We ask Daniel Lindsey, who leads Sidley’s Global Finance group in the firm’s Singapore and Hong Kong offices, to introduce the firm’s growing Global Finance practice in Asia Pacific and to share his views on opportunities in the market.
Can you share a bit of your background and what led you to Sidley?
I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to work in a number of places. I started my legal career as a leveraged finance lawyer in London and have since spent most of my working life based in Asia, across Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and now Singapore.
Sidley presented an opportunity for me to join a strong yet rapidly growing private equity and leveraged finance practice on a well-known, successful platform with a team of very collaborative partners. At Sidley, I’m able to expand my focus to cover Southeast Asia and India deals and still have a Hong Kong–based team so I can continue acting for Hong Kong – and clients based in the People’s Republic of China.
You primarily advise private equity sponsors and private credit providers on debt finance transactions. What intrigues you most about your practice?
Private funds use debt financings across the full credit spectrum and across different strategies, and we act for funds in both borrower and lender roles. It requires us, as lawyers, to be on top of all the available loan products in the market and to really understand our clients’ business and investment thesis. This is especially so in Asia, where some funds do not have a dedicated internal capital markets team and so rely more on their lawyers for market knowledge. Working on deals for different sponsors as borrowers and for various credit funds gives us a great overview of the market, which means we can have a real impact helping our clients to get the best deal and, ultimately, generate better returns for their investors.
The Asia-Pacific region is made up of many different markets — how does Sidley’s Global Finance team manage this aspect of the practice?
Where Sidley really stands out is its deep experience in key jurisdictions where our clients invest. We have extensive experience on transactions across the Asia Pacific, and we can lean on individuals at the firm who have decades of knowledge of doing deals in all the main locations, like Mainland China, Indonesia, and India. It also helps that we have lawyers at Sidley who speak multiple languages, that we can advise on matters involving English, U.S., and Hong Kong law, and we are also one of the few international firms to be granted a license to practice Singapore law.
What are three key trends you see in the Asia-Pacific region?
It really is an exciting part of the world, as there is so much room for it to continue to develop. The three main trends we’re seeing affect the financings we are working on in the region are these:
- Private credit: There has been a massive pivot to the use of private credit in APAC as opposed to bank financing, with more private credit strategies raising or allocating funds in the region and perhaps helped by a rising interest rate environment.
- More financing options: Borrowers now have so many financing products available to them that they weren’t previously able to access easily or that they simply weren’t aware of as options. For buyouts of the right type and size, borrowers can now compare a full suite of options with Term Loan Bs, high-yield bonds, and unitranche financing possibilities, in addition to traditional senior secured loans. Hybrid debt/equity products are now being used for investments traditionally done on an all-equity basis. As the pace of exits slows down, general partners and limited partners are increasingly looking at liquidity options, including net asset value–based financings, advances on future carried interest/management fee income, and secondary market transactions.
- New focus for investments: China remains a huge market, but there is now a sizable amount of capital that investors are looking to deploy in India and Southeast Asia. Lenders and borrowers alike are going to need guidance from lawyers as they look to put in place financings in new jurisdictions.
What is one thing you would like clients to know about how you approach client engagements?
We want to be a value-add to our clients, not only a legal service provider. We take a commercial approach — we try to think the way our clients think and work to help them and their investors benefit from market leading terms — and look to work as a team, together with our clients, to achieve the best possible results for them.
What do you do for fun?
Outside of work, playing on my guitars and keeping active — working out at the gym, tennis, and, recently, bouldering — help me relax. I also enjoy following my football team, Arsenal, although unfortunately, that isn’t always fun!