Aussie managing principal becomes face of IAG in Asia Pacific

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The managing principal (international) of Australian-based law firm Rockwell Olivier will be the face of professional services in Asia Pacific after being appointed to the executive committee of Integrated Advisory Group International (IAG).

The appointment means that John Ridgway will be the principal IAG representative in the region and will have the opportunity to recruit other like-minded firms from Asia Pacific.

IAG is a network of professional services firms which spans the globe. The idea is that member firms develop in-depth, mutually supportive relationships with every other member, leading to seamless, hassle-free service for members' clients around the world.

Members include lawyers, accountants, tax advisers and fiduciaries, some of whom work in association with other specialists: economists, real estate advisers or financial advisers.

Ridgway told Australasian Lawyer that his appointment is a huge deal for Rockwell Olivier because it has cemented the firm’s quest to extend its Pacific Legal Network (PLN) across all parts of Asia, both developed and emerging.

“Rockwell Olivier has, via the Pacific Legal Network, the only co-ordinated legal and advisory business which spans the seas between Singapore and Hawaii,” he says.

“IAG is an international network of firms which originated in Europe with 12 firms some 25 years ago; its membership is very strong in the UK and in Europe and it is strong across North America… Rockwell Olivier will be the only law firm which truly has an Asia Pacific network.  Most firms which espouse capabilities for Asia Pacific are strong on Asia, but weak on Pacific.  We put the Pacific back into Asia Pacific.”

Ridgway says his primary goal is to recruit firms from across Asia Pacific into IAG, and Rockwell Olivier will be hosting an assembly in Hong Kong in February 2015, which he describes as a “watershed” event for growth of IAG membership in the region.

And although IAG is similar to a number of other international professional networks, there are two important distinctions, says Ridgway.

The first is that the UK and European representation is very strong and is not just for lawyers: many of the European firms are tax advisers.

“Secondly, IAG has itself as a member the international network of accountants KS International. So in this way, IAG has a ‘network within its own network’,” he says. “KSI has an amazing footprint across Asia, so this alone augers well for cross-pollination across Asia Pacific for all members of IAG, and in particular for Rockwell Olivier and those in Asia Pacific.”