Gibson Dunn recruits HSF Asia practice head in Hong Kong

The head of Herbert Smith Freehills' financial services regulatory practice in Asia has crossed over to Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, bringing three associates with him.

Gibson Dunn announced on 28 April that it had hired William Hallatt as a partner in its Hong Kong office, along with associates Emily Rumble, Becky Chung and Arnold Pun.

Hallatt has been based in Hong Kong since 2014,  heading HSF’s Asia financial services regulatory practice there until February this year, when he went on gardening leave ahead of his departure. He earlier spent almost 11 years with Linklaters as a managing associate in London.

HSF partner Hannah Cassidy took over as the firm’s Asia practice head in Hong Kong following Hallatt’s departure, with partner Natalie Curtis in Singapore.

Hallatt advises on new regulatory developments, compliance matters, culture and conduct regulation and fintech, as well as on the extraterritorial impact on Asian firms of third-country regulation, such as MiFID II and the EU Benchmark Regulation. 

He worked on several regulatory reform issues with the Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) and the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA).

Hallatt also advised on regulatory enforcement issues at HSF, covering IPO sponsor conduct, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF), and cybersecurity. 

He is admitted in England and Wales and in Hong Kong.

Pun joins after three years at HSF, which he joined in 2018 from King & Wood Mallesons. He advises clients on fintech and virtual asset regulations, and other regulatory matters, as well as on investigations related to misconduct, mis-selling of investment products, and on systems and controls failures.

Rumble, who is admitted in Australia as well as in Hong Kong, joined HSF in 2014 after serving as an associate to the Federal Court of Australia’s Judge Annabelle Bennett.  She now advises on licensing, market misconduct and the implementation of senior management accountability regimes.

Chung is also a Linklaters alum, having joined HSF from the firm in 2018. She began her career at the Hong Kong Securities & Futures Commission in 2008, later becoming assistant counsel there. Her practice now focuses on contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters, including in relation to cross border investigations and regulatory compliance issues including those arising out of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law.

Ken Doran, Gibson Dunn’s chairman and managing partner, said Hallatt would be “a terrific addition” to the firm. “He has built a leading cross-Asia practice as a trusted advisor on financial services regulatory issues, and his deep experience, strong relationships and market knowledge will integrate seamlessly”.

“We’re excited that Will is joining our Hong Kong team,” said Kelly Austin, partner in charge of the firm’s Hong Kong office. “The addition of this team further builds on the expansion of our litigation, investigations, and compliance practices in Asia over the last several years.”

Partner Simon Chapman, HSF’s regional head of dispute resolution in Asia, said: “Will leaves with our best wishes for the future. We remain the market-leading banking disputes practice in Asia, and our broader legal offering to financial institutions in Asia is unrivalled.”

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