BLP boosts Private Client team with hire of Marcus Dearle into its Hong Kong office

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has today (3 May 2016) announced the appointment of Partner Marcus Dearle, from Withers, into its Hong Kong office.

Recognised as one of Asia’s leading Private Client and Family lawyers, Marcus advises high profile Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals and families on all aspects of private wealth. This ranges from asset protection through complex international trusts/corporate structures, the commercial interests of private capital including multi-jurisdictional pre-nuptial agreements and cross-border matrimonial litigation. Alongside advising UHNW individuals, he has also represented trustees in international trust cases.

Marcus is qualified in Hong Kong, England & Wales and the BVI and moved to Hong Kong from London in 2009 to spearhead the development of Withers’ Family Law practice and played a key role in the development of its Hong Kong and Singapore offices, where he was appointed Office Managing Director for both. He represented Florence Tsang in London and Hong Kong leading to the highest ever litigated divorce award in Hong Kong history. He also played a key role in lobbying for and introducing family law adjudication (arbitration) in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2015.

At BLP he will form an innovative asset protection team and will sit within the global Private Client practice group in Hong Kong working closely with Bob Charlton, Head of Asia, Jonathan Kropman, Head of Private Client, London and Simon Phelps, the Partner responsible for the Firm’s Private Client practice in South East Asia.

Bob Charlton commented: “Hong Kong and Singapore are very attractive locations for UHNW individuals because of their tax friendly environments and the proximity to Asia-Pacific wealth. Boston Consulting Group reports that Asia-Pacific private financial wealth will overtake that of North America during 2016, making it the wealthiest region in the world. The opportunity is absolutely there for us to capitalise on and Marcus’ appointment will help us to take advantage of this prime growth opportunity for our Private Client team and wider Asian practices.

“This is an important hire, is in line with our Firm’s strategy and sectoral focus, and will help us gain a higher profile across family disputes, private client and tax work, to build upon our already excellent reputation in this area. We anticipate further opportunities for our Commercial and Real Estate practices from the owners of businesses in Asia for whom we will undertake private client work. This is hugely exciting for our market-leading Real Estate and Infrastructure practices. We welcome Marcus to our growing team across Asia.”

Marcus Dearle commented: “BLP has shown great vision in recognising the need for a high level asset preservation practice. Hong Kong is the divorce capital of Asia for the financially weaker litigant, and the risk of marital breakdown, as well as family discord, is a clear and present danger to family wealth. UHNW families in Asia are increasingly looking for international, cutting-edge and responsible asset protection, and anti-forum shopping strategies through, for example, the use of pre- and post-nuptial agreements, dynastic trust planning and corporate structuring. This helps to limit the risks and the potential for future expensive, acrimonious, and sometimes public, reputation damaging, litigation. Access to top level Commercial and Real Estate advice will also be of significant attraction to my clients; BLP will give me the tools to complete the job.”

The hire comes after the Firm appointed nine lawyers from boutique law firm Haley & Co into its Hong Kong office (1 May 2015) which expanded its global Real Estate and Infrastructure offering in Asia. It has also recently (12 November 2015) opened in Myanmar, giving the Firm its 14th international office, with the appointment of Chris Hughes as Partner to lead this development.

BLP’s Hong Kong office opened in October 2011. The Firm’s main practices in the region are Real Estate and Infrastructure, Private Client, Corporate and Asset Finance.


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