King & Wood Mallesons has recruited a senior executive from Hong Kong’s securities exchange as counsel, boosting its capital markets practice at a time when firms are expecting a surge in capital markets work in Hong Kong.
Anthony Jacobsen will join in August and focus on advising issuers and sponsors for initial public offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which he joined in 2016 as a senior vice president and worked on processing new equity listing applications. He will be based in Hong Kong.
Prior to joining the stock exchange, Jacobsen was a partner at Sidley Austin’s Shanghai office, where he started in 2011. Before that, he was with Baker McKenzie—also in Shanghai—for more than 15 years, four as a partner.
Jacobsen will join King & Wood as it recently strengthened its Hong Kong capital markets practice. This year, the Sino-Australian firm made four Hong Kong partner promotions—Ricky Lioe, Michael Lu, Kanne Leung and Cindy Shek—all in its corporate and securities practice. King & Wood also relocated U.S. law securities partner Jia Liu to Hong Kong from Beijing, although she will continue to spend time in the Chinese capital.
Firms in Hong Kong have been preparing for an uptick in capital markets work as the city’s bourse recently implemented a set of new listing rules in April to attract more listings from tech and biotech companies.
There has already been a noticeable boost: Hong Kong hit a three-year IPO high in the first half of this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, after 51 issuers raised $11.25 billion—including Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.’s $4.72 billion Hong Kong listing last week. This is an increase of 45 percent from the same period last year. In contrast, $19.56 billion was raised on the New York Stock Exchange—down 2 percent year-on-year, and $8.68 billion was raised on the Shanghai Stock Exchange—a decline of 33 percent.
In June, Latham & Watkins recruited capital markets counsel Mandy Wong and Daying Zhang in Hong Kong from Sidley Austin and Kirkland & Ellis, respectively. Kirkland also recruited capital markets partner Wanda Woo from Shearman & Sterling.