John Fadely this week joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges' Hong Kong office as a partner in the US law firm's global funds practice. He was previously a corporate partner in the funds group at Clifford Chance in Hong Kong.
The funds-specialist role is a newly created one, to help deal with the general increase in fund-formation activity in Asia and the need of Asia-based fund sponsors for funds expertise in their own time zone, Fadely tells AsianInvestor.
The increase in business has come from a few sources, he says. First, Asia-based fund sponsors are once again forming offshore funds to invest in China and other Asian jurisdictions. "Although fund sizes are smaller than before the financial crisis and the fundraising market hasn't completely recovered," adds Fadely, "continued recovery of the market is expected over the next few years."
Second, there is a clear trend towards the formation of renminbi funds -- witness launches by firms such as Carlyle, Blackstone, First Eastern and CLSA and Shanghai Guosheng -- and onshore-offshore fund structures with an RMB fund component. "Capitalising on that opportunity requires an understanding of the PRC regulatory and tax environment and language skills," says Fadely, "in addition to a mastery of international market norms for offshore funds."
A fluent Mandarin speaker, Fadely has been involved in the recent formation of renminbi private equity funds. He will work closely with Weil Gotshal's Beijing and Shanghai offices on China-focused funds and with the firm's global fund formation group on global and Asia-focused funds.
Fadely has experience in Asia representing international and Asia-based sponsors in the formation and restructuring of Asia-focused private investment funds, including private equity funds, real estate funds and hedge funds, as well as in the formation of joint-venture investment vehicles and carried interest plans.
He has also been active in representing institutional investors in private funds, including the formation of sizeable co-investment vehicles.
Having also practised law in Japan for three of his eight years in Asia, Fadely will continue to work on funds formed to invest in Japan and other Asian jurisdictions.
Weil Gotshal has long formed funds for private equity, real estate and hedge fund sponsors in the US, Europe and Asia. "Weil distinguishes itself in Asia's competitive market for legal services by offering our clients support throughout the private equity life cycle, from fund formation to capital deployment to exit," says Fadely.
Meanwhile, another US law firm, Ropes & Gray, has taken on Arthur Mok in Hong Kong as a partner in the firm's private equity and life sciences practices to service Greater China clients. He was previously with Hogan & Hartson, where he was the managing partner of the Shanghai office, which he launched in 2004.
Ropes & Gray says Mok's appointment is an initial step towards opening a new office in Shanghai as a base for further expansion into China. The firm currently advises international clients, including Chinese companies, from its offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo and London, and throughout the US.