Chambers Global (2016 Edition)

The rankings and editorials on Rajah & Tann Singapore released by the Chambers are highlighted below. 

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Banking & Finance: Domestic (Band 2) (up 1 notch!)

Ranked Lawyers: Angela Lim (Band 2), Terence Choo (Band 3), Ng Sey Ming (Band 4), Regina Liew (Band 1 in Banking & Finance: Regulatory)

Banking and finance head Angela Lim led the team as they acted for Genting Singapore in a SGD2.27 billion financing of Resorts World Sentosa. Market sources declare that "she really is very, very good" and "very thorough and able to achieve the objectives we want."

Terence Choo is highly active in the banking and finance sphere, where clients value his work on acquisition and project financing. His cross-border work involves transactions with companies based in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Ng Sey Ming wins praise from sources for being "very accommodating" on matters related to project finance and securities regulations. He speaks Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, Malay and English and is a valued adviser on cross-border matters throughout the region.

Financial institutions group head Regina Liew has more than 22 years of experience on financial regulatory and transactional matters. Various interviewees note that "she brings enthusiasm to the work" and has a "common-sense approach."

Capital Markets: Domestic (Band 2)

Ranked Lawyers: Kim Huat Chia (Eminent Practitioner), Evelyn Wee (Band 3), Danny Lim (Band 4)

Head of the regional corporate team Chia Kim Huat handles a range of capital markets, often advising foreign issuers regarding their listings in Singapore. His varied practice also covers REITs and business trust work. He is especially noted for his work for PRC clients.

Evelyn Wee offers experience on REITs, business trusts and complex listings. She has acted for a number of major Indian clients and also lately assisted Japfa in its Singaporean IPO, which had a market capitalisation of USD1.38 billion.

Danny Lim is well versed in advising on cross-border transactions, including listings involving PRC issuers. Recently, he advised the joint placement agents on the SGD158 million placement of ordinary shares in the capital of SIIC Environment.

Corporate/M&A: Domestic (Band 2)

Ranked Lawyers: Kian Hwee Goh (Band 1), Serene Yeo (Band 4)

With more than 30 years of experience in complex M&A matters, interviewees declare that Goh Kian Hwee is "very responsive" and "very, very senior in the industry." He is noted for his ability to handle cross-border mandates, including acting for Lee Rubber Companies in the SGD450 million sale of its shares in Anson Company to Halcyon Rubber.

Serene Yeo is recognised for her experience in acquisitions and capital markets, and was part of the team that acted for United Overseas Bank in its SGD351.04 million offer to acquire Far Eastern Bank. One source singles her out as a "go-to person" in the firm's M&A group.

Foreign Desks Cheng Yoke Ping heads the Indonesian practice and is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia. The firm's Indonesian offering is also enhanced by its association with domestic firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners. Recently the firm advised Gallant Venture, part of the Salim Group, regarding its SGD1.8 billion takeover of Indomobil Sukses.

This firm also offers notable experience in the India market, having handled a variety of investment work between India and South-East Asia. Evelyn Wee is a key contact.

Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (Band 2) 

Ranked Lawyers: Chuan Thye Tan SC (Band 2), Andre Yeap SC (Band 4), Paul Tan (Up and Coming)

Tan Chuan Thye SC maintains a strong focus on banking and construction arbitrations, with considerable experience across Asia in general and in Indonesia in particular. Sources describe him as "a good lawyer" who is "building a good arbitration practice."

Senior partner Andre Yeap SC is acknowledged to be a "very experienced practitioner" and notably "active in arbitration," managing complex, high-value matters in the telecommunications, oil and hospitality sectors. His recent caseload includes major mandates originating in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Paul Tan is earmarked by sources as "definitely one to watch" in the Singapore market and regarded as a "highly intelligent and very capable" arbitration counsel who has appeared in a number of major investor-state arbitrations. He additionally serves as co-chair of the Australasian branch of the LCIA's Young International Arbitration Group.

Dispute Resolution: Litigation (Band 2) 

Ranked Lawyers: Eng Beng Lee SC (Band 1), Francis Xavier SC (Band 2), Andre Yeap SC (Band 3), Danny Ong (Up and Coming)

Lee Eng Beng SC acted for members of the Monitoring Committee of TT International in their successful appeal against a High Court decision to allow Michael Jacob Beloff QC to be admitted on an ad hoc basis to argue substantive matters. He is acknowledged for his strong strategic mind, especially in insolvency and shareholder disputes, and one peer notes: "He's very intelligent and well liked by the Bench."

Francis Xavier SC has substantial experience working with Indonesian clients, especially in property, banking and corporate disputes. He is representing White Energy Company in a USD750 million dispute over a joint venture agreement for a coal upgrading plant in Indonesia.

Andre Yeap SC comes highly rated for his cross-border disputes work with experience on matters involving the Indonesian, Philippine, Indian, Hong Kong and Japanese markets. He is acting for the liquidators of MF Global Singapore in a dispute over customers' claims for profits from foreign exchange and bullion transactions.

Clients laud Danny Ong for his high-quality work in financial disputes, insolvency and multi-jurisdictional fraud, with one client declaring that "he's an excellent litigator, he's pretty much our go-to guy," and highlighting that he is "very responsive." He acted for Suntech Power Investment in its defence against a USD264 million claim by Power Solar System arising from alleged loan and acquisition transactions.

Projects & Energy: Domestic (Band 1)

Ranked Lawyers: Shemane Chan (Band 2)

Shemane Chan garners praise from clients for her strong negotiation skills, commercial awareness and "client-focused" approach. Of late she has been active advising on matters in Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar, concentrating on project development and construction. Panca Amara engaged Chan to assist with the financing, delivery and construction of an USD800 million greenfield ammonia plant in Indonesia.

Shipping: Domestic (Band 1)

Ranked Lawyers: Winston Kwek (Band 1), Kah Wah Leong (Band 1), Kian Sing Toh (Band 1), Jainil Bhandari (Band 3), Kendall Tan (Band 3), Ian Teo (Band 3)

Toh Kian Sing SC co-heads the practice and is highly regarded for his litigation and arbitration prowess, having recently represented China Shipping Container Lines in a vessel arrest claim. Clients appreciate that "he's extremely organised and calm, he thinks a lot and he has a great instinct for personal relationships."

Winston Kwek is recommended by commentators as "a good, aggressive litigator" who is frequently instructed on marine insurance claims, charter party disputes and restructuring issues. Of late, he assisted the syndicated lenders in the restructuring of the Danish shipping company Torm.

Leong Kah Wah is a popular practitioner who recently acted for the owners of the 'Temptation' in a challenge to the arrest of the vessel in Tunisian waters. His practice encompasses a range of shipping and trading disputes and he is described as a "solid, careful and comprehensive" lawyer.

Kendall Tan is widely praised for his performance, and highlighted by clients as being "always dependable and you can sleep easy once he's on a case." In a highlight, he assisted SMIT Singapore and Nippon Salvage with their claim against the owners and hull underwriters of 'Sunleaf Grace', which was grounded off the coast of Mozambique with a significant cargo on board.

Ian Teo's broad contentious practice covers a range of litigation and arbitration in the maritime space and he lately assisted with matters arising from the multi-jurisdictional collapse of OW Bunker. An impressed source notes: "We appreciate his willingness to go the extra mile to assist us."

Jainil Bhandari is a Singapore and Malaysia-qualified lawyer who has a thriving practice in both jurisdictions. One commentator confirms: "He's particularly active on collision cases with a Malaysian connection." His highlight work includes representing a Malaysian energy corporation in a dispute over a burst undersea oil pipeline.

South-East Asia: International Trade/WTO (Band 1)(new!)

What the team is known for

Offers in-depth expertise on trade matters concerning South-East Asian countries. Excels in handling customs regulatory compliance for international companies operating in the high-technology sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The firm's responsiveness and communications have been top-notch. They combine deep knowledge of the law with an awareness of commercial realities and the market. Their general operations are very smooth and seamless." 

Notable practitioners 

Kala Anandarajah leads the team from Singapore.

Asia Pacific Region: Arbitration (International) (Band 3)

What the team is known for

Leading Singapore firm, acclaimed for its specialist arbitration practice and impressive regional range, with especially notable offerings in or covering Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Further noted for handling investor-state, construction and energy cases and regularly instructed in matters involving the operations of Chinese companies in South-East Asian jurisdictions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very big in international arbitration and certainly amongst the leaders in Singapore. In many firms, the litigators will do arbitration, but Rajah & Tann have a dedicated international arbitration team."

"They do a good range of international arbitration work."

What's new?

Senior counsel Tan Chuan Thye recently joined the Singapore practice in a lateral hire from Morgan Lewis Stamford.

Notable practitioners 

Andre Yeap SC is the firm's head of international arbitration.

Significant clients

Courts Madagascar, Dynamic Oil Trading Middle East, Republic of Indonesia, Sinopec, Thiess.

India: Corporate/M&A (Band 5) (Desk based Abroad)

What the team is known for

This Singaporean firm ably acts as transactional counsel for South-East Asian investment into India though Singapore. In the other direction, the team advises on M&A and private equity transactions on the behalf of Indian financial institutions and multinationals. Evelyn Wee is head of the department and the principal contact at the firm.

Indonesia: Corporate & Finance (International Firms) (Band 4) (Desk based Abroad) 

What the team is known for

A popular choice for Indonesia-related work due to its extensive cross-border experience and association with local firm Assegaf Hamzah & Partners.

Dispute resolution is a core strength of the firm, which is also mandated on M&A and capital markets deals. Cheng Yoke Ping is a key contact for the Indonesia practice.

R&T Sok & Heng

General Business Law - Cambodia (Band 2)

Ranked Lawyer: Heng Chhay (Band 1), Sophonnora Tiv (Up and Coming)

What the team is known for

Up-and-coming team that works in co-operation with colleagues from the wider Rajah & Tann network. Regularly assists international clientele with strategic investments and local operations. Key industry sectors include financial services and food and beverages.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Rajah & Tann has provided very good advice and service via its network of offices in the region, which is a real strength of the firm."

"Committed to perfection!"

Work highlights Advised Zurich on the regulatory framework in Cambodia pertaining to life and non-life insurance and reinsurance businesses.

Conducted local due diligence for Massimo Zanetti Beverage related to investment into the local market.

Notable practitioners 

Chhay Heng has provided "invaluable local experience" to international clients on a range of local mandates and is praised for being "very business-minded." He has a wealth of experience encompassing capital markets, banking and M&A. Highlights include advising National Bank of Canada on local regulatory matters.

Sophonnora Tiv is credited for "increasing confidence in dealing with international investors." He advised Massimo Zanetti Beverage on due diligence, and also acted for Visa on local anti-money laundering policy. One client reports that he is "skilful and knowledgeable."

Significant clients

Thomas Lloyd Global Asset Management, Zurich, Donaco International, S&P International Foods, Thai Samsung Electronics.

Assegaf Hamzah & Partners

Capital Markets - Indonesia (Band 1)

Ranked Lawyers: Bono Adji (Band 1), Ahmad Fikri Assegaf (Band 1), Putu Suryastuti (Up and Coming)

Bono Adjiis a leading practitioner in this space and regularly advises on large-scale debt and equity offerings. Sources note: "He's good to deal with" because he is "very reasonable and experienced." One of his work highlights involved assisting Tower Bersama Infrastructure with a USD350 million notes issuance, offered to non-US investors in offshore transactions.

Ahmad Fikri Assegaf receives broad recognition for his activity in both public and private listings, with one example being his recent representation of agrifood company Japfa in its global USD198 million IPO. One client remarked: "We are impressed, he's approachable and available."

Putu Suryastutiis increasingly instructed by investment banks on sophisticated and complex issuances. One satisfied interviewee explained: "Our experience has been good - she's definitely someone who is up and coming." She was part of the team that advised Saratoga Investment Sedaya on its USD72.5 million notes issuance.

Corporate/M&A - Indonesia (Band 1)

Ranked Lawyers: Ahmad Fikri Assegaf(Band 1), Bono Adji (Band 2), Eko Basyuni (Up and Coming)

Ahmad Fikri Assegaf wins extensive praise from clients as a lawyer who is "very knowledgeable in his field, and can help to advise and support our company when dealing with multinationals from around the world." He is active on a wide range of sophisticated acquisitions and recently assisted Tara Cell with Telekom Infranusantara's investment into the company.

Bono Adji is respected for his work on a variety of corporate transactions, with particular strength advising on the acquisition of publicly listed companies. "We view him very well and always go back to him for M&A work," reveal interviewees. He recently assisted XL Axiata with the major sale of 3,500 telecoms towers and associated interests.

Eko Basyuni maintains an active practice advising on matters such as acquisitions and joint ventures. He is especially known for his expertise of the telecoms and e-commerce sectors, as seen in one recent matter where he represented Multimedia Nusantara as the majority shareholder in its joint venture with Australian corporation Telstra.

Projects & Energy - Indonesia (Band 3)

Ranked Lawyers - Ahmad Fikri Assegaf (Band 2)

Ahmad Fikri Assegaf is a highly respected practitioner who is regularly mandated on substantial infrastructure and power projects. He also regularly acts for international lenders in financing transactions, for example, he recently assisted Export-Import Bank of China with the financing provision for the construction of Sumsel 8.

Christopher & Lee Ong

Banking & Finance - Malaysia (Band 3)

Ranked Lawyer - Christopher Lee (Band 3)

What the team is known for

This firm is a frequent choice of counsel for financial institutions and corporations across the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan and Singapore, acting as local adviser on cross-border transactions. Areas of expertise include project financing, syndicated facilities and sukuk issuances.

Christopher Lee is well known for his broad practice that covers corporate, banking and projects mandates. Within the general banking sector, he focuses on project finance and DCM. In a notable highlight, he acted for several Cagamas entities, including Cagamas Global, in connection with a USD2.5 billion MTN programme and a USD2.5 billion sukuk issuance.

Corporate/M&A - Malaysia (Band 3)

Ranked Lawyer - Christopher Lee (Band 3)

What the team is known for

Offers considerable cross-border capabilities, owing to its membership of the Rajah & Tann Asia network. Serves clients across the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, Australia and China. Highlighted for its proficient handling of M&A and takeovers, particularly in the natural resources space.

Christopher Lee is regarded as "a strong corporate lawyer" who is also experienced in banking and projects work. He is especially knowledgeable in handling M&A transactions, catering to a number of major clients throughout Asia.  

Jainil Bhandari is dual-qualified in Malaysia and Singapore, and handles a range of contentious shipping matters across these two jurisdictions. His recent work highlights include assisting a domestic energy company with a dispute regarding a burst undersea oil pipeline.

Shipping - Malaysia (Experts Based Abroad)

Singapore:  Jainil Bhandari (Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP)

Rajah & Tann NK Legal 

General Business Law - Myanmar (Band 3)

General Business Law: International Firms (Myanmar): Ranked Lawyers: Chester Toh (Band 2)

What the team is known for

Highly effective regional platform able to provide domestic and international law capabilities from its Yangon and Singapore offices. Particularly active in advising the consumer products sector on market entry and local franchising issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very knowledgeable and responsive, and brought a business-minded approach."

"They're fantastic - they have a commitment to building a presence in the region." 

Work highlights

Assisted Japanese drinks business Asahi Group on establishing a local presence through the client's joint venture with Loi Hein Company.

Advised OCBC on acquiring a foreign bank licence to offer products and services in Myanmar - one of only nine international banks to achieve this.

Notable practitioners 

Clients endorse Chester Toh for his attentiveness and business savvy. One interviewee reported that "his knowledge of the regulations is excellent!" He harnesses this expertise to assist major corporates in market entry, listing Coca-Cola, Yum! Brands and OCBC among his recent clientele.

Significant clients

PwC, Ball Corporation, Visa, Procter & Gamble.

Rajah & Tann (Thailand) Limited

Banking & Finance - Thailand (Band 3)

Ranked Lawyers: Surasak Vajasit  (Rajah & Tann LLP) (Band 2)

Department head Surasak Vajasit has been active on matters pertaining to Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, including advice on bridge loans, term loan facilities, corporate guarantees and acquisition financing. As one peer remarks, "he's a very strong lawyer, they're lucky to have him."

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers

Corporate/M&A (Band 3)

Foreign Expert – China - Thi Que Vu 

A fluent Japanese and Mandarin speaker, Thi Que Vu heads the firm's China desk. Her focus covers transactional and advisory matters. She has lately been advising a major Chinese manufacturer on its multimillion-dollar Vietnamese acquisition.

Projects, Infrastructure & Energy (Band 4)

Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers advises developers and contractors on a range of projects, notably including port infrastructure and real estate developments. The firm demonstrates additional capabilities in cross-border investment in this sector. Thi Que Vu is head of the infrastructure and construction team and the key contact for project matters.

Rajah & Tann (Laos) Sole Co., Ltd

General Business Law – Laos (Recognised Practitioner)