Challenger International appointed Herbert Smith's James Barnes for its first UK property acquisition on a recommendation from its main legal adviser, Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques. Mallesons' London office head Tim Blue acts for Challenger in the UK, but the firm does not have a property capability in London.
Blue recently advised Challenger on its acquisition of Neville James Holdings, a boutique funds manager which will act as the pension fund's distribution base for annuities in the UK. Senator House is the first of those assets and Challenger is eager to enhance its exposure to the UK market. Future legal appointments have yet to be decided, but Herbert Smith's early involvement with Challenger and a performance described by the client as "exemplary" seem to leave it well placed.
Neville James' managing director John Heller - a former Nabarro Nathanson partner - will take on the role of managing legal relationships. He will work closely with Challenger's London-based executive director Brett Newman.