Marcus Peter and Andreas Heinzmann (GSK Stockmann): Building bridges to China
Marcus Peter and Andreas Heinzmann of law firm GSK Stockmann in Luxembourg see growing opportunities for the Grand Duchy to strengthen its role as an investment hub for Chinese groups in Europe and internationally – as well as a test-bed for the country’s FinTech innovators.
What is GSK’s background and why did it establish a Luxembourg office?
Marcus Peter: Established in Germany in the 1990s, GSK Stockmann is today recognised as a leading law firm in real estate transactions and financial services, including capital markets, regulation and investment funds as well as banking & finance. As a result of our reputation in
Germany, many clients already active in Luxembourg encouraged GSK Stockmann to establish an office there which was opened in 2016.
Andreas Heinzmann: We have been active as lawyers in Luxembourg starting in 2004 and serving Chinese clients since 2008, travelling to China on a regular basis. Initially, we promoted Luxembourg as a hub for corporate and finance activities throughout and beyond Europe. Given the number of Chinese banks having a presence in Luxembourg, and using the Grand Duchy as platform for expansion of their EU activities, we have developed a growing number of relationships with clients from China.
MP:We have helped our Chinese clients to establish their presence and incrementally strengthen their substance in Luxembourg. Chinese banks have expanded their business carefully, conducting transactions in Europe and South America. They have gradually developed substance in Luxembourg, acquiring real estate and hiring employees as part of a dynamic from which everyone benefits. The same applies to certain Chinese state-owned enterprises, which are growing their workforce and office space here in Luxembourg.
"We help our Chinese clients to establish their presence and incrementally strengthen their substance in Luxembourg."
Marcus Peter, GSK Stockmann Luxembourg
How have the needs of your Chinese clients evolved over the years?
AH: We started out offering corporate advice. Today we have broadened our spectrum of
services in relation to finance, investment funds, payment services as well as tax including ancillary services such as helping clients to select board members, finding office space and facilitating immigration formalities.
MP: We see that Chinese clients are becoming more and more sophisticated and try to expand their businesses. We are happy to be part of this development and to build a bridge between China and Europe and in particular Luxembourg as a hub for RMB clearing, green financing, capital markets and investment funds.
What opportunities do you see for the future?
MP:Together with our cross-border Chinese desk we aim to focus even more on Chinese outbound as well as inbound business in the context of the OBOR (one belt one road) initiative. In this respect, we are continuously fostering our team including the hiring of lawyers having a Chinese background. Given the unique position of Luxembourg as hub to enter the EU, we are confident that Luxembourg will remain in the global spotlight for Chinese investors and others.
AH:Looking East is an important element in developing our future strategy and we feel well
prepared for this endeavour. The ecosystem in Luxembourg corresponds in particular to the new needs Chinese business have such as green finance or creating funds to invest in renewable energy but has already been tried and tested by Chinese investors and entrepreneurs for finance and corporate M&A. Other topics that will become increasingly important are related to mobility and the development of payment services/FinTech. We are pleased to be able to participate in the Chinese community life in Luxembourg and benefit from our good reputation. As such we are well prepared to expand our Chinese activities with our growing team, both in Luxembourg and in Germany.
For further information, please visit: www.gsk-lux.com