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Garrett & Co is planning to head-hunt senior banking and finance lawyers from rival firms, following the recruitment of former Baker & McKenzie partner Peter Richards-Carpenter to head its new financial markets department.
Richards-Carpenter was previously head of Baker & McKenzie's financial services regulatory and custody banking practices in London.
He told The Lawyer: "We think it has reached a stage where we should expand into the financial markets area.
"I was head-hunted myself, and we will be actively recruiting in the banking and finance area at a senior level."
He said there was no target date for the department to go fully operational. He added: "The important thing is to get the right people, however long that takes."
The move continues Garretts' recent policy of aggressive expansion coupled with a top-level recruitment drive.
In June the firm announced plans to set up a litigation department in London to complement its company/commercial operation.
Last month Garretts poached partner Louise Anderson from Cameron Markby Hewitt to join its expanding property department, while associate accountancy firm Arthur Ander- sen revealed plans to set up a law firm in Hong Kong to be staffed at least partly by Garretts lawyers.
At Baker & McKenzie Richards-Carpenter was known for his work with the Latvian government following the collapse of the country's largest commercial bank.
He recently advised Credit Suisse, one of the two biggest banks involved in the largest custody banking contract ever placed by a financial institution. Richards-Carpenter is also the co-author of Butterworths' Banking and the Financial Services Act.
Baker & McKenzie managing partner Nigel Carrington said: "We are grateful to Peter for his contribution over the past six years to the development of the financial regulatory practice in our London office's banking group."
Garretts was set up in 1993 as a law firm allied to accountant Arthur Andersen, although around 50 per cent of the practice's client base has been built up independently.