London-based Woodsford Litigation Funding Ltd. has opened its first Asian office in Singapore—the second litigation funder to announce the launch of an office there in the past two weeks.
Woodsford’s new outpost, opened only three months after the firm opened a U.S. office in Philadelphia, is headed by managing director Charlie Morris, who has relocated from London. Morris joined the firm in 2016 and had previously practiced litigation and arbitration with litigation boutique Enyo Law and U.K. firm Addleshaw Goddard.
Morris will oversee the entire Asia Pacific region for Woodsford; in addition to Singapore, he will also spend time in Hong Kong, where the firm currently does not have an office.
“The time is right for us to expand into Asia,” said Morris, noting that he had received positive feedback from senior lawyers and business leaders in both Hong Kong and Singapore.
“Already, practitioners are starting to understand the benefits and opportunities that funding can provide, and we anticipate steady growth in the region,” he said.
Woodsford’s launch in Singapore comes just two weeks after U.S. litigation funder Burford Capital opened an office there. Singapore and Hong Kong both passed legislation this year to allow third-party funding for arbitration cases. Both markets are seen as ripe for third-party arbitration funding.
Woodsford plans to deploy a $150 million investment globally over the next two years. Chief executive Steven Friel said in a statement that he’s confident that “a significant part” will go to the Asian market.
In Singapore, Morris will also work with Zhijian Wu, who runs a local asset management firm that is part of the Woodsford Group.
Woodsford said its first arbitration funding deal in Singapore is already in place. A London-based spokesperson said details of the case are confidential but described it as a “David v. Goliath situation that would not have been able to be brought without the benefit of third-party funding.”