International law firm Withers is set to open a tax office in Dubai's prestigious Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with the hire of tax specialist Stijn Janssen, following regulatory approval. Stijn will head the team and joins the firm from EY's Dubai office, where he led the MENA Private Client Services team and co-headed the Dubai international tax group since 2013. Stijn also opened the Dubai office of Loyens & Loeff in 2008 during a 15 year period working with the firm.

Stijn is a highly regarded corporate tax advisor, qualified to practice in the Netherlands, and experienced on cross-border tax matters, including advising high net worth families and family offices on international tax and succession planning projects involving onshore and offshore trusts, foundations and holding entities in a variety of jurisdictions. He also advises corporates, investment funds and Sovereign Wealth Funds on outbound investments, pre-IPO group restructurings and cross border M&A.

Margaret Robertson, Withers' Managing Partner, comments: 'We are delighted to establish ourselves in Dubai with the benefit of Stijn's reputation and skills. Having monitored Dubai's steady ascent up the ladder of international financial centres in recent years, we have been waiting for the right moment to enter the market and fill out our international network with a presence in the Middle East. We have worked with many leading families and individuals from the region from our London, Swiss and US offices over the years, and Stijn's strong relationships with high profile families will enable us to expand on this work.'

'What's more, Stijn's arrival advances the development of our international corporate tax group. The hire of Eric Roose last year to lead our Asia corporate tax team was a major step forward, and we can now offer skilled corporate tax advisors in Asia, Europe, the US and Middle East,' adds Margaret.

Stijn adds: 'The time is right for a firm of Withers' calibre to make an entrance to the Middle Eastern market. The Dubai International Financial Centre has taken active steps to create a supportive environment for servicing wealthy individuals through the introduction of new trust, wills and probate legislation. Wealth in the region continues to grow at an incredible rate, and clients are looking for high quality advisors that are plugged into key jurisdictions in the rest of the world. I look forward to developing Withers' brand in the region.'

The launch of the Dubai practice follows on from Withers' recent growth in Asia and the USA. The firm opened offices in Sydney, Australia in December 2014; expanded its Singapore office through an alliance with KhattarWong in April 2015; opened new California offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and Rancho Santa Fe in June 2015; and opened in Tokyo in June 2015.

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