October 12, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing bolsters Private Wealth Practice with appointment of new Partner

Mr Benjamin Szeto’s specialist knowledge in Private Wealth management underscores the Firm’s emphasis on leveraging demand for legal advice on cross border investments and transactions Leading international law firm RHTLaw Taylor Wessing bolsters its Private Wealth Practice with the appointment of Mr Benjamin Szeto as a Partner and Deputy Head of the Private Wealth Practice, effective 1 October 2017. Benjamin joins RHTLaw Taylor Wessing from Savoir LLC, a bespoke law practice that specialises in crafting structures and solutions for a select clientele, which he founded in 2014. He brings with him almost 20 years of experience in advising high net worth clients, business owners, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, listed entities and Fortune 500 corporations on a wide range of transactions. Some of these dealings span diverse jurisdictions and include trusts, wealth and legacy planning, investments, real estate matters, acquisitions and divestments, and deal documentation. Over the years, Benjamin has advised clients from Singapore, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, and the United Kingdom. Benjamin is a Registered Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the worldwide association for professionals in asset protection, family inheritance and succession planning as well as an author for LexisNexis Practical Guidance Singapore on various Trusts topics. Mr Tan Chong Huat, Co-Head of Private Wealth and Senior Partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing commented, “We are delighted to welcome Benjamin to the Firm. With his years of experience working with high net worth clients and extensive knowledge in private wealth, I am certain his addition will strengthen the Firm’s Private Wealth position as a premium choice to clients and organisations. Benjamin’s cross-border capabilities are congruent with our ASEAN Plus Group strategy as we recognise the importance of being able to service clients in regional matters.” “As Singapore positions itself to be the private wealth management hub for the region, we observe a number of high net worth individuals and families, who want their accumulated wealth to be safe and well managed, moving their funds to Singapore. With Benjamin on board, we are in an even stronger position to assist our clients in Singapore and the region.” Benjamin attained his Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Birmingham in 1996. He was called to the Bar as a Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn) (1997) and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor in Singapore (1998). In 2008, he attained his Master of Science (Real Estate) from the National University of Singapore. He also holds a STEP Diploma in International Trust Management (Distinction) and a Diploma in Financial Management from the ACCA. --- This press release is featured in the following news reports: “Law Firm Adds to Asian Wealth Practice”  - FInews.asia, 13 October 2017 "RHTLaw appoints private wealth practice partner in SG" - Asian Legal Business,  13 October 2017 "Weekly roundup of people moves, Oct 13" - Asian Investor, 13 October 2017 "Corporate Moves" - The Edge, 6 November 2017
October 9, 2017

RHT Rajan Menon Foundation Chairman Tan Chong Huat shares about an Eldercare Project the Foundation is collaborating with SMU Pro Bono Centre to empower elderly Singaporeans to take charge of their future affairs

RHT Rajan Menon Foundation Chairman Tan Chong Huat shares about an Eldercare Project the Foundation is collaborating with SMU Pro Bono Centre to empower elderly Singaporeans to take charge of their future affairs. This article was first published in TODAY on 6 October 2017. SMU law students to help empower the elderly Source: TODAY © Mediacorp Press Ltd. Date: 6 October 2017 Author: Koh Swee Fang Valerie SINGAPORE – Law students from the Singapore Management University (SMU) will gain exposure to the legal needs of an ageing population under a new project of the university’s Pro Bono Centre. Part of a tie-up with the RHT Rajan Menon Foundation, the Eldercare Project will see the students assisting lawyers in the drafting of wills and Lasting Power of Attorney documents. It will begin in the next two months. A S$300,000 donation by the foundation will fund manpower costs -- such as the hiring of an executive to oversee the project and other new programmes of the SMU Pro Bono Centre. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows one to appoint others to make decisions on his behalf should he lose mental capacity. A five-year partnership between the centre and the foundation announced on Friday (Oct 6) will have lawyers from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing working with the People’s Action Party Community Foundation to reach out to the elderly, to teach them about legal matters related to financial planning and personal affairs. This would empower some elderly Singaporeans to take charge of their future affairs, said RHT Rajan Menon Foundation chairman Tan Chong Huat. “It’s very easy to say Singapore has a (rapidly) ageing population, but it’s only when you’re actually dealing with the situation that you realise the ramifications it has on society,” said the centre’s director Rathna Koman. “And when you give a student that kind of learning experience, it really adds to their growth.” The SMU Pro Bono Centre began in 2013 and all SMU law students are required to do at least 20 hours of pro bono work before they can graduate. The average student clocks 37 hours. Students serve at the centre’s three-hour legal clinic on Friday nights. They support lawyers who help individuals involved in physical violence and other criminal matters, or who are involved in divorce. Other cases involve contract issues relating to employment, for example. One to two lawyers are typically on duty each time and see about six cases a night. The centre has handled more than 600 cases so far. The clinics are held at the Pro Bono Centre, which moved from SMU’s Administration Building to its School of Law at Armenian Street in February. Former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong was at the centre’s official launch on Friday and urged students to volunteer their services. He is an advisor to the centre. SMU law dean Goh Yihan said pro bono work would allow students to graduate with not only a solid grasp of the law, but also “soft skills”. They would learn the practice of law is not about themselves, and is more than the drafting of legal documents in a posh Raffles Place office, he said. Third-year student Niranjanaa Ram, 21, said volunteering at the centre has helped her to apply textbook knowledge. “As students, all we see are readings or words and it doesn’t come alive until you see people having the same disputes and same worries -- and then you realise how important it is, what you’re studying,” she said.
October 9, 2017

Litigation and Dispute Resolution Partner Eugene Quah is representing an entrepreneur for the return of $6.5 million meant to be invested in China

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing's Litigation and Dispute Resolution  Partner Eugene Quah was featured in The Straits Times article titled, “Bankrupt, 4 others sued for return of $6.5m”. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 9 October 2017. Bankrupt, 4 others sued for return of $6.5m Entrepreneur wants ex-banker and 4 others to return sum meant to be invested in China Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 9 October 2017 Author: K.C. Vijayan A wealthy entrepreneur is suing a bankrupt and four others for the return of $6.5 million meant to have been invested in China but which allegedly went missing instead. Singaporean Alan Zhou, who set up a profitable ship chartering and brokering business, claims former private banker Karl Liew breached personal guarantees and made misrepresentations that induced him into the $6 million investments. Mr Liew was made a bankrupt early this year. It precluded him from defending himself or being represented by lawyers in the case. In September 2015, he was the victim of harassment by debt collectors who visited his Chancery Lane home seeking to recover alleged debts owed to Mr Zhou. The five debt collectors were subsequently dealt with in court for their aggressive behaviour and insulting words. The other four defendants in the suit include Realm Capital, a British Virgin Islands company Mr Liew set up. A court default judgment has been entered for the $6.5 million sought - the amount of $6 million plus interest - as the company did not enter an appearance. Mr Zhou is seeking damages of up to $5.3 million against the firm System Impact, Ms Mah Mei Sin and Mr Gobindram Harjani. In 2011, Mr Zhou, a former client of Mr Liew, made the four investment agreements worth $6 million for a residential project and bridging loans to companies in Wenzhou, China. A portion of the sums invested belonged to Mr Pu Dawei, a mutual acquaintance. The investments were introduced to Mr Liew by Ms Chen Jie, a Chinese national who was the contact point for the recipients of the investments in China. Under the investment pacts, Mr Zhou was required to transfer the funds to the account of System Impact, and at times to Ms Mah, its shareholder, according to court papers filed. But by the second half of 2012, Mr Zhou stopped receiving the investment updates and interest payments. He pursued the case with Mr Liew and learnt the investments were allegedly not used for the intended purposes. When the investment terms expired and the total of $6.53 million was unpaid, he called upon the alleged personal guarantees given by Mr Liew. In denying the claims, Mr Liew, who in court documents was identified as the son of prominent businessman and founding president and former chief executive officer of CapitaLand Group Liew Mun Leong, is challenging the enforceability of the investment pacts and personal guarantees. He was subpoenaed to testify in the High Court last week by Mr Zhou's lawyer Eugene Quah from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. In the run-up to the trial, Mr Zhou found that Ms Mah and System Impact had allegedly transferred the investment funds to Mr Gobindram, owner of Silk Rose, who was seen as a further intermediary. Mr Gobindram, represented by lawyer Lim Kim Hong, denied the claims, calling them baseless and unsubstantiated, and affirmed all monies received were remitted to China. In his opening statement in court on Tuesday, Mr Quah said the defendants have all conveniently accused Ms Chen - who is absent from the case - of running away with the funds. The High Court hearing before Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim continues next week.
October 9, 2017

Chairman of RHT Rajan Menon Foundation and Senior Partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Tan Chong Huat comments that the donation to SMU Pro Bono Centre goes beyond monetary support as it includes a commitment for lawyers to be involved in legal clinics

Chairman of RHT Rajan Menon Foundation and Senior Partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Tan Chong Huat comments that the donation to SMU Pro Bono Centre goes beyond monetary support as it includes a commitment for lawyers to be involved in legal clinics and train students. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 6 October 2017. Over 50% of SMU law students volunteer at its pro bono centre Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 6 October 2017 Author: Cheow Sue-Ann SINGAPORE - More than half of the Singapore Management University (SMU) law students volunteer at its pro bono centre. The centre, located within the new School of Law building, has seen more than 500 cases since 2013 and relies on the students to help run it. The 554 students take turns to man the centre's hotline and help-desk services from 8.30am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays, and perform administrative tasks to aid the lawyers at SMU's free legal clinics, held every Friday evening.   Associate Professor Rathna N. Koman, the centre's director, said the students currently perform an average of 37 hours of pro bono work a student, based on the 2013 graduating batch. This is a 60 per cent increase from 2009. The free legal clinic sees around six to 12 clients at each of its Friday evening sessions. Prof Rathna said that most of the cases they handle involve a crime, or are related to employment and family disputes. The centre has also assisted clients who have legal issues with organisations, including government agencies. On Friday (Oct 6), RHT Rajan Menon Foundation signed a commitment of $300,000 to the SMU Pro Bono Centre, to be delivered over five years. Mr Tan Chong Huat, chairman of the foundation and senior partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, said the monetary contribution combines with the law firm's commitment to provide the centre with lawyers and expertise to improve the pro bono work done by the centre as well as train the students. This is to ensure that the centre can provide better services in future.