US agency SVC to open first Asia office in Hong Kong

North America-based strategic, financial and crisis communications consultancy Sard Verbinnen & Co (SVC) will officially step into Asia with the opening of a full-service office in Hong Kong in June.

The agency has established its presence with a list of blue chip clients in Asia, including Alibaba Group, Ant Financial, Didi Chuxing, Grab, HNA Group, Nikon, Takata, SoftBank and Samsung. Its recent assignments include Didi Chuxing’s acquisition of Uber China, Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram, HNA Group’s investments in Hilton Hotels and other cross-border investments, Alibaba’s NYSE IPO and investments in the U.S., China and Southeast Asia, SoftBank’s acquisition of Fortress and ARM Holdings and its sale of Supercell to Tencent, to name a few.

Located in One International Financial Center, the new office will be lead by Ron Low, a Silicon Valley-based SVC partner who has relocated to Hong Kong. Low will be tasked with providing strategic communications counsel to high-profile Asian-based clients as they make investments and grow their businesses in North America and Europe, as well as multinational companies expanding their international operations in Asia. He will also be expected to work closely with Boards of Directors and management teams to manage a wide range of complex situations, including regulatory investigations, financial and accounting restatements, cyber incidents and operational accidents.

Rick Carew, formerly The Wall Street Journal’s Asia finance and deals editor based in Hong Kong, will also join SVC as managing director. Carew had previously been a senior researcher at a New York-based investment firm.

"There is a growing demand in the region for communications advisors who are global in their approach and capabilities, but also possess a deep local understanding of the markets that clients are navigating," Carew explained.

George Sard, chairman and CEO of SVC, and Paul Verbinnen, president, said as well that having a senior SVC team on the ground in Asia is increasingly important to their clients and to the firm's goal of providing seamless global service around the clock to help clients solving their most complex issues. "We could not be more delighted that Ron Low has relocated and that Rick Carew has joined our team to start our seventh office and second outside the United States," they said.

Low added that the team is committed to bring the same level of strategic advice, execution and service that clients and fellow advisors expected from the firm.