Simon Michaels to lead BLP’s new South East Asia Private Client Practice

 In baker mckenzie, berwin leighton paisner, BLP

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has appointed private client expert Simon Michaels as a partner within its Singapore office. He will head up a new practice supporting and developing private clients based in South East Asia or investing in the region.

The news follows a recent announcement that the office will double in size after the recruitment of Alistair Duffield, who will be the firm’s new managing partner in Singapore, along with five other lawyers from Holman Fenwick Willan.

Previously at Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow, the member firm of Baker & McKenzie International in Singapore, Simon specialises in advising ultra-high net worth individuals and their related trusts, controlled companies and business and has proven experience across South East Asia.

As well as his colleagues in Singapore, Simon will work closely with the Trusts and Personal Tax Group in London, where BLP has the largest and broadest based tax practice in a City law firm and is the only City law firm to offer the full range of tax services. As part of BLP’s wider tax team, Simon will join one of the largest trusts and tax groups in London, which advises on a vast breadth of UK and international tax and trusts issues facing private clients, family offices, trustees and banks. He will work closely with Simon Phelps, Murray North and Jonathan Kropman, all of whom have strong links to clients in the region.

Singapore is one of a number of emerging markets that the firm has been focusing on as part of its wider international strategy and in 2009 the firm also opened offices in Moscow and Abu Dhabi. The firm’s approach combines these offices in selected high-growth markets with a non-exclusive panel of around 100 market-leading preferred law firms from around the world, with whom it has strong personal relationships. The combination provides clients with high quality legal advice, extensive global coverage and the flexibility to select the best local lawyers for each matter. The success of this twin-track approach means that well over a third of the firm’s work now has an international element.

Simon Michaels said: “The firm is known for its willingness to enter new markets in support of its clients and this is great opportunity for BLP to continue to widen its private client practice in a fast paced and emerging region. I am looking forward to working with the teams in Singapore and London to grow the practice internationally, and enabling clients in the region to access the high quality international estate structuring and tax advisory services for which the team in London is well known.”

Commenting on the hire Jonathan Kropman, BLP’s head of Trusts and Personal Tax, said: “Our Trusts and Personal Tax team has achieved considerable growth acting for clients in the UK and, in increasing numbers, internationally. With Simon’s appointment we expect to develop our practice further in South East Asia, one of the highest growth private client markets in the world. This is a further step in the major transformation that has changed and continues to drive the emergence of our market leading private client business over recent years.”

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