RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Merger with Vietnamese Law Firm PBC PARTNERS highlights commitment to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

The merger with Vietnamese based law firm PBC PARTNERS & RHTLaw signals the Firm’s drive towards a seamless regional legal platform through integrating brand, technology and knowledge across ASEAN. Move in line with establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a major milestone in the regional economic integration agenda in ASEAN, offering opportunities in the form of a market of US$2.6 trillion and over 622 million people.

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP is set to further strengthen its regional cross-border practice with the merger with PBC PARTNERS & RHTLaw. The firm today announced the launch of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam bringing together PBC PARTNERS & RHTLaw, and RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, the 6th largest law firm in Singapore, into a seamless integrated service network. The merger is in line with the AEC Blueprint 2025 which is aimed towards achieving the vision of having an AEC by 2025 that is highly integrated and cohesive; competitive, innovative and dynamic; with enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation; and a more resilient, inclusive, and people-oriented, people-centred community, integrated with the global economy.

The move comes soon after RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s alliance with PBC PARTNERS in early 2014 to form PBC PARTNERS & RHTLaw. Today, the two firms deepen their integration to offer clients seamless cross border services.

The new outfit, located within the commercial centre of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, will have presence across Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with 25 lawyers covering a full suite of practice areas, including foreign direct investments, mergers and acquisition, real estate, energy, hospitality, healthcare, construction, banking & finance, international trade, telecommunication, taxation, employment, and dispute resolution.

Commenting on the launch of the new office, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Managing Partner, Tan Chong Huat noted, “The merger signals our commitment to intensify our ASEAN growth strategy via our “ASEAN+” network. What started out as an alliance of like-minded law firms has now grown into a pre-eminent legal firm in Vietnam. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing emerging markets in the world and is poised to play an important role in the ASEAN economy. Our base in Vietnam allows us to actively serve our clients’ business needs across the region, providing on-the-ground counsel to guide them through the legal challenges posed by cross border transactions and operations.”

Azman Jaafar, Deputy Managing Partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and Chairman of the ASEAN+ Group, added, “Launching a new office in Vietnam is part of the series of the strategic growth initiatives we have planned to bolster our presence across ASEAN. In addition to the considerable business opportunities present in Vietnam, the country also serves as a gateway to the Indochina region, potentially opening up avenues for us to service clients in the promising Laos, Cambodian and Myanmar markets.”

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam will be led by Tran Thanh Hai as Managing Partner and Benjamin Yap as Senior Partner. Mr Hai has over 20 years of legal experience and is well-regarded in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, telecommunications, employment, land, taxation, technology and commercial law. Prior to forming PBC PARTNERS and RHTLaw, he was with Courdert Brothers, Deasons Vietnam and PwC Legal Vietnam where he worked across a wide range of sectors with both local and international clients.

“I am indeed excited by RHT’s model of combining strong local knowledge with international expertise. Our partnership will allow us to leverage the brand, platform and technology of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and transform ourselves into a regional and global player. We look forward to working with the Singapore team to build a market-leading office in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi”, Mr Hai remarked.

Benjamin Yap, a Vietnam-registered foreign lawyer who is called to the Singapore and English Bar, has extensive experience in corporate and commercial transactions. He has more than 20 years of experience handling mergers and acquisitions, real estate, corporate compliance and governance, and employment matters for local and international clients.

The months ahead will also see Partners from the Singapore office being seconded to Vietnam and vice versa, a move aimed to boost knowledge transfer and capacity building.

The latest venture in Vietnam is consistent with RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s strategy to bolster its service offerings across the region. In the last few years, the Firm has forged strategic alliances with leading Indonesian law firm, Hanafiah Ponggawa and Partners, and South Korean firm DR & AJU, together with several other leading firms in Asia under the ASEAN Plus Group.