Singapore City
16 March 2023

South East Asia Case Studies


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Overview

A number of Jersey-based firms have built strong connections with Asia, working with a wide range of corporate and private clients across the region. While the services they provide may vary, their support is underpinned by the clear advantages of choosing Jersey – from its stability and high standards to its central time zone and tax neutrality.

Scroll down to read case studies from a selection of  Jersey firms supporting business across South East Asia.

Carey Olsen: Advising Singaporean Multi-asset Investment Firm

Carey Olsen advised the Singaporean multi-asset investment firm, Sun Venture, on the purchase of 120 Moorgate from WeWork Capital Advisors for US$180 million. The acquisition, which was completed through Sun Venture’s second Jersey Private Fund (JPF), structured as a Jersey Limited Partnership, is the company’s third purchase in London following 1 New Oxford Street and 1 and 2 New Ludgate, the latter being the UK’s largest real estate acquisition of 2020. Together, Carey Olsen’s Jersey and Singapore teams advised on the launch of the JPF, which was used to facilitate the purchase, and all Jersey legal and regulatory aspects of the acquisition. The JPF regime enables a proportionate and fast-track regulatory process making it a very nimble fund product.

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Fairway Group: Collaborating with Service Providers in Singapore

Fairway Group, an independent private client, corporate, funds and pension services provider was recently approached by a UK promoter for assistance setting up a fund for a portfolio circa US$60-US$121 million, containing digital assets.

Based on the client’s needs and the number of investors, Fairway’s experienced funds team proposed using a Jersey Private Fund (JPF) which offers an appropriate level of regulation. Fairway has extensive experience at launching this highly flexible fund product for many international clients due to its certainty, flexibility, and speed to market.

Fairway can act as the designated service provider required to be appointed by the JPF, ensuring the submission of the fund application, completion of due diligence and AML requirements at launch as well as taking care of ongoing regulatory compliance. Using Fairway’s global network of providers, the team were able to guide the client jurisdictionally, choosing Singapore – a leading global innovation hub, known for having a well-developed tech infrastructure – to provide accounting and bookkeeping services.

For this client, Fairway’s offering includes a full suite of services from administration, company secretarial, FATCA / CRS reporting and director services while utilising a ready-made partnership with an accountancy service provider in the region.

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Hawksford: Successfully Assisting Boggi Milano with APAC expansion

Headquartered in Jersey, Hawksford is an international provider of corporate, private client and fund services. With a significant presence in Asia – including several offices across mainland China, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore – the group has extensive experience and expertise in helping foreign businesses tap into Asian markets.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and multinationals from around the globe in setting-up, running and expanding their businesses, Hawksford has a proven track record working with clients across a range of sectors, including manufacturing, consumer and retail, tech and innovation, and luxury fashion.

Boggi Milano, an existing client of Hawksford, is an Italian fashion brand with 190 shops in more than 38 countries. Already well established in Europe, Boggi Milano was looking to expand its business operations into Asia and wanted a trusted partner to manage the administrative duties of setting up its new businesses.

Understanding the local culture, business landscape and tax and regulatory environment, Hawksford’s dedicated team worked closely with the brand to help expand its business operations into Hong Kong SAR, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore. They provided a full suite of corporate services, including accounting, tax compliance, payroll administration and company formation. Within a short time, Boggi Milano had new shops set up and was operating efficiently and successfully throughout Asia.

“Hawksford was able to help Boggi beyond its scope and has proven to be a key stakeholder of Boggi in Asia. In Singapore alone, Hawksford assisted Boggi in cultivating our connections with the most important landlords. This contribution allowed us to enter the Singapore market and open three stores.” – Paolo Selva, Corporate CEO, Boggi Milano.

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Moore Stephens: Supporting Inbound UK Real Estate Investment

Moore Stephens is part of the Moore Global Network which is made up of more than 230 member firms globally. In the APAC region, our footprint comprises of 29 firms and 84 offices  – a sizeable presence and local connections. In Jersey, we provide a full suite of private wealth, funds, corporate, audit and assurance services.

The client, a Singaporean property developer, required a trusted team of professionals to facilitate their acquisition of a Jersey corporate vehicle which in turn holds the target property: a landmark midtown building, multi-tenanted with office and retail units.

Taking a proactive role, Moore Stephens successfully supported the client and advisers with transaction management activity, navigating the transaction through to its completion. Moore Stephens provided the core services required to service the corporate entity and facilitate asset management activity, including the provision of director services with appropriate expertise and within the time zone of their asset. Moore Stephens were also able to leverage the Moore Global Network capability to offer tax compliance services – presenting an all-round solution to the client’s ongoing requirements.

At Moore Stephens, we focus on people relationships and building trust early on –delivering a quality service while keeping the client informed. This is one of a number of Asia-driven investments that the team have had the opportunity to support over the years.

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Moore Stephens: Facilitating APAC Investment

Moore Stephens is part of the Moore Global Network made up of over 230 member
firms, of which c.29 firms (84 offices) are based in the APAC region.

A corporate Singaporean family office with extensive business dealings in APAC but
newcomer to UK real estate investment market approached Moore Stephens for a
team of trusted professionals to facilitate their investment in, and holding of, mixed
use central London commercial, multi-tenanted real estate with active asset
management activity. There was also the potential introduction of a joint venture
partner and future redevelopment of the asset.

Taking on the client, Moore Stephens worked with legal advisers and provided a full
suite of services to keep the process simple, including: company secretarial,
administration, hands-on interaction with the asset managers, financial reporting
and tax compliance, and directors with expertise of supporting clients in the sector.

A well-trodden path for Jersey in supporting inbound UK investment, the client
appreciates and values the expertise of Moore Stephens’ team, reputation of the
Island and proximity to asset location and onshore advisers to ensure a coordinated
approach to service. Moore Stephens focus on people relationships and building trust
early on, taking the time to explain the structuring process and ongoing governance
arrangements – and delivering a quality service while keeping the client informed.
This is one of a number of Asia-driven investments that the team have had the
opportunity to support over the years.

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For family offices and private clients, impact-minded investors are increasingly asking if their investee company can demonstrate some form of impact framework or accreditation to reflect their mission, such as being or becoming a B Corp. We’re even seeing some NextGens setting up their own B Corps, or evolving their existing businesses into B Corps.

Tze-Wei Ng
Associate, Stephenson Harwood LLP
Mourant: Advising CVC Capital Partners on Asia Pacific Fund with Commitments of US$4.5 billion

Mourant advised one of the world’s leading private equity and investment advisory firms, CVC Capital Partners, on its latest Asia-focussed private equity fund, CVC Capital Partners Asia V. The fund successfully closed at its hard cap of $4.5 billion.
CVC Capital Partners is a longstanding client of the firm and Mourant has advised on each of CVC Capital Partners’ previous Asia-focussed fundraisings. The fund received demand from a diversified global investor base of new and returning investors and exceeded its US$4 billion target.

Mourant LP Partner, Felicia de Laat, said: “It’s fantastic to see yet another significant fundraising of this size being completed by a Jersey based manager, reinforcing Jersey’s position as a leading jurisdiction for complex and global private fund raisings in the alternative asset classes.”

CVC Capital Partners’ Asia strategy is focussed on control and partnership investments in high quality businesses in core consumer and services sectors across Asia.

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Mourant: Long Standing Advisor for Asia Investors

Mourant has a long history of advising Asia-based clients, using Jersey to make their cross-border investments throughout the world. Mourant has provided advisory services for a South East Asia-based pension fund in the acquisition of the London- based headquarters for two separate global investment banks, totalling over US$2.7 billion. Mourant has supported the establishment of the Jersey corporate acquisition vehicle which qualified as a UK REIT and listing that vehicle on The International Stock Exchange.

Another example includes advising two separate Malaysian-based pension funds on their UK, Australian and Korean based property portfolios which are invested through Jersey companies, comprising over 50 commercial properties and valued at over US$4.8 billion.

Over the last 10 years, Mourant has advised the three Asia-based joint venture equity partners into the US$10.9 billion Battersea Power Station regeneration project. In each of these examples, the flexibility of Jersey companies law and the familiarity of Jersey for counterparties were key drivers.

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Oakbridge: Facilitating the Bridge for Singapore Managers to Domicile Funds in Jersey

Oakbridge has advised several Singapore investment managers, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.  Jersey is an attractive jurisdiction for Singapore managers utilising the Jersey Private Fund (JPF) regime.

Led by Robin Wilson and Alex Smyth, the Oakbridge team, alongside Carey Olsen, supported Play Ventures on the launch of their venture capital blockchain and metaverse gaming fund. The fund invests in global early-stage pre-seed, seed, Series A and blockchain and metaverse gaming companies and tokens.  It was established as a JPF which is an increasingly popular route for Singapore fund managers with digital asset-focused investment strategies.

Oakbridge also advised the Singapore investment manager Fintonia on the launch of its bitcoin focused fund. Fintonia Bitcoin Physical Fund (Jersey) Limited is a JPF through which a sub-fund of Fintonia Liquid Funds VCC, a Singapore domiciled variable capital company, invests in a ‘master-feeder’ arrangement. The fund’s investment strategy is to provide investors long-only exposure to bitcoin against US dollars in a quick, safe and cost-efficient manner, with the option to earn a yield on the fund’s assets.

There is an option to include Jersey Expert Fund (“JEP”) terms in a JPF fund’s constitutional documents which enables the fund to seek Jersey Financial Service Commission (“JFSC”) consent to convert to a JEP without greatly disrupting the existing investor base, delaying the conversion or incurring high additional legal costs.

Oakbridge are seeing Singapore managers looking to use Jersey as a multi-fund platform, use a JPF to launch next-generation funds and also to expand their existing funds. Using a JPF enables Singapore Managers to gain quicker speed-to-market launch and lower initial launch and ongoing costs, which helps them efficiently build their track record, leveraging on the highly-skilled labour pool which underpins Jersey as a domicile of choice. This ultimately provides the manager with the scope to effectively scale their fund through Jersey’s tried-and-tested fund regimes. Singapore managers choosing the JPF demonstrates the global reputation of the structure as in most cases the managers are multi-jurisdictional.

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Suntera Global: A Designated Service Provider

Suntera Global, a multi-jurisdictional service provider of fund, corporate and private wealth services, supported a Singapore regulated asset management firm on the launch of its latest fintech-focussed fund: Volcano Investment Limited (Volcano Investment).

Volcano Investment has a fundraising target of US$100 million and has been established as a Jersey Private Fund (JPF).

Suntera worked with Carey Olsen, a leading offshore law firm which also provided support to the client, including advising on the structuring, establishment and regulatory aspects of the fund’s launch under the JPF regime.

The objective of the fund is to build a diversified portfolio of high-growth potential companies across a range of sectors, including those involving disruptive technology such as decentralised finance technology, robotics, electric vehicles, information storage, fintech, and blockchain technology.

Jersey was recommended as a favourable jurisdiction for this client due to the double taxation agreement between Jersey and Singapore for digital asset related funds.  Digital assets do not fall within the definition of a “designated investment” for the purposes of Singapore tax legislation meaning a Singapore domiciled fund would suffer tax leakage that is unattractive to investors.

Suntera’s fund services division acts as the client’s designated service provider, offering a broad range of administration, governance, and regulatory compliance services.

Suntera regularly visits Singapore to continue strengthening existing client relationships, meeting new contacts, and developing connections with wider South East Asia.

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TMF Jersey: Supporting South East Asian Retailer with Employee Incentive Scheme

TMF provide offshore trustee and administration services to a Jersey-based Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) for a large online retailer based in South East Asia (the Company). The EBT facilitates the share incentive plans which are operated for approximately 2,000 employees of the Company around Asia. The EBT was established in readiness for an initial public offering of the Company.

The services TMF provides includes setting up a trust bank account, liaising with the Company relating to the share plans, trustee meetings in relation to the vesting of awards and accepting trust assets from the Company, arranging for shares to be sold/transferred, arranging for proceeds to be paid, FATCA and CRS reporting and maintaining trust records.

Benefits of using a Jersey EBT:

  • Regulation in Jersey does not require client due diligence (CDD) to be collated on beneficiaries – provided that certain specific criteria is met. This reduces the costs and administrative burden associated with a service provider collecting this information.
  • Jersey EBT’s maintain client confidentiality due to no requirement for the EBT to be registered or reported.
  • As part of our expertise, we have share plan subject matter experts based in Jersey with years of experience in this area. Our technology specialists in relation to the online share plan platform are also based in Jersey.
  • Jersey provides global support. The TMF Jersey Employee Benefits team liaise closely with the TMF teams in South East Asia to provide local support to the Company when required.
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Walkers: Longstanding Advisers to Asian Lenders

Walkers’ Jersey team advises on the financing of the landmark redevelopment of
Battersea Power Station following on from the record-setting £1.6 billion forward sale
of the Power Station building to PNB and EPF in March 2019. The Walkers team – led
by partner Jonathan Heaney and Group Partner Jon Le Rossignol – are longstanding
advisers to the Asian lenders supporting the project and have advised since the start
of the deal including on various stages of financing. The team has significant
experience in respect of the establishment, acquisition, financing, and disposal of
holding structures for prime commercial and residential UK real estate assets, and
Jersey continues to be a popular choice for holding assets of this type by Asian
investors and their finances.

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Key Contact

For a personal introduction to Jersey finance firms working in Singapore,  please contact Yiow Chong Tan.

Yiow Chong Tan › Business Development Director – South East Asia
email › / profile ›

Yiow Chong Tan joined Jersey Finance in September 2022 as our dedicated Business Development Director in Singapore, with his remit also covering the surrounding South East Asia region.

Yiow has extensive business and corporate finance experience in the Asian markets where he has been consistently involved in the origination, marketing, structuring, negotiation, due diligence and execution of private equity, stock exchange listings and M&A deals across Singapore and Malaysia. In a previous role, he identified and built close working relationships with Chinese high-net worth clients and institutional investors to secure and raise funds for mandated clients.

Most recently, he was the Corporate Finance Director and Board Secretary of a Chinese Family Office which has investments in Chinese data centres and UK commercial properties. Prior to that, he held director and consultant positions with various Singapore-based business consultancy firms working out of Shanghai in mainland China.

A Singaporean, he has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and Accounting Degree with First Class Honours from the University of Leeds and is fluent in English and Chinese Mandarin.

To connect with Yiow on WeChat please scan the QR code below:

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