Fireside chat with Peter Vas
Peter Vas, partner in the firm Banking & Finance and Business Groups in Hong Kong practicing BVI and Cayman Islands law, began advising on a number of issues related to business, mergers and acquisitions and finance and, as part of a broader introduction to the firm’s clients, we invited him to provide some background on himself, his practice and his perspective on recent market developments and legal market trends in Asia.
Loeb Smith (“LS”): Peter, could you give us a quick overview of your current practice?
PV: I advise on BVI and Cayman Islands law matters relating to banking and financial transactions, corporate and restructuring. I am based in our office in Hong Kong, but offshore law knows no borders and my clients are international in nature. I act for banks, other financial institutions, sponsors, insurance companies, other legal entities and private clients.
LS: Can you tell us more about your background?
PV: I am Swedish by birth and trained as a British lawyer at Sidley Austin in London, before moving to Jersey in the Channel Islands to pursue a career in an international offshore law firm. I was then seconded to Hong Kong in 2015 and since then have been practicing BVI and Cayman Islands law. I have always focused on a mix of banking and finance, corporate and restructuring issues, which makes the job interesting and varied.
LS: As a young partner, you have managed to gain the trust of leading clients to this day. What do you attribute this to?
PV: I am passionate about my role and enjoy developing lasting relationships with clients. I think providing commercially oriented and responsive advice is very useful in this market. I continue to believe that this is why I was recognized as one of the top offshore lawyers in the Asian Legal Business 2021 Offshore Client Choice List. I appreciate the time my clients have taken. for providing such positive feedback as we, as a firm, are committed to exceeding client expectations and providing responsive, high quality service.
LS: Among those that you can disclose, which do you think are the most interesting or the most difficult client files on which you have worked?
PV: A few deals come to mind, including real estate finance involving around 500 offshore SPVs, financing for the privatization of Global Logistic Properties, which was the largest M&A transaction ever in Singapore and the largest capital buyout. -investment from Asia at the time of the transaction, and the acquisition of Trans Maldivian Airways by a consortium led by Bain Capital. These were large cross-border transactions, highly negotiated and complex in nature. My biggest regret is not being able to attend the closing festivities of this last transaction in the Maldives!
LS: What types of transactions have you recently been asked to advise?
PV: It has been a very exciting time for the firm as we have been asked to quote on a variety of hot topics over the past two months. For example, I was recently asked to provide advice on secure cryptocurrency funding, as well as a quote on a “de-spac” transaction for a tech company. Cayman Islands subscription financing and the privatization of Chinese companies listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE through a statutory Cayman Islands merger also continued to be popular.
LS: Do you think PSPCs are becoming as popular in Asia as they are in the United States?
PV: This is a very interesting area as PSPC business has continued to be relatively robust in the United States due to high liquidity and investor enthusiasm, despite closer scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange. United States Commission. While Asia’s more conservative approach to PPCS is unlikely to match the flow of transactions in the United States, Asian financial markets depend on a constant flow of IPOs for stay competitive. So it’s no surprise that Hong Kong and Singapore are exploring a regulatory framework. There are currently fears that the rules are too focused on protecting the interests of investors, but they remain a work in progress.
LS: We advise on many corporate transactions in the fintech sector and in the Blockchain technology space (including cryptocurrency funds, De-Fi transactions, tokenized funds) as the volume of activity in these both domains increased in the past 18 to 24 months. . Do you see any developments in Hong Kong?
PV: The Fintech industry in Hong Kong has grown significantly over the past 12 months and many processes continue to be replaced by online operations as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hong Kong (like the rest of the world) has also seen explosive growth in virtual asset trading, which has amplified calls for additional regulation to tackle the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. As a result, a licensing regime for virtual asset service providers has been proposed in Hong Kong and is expected to come into effect in 2022. Among other things, operating a virtual asset exchange is expected to become a regulated activity. .
LS: Are there any other developments and / or trends in the Hong Kong legal market that you see over the next 6 months?
PV: Arguably largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, support for environmental, social and corporate governance issues continues to be embraced by many funds, international companies and financial institutions. Due to this trend, we expect more Asian private equity funds to require their portfolio companies to report on ESG issues and Asian LPs to develop an ESG investment policy for private equity. This is in addition to the significant growth of sustainability loans and green bonds in the region.
LS: Finally, in the context of Covid-19, what other initiatives have you been involved in to connect with customers?
PV: As a company, we publish many articles and other know-how that customers will hopefully find useful. I will also continue to address topical issues at events and conferences hosted by industry bodies and other organizations, such as China Offshore and CPA Australia. I encourage all clients looking for training in relevant fields overseas to get in touch.
LS: Thanks for your time, Pierre.