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Herbert Smith’s financial services regulatory (FSR) chief Martyn Hopper is understood to have resigned from the firm and is set to join rival Linklaters.
Hopper is understood to be joining the magic circle firm’s London office as a partner at an unconfirmed date. Herbert Smith, which is understood to have announced Hopper’s resignation internally, declined to comment on the move. The firm did not say who will be replacing Hopper, who joined the firm from the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) almost nine years ago.
Since then he has acted for a number of investment banking institutions on FSA investigations, including representing former Shell chairman Sir Phillip Watts in the FSA’s 18-month inquiry into the oil company’s misstated oil reserves in 2005 (19 September 2005).
Hopper’s exit follows a number of high-level departures at Herbert Smith, notably in Asia where former Tokyo managing partner Steve Lewis left the firm to join Bingham in the same week that partners gave the green light to the UK firm’s merger with Freehills (28 June 2012).
Last year Herbert Smith launched Project Blue Sky in a bid to increase profitability and take a tougher stance on underperforming partners. In June this year the firm announced a 3 per cent increase in turnover and a 7 per cent drop in average profit per equity partner for the 2011-12 financial year (25 June 2012).