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A number of high-profile listings including Facebook, Snap, Alibaba and LinkedIn have thrust dual class shares back into the spotlight. In 2018 both the Hong Kong SAR and Singapore stock exchanges revised their listing rules within months of each other to permit the listing of companies with dual class or weighted voting right shares and in 2019, the Shanghai exchange launched a new board that permitted this structure. At the same time, a number of high-profile listings have reignited the corporate governance debate as institutional investors and index funds begin a campaign to see further limits and protections imposed on their use. This article by Baker McKenzie lawyers considers the dual class share landscape and the strategy adopted by Asian and other global stock exchanges.

Author

Tom Egan heads the Firm’s Corporate & Securities Practice Group in Washington, DC, where he previously served as managing partner. He has authored a number of articles for a variety of internal and external publications,and is also a regular speaker on corporate and securities law issues and developments. He previously served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Firm's North America Corporate & Securities Practice Group and is currently serving as a member of the Firm’s Corporate Compliance Initiative. Tom also previously served on the Firm's Global Policy Committee and on its North America Regional Management Committee and on the office’s management committee.

Author

James Thompson is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Corporate Finance group in London. Prior to joining the Firm in January 2016, he worked in two multinational law firms based in Sydney and, subsequently, London and was seconded to the New York and Singapore offices of the latter. James also worked in-house as a consultant to Barclays Bank PLC, sitting within the Principal M&A Legal team for six months. James’ practice comprises a mix of EMEA equities capital markets, international mergers and acquisitions (both public and private) and general corporate advisory work. He has extensive experience in the FIG space and is active in a number of other sectors including Energy, Resources & Infrastructure, and Food & Beverage/FMCG across a range of developed and developing markets.

Author

Ivy Wong is the chair of Baker McKenzie's Capital Markets practice in Asia Pacific and serves on the Global Capital Markets Steering Committee. Based in Hong Kong, Ivy is qualified in Hong Kong, England and Wales and New York. She has led many unprecedented and high-profile securities offerings and cross-border transactions in Hong Kong, including many successful listings that are first of its kind on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and multiple landmark and innovative deals that won industry awards.