Allianz lit funder pulls plug in Europe

Third-party funder Allianz Litigation Funding has withdrawn from the European and UK market.

The German insurance giant launched litigation fund Allianz ProzessFinanz in November 2007, eyeing fruitful returns of 70 per cent-plus on litigation loans.

But sources said the ­company was riddled with conflicts and risked funding cases for claimants where it was also underwriting the defendants.

The company launched in the UK with Christian Stuerwald at the helm, but he quit in late 2009 to join rival funder Calunius ­Capital.

Stuerwald said Allianz ProzessFinanz had become “a victim of its own success”, adding: “After the humble beginnings of 2002 the industry, and the company with it, grew steadily, which led to greater demand for the funding of large ­commercial claims directed against very large corporate entities. Due to the fact that Allianz is one of the largest insurers in the world, numerous conflicts of ­interests ensued where the group acted as insurer of defendant companies.”

A statement on the ­company’s website said it had “ceased investing in new court or arbitral claims”, but that all previously agreed funding would continue.

Last week the Civil ­Justice Council agreed a code of conduct for funders in the UK, putting the onus on funders to have adequate capital standards in place.