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HLB sets up Asia-focused firm in Australia

HLB International Australian member HLB Mann Judd has established a new member firm in Brisbane, aimed at facilitating investment flows from Asia into Australia and New Zealand.

The new firm named HLB Mann Judd Chew is a member of the HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association, an association grouping 10 HLB member firms and two representative firms in Australia and New Zealand.

The new firm will provide services in business and property acquisitions, asset management, migration and wealth management, taxation, compliance and audit.

According to HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association chairman Tony Fittler, the number of Asian investors searching for opportunities in Australasia is increasing, as is the proportion of Australian and New Zealand businesses seeking to grow in Asia.

This is thanks to both the increasing economic clout of China and its neighbouring economies and the opportunities offered by recent Free Trade Agreements.

Last November, a decade-long negotiation between Australia and China concluded in the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (CHAFTA).

Among its provisions were that 95% of Australian exports to China, including agricultural products, remain tariff-free, as well as the freeing up of Chinese investment into the country.

"We are working with more and more companies and investors that want to get involved in the increasing opportunities in other countries, but struggle to find the best way to do so, including gaining a deep understanding of industry and business differences as well as dealing with the cultural and compliance issues of unfamiliar jurisdictions," Fittler said explaining the logic behind setting up the new firm.

He added that setting up a specialist firm that is an entity in its own right, rather than part of the accounting practice, allows the focus to remain on building a dedicated and knowledgeable team to service a client base with specific needs.

The new firm will be led by managing partner Kim Chew who joined HLB in September 2014 from his previous fourteen-year tenure with PwC. Prior to joining HLB, Chew was a director in PwC's Asia practice.

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