In the still-nascent world of legal services dedicated to domestic asset management, China's original QDII advocate is on the move. Hubert Tse, former head of international business at Shanghai-based Yuan Tai PRC Lawyers, has left the firm to join Boss & Young as a partner in Shanghai.

At Yuan Tai, Tse established a reputation as China's most influential advocate for asset management. He cut his teeth in Shanghai with landmark QDII deals, such as advising on the first official cross-border QDII product from Shenzhen-based China Southern Fund Management and on the first QDII launch by a foreign joint venture, ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management.

He also had a hand in advising United Overseas Bank of Singapore in its JV agreement to set up an asset-management company with Shenzhen-based Ping An Securities. Aside from advising on asset-management set-ups and sino-foreign cross-border M&A deals, Tse has also been active in foreign direct investment, private equity and venture capital deals.

In 2009, he also advised DBS Private Equity on setting up its first onshore renminbi fund in Shanghai. Tse helped establish the Singaporean firm as one of the earliest names to successfully enter the Chinese private-equity market with an onshore RMB vehicle.

During his tenure at Yuan Tai, Tse was one of the first few names among his generation of China-born lawyers to have reclaimed the bulk of the advisory market for cross-border asset-management activities previously dominated by blue-blooded foreign firms, such as Clifford Chance, Deacons, Mallesons and the like.

With Tse's arrival at Boss & Young, the Shanghai-based practice will further expand its book of business related to cross-border asset-management deals. The firm has over 20 partners and 100 lawyers across its Shanghai and Beijing offices. Over 95% of its partners and associates are overseas-educated and have experience of practising in foreign jurisdictions.

Founded in 1999, Boss & Young is one of the earliest legal practices focused on financial services to have emerged in China.

After correctly predicting that the China Securities Regulatory Commission would freeze the approval process of all cross-border deals during 2009, Tse sees the coming year as one of revival.

He believes QDII-related launches will revive this year, albeit at a sluggish pace. Trust- and bank-related QDII launches will move at an even slower and less certain pace, compared to fund-management company related launches this year, as regulators and banks continue their risk-adverse stance, carried forward from their poor experience over the global financial crisis.

Otherwise, Tse notes, there will be a glimmer of light in the pipeline for foreign purchases of fund-management stakes or greenfield set-ups this year. Foreign acquisitions of equity interests in domestic futures companies will be the hottest sector for the year.