Asia-Pac leads the world on IPO activity
IPO activity has fallen globally but Asia-Pacific leads the world on new stock market listings. A report from EY shows that global IPO activity fell to just 167 deals in the first quarter of 2016. The listings raised U$12.1 billion. It’s the weakest first quarter since 2009 and is 39 per cent lower in volume terms and 70 per cent down in capital raised compared to Q1 in 2015.
For law firms in Asia-Pacific there were also fewer clients to advise on with IPO activity down 31 per cent in volume terms and 55 per cent for capital raised; but the region accounted for 61 per cent of global IPO volumes.
Ringo Choi, Asia-Pacific IPO Leader commented that despite the global concerns over growth and turbulence for oil and equities subduing IPO volumes here “the region is still the world’s most active in terms of IPO listings and the prospects for a swift rebound are positive.” Japan is on course for a record year, he said. Chinese authorities are also planning support for IPO activity.
KWM cuts back partnership
King & Wood Mallesons is cutting back one of its partnerships. The international law firm will reduce the number of partners in its Europe, UK and Middle East partnership by 15 per cent, meaning around 23 partners leaving. The cuts are all in part of the business that was SJ Berwin. KWM has four separate partnerships and the Australia, China and Hong Kong partnerships are not part of the cuts.
Regulator announces reduction in lawyers’ rule book
The regulator for solicitors in England & Wales is to significantly reduce the size of its rulebook. The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that it wants to cut its Solicitors Handbook from its current 600 pages to nearer 50. The rules should be just 5 pages for lawyers and the same for law firms.
While rules are being considered there is also speculation about whether law firms will face restrictions on holding client accounts. The Law Society has launched a consultation and says it is not convinced that there is any more risk from client accounts than from alternatives and that it could be detrimental for the profession if restrictions are imposed by regulators.