation matters.”
HONG KONG HKMA HIRE
Also on the move in Hong Kong is financial services regulatory partner Etelka Bogardi, who has joined Norton Rose Fulbright from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), where she was senior counsel.
At the HKMA, Bogardi advised on all aspects of its operations, including banking conduct and stability, supervision, policy, enforcement, monetary management and direct investment. This included advising on new financial services legislation and its implementation, licensing and authorisation issues, financial market infrastructure, external matters (including co-operation with foreign and international supervisory bodies) and sanctions, as well as legal issues relating to the development of the financial infrastructure of Hong Kong.
Prior to her time at the financial regulator, she was a senior consultant at Herbert Smith Freehills. She joins the firm at a time when the Special Administrative Region is gearing up to ensure compliance on issues as diverse as sanctions, money-laundering, and anti-corruption compliance, the last of which remains a continuing strong focus of mainland Chinese authorities.
Bogardi said: “Financial institutions in Hong Kong continue to deal in a highly regulated and complex economic landscape, and the legislative developments and requirements of financial institutions will continue to reshape the industry.”
The firm’s head in Hong Kong, Psyche Tai, welcomed Bogardi’s “strong combination of both technical execution skills and an understanding of regulatory compliance requirements for the financial services sector”. Bogardi agreed, saying “Bringing my HKMA experience to bear, I will be able to provide not just more clarity but also a layer of comfort to the financial institutions client base”.
Her move follows the 2016 exit of financial services regulation partner Charlotte Robins to Allen & Overy, while Simmons & Simmons moved a leading regulatory lawyer to Hong Kong last year. On the expert side, FTI Consulting hired senior staff in Hong Kong last week, re-emphasising that firm’s commitment to Asia, while BRG also hired an anti-corruption expert in the region, earlier in the year.
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