News & Insights

Deacons shortlisted for the FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2022 awards

Hong Kong – 7 April 2022 – Deacons, Hong Kong’s longest-established and largest independent law firm, is proud to be shortlisted by the Financial Times for “Innovation in advancing markets” in the FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2022 awards for our work on regulatory challenges and opportunities of the Wealth Management Connect (WMC) scheme.

This is a welcome recognition for Deacons: we have assisted multiple clients in expanding their businesses utilising the WMC scheme, a key initiative launched in 2021 with an aim to facilitate cross-boundary investment by Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) investors.

Deacons is at the forefront of making the most of new channels with Mainland China, and has been actively involved with clients in rolling out numerous market-firsts and innovative products in response to new developments in Hong Kong’s securities and futures markets. In this regard, Deacons has assisted clients in overcoming regulatory challenges in two recent matters involving the marketing of retail wealth management products to investors in the GBA. 

Led by our Financial Services Partners Alwyn Li and Ming Chiu Li, Deacons assisted BEA Union in restructuring five of its existing Hong Kong-authorised funds from unit trusts to open-ended fund companies (OFCs) in June 2021. OFC funds authorised by the Securities and Futures Commission are eligible for distribution under the WMC scheme in the GBA. Since the OFC regime came into effect in 2018, this ground-breaking development was the first-ever fund structure conversion from unit trust to OFC. Our work has likely set the benchmark for such restructures going forward, which showcases Deacons’ contribution to the development of strengthening Hong Kong’s position as an asset and wealth management centre.

Deacons’ experience as a forerunner of the WMC scheme was also reflected in a matter handled by Ming Chiu, who advised the Hong Kong subsidiary of a Mainland bank on its operations to distribute Hong Kong products under the WMC scheme to Mainland customers. Deacons played a strategic role by providing funds and products set-up services, preparing and reviewing relevant agreements and offering ongoing compliance advice to the bank. Our work has assisted the client to be included in the first batch of banks that were permitted to provide cross-boundary WMC services on the first day the scheme became operational.

Commenting on the shortlisting, Deacons’ Partner and Head of Financial Services Jeremy Lam said, “We are delighted that our innovative solutions have been recognised with this highly competitive award. This not only reflects the highest service standards upheld by our team to support clients on unprecedented exercises, but also strengthens our dominant position in the financial services industry. We are immensely proud of successfully advancing the fund management industry by capitalising on the opportunities of the WMC scheme.”

Deacons has been a pioneer in the investment funds legal advisory space. We have the technical experience to establish complex investments funds and are able to advise on the regulatory implications when structuring products. Learn more about our services here.

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