Home Insider Allen & Overy announce a new office in Yangon

Allen & Overy announce a new office in Yangon

Allen & Overy are the latest interna-tional legal firm to open for business in Yangon. This latest opening takes the firm’s office count to 12 in Asia-Pacific, and sixth in ASEAN, augmenting Allen & Overy’s offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and (via exclusive al-liance) Jakarta, and it underpins the firm’s strategy of expanding the business in growth markets.

Commenting on the opening, Allen & Overy ASEAN group chairman Simon Makinson said: “Since opening in Yangon last Novem-ber, and in fact from when we began work in this market two years ago, we’ve been extremely busy with a multi-faceted ap-proach to the market. On the client side we are advising across all active sectors with the ‘big ticket’ deal to date being our work for Telenor on its successful bid for one of the two recently awarded telecommunications licences in the country’s first internationally recognised public procurement process. Our work for this client continues with network deployment. Besides telecoms, we have also been active in banking and finance, energy (including oil and gas), infrastructure, man-ufacturing and consumer goods.

U.S. OFAC and EU sanctions advice also feature prominently across all sectors in our portfolio of experience. While risk is still a key factor for corporations looking to invest in Myanmar, the business and legal frame-work for opportunity is improving day-by-day.

“In terms of industry development, we have been active in the power sector, working with developers and multilaterals, including assisting with the development of a stan-dardised power purchase agreement for all electricity sales. We are also a member of the UK-Myanmar Financial Services Task Force reviewing Myanmar’s banking regulations.

“On the pro bono side, we have rolled out ed- ucational programmes for government and regulatory agencies, members of the local le- gal profession and law students to help build Myanmar’s foreign investment know-how. This has been developed in partnership with the Myanmar Attorney-General’s Office and the University of Oxford.

“Through this investment, we believe we can not only play a role in helping Myanmar with its legal framework, we can also help clients across our global network better understand the mechanics and nuances of what has been, up until recently, an unknown quantity from an international investment point of view.

“Having people on the ground, alongside the contacts and goodwill we have established over the past two years, has been critical in enabling us to advance both goals.”

The firm’s Yangon office is managed by Si-mon Makinson who has led the firm’s push into Myanmar from the very start when sanctions began to lift two years ago. There are two other senior lawyers and three busi-ness services staff on the ground, as well as a dedicated team of sector specialists made up of partners and lawyers from the firm’s Bangkok and Singapore offices. Certain projects bring in experts from further afield and, to date, have included teams from To-kyo, Sydney, Perth, New York and London (where the team includes a Myanmar na-tional/UK-qualified lawyer).

A&O’s Yangon office provides international legal services and will not practise Myanmar law and is the latest of international firms to set up shop in the fast-developing Myanmar economy. In February, Baker & McKenzie launched its Yangon office, and in March, Berwin Leighton Paisner moved into Myan-mar through a tie-up with local firm Legal Network Consultants.