June 19, 2017

Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat shares with The Business Times the different schemes RHTLaw Taylor Wessing adopts in taking in practice trainees following the glut of law graduates in Singapore

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat was quoted in The Business Times article titled “More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay”. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 19 June 2017. More local law firms willing to take in trainees, but without pay Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 19 June 2017 Author: Claudia Chong FOLLOWING the glut of law graduates in Singapore, more local law firms are taking in practice trainees who are unable to secure placements elsewhere - on the condition that they do not receive an honorarium during their stint. Both foreign and local law graduates are required to complete a six-month practice training contract at a Singapore law practice before being called to the Bar. Senior partner Tan Chong Huat told The Business Times that his firm, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, typically has different schemes for the practice trainees that it takes in. Trainees in the first scheme are those that the firm intends to retain - "mature students" or those with a "very good track record". Trainees in the second scheme have their pay varied and have not been identified for retention. The last scheme comprises trainees who were unable to find a place at other law firms to complete their training. "They come around and say, 'Can you offer us a place here?' Mostly these will be business associates' referrals," said Mr Tan. "So we take them on and they might just have no pay." Honorariums for training contracts can range from S$800 to S$1,600 a month, according to a listing on the Law Society of Singapore website. Another senior partner practising at a large local law firm said that for the past two years, his firm has taken in one or two such trainees per year. But these arrangements are kept private between the trainee and the management to avoid stigmatisation, and the trainees perform the standard rotation work and are exposed to the same kinds of cases as ordinary trainees, he said. These unpaid trainees are often graduates who read law overseas; returning overseas graduates might face difficulties securing a training contract if they had not previously interned at law firms here. "How we, as a firm, hire trainees nowadays is nearly always through (structured) internships. We very seldom hire trainees through direct applications," said the senior partner, who spoke to BT on condition of anonymity. Students reading law at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) are encouraged to pursue internships during semester breaks. While NUS Law does not make internships mandatory for students, SMU requires undergraduates undergoing its bachelor of laws programme to complete 10 weeks of internship with either a law firm or a legal department, or a combination of both. The issue of the glut of lawyers here has become a hotly debated topic in recent years. While the number of students accepted yearly by NUS and SMU's law schools has remained fairly constant, the annual number of returning overseas law graduates rose from around 210 in 2011 to around 310 in 2015, said the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) in response to queries from BT. The increase in students reading law overseas prompted MinLaw in 2015 to axe eight UK universities from the list of foreign universities approved for graduate admission to the Singapore Bar. The move was implemented from Academic Year 2016/17 onwards; there are now 11 UK universities on the list. In the meantime, it appears that returning graduates will continue to struggle to get a training contract placement. Statistics from MinLaw show that from 2011 to 2015, around 70 per cent of overseas-trained graduates secured training contracts, compared to around 90 per cent of local graduates. In response, the Singapore Institute of Legal Education in December 2015 made changes to the number of practice trainees that a senior practitioner can supervise, easing the quota from two to four. "There has been an influx of law graduates in the past few years and not enough training places to absorb them all," said Stefanie Yuen Thio, joint managing director of TSMP Law Corporation. "Firms that previously did not take in trainees have started doing so, partly to do their bit for law graduates who cannot otherwise get contracts." Small-sized firm Exodus Law Corporation typically has two to four trainees working with it at any given time, though the firm's managing director Daniel Xu said that it does not need more than two trainees. The firm gives its trainees an allowance of S$300 to S$500 a month to cover their basic expenses, depending on the applicant's previous work experience. "I am not paying the best allowance in town. I am one of the lowest among the rest, but I can't afford more," said Mr Xu. "As far as I'm concerned . . . I'm doing a form of National Service - providing these graduates with an opportunity to complete their training so that they can go on and become lawyers in the near future."
June 5, 2017

Head of Capital Markets Ch’ng Li-Ling gave her comments to The Straits Times on the addition of 29 companies to SGX watch-list after failing to meet the revised minimum trading price rule

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Capital Markets Ch'ng Li-Ling was quoted in The Straits Times article titled "29 companies added to SGX watch-list". The article was first published in The Straits Times on 5 June 2017. 29 companies added to SGX watch-list Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 5 June 2017 Author: Marissa Lee Twenty-seven companies were added to the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) watch-list on Monday (June 5) for failing to meet the revised minimum trading price (MTP) rule - making it 78 mainboard-listed firms in all on that list. Altogether, 29 companies entered the watch-list on Monday, including two firms that failed to meet financial entry criteria based on profitability requirements. But the revised MTP criteria was also a boon for two companies, which exited the watch-list under the latest assessment. Drilling rig owner Jasper Investments and petroleum exploration and production firm Interra Resources said they had been removed from the watch-list, as each of them had achieved an average daily market cap of more than S$40 million over the last six months. Companies on the watch-list must provide quarterly updates on their financial situation, and have 36 months to meet the MTP or financial criteria. Otherwise, they will face a delisting. The MTP framework, which took effect on March 1 last year, is intended to highlight to investors the issuers that may be more susceptible to excessive speculation and potential manipulation. But it drew fierce criticism from investors and traders, who saw the rules as damaging to stock values because many companies had been forced to conduct share consolidations only to see prices plunge again. In response to feedback last year, the SGX relaxed the entry criteria in December so that a mainboard-listed firm that maintains a six-month average daily market capitalisation of over S$40 million will not be watch-listed even if it misses the 20-cent minimum trading price requirement. But the number of firms on the watch list has not fallen. When the MTP was introduced last March, 57 companies failed to meet the rule. Now, it is 66. (The other 12 making up the total 78 on the watchlist are there for failing to meet the financial criteria.) Mr Leon Yee, a lawyer and independent director of Federal International, which was one of over 100 issuers that previously resorted to share consolidations to meet the MTP, said: "There is a mismatch between financial performance and share price performance in Singapore, because of the low liquidity of our markets. "As the years go buy, more companies will go on the watchlist, because there is only so much liquidity to go around. Until now, the regulator is still stuck on this. The fact of the matter is it is not working out for issuers." Ms Ch'ng Li-Ling, head of the capital markets practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, observed that "the rules are there for a reason." But she noted that the SGX had exercised discretion once, last June, when it gave 13 companies affected by "recent market volatility" more time to meet the MTP so none were added to the Watchlist then. Firms on the watch list have three years to meet the MTP or financial criteria. Otherwise, they face a delisting. Perhaps, more tweaks to the MTP rule are not out of the question. In April, Professor Tan Cheng Han, the new chairman of RegCo, which is taking over all of SGX's regulatory functions, declared that he would not be afraid to reassess sacred cows in the rules framework.
June 2, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing wins “CSR – Editor’s Award” at WealthBriefingAsia Awards 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing emerged as a winner of the "CSR – Editor’s Award" at the 5th WealthBriefingAsia Awards. We are honoured to be the only firm nominated in this category. The triumph marks another milestone for the Firm and RHT Rajan Menon Foundation to be recognised as a corporate citizen and a leader in this space. The awards night on 1 June 2017 was held at the prestigious Westin Hotel in Singapore. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has also been shortlisted by WealthBriefingAsia Singapore Awards 2017 in the categories of: Legal Team - South-East Asia Wealth Planning Team - South-East Asia Philanthropy Offering/Initiative of the Year
May 29, 2017

RHT Rajan Menon Foundation raises $264,000 for beneficiaries at its third annual Charity Golf event 2017

RHT Rajan Menon Foundation Charity Golf 2017 was featured in The Straits Times article titled “Charity Golf tournament raises $264,000 for beneficiaries”. The article was first published in The Straits Times on 26 May 2017. Charity golf tournament raises $264,000 for beneficiaries Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 26 May 2017 Author: Aaron Chan SINGAPORE - Over a quarter of a million dollars was raised on Friday (May 26), at RHT Rajan Menon Foundation's third annual golf charity event held at the Singapore Island Country Club. A total of 40 companies and individuals donated $264,000, which will go towards two primary beneficiaries - The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and Singapore Management University Pro Bono Centre - as well as two selected organisations, namely the Singapore Red Cross Society and National Gallery Singapore. Over three years, the foundation has raised more than $600,000. One of its key donors is Qilin World Capital, who has been a supporter since 2015. Qilin's co-managing partner, Mr Raymond Lau, said: "Both the primary beneficiaries were set up to support children and youth from less fortunate circumstances. (Our company) believes that the right financing tools can help cultivate a culture of socially responsible individuals and provide educational development to the next generation." RHT Holdings's chief executive Mr Jayaprakash Jagateesan, who was speaking at the event's gala dinner on Friday said:"As leaders of the corporate world, we have the influence to inculcate the spirit of giving within our organisations, encouraging fellow colleagues and friends to behave in a socially responsible manner." The RHT Rajan Menon Foundation was established in 2015 and supports a variety of causes.