Herbert Smith HK finance regulatory partner exits to join Freshfields

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has made a notable hire for its Asia disputes practice with the hire of Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) financial services regulatory partner Tim Mak in Hong Kong.

Mak, whose start date at the magic circle firm is still to be confirmed, is top rated by Chambers and Partners for China non-contentious regulatory work in the financial services sector.

His move marks the latest partner exit from HSF, which has seen a stream of departures in recent months, including financial regulatory duo Martyn Hopper and Nikunj Kiri, who are joining Linklaters, and senior litigation partners Kevin Lloyd and Ted Greeno, who are moving to Debevoise & Plimpton and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan respectively.

Mak, who trained and qualified with legacy Herbert Smith before working as an in-house lawyer at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission for two years, returned to the firm in 2002, making partner in 2007. He is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Freshfields Asia managing partner Robert Ashworth said: “The regulatory environment in which global financial institutions operate has become more and more challenging over recent years and our clients require access to outstanding advice and support on both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters in all the key global financial centres.

“With 15 years on the ground experience in Hong Kong, including acting for PRC clients listed in Hong Kong on SFC matters, Tim knows the market and knows the regulators.”

The hire marks the latest in a number of recent steps taken by Freshfields to ramp up its presence in Asia, including moving two of its global practice heads to the region last year – Lucy Reed, head of international arbitration, and Geoff Nicholas, co-head of global investigations, both of who have relocated to Hong Kong.