Australian lawyer Luke Gannon has joined DLA Piper, where he will head up the law firmÆs funds practice throughout Asia.

Joining as a partner based in Hong Kong, he will be part of the law firmÆs corporate group and will also work with a range of clients on M&A and equity capital markets matters. He will also be working closely with partners from the firm's financial services and regulatory groups.

Gannon has nearly two decades of experience across Asia related to funds, including real estate investment trusts, hedge funds, fund of funds, private equity, infrastructure funds, wealth managers, underwriters and corporate issuers.

He was a partner and head of funds at Australian law firm Freehills in Melbourne for eight years, where his clients included international investment banks, fund managers, sponsors and other corporates. He was rated as one of the region's leading lawyers in that space. In 2006, he accepted an offer to work for a major client as head of corporate and M&A, where he gained commercial and acquisitions experience in the financial services sector in Asia.

It is that blend of funds, acquisitions, and commercial experience that is expected to serve to his advantage at DLA Piper here in Asia. There are around 10 lawyers in Asia who specialize in investment funds work at the law firm.

He is expected to bring a ôstrong commercial approachö to advising on financial services, capital raising and particularly funds-related issues, says Alastair Da Costa, Asia managing director at DLA Piper.

This is GannonÆs first time to live in Hong Kong, although he has been here on business numerous times before while working on various Asia-based deals, including acquisitions of financial services businesses.

Although DLA Piper already has a team of funds specialists in Asia, this is the first time it is building up the team as a dedicated funds practice.

ôThe biggest task will be to meet as many people as possible in the DLA Piper Asia, US and Europe networks and establish relationships with our global clients who do business in Asia,ö Gannon says. ôThe firm is very big globally and so there will be many opportunities to meet up with funds clients.ö

Gannon also hopes to establish a funds "centre of excellence" within the firm.

In Asia, DLA Piper has offices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.