Harneys hire to aid Japanese companies going offshore

Fan Yucheng

Harneys has hired Japan-qualified lawyer (bengoshi) Fan Yucheng as a partner in its investment funds practice in Hong Kong to help Japanese companies with investments offshore.

Fan joined from Maples Group in Hong Kong, where he was an associate for more than two years. He specialises in Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands fund matters, advising on the structure, formation, launch and maintenance of private equity funds, venture capital funds, corporate capital funds, hedge funds and unit trusts.

Maggie Kwok, Harneys’ partner and Asia head of funds and regulatory in Hong Kong, said that the use of offshore vehicles as a listing entity in Japan had traditionally been less popular in comparison to other jurisdictions in the region, particularly mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“However, the encouraging discussions by the Japanese government to introduce its own J-SPAC, a Japanese version of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and the publishing of a draft growth strategy implementation plan by an advisory board to the Japanese government in early June, may be a game changer,” Kwok told Asia Business Law Journal.

“Given the popularity and familiarity of using offshore special purpose vehicles in Japan, a prospective Japanese trend of using offshore, predominantly Cayman vehicles for J-SPACs is not entirely unrealistic.”

Kwok said Japan has the third-highest number of active fund managers in the Asia-Pacific, and the country’s sophisticated general partners and limited partners were accustomed to using offshore vehicles, with the Cayman Islands being the offshore destination of choice, accounting for more than 90% of for foreign domiciled funds offered in Japan.