In an expansionary year for Withers in Asia, the law firm has recruited Simon Michaels as a partner in its new Singapore office. He will take up a position in the wealth planning practice in January.
It has been a busy 2012 for Withers’ regional strategy developers. The firm opened its Singapore office in May, launched its first regulatory practice in the region with the appointment of Gez Owen as head of international regulatory and corporate crime, and promoted Rita Ku to become Withers’ first Chinese partner.
The firm also made Sharon Ser a senior regional partner and relocated partner Erik Wallace from London to Hong Kong to support its US tax and wealth planning team. In the past six months, Withers has hired four partners — one in Hong Kong and three in Singapore.
Michaels was most recently partner and head of the Southeast Asian private client practice at Berwin Leighton Paisner. At Withers he will focus on tax and wealth planning, advising Singapore’s growing number of ultra-high-net-worth families and trust companies.
“Singapore is one of the world centres for private wealth management and someone of [Michaels’] calibre will accelerate our growth, enhancing our ability to provide quality advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their businesses in Southeast Asia,” said Jay Krause, Withers’ head of wealth planning Asia in a statement late last week.
Michaels is qualified as both a barrister and solicitor in England, and since moving to Asia in 2009, he has advised a number of Asia’s wealthiest and most prominent families, according to the statement.
He has also implemented trust and other wealth structuring solutions for several US multi-billion net-worth clients and has acted in contentious international trust matters.
“Over the coming decade I anticipate the transfer of the bulk of privately owned wealth in Asia to the next generation,” said Michaels. “As a result, the need for bespoke succession mechanisms and appropriate structures with integrated planning for international wealth-owning families is even more critical.”
Withers is focused on the business, personal and philanthropic interests of wealthy people. Its expertise is tax law, trusts, estate planning, family law and other legal issues facing individuals and their families.
The firm operates throughout the world and opened its Hong Kong office in 2008.