his more than two-decade career as a capital-markets lawyer in Singapore, he’d helped more than 30 companies list on the country’s stock exchange, bringing to market everything from a grocery store chain to a pawnbroker. Business had been good, but it was starting to dry up. Lee decided he had to get out. “I saw the decline,” he says. “That’s why I moved.”
That was in 2014, when more companies left the Singapore Exchange than joined it, with S$8.4 billion ($6.43 billion) in value disappearing from the public market. Lee, now 50, quit his job and became a partner in the Singapore office of the U.S. law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. While he still works on SGX listings, he spends more than three-quarters of his time helping companies throughout Asia to restructure and make asset purchases.