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Wadia Ghandy pulls out of Singapore after 3 years: The commercials didn’t quite ‘click’ but experiment added value

Wadia Ghandy closed its Singapore office after three years of operations on the ground of the island nation, due to a lack of commercial viability.

Managing partner Ashish Ahuja commented: “We closed our Singapore office as when we started it, three or four years back, we had certain goals we wanted to achieve. Having realised that it was not commercially viable in the long term and that we were unable to achieve our goals, we decided that the best approach was to close it down.

“We also realised that it was the best way to prevent management bandwidth being spread out and help concentrate our management bandwidth appropriately.”

“The fact that it did not work for us would not mean that it won’t work for others,” Ahuja wrote in an email when asked about whether the firm’s experience could also be extrapolated to other Indian law firms in Singapore. “The office was always intended to be an Indian law practicing office and not a business development office. The thought was that as Singapore as an economy was keenly eyeing [India], it would be appropriate to give the local population quality work on Indian law from Singapore itself. Nicole, our local partner who was heading the office there is a super expert in Indian securities and corporate laws.”

“However despite efforts, it did not really click from the work perspective. Maybe we did not understand the market well enough or may be we approached it in a different manner than how we should have,” he said but added that “of course it added value over the years‎ as it did improve the overall visibility of Wadia Ghandy. Nobody can deny that”.

However, since operating costs were obviously higher in Singapore than in India, such “experiments cannot continue for too long”.

The Singapore office was headed by the firm’s partner Nicole Shroff, while Bangalore partner Ankit Majmudar and Mumbai partner Shabnum Kajiji regularly travelled to the office.

The firm recently converted to the eat-what-you-kill style partnership.

Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi managing partner Shardul Shroff said in an interview last month that the firm would consider opening in Singapore after 2016, or possibly in Hong Kong, London, Dubai or New York.

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