23 Apr 2018
A Hong Kong based lawyer has been acknowledged for his work over the last decade in supporting Scottish businesses looking to expand in to Asia.
Vincent Connor, a partner and infrastructure specialist at Pinsent Masons, has been inducted in to the GlobalScot Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts on behalf of Scotland plc.
GlobalScot is an international network of 650 entrepreneurial and business leaders who are dedicated to supporting ambitious Scottish companies. Working in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scottish Enterprise, the network is active in more than 50 countries, helping companies prepare for market entry, in forging new relationships and with introductions to potential partners, customers and suppliers.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, presented the Glasgow-born lawyer with a certificate welcoming him in to the Hall of Fame on a recent visit to Hong Kong.
She said: “It was a real honour to induct Vincent Connor into the GlobalScot Hall of Fame in recognition of the great work he has carried out over a number of years to promote Scotland internationally, particularly in Hong Kong. The GlobalScot network is one of Scotland’s greatest assets in promoting trade and investment opportunities and Vincent’s work for the network has been outstanding.”
Vincent moved to Hong Kong in 2007 with his wife Gillian Johnston (also a lawyer) when an opportunity arose to take over as Pinsent Masons' Head of Office, which is part of a 250-strong team of specialists based in Singapore and throughout China and Australia. Pinsent Masons is now one of the largest law firms operating in Scotland and traces its roots back to Glasgow in 1769 through its merger with McGrigors in 2012.
On receiving the award, he said: “I'm thrilled to be inducted into the GlobalScot Hall of Fame and it was particularly special to receive this honour from the First Minister, here in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is by its nature a welcoming place to businesses, there is excellent connectivity with the wider Asia region and there is a real openness to helping support new market entrants.
“When a Scottish business is seeking to get started in Hong Kong or to explore Asia, or China in particular, there is a number of considerations they will need to have in mind, and GlobalScot is there to help them navigate the challenges and to make the most of the opportunities offered.
“I could be asked to help with a specific request when a business is coming out here, or to help support a trade mission coming to town or be on hand to support SDI colleagues in their strategic objective of assisting Scottish businesses seeking to export in to Asia.”
In the last 10 years Vincent has assisted businesses working in the technology, bio-fuels, design and construction, life sciences, and food and beverage sectors. He is also a trustee of the Saltire Foundation, which supports high-flying Scottish graduates in securing international work experience opportunities, and he chairs a council of Scottish business people in Hong Kong which works closely with Entrepreneurial Scotland to help build up a sustainable flow of Saltire Scholars to Asia.
He said: “I never thought I would one day find myself 6000 miles away from Scotland working as a lawyer but that is down to a combination of being fortunate to have a lovely and supportive family, and the opportunities of education I had in Scotland. If I can help others who are trying to expand in this part of the world, it is a small but hopefully useful contribution to make. There is a lot to play for and I'm glad to get the chance to support my colleagues in SDI in this work.”
The historic links between Hong Kong and Scotland still run strong according to Vincent, and not only in familiar street names such as Edinburgh Place, locations such as Aberdeen Harbour and past Scots born Governors of the former British colony.
He said: “There are many deep historical and cultural connections, not least with conglomerates such as Jardine Matheson, founded by two Edinburgh University graduates in 1832 and now employing 444,000 people, but still clearly and proudly wearing its Scottish credentials on its sleeve.
“You don’t have to look too far here to find engineers, doctors and bankers who are Hong Kong born and bred yet educated at Scottish universities and the mark of quality which arises from Scotland’s reputation for education in business, finance and professional services is well-known and recognised.
“Hong Kong is a hugely important trading hub, with powerful connections to many parts of Europe and Asia – and is also identified as a key hub for professional services and finance on China's Belt and Road Initiative. The strong Scottish-Hong Kong connection runs in parallel with the UK’s ties and there is a lot of collaboration between the SDI and UK DIT, which are well aligned in making the most of the opportunities available to Scottish and UK companies looking to do business here.”
Pictured: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with GlobalScot Vincent Connor, Partner and Head of Office Hong Kong, Pinsent Masons LLP.