Alumnus profile: Fred Kinmonth

(LLB 1970, Law)

Managing Partner, MinterEllison (Hong Kong) and Chairman, MinterEllison (Asia)

Why did you choose Birmingham?

I chose to study at the University of Birmingham because it has a reputation as the best redbrick university with an excellent Law School.

Can you tell us a little about your career since graduation?

After graduation I worked in London for Herbert Smith as an articled clerk before qualifying as a solicitor. I became a partner within six years and moved to Hong Kong in 1984, as managing partner, to open an office there for Herbert Smith.

After returning to London for four years as part of the corporate finance team, I became Managing Director of Peregrine Capital Limited, a Hong Kong investment bank. After the Asia Financial Crisis in 1998, I joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (a New York law firm) as a partner.

I am now the managing partner of the Hong Kong office of MinterEllison, a large Australian law firm and Chairman of the firm in Asia.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? What is next for you?

The highlight of my career, I think, is its longevity and variety.  I have been working as a commercial lawyer and investment banker in London and Hong Kong for over 40 years and, along the way have been involved in some great transactions. This has included the insolvency of Rolls-Royce, the legal structuring of the Channel Tunnel, the insolvency of two of the largest shipping companies in HK, the rescue of the Hong Kong Future Exchange in the late 1980's, advising the Hong Kong and Shanghai governments on the structuring of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Disney Theme Parks, negotiating the Las Vegas Sands billion dollar casino and hotel developments in Macau and Singapore, and being involved in the listing of "Red-Chip" Chinese companies on the HK Stock Exchange while at Peregrine in the 1990's!

How has studying at Birmingham helped you develop your career?

My studies gave me the opportunity to find work with a good law firm in London.  Doing my articles and then working on great transactions provided me with the broad experience to run my own practice independently and to deal with very complex and unique transactions. I learnt about being able to deal with change, and dealing with the challenges and opportunities of working in a multi-cultural office. 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Birmingham?

Lunchtime in the Students Union playing snooker and eating a meat-pie plus the extraordinary characters who were my close friends way back then.

What advice would you give to prospective students who may be thinking of studying at Birmingham?

Work-hard, play-hard, expand your network of friends, identify clearly why you are there and what realistically you want to achieve and then see about doing it.  Stay fit and look after your health. Be cheerful and optimistic and focus on always delivering.  Remember, personal trust and integrity is golden. Above all, enjoy it and be happy.