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March 3, 2015

New York, NY, March 3, 2015 -- Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, a national law firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, DC, presented a Government Relations Forum today on the growth of Asian capital investment in New York City, with guests Daniel H. Rosen of RHG, Erik Horvat of Fosun International Limited, William M. Shanahan of CBRE, Inc. and Richard Siu of F&T Group.  The event was held at the firm’s New York office.

Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock’s Government Relations Practice, and Ross F. Moskowitz, Stroock partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, moderated the panel discussion. Stroock partner Tram N. Nguyen introduced the program.

"All of our panelists provided a strong and unified perspective on how Asian investments, particularly from China, are contributing to advancing the city's economy," said Abrams.

Moskowitz said, "In contrast to the Japanese strategy, Chinese investors and developers are looking for non-financial benefits such as learning best practices, understanding business models in a mature market and accumulating management experience through local relationships."

RHG’s Rosen said that, while Asia has long been part of the New York investment strategy, "Today China is the center of gravity, in every sector of the economy, not just real estate.  Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore are in tow behind China."

"As a focus of investment, few markets have the depth and flexibility of New York," he added.

Horvat agreed that another advantage of New York is its transparency.  "It is a big deal that China investors can enter and feel comfortable here," said Horvat, who is responsible for establishing Fosun's U.S. real estate practice, including the redevelopment of One Chase Manhattan Plaza, a New York icon originally developed by David Rockefeller, into 28 Liberty. He explained that one of the keys to 28 Liberty's success is Fosun’s diversity on both the corporate and local level, including assembling the right team on the ground.

Expanding on the theme, CBRE's Shanahan said that developments such as Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards and Pacific Park have created dramatic changes in their communities.  "They attract other capital, greater investments and flow of dollars to local neighborhoods," he said.

Siu of F&T, which is the largest landholder in Flushing, Queens, said the company is working to build out the community that will include schools and other institutions. "F&T's principals all speak Mandarin, and that creates a comfort level, especially for foreign investors who want to bring their families to live here," he said, referring to the large Chinese population in Flushing.

The group was consistent in assessing the competition and obstacles to investing. "London is usually the first stop for investors, and the taxes are easier there.  The U.S. tracks up to six months behind," said Shanahan, who also said that fluctuating currency rates are an issue as well as language and culture – whether for U.S. investors or foreign.

Siu added that interest rates as well as liquidity of investing banks factor into deals.

All agreed that there is room for much more investment by other countries, Asia, and especially China.  Rosen noted that "China has invested $15 billion in the U.S. per year, and there is opportunity for growth to $4 trillion by 2023."

Rosen is the founding partner of RHG and leads the firm's work on China. Earlier, he was Senior Adviser for International Economic Policy at the White House National Economic Council and National Security Council, where he played a key role in completing China’s accession to the World Trade Organization and accompanied the President to Asia for summits and state visits.

Horvat is Managing Director with Fosun Property Holdings, a real estate subsidiary of Fosun International, one of the largest companies in China with a global presence in insurance, pharmaceuticals, real estate and industrial operations.

Shanahan serves as Vice Chairman, Global Capital Markets Institutional Group of CBRE, primarily focusing on the New York market. In his career, Shanahan has completed sales, advisory, joint venture, financing, leasehold and development transactions exceeding $65 billion.

Siu is the Chief Investment Officer of the F&T Group, a fully integrated real estate development and investment company with offices in Queens, Shanghai and Nanjing that focuses on mixed-use, commercial and residential development. F&T Group is currently developing over 6 million square feet of mixed-use developments. Siu oversees all investments, investment strategy and investment management for the firm.

Today's event was the 21st in a series hosted by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.  The forum was sponsored by Stroock’s Government Relations Practice Group, which is comprised of former prosecutors, judges, and government agency officials.  The practice is led by Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock’s Government Relations Practice Group.  Abrams also served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General, Executive Chair of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's Transition Committee and Honorary Co-Chair of Attorney General Schneiderman’s Transition Committee.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is a law firm providing transactional, regulatory and litigation guidance to leading financial institutions, multinational corporations, investment funds and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad.  Our emphasis on excellence and innovation has enabled us to maintain long-term relationships with our clients and made us one of the nation's leading law firms for almost 140 years.  Stroock's practice areas include capital markets/securities, commercial finance, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, private equity, private funds, commodities and derivatives, employment law and benefits, energy and project finance, entertainment, environmental law, financial restructuring, financial services litigation, government relations, insurance, intellectual property, investment management, litigation, national security/CFIUS, personal client services, real estate, structured finance and tax. 

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