Linklaters fills fund management need

China''s accession to the WTO is creating more investment management-related business for the law firm.

Increasing demand from fund managers for legal services has prompted law firm Linklaters to transfer funds specialist Graham Turl from its London headquarters to Hong Kong. This is Turl's first overseas assignment. "I've always wanted to work abroad," he says. "I've been in Hong Kong for two weeks and have been enjoying it so far."

The firm used to have an investment funds specialist in Asia until 1998 when the previous lawyer retired. Although the firm has maintained a unit devoted to helping managers authorize funds, it had allowed the business side for fund managers û ranging from establishing new funds to marketing throughout various jurisdictions to helping with M&A û lapse.

But with the growth in the regional funds industry and particularly with China's accession to the World Trade Organization and prospects of foreign fund managers engaging in business there, the firm found itself peppered with demands from clients. "As China slowly opens there will be massive opportunities with the joint venture approval process for foreign fund managers to get into bed with domestic firms," Turl says. Moreover there will be increasing work for private equity funds investing in Chinese infrastructure, he adds.

Another demand on the firm is from alternative investment managers seeking to market their products to Hong Kong's retail investor base, now that regulators have approved the sale of hedge funds to the mass affluent.

Turl has nearly six years of experience with cutting-edge investment funds work in London and Europe, particularly in hedge funds, private equity and real estate funds, says Nick Rees, managing partner of the Hong Kong office.

Another London-based investment funds specialist, Ann Ng, will follow Turl to Hong Kong in June.

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