Simmons scoops brief for broking arm of ABN Amro

Simmons & Simmons has leveraged its track record in advising venture capitalists on managed exits to win ABN Amro’s stockbroking arm Hoare Govett as a new client.

Hoare Govett often uses Ashurst or Norton Rose, but Simmons partner Ed Lukins, who led the firm’s team advising Hoare Govett on the AIM float of Star Energy Group, said he hopes to get more work both from the broker and from Star Energy itself.

Simmons won the work thanks to the relationship between Lukins and Hoare Govett corporate financier Andrew Osborne. Osborne recently moved to Hoare Govett from Société Générale, where he also worked with Lukins.

Lukins said: “Hoare Govett saw what we had done on Center Parcs, which was similar in that it was a managed exit for the VCs [venture capitalists], and thought that they would give us a go.”

Simmons’ corporate department has had a much higher profile since it completed the groundbreaking accelerated initial public offering of Northumbrian Water for Collins Stewart last year.

Star is the UK’s second-largest onshore windpower generator, but most recently it has developed a concept whereby gas is stored in disused coal mines. As the UK’s North Sea natural gas reserves run out, the ability to store gas will become paramount.

Simmons has been furiously marketing to a range of banks and brokers ever since, although its higher profile has yet to translate into improved profits for the firm as a whole.