IFLR Asia Women in Business Law Forum 2017

April 27 2017, Cliftons, Hong Kong


IFLR Coverage




Speakers at this year included: 

Benedicte Nolens

senior director and head of risk and strategy

Bénédicte  Nolens is Senior Director and Head of Risk and Strategy (R&S) of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Bénédicte joined the SFC in 2012 to establish a new, centralized unit, overseeing risk identification and related strategic planning.

In 2013, R&S published a report entitled “G-SIFI Trends in Risk and Risk Mitigation”, setting out best practices in risk governance and risk culture. In 2015, R&S published a second report entitled “Asset Management: Looking Forward”, setting out risk and strategic trends in asset management, including trends in e-platforms and other innovations in the fund distribution channel. During the course of 2015, she was appointed as a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Market Experts Group on Asset Management, as a member of the Hong Kong Financial Service and Treasury Bureau Fintech Steering Group, and also as the Vice Chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Committee on Emerging Risks (CER), which issues an annual IOSCO Risk Outlook report. Starting March 2016, Nolens oversees the Fintech Contact Point of the SFC.

Before joining the SFC, she was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse and an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Nolens holds an LLM and MBA (high honours), and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1998. In January 2016, she was a recipient of the China Daily Asian Women Leadership Awards at the Asia Financial Forum (AFF), recognizing women who are agents of change in their societies and role models in entrepreneurship, innovation, charity and the empowerment of women.

Sarah Oliver

legal counsel
BNP Paribas

Sarah Oliver is a legal counsel at BNP Paribas, where she advises business lines and senior management on regulatory issues affecting the bank's operations in Asia-Pacific and provides coverage to a variety of fixed income business lines. Sarah has also set up the legal team's pro bono programme and is on the bank's CSR committee. Before relocating to Hong Kong, she worked at Hogan Lovells in Paris. She is admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales and as a French avocat. Sarah speaks English, French and Spanish.


Vanina de Verneuil

global general counsel
Reliance Communications

Vanina de Verneuil is the Global General Counsel of Reliance Communication Enterprise and Global Cloud Xchange.  Reliance Communication is one of India's top telecommunication companies and Global Cloud Xchange is Reliance's international telecom/IT arm.   She is the head of legal and is responsible for global corporate and legal affairs and manages a team of 10 attorneys based in India, Europe and the United States.   
She has over 10 years of experience representing corporate and financial institutions on a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions. She has led award-winning transactions in the government sector as well as for social media and OTT organizations. She has broad-based legal experience in transactions in the Americas, Europe and Asia and is also fluent and has worked in Spanish, French, English, Mandarin and Portuguese.

Prior to her role as General Counsel, she was a senior corporate lawyer at Shearman & Sterling LLP in Paris, Hong Kong and Beijing and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York. She received her J.D. from NYU Law, her B.A. from Duke University and completed Wharton Business School's Executive Education in Strategy and General Management.  She also obtained a diploma in European Legal Studies from the University of Paris X in Paris, France.

Angelina Kwan

managing director and head of regulatory compliance

Angelina Kwan is currently the Managing Director and Head of Regulatory Compliance for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limitwed.  Kwan has over 29 years of experience in Asia and the United States, in business development, restructuring, regulatory/compliance, as well as investor and stakeholder relations.  She started her career at KPMG and has held senior management, committee and/or board positions with the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, Cantor Fitzgerald/BGC Partners, Kleinwort Benson, HG Asia Limited, Sony Pictures, the REORIENT Group (HK376) and most recently, CLSA Limited.

Kwan is currently an Independent Non-executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Aviva Life Insurance Hong Kong, a Hong Kong Government appointed member of the Women's Commission and the Council for Sustainable Development, a Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Securities Industry Development Corporation of Malaysia, the Vice-Chairman and Director of The Women's Foundation, an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Finance for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and serves on a number of other Boards and committees. She lectures frequently for various international government and regulatory organisations as well  as course providers.

She is a Certified Public Accountant in the United States and Hong Kong and a graduate of the University of Southern California. Her MBA is from Pepperdine University and LLB with Hong Kong University and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Kristy Dougan

head of Asia

In 2009, Kirsty Dougan co-founded a business in Hong Kong called Asia Counsel with former investment banker, Serena Wallace – Turner.  In 2010, she sold this business to Axiom and for the past five years has spear-headed the Axiom business in Asia. She was promoted to Head of Asia in 2014. Axiom is the world's leading provider of legal advisory services. Dougan served as General Manager for the region, with primary responsibility for leading the client side of the business covering major F50 companies across the region along with mid-sized financial, pharmaceutical, FMCG, and tech-companies. At Axiom, she advised General Counsels on legal department management, restructuring, and process reengineering and has recruited and engaged over 150 lawyers across a range of legal disciplines including Commercial Transactions, Regulatory Counseling, Compliance, Financial Services and General Counsel roles. She also played a key role in shaping global strategic plans and thought-leadership, internally and externally.

Prior to her experience with Axiom, Dougan served as General Counsel to Diageo from 2006-2009 where she led the first foreign investment in China's spirits industry and started and built Diageo's legal function for the Greater China region.  She was also Adjunct Professor of Law at Fudan University, Shanghai and the East China Normal University of Law and Politics from 2004-2007.

Prior to moving to Shanghai in 2004 and later Hong Kong in 2009, Dougan was Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Strathclyde, UK where she taught European law, Anti-trust law and Intellectual Property.  She has published widely in these fields. She qualified as a Lawyer in Scotland in 1996 with Dundas and Wilson CS.

Farzana Aslam

principal lecturer, faculty of Law

Farzana Aslam is currently Associate Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law and Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong.  She specializes in labor and employment law and maintains a special research interest in the area of business and human rights, namely the extent to which businesses impact upon human rights, and the legal and CSR implications that arise from this. Aslam is also an executive coach and trainer with a special interest on advancing women's leadership in the workplace.

Formerly, Aslam practiced at the London Bar for 7 years before moving to Hong Kong with Goldman Sachs as their principal Employment Law Counsel for the Asia Pacific region. From 2012-2016, Farzana served as Chair of the Board of Directors for Justice Centre Hong Kong (www.justicecentre.org.hk), a non-profit organisation working to protect the rights of Hong Kong's forced migrants - refugees, those seeking protection, and survivors of modern slavery.

Aslam is co-Editor and Contributing Author of Employment Law and Practice in Hong Kong (Sweet & Maxwell Asia), now in its Second Edition. She serves on the Editorial Boards of the Asia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law, and the Asian Journal of Legal Education.


Lynne Barry

global head of learing and development

Lynne Barry is the Global Head of Learning and Development for Telstra. Based in Hong Kong, she leads learning for Telstra's 36,000 people across 23 countries. This includes Telstra's Leadership and High Potential programs, and the full spectrum of our professional and technical learning and development. 

From 2014 to April 2016, Barry was the International Director of HR for Telstra, overseeing the Human Resources (HR) functions across the business in Asia Pacific, Europe and the US. This role covered Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, China & Taiwan, Japan, Korea, UK and the US. She lead the full spectrum of Human Resources (HR) functions such as Human Capital Strategy, end to end HR Service delivery, performance management, rewards and recognition, payroll, M&A and integration, diversity, recruiting, employee relations. The role also covered Telstra's new businesses, including Telstra Health, Telstra Ventures and Telstra Smart Home. 

Barry has over 20 years' experience in senior human resources roles in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Prior to joining Telstra, she was the Asia Pacific HR Director for Accenture, supporting a workforce of 55,000 across 12 countries. In conjunction, she also performed the role of Global Director of HR Strategy and Enablement, where she designed the global HR strategy and co-led the global HR transformation program. 


Tina Tsui

managing director and managing counsel
BNY Mellon

Tina Tsui is Managing Director and Managing Counsel at The Bank of New York Mellon in Hong Kong covering their Global Markets business and related regulatory reform projects across the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining The Bank of New York Mellon in November 2013, Tina was a Director and Senior Counsel at Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch. Tina spent more than 7 years at Deutsche Bank in New York, covering various businesses, including fixed income derivatives, hedge fund derivatives and financing, structured credit, repackaging and longevity markets, eventually focusing on Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank OTC derivatives regulations and the CFTC commodity pool related issues. Tina was active on various industry forums in the United States including the ISDA Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee, and industry working groups focusing on Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank OTC derivatives regulations and the CFTC commodity pool related issues. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Tina practised at McKee Nelson LLP (now part of Bingham McCutchen LLP) and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP (now known as Sidley Austin LLP) where she focused on derivatives, structured finance and securitizations. Tina began her career in Hong Kong at Johnson Stokes & Master (now known as Mayer Brown JSM).

Tina is qualified in the State of New York and is also admitted as a solicitor in both England & Wales and Hong Kong. 

Sharyn Chang

director and global counsel

Sharyn Chang is a corporate lawyer with a career spanning private practice, government and inhouse counsel roles. Previously based in Australia, Singapore and now Hong Kong, her clients today are located across the world. As a director and global counsel for PwC, Chang leads the legal team that manages the PwC brand - the world's 4th most powerful brand, Brand Finance Global 500, 2013, and oversees the legal development of some of PwC's most entrepreneurial global projects. She was PwC's first Asia regional counsel, and in 2012, the Asia legal team won the Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law Award for the Best Inhouse team (under 50 lawyers). 

In Australia, Chang was a partner with Ernst & Young, and solicitor with Baker & McKenzie, and Gilbert & Tobin, where she specialized in intellectual property. She also worked in the IT industry with IBM and Silicon Graphics, and as the founding National Director of IP for a government Education Department with responsibility for Australia's 9,600 schools. She was the National Training Manager for Australia's first commercial online legal information business – training lawyers to efficiently maximize use of online legal research technology, and the first female Associate to Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG, as President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal.

Stephanie Sheng

executive director and senior counsel
Goldman Sachs

Stephanie Sheng is executive director and senior counsel at Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC in the Business Intelligence Group, advising the Asia Pacific investment banking, merchant banking and securities divisions on anti-bribery, anti-money laundering and economic sanctions regulations across a range of corporate transactions, as well being responsible for internal investigations in the region.  Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Sheng was counsel at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, specializing in US securities laws, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and FCPA investigations across Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Sheng is qualified to practice law in California and Hong Kong.  In 2017, she was the recipient of a global Compliance Officer of the Year Award by C-5 Group in London.  Sheng co-heads the Family Forum of Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, and is the Chair of Women in Law Hong Kong, a legal umbrella network supporting the growth and development of women in the legal community through mentorship programs, agile working solutions, pro bono opportunities and networking events.

Joanne Low

head of legal and compliance
RRJ Capital

Joanne Low is the Head of Legal & Compliance with RRJ Capital where she covers a broad range of commercial, regulatory and transactional legal work. Prior to joining RRJ in 2013, she had been in practice with various US law firms for over 12 years, working on a diverse range of corporate and commercial matters including public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, corporate restructurings and public offerings.


Catherine Kardinal

general counsel

Catherine Kardinal is the General Counsel for Siemens Limited and oversees legal, regulatory, risk management and corporate governance activities in Hong Kong and Macau.  She is part of the management team and contributes to strategic planning and decision-making at the top leadership level.  One of her responsibilities is risk mitigation of large-scale engineering and electrification projects.  Recent projects include replacement of signaling system for Hong Kong's mass transit (MTR), construction of cargo terminal at the Hong Kong International Airport and roll-out of Hong Kong's first hybrid electric minibuses.

She has a passion for sustainable business and is a member of the Green Business Task Force under the United Nations in Asia (UNESCAP).

Prior to joining Siemens, she has enjoyed a mix of in-house and private practice at MNCs and international firms, including Emerson Electric, PwC and Baker & McKenzie.  Over the past decade, she has lived and worked in the U.S., China, Hong Kong and Germany.  Catherine is fluent in English and Cantonese, and can speak Putonghua and German.  She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University, and her undergraduate degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied business and engineering under a full merit scholarship.

Nadine Maurellet

general counsel
The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels

Nadine Maurellet has practiced corporate and corporate finance law in private practice in major international financial centres including Hong Kong, London and Shanghai. She has advised public and private companies on a variety of transactions, including initial and secondary public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, foreign direct investments into mainland China, private equity transactions, joint ventures as well as general corporate advisory work for listed companies. She has also worked for two international law firms, namely Linklaters and Morrison & Foerster.

In 2006, Maurellet decided to leave private practice to gain more experience as an in-house counsel, firstly at a Fortune Global 500 Company and then as Legal Counsel at HSH. In 2009, she was promoted to be Senior Legal Counsel of HSH, and in 2012, she was promoted to be General Counsel of HSH.


Yea Ji Sohn

senior counsel, APAC
Uber Technologies

Yea Ji Sohn is a Senior Counsel in the APAC legal team of Uber Technologies. In her role, she covers a broad range of subject matter - from the everyday corporate & commercial to the complex & cutting-edge! Prior to joining Uber Technologies in January, 2017, she was an M&A lawyer for several years, most recently in the Hong Kong office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. She is a committee member of Women in Law (HK).

Susan Wong

senior legal counsel
Standard Chartered Bank

Susan Wong advises on corporate finance transactions across Greater China and North Asia.  Prior to joining SCB, she was counsel at Clifford Chance's Hong Kong Banking & Finance group, covering a broad mix of financing work from acquisition finance to structured lending.  She is qualified to practise in both England and Wales and Hong Kong, and has worked in London, Tokyo and Beijing before relocating to Hong Kong in late 2011.

Wong has been a committee member of WILHK since its inauguration in 2015 and is Vice Chair of the 2017 WILHK Mentoring Programme (a cross-firm and business mentoring programme for legal professionals working in Hong Kong).   She  also works with and volunteers at a number of charitable organisation that focuses on education, promotion of local arts and films, youth development and women empowerment.


Fiona Phillips

associate general counsel, RBWM lead lawyer

Fiona Phillips is the Regional Lead Lawyer for HSBC’s Retail Bank in Asia Pacific, leading a team of lawyers which supports a business generating more than US$4bn PBT and operating in 16 countries. Before moving to Hong Kong, Fiona led HSBC’s Retail Banking Legal Team in the Middle East for 3 years and spent a year in London working for the Bank. Fiona started her legal career at Freshfields in their Restructuring and Insolvency team.


Betty Yap

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Betty Yap is a partner in the Corporate Department, based in the firm’s office in Hong Kong. Betty's practice focuses on cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures, private equity and special situations transactions, and foreign direct investments involving China. Her clients include private equity firms, multinational corporations, financial institutions, and mainland Chinese companies across a multitude of industries including financial services, energy and resources, food and beverage, retail, TMT, automotive, and real estate.

Betty is recognized as a leading corporate and M&A lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific. She is also recognized by Chambers Asia-Pacific, IFLR1000 and The Legal 500 Asia Pacific as a leading private equity lawyer in Hong Kong.Betty is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.  She received her B.Comm and her LL.B. First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne. 

Betty is admitted to practice law in Victoria, Australia and Hong Kong.

Sun Kim

head of regulatory risk asia
Macquarie Group

Sun Kim is the Head of Regulatory Risk Asia and the Global lead for the Regulatory Risk function for Macquarie Group responsible for monitoring and advising on regulatory changes and coordinating the implementation of business and policy changes to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory developments.  Kim also acts as the Regional Compliance Lead for conduct risk, helping to enhance, implement and provide training on the firm’s conduct risk program, and the Regional Policy Coordinator, responsible for managing and implementing any new or material changes to policies and procedures.  She also oversees the Compliance functions in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.  She started at Macquarie in 2013 and have held various positions covering the Control Room and ECM Compliance in Asia and IBD Compliance globally.

Currently at Macquarie, Kim serves as Vice Chair of the Diversity employee network group in Hong Kong and on the Asia sub-committee of the People Management Group of the Risk Management division, two platforms which promote a diversified and supportive working environment.


Kelly Naphtali

Kirkland & Ellis

Kelly is a partner of the Hong Kong office of Kirkland & Ellis. She has earned a well-deserved reputation for handling difficult commercial and insolvency related disputes, often requiring urgent action to prevent the movement or dissipation of assets. Kelly has worked on claims in jurisdictions including Hong Kong, China, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Philippines, Australia and throughout the Caribbean. Consequently, Kelly has a wealth of experience in managing and running cross-border litigation, including pursuing claims arising from corporate collapses.

Kelly is especially skilled with urgent applications whether they be appointments of Receivers or Provisional Liquidators and/or injunctions to freeze assets and obtain books and records.

Kelly also has particular experience in asset recovery and tracing, fraud investigations, borrower default actions, fund and shareholder disputes. Her commercial and creative approach, close working relationship with clients and ability to manage large and geographically diverse teams has resulted in the successful and early resolution of numerous difficult disputes.

Kelly’s outstanding practice has received wide recognition. In 2014, she was awarded ‘Best in Insolvency and Restructuring’ at the Asia Women in Business Law Awards.


Melody Chan

White & Case

Melody Chan is a Partner in the Firm's Dispute Resolution practice. Her practice focuses on cross-border arbitration and multi-jurisdictional litigation. She advises on disputes in the financial services, oil and gas, power and technology sectors as well as on matters in connection with joint ventures and insolvency proceedings. She also handles contentious and non-contentious regulatory and employment matters.

Her recent experience includes:
• Representation of a social media giant seeking injunctive relief and damages for unlawful interference and harassment arising from unauthorized, illegitimate and wrongful use of its website and system by Hong Kong-based online game company.
• Advising Chinese banks in the worldwide enforcement of claims against borrowers and guarantors arising out of loan defaults and enforcement of security made under such loan financings.
• Representation of a regional conglomerate in relation to disputes arising out of the design, development, construction and operation of a US$1 billion integrated water desalination and power production plant in the Middle East.
• Advising a provider of oil logistic and marine services in the Asia Pacific region in relation to winding up petition brought against it in Bermuda and advising the company in its proposed debt restructuring by way of a scheme of arrangement.
• Acting for a Chinese asset management company in relation to winding up proceedings in the High Court of Hong Kong brought against a listed company in Hong Kong.

Anaick Summers

manager and legal counsel
Fox Networks Group Asia

As Manager and Legal Counsel, Anaick reports directly to the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Asia’s leading pay-TV network, Fox Networks Group Asia. She has lead responsibility for all matters arising out of Thailand and advises on a variety of other matters across the Asia Pacific region, spanning a wide range of areas including content acquisition, affiliate sales, production, data privacy, compliance, marketing and information technology.

Previously in private practice, Anaick specialized in corporate law, with particular experience in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, joint ventures and shareholder arrangements.

Alex Bidlake


Alex has extensive experience in advising corporates and financial institutions on a range of public and private M&A transactions, primary and secondary equity issues (including IPOs, rights issues and placings) and general corporate and regulatory work.  Examples of Alex’s major transactions include advising:

the banks on the reorganisation and merger of Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa, and the subsequent spin-off and listing of their property businesses; China Gas Holdings on its successful defence of the US$2.2bn hostile takeover bid made for it by Sinopec and ENN Energy Holdings; DP World and PSA on the sale of Hong Kong port interests to Hutchison, and DP World on its Hong Kong joint venture with Goodman; and the underwriters on rights issues by HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, New World Development, Yuexiu Property, Chong Hing Bank and Pacific Basin.

Alex also led the Linklaters team that published a report, in collaboration with the 30% Club Hong Kong, looking at nomination and diversity on Hong Kong boards.  Alex won the M&A rising star award at the 2015 IFLR Asia Awards.










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