The new firm, known as HLB Mann Judd Chew, will target Asian businesses looking to invest in Australia and New Zealand, as well as domestic businesses looking to expand into Asia.
HLM Mann Judd Chew will be led by Kim Chew, who previously led PwC’s Asia HNWI market, Singapore desk and Myanmar desk.
Mr Chew said the new firm will be building on HLB Mann Judd’s existing relationships with Asian investors and Australian businesses but also hopes to win new business for the HLB network.
The firm will assist clients with a range of services, including business and property acquisitions, asset management, migration and wealth management, and taxation, compliance and audit.
“Our aim is to be a one-stop-shop for our clients throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Chew said.
The firm is currently building its team but has given no indication of what HLB Mann Judd Chew’s final headcount will be. In the meantime, the new firm will work closely with existing HLB Mann Judd practices to leverage appropriate resources where necessary.
The firm has recently appointed a head of Korea practice to focus on existing opportunities in South Korea.
Mr Chew said the new firm has been set up to capitalise on the significant increase in Asian investment that both Australia and New Zealand have seen in recent years.
“These investors are often large family groups interested in property, agriculture and resources who want an independent adviser to help [them] find the right asset, [which] is crucial.
“We can help bring parties together and put in place the structures and compliance arrangements required, depending on particular circumstances and needs,” Mr Chew said.
Tony Fittler, chairman of the HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association said the new business will help HLB Mann Judd to service the evolving needs of its existing customers as well as win new business in Asia.
“We are working with more and more companies and investors that want to get involved in the increasing opportunities in other countries, but struggle to find the best way to do so, including gaining a deep understanding of industry and business differences as well as dealing with the cultural and compliance issues of unfamiliar jurisdictions.
“Setting up a business specifically designed to meet these needs and those of businesses and family groups seeking expansion, in partnership with an experienced and expert adviser, is a logical step for us."
While many firms have ‘desks’, operations to facilitate business in other countries, Mr Fittler said by creating an entirely new entity HLB Mann Judd is able focus more specifically on the needs of clients to help them take advantage of present opportunities.
“We believe that setting up a specialist firm that is an entity in its own right, rather than part of the accounting practice, allows focus on building a dedicated and knowledgeable team to service a client base with specific needs,” Mr Fittler said.
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