“To every problem, there is a solution. The good lawyer seeks to find this solution by listening to the persons involved, understanding their concerns, needs, desires, being aware of the context of the problem, and forming a solution that leaves everyone satisfied.”

Bernard Tan Kim Swee


Career History:

June 2000 to June 2001 – Pupil, Ang & Partners

June 2001 to March 2004 – Legal Assistant, Ang & Partners

April 2004 to March 2007 – Legal Assistant, Bih Li & Lee

April 2007 to February 2012 – Partner, Bih Li & Lee

March 2012 to date – Director, Characterist LLC


Bernard is a highly experienced, professional, reliable, and cost efficient lawyer, who communicates well at all levels and has excellent analytical and problem solving skills

Skills and Achievements:


  • Planned, structured, managed, advised on, prepared the documentation, and implemented several complicated transactions

Communication & Negotiation

  • Negotiated and finalized complicated contracts for several complicated transactions.
  • Appeared before various High Court judges several times and successfully obtained leave to convene creditors’ meetings, and approval of debt restructuring schemes successfully
  • Liaised with, and made oral and written representations to, the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (“SGX”) and Securities Industry Council to obtain approvals. The applications were approved and clearances for the transactions and companies’ circulars were obtained successfully

Analysing and Problem Solving

  • Advised on and provided transaction structures for complicated transactions to achieve client objectives
  • Advised on complicated legislation such as securities laws, listing rules, companies legislation, take-over codes, and tax statutes

Significant Matters & Transactions

  • Acquisition for a Championship football club (acted as Singapore Counsel to the offshore counsel for the acquiror of the football club)
  • Offering of cryptocurrency funds and digital token offerings in Singapore, Japan, USA, and the People’s Republic of China (for the fund and fund manager for such fund)
  • Various initial coin offerings, digital token offerings, and cryptocurrency offerings (for various entities including acting for a celebrity client)
  • Bonds issuance and offerings in Singapore and Indonesia (for the issuer of bonds being a large group based in Indonesia)
  • Creation and offering of property funds with property in the USA, United Kingdom, Singapore and Australia (for funds and fund managers)
  • Acquisition of a security software and services company (for a Singapore company listed on the SGX-ST)
  • Venture capital funding in a technology company based in Jakarta (for a Technology company based in Jakarta)
  • Merger and acquisition involving the purchase of assets of a petroleum giant amounting to S$40 million (for a reputable offshore American law firm’s Sydney and Paris offices)
  • Several cross-border mergers and acquisitions, which had values of up to S$100 million (for a reputable offshore American law firm’s Sydney and Paris offices)
  • Sale of the business of a local merchant bank to the investment arm of a European country (for a local merchant bank)
  • Two schemes of arrangement (court sanctioned debt restructurings) with syndicated banks and other creditors involving debts of more than S$50 million, and that required the approval of the Securities Industry Council and SGX (for two mainboard listed companies)
  • Restructuring of the debts of a listed company (for syndicated banks and borrowers)
  • Further restructuring of the debts of a mainboard listed company (for an established local finance company)
  • Schemes of arrangements involving debts of tens of millions of dollars per scheme (for five private companies)
  • Rights issues by listed companies (for four mainboard listed companies and one listed on the secondary board (formerly Sesdaq))
  • Substantial acquisitions and interested person transactions (for listed companies)
  • Multi-million dollar syndicated loan facilities in SGD and USD (involving tens of millions) (for a mainboard listed company)
  • Multi-million dollar international secured financing (involving tens of millions) (for a property fund located in Hong Kong)
  • Various private lending deals (for private lenders)
  • Security package for Singapore subsidiary of an MNC in relation to a multi-million US$ loan (involving hundreds of millions) (for major Canadian bank and the Borrower Group, a large MNC)
  • Financial assistance by the local subsidiary of a major marine MNC in relation to the acquisition of the parent’s company’s shares and related syndicated secured financing of about US$130 million (for an MNC in the marine industry)
  • Retrenchment exercise (for a major Russian bank)
  • Software development and maintenance contracts and outsourcing contracts (for a major European bank)
  • Proposed initial public offering on the SGX (for a Malaysian company as proposed issuer)
  • Engineering, procurement, and construction contract for a oil terminal in People’s Republic of China (for an oil & gas listed company)
  • Acted as Singapore counsel for the acquisition of a leading wine and F&B company in Singapore (for a leading UK based global firm (lead counsel))
  • Advised and prepared all the manuals, handbooks, and forms for Personal Data Protection Compliance (for a local SME group with business interests in F&B and insurance and Japanese MNC)
  • Acted on the agreements for the manufacturing and distributorship of products with a famous cartoon character (for Japanese MNC)
  • Advising on the collaboration agreements for a local major beer festival (for a local partner of the festival)
  • Cross border acquisition of a group of energy companies which have their headquarters in Slovenia (for an Indian group with local subsidiaries in Singapore)
  • Advised local major logistics company for long term contracts for a major sporting event in Singapore (for a local leading logistics company for sporting events)
  • Acted in relation to and advised on various disputes, personal data protection compliance and business agreements (for a Japanese music MNC)
  • Advised on and acted for the obtaining of shareholders’ approvals for business diversification (for several SGX listed companies)
  • Acted in relation to a hospitality matter being the construction, development, and operation of a guest house in the Maldives (for a Singapore partner of the guest house project)
  • Acted for the producer, record label, and organizer of a major SG50 music project and event (for local producer, record label, and music publisher
  • Acted for an artiste management and artiste for various deals (for artiste management company and record label and producer)
  • Acted for various victims of a global investment scam (for foreign victims of a global investment scam)
  • Acted for an investment company in its investments in Philippines involving the issue of security and debt (for a local investment company with interests in the Philippines)
  • Acted as local counsel for a debt security issuance program by a fund in the Cayman Islands (for a Japanese fund manager of the fund and the fund itself)
  • Acted for an employee in his claims against a major securities firm in Singapore (for a former employee of the securities firm)
  • Acted for oppressed shareholder in a joint venture in his exit and sale of his minority interest in the joint venture (for an oppressed minority shareholder)
  • Retainer for major financial institution in Singapore (for a major financial institution)
  • Prepared the documentation for various property funds targeted at Singapore and Indonesian investors (for various Singapore funds)
  • Advised on, applied for and obtained fund management licences for various fund management companies (for various fund management companies)
  • Advised on and assisted company in obtaining Capital Markets Services Licensing to start fund management and dealing in securities in Singapore (for a Japanese Registered Fund Management Company)
  • Acted in the acquisition of a cyber-security solutions company from due diligence to completion (for a Singapore Listco as acquirer)
  • Advised on import and licensing requirements for food and beverage including liquor and energy drinks (for various large MNCs)
  • Acted in the acquisition of a leading food and beverage (F&B) (wine and dining) company in Singapore (for a leading offshore firm, acted as Singapore counsel)
  • Advising a communications start-up on its Pre-Series A to Series B and assisting in the preparation of its documentation (for a local Singapore communication company with satellite projects)
  • Advising disruptive technology start-ups on their business structures and fund raising exercises including seed funding, Series A and Series B funding (for a technology start-ups)
  • Fund offerings – advised on the regulation and prepared the fund documentation (for various funds)
  • Telecommunications licensing benchmarking study (for a foreign telecommunications authority)

Client Testimonials

I worked with Bernard on a sub-publishing deal with a major publishing label.  In my dealings with him, I found Bernard to be polite, responsive, efficient, clear, hardworking and overall a pleasure to work with.  His expertise on copyright, tax and business helped to fine tune the terms that I needed, and potentially save my company from unnecessary financial loss.  I found it money well spent and would highly recommend Bernard to anyone needing a corporate and commercial lawyer with no fuss.

Label Owner & Producer, Red Roof Records Pte Ltd

In our business, compliance, regulations and trust are paramount. With Characterist LLC, we have found a perfect partner to strengthen our fundamental values. Our experience with the professional team at Characterist LLC is more than a Client-Vendor relationship. The team, especially Daniel Goh, Adrian Wee, Bernard Tan and Dominic Chan, have been excellent. We always feel extremely comfortable to approach them in any situation without hesitation. They will assess every situation painstakingly, over and above their professional capacity. Our problem is their problem! We used to think of legal matters as a costly expense. But with Characterist LLC, their undivided attention, dedication and professionalism put you at complete ease. Probably the most assured feeling I get as CEO of my firm is that whenever we face a difficult situation, my staff's response instead of being stressed out is the quiet confidence - "we will speak to Characterist". I am confident that Characterist LLC will continue to be our legal advisers and valued partner for a long time!

Tay Huai Eng, CEO of IPP Financial Advisers Pte Ltd

Characterist is different from other law firms in being friendly and reliable. They make the difference.

Annick Curtis, UFE Singapour – Union des Français de l’Etranger

Bernard is reliable, professional, and cost-efficient.

Senior partner in an offshore American law firm with offices worldwide

Bernard - We are very satisfied with your humility, patience and professionalism.

Prabu Naidu, Director of Facilitators Network of Singapore

Bernard - It's really a wonderful experience working with you and I thank you so much for the invaluable time and advice that you have shared with us.

Philip Goh , Director of TC Projects Pte Ltd

Bernard has consistently provided astute legal advice to us in relation to local regulation. Bernard is friendly and experienced. He is responsive and always provides immediate legal advice when needed.

Finance manager of Ovivo Singapore Pte. Ltd, MNC in the water industry