Memery Crystal holds fast to top AIM ranking

Memery Crystal has retained its position as the top firm for the number of Aim-­listed clients, holding on to the position it won for the for the first time the ­previous quarter.

The firm increased its client count from 47 for the three months to the end of June to 50 for the past three months, keeping its four-client lead over Pinsent Masons, whose client count also rose by three.

Memery Crystal gained instructions from Ferrex, Baobab Resources, ­Continental Coal, Richland Resources and Silvermere Energy. Meanwhile, it lost IPSO Ventures to Sherrards, as well as Tanzanite, from its roster of Aim clients.

The gains represent ­continued buoyancy in the energy and resources ­sectors, which currently make up a high proportion of Aim listing activity.

“Energy’s still the sector we’re working on most,” said Memery Crystal chief executive and Aim head Lesley Gregory, adding that lawyers were also seeing an upturn in dual listings, especially ones originating in Australia.

“I think there’s a trend for companies listing in Australia to get a listing here,” she said.

Pinsents gained foreign exchange trading platform developer MoneySwap, which listed on Aim this summer, as well as Xenetic Biosciences, APR Energy and 600 Group. It lost property investment company Redefine International.

MoneySwap, whose head office is in Hong Kong and registered office in ­Gibraltar, goes to Pinsents for English law advice and ­Hassans for advice on ­Gibraltar law.

The latest rankings for the past quarter, supplied by Morningstar (previously Hemscott) show few changes on the previous quarter, with LG, Carey Olsen, Eversheds, Berwin Leighton ­Paisner, DLA Piper and Norton Rose maintaining their respective third to eighth positions.

Canadian-headquartered Fasken Martineau has moved up to ninth place from 11th on the back of two client gains, which brings its roster to 30 Aim-listed companies, ­putting it only one off ­Norton Rose’s tally.

Fasken gained ENK, ­Fluormin, Medilink-Global UK and Resaca Exploitation as clients, but lost Silence Therapeutics to Covington & Burling, as well as European Nickel.

Offshore firm Appleby also gained two clients in TomCo Energy and Galileo Resources, allowing it to overtake Field Fisher ­Waterhouse (FFW), Nabarro and Stephenson Harwood to take 10th place. FFW and Nabarro lost one client each over the three-month ­period, while Stephenson Harwood lost two, dropping three places.

Stephenson Harwood’s gains included resources investment vehicle Radiant Growth Investments and property services group Speymill. It lost property investment company Metro Baltic Horizons to Jones Day and PME Africa Infrastructure Opportunities to Hogan Lovells.

Cains, Kerman & Co, Ogier, Osborne Clarke, Travers Smith and Watson Farley & Williams all had a largely stable quarter.

LG, however, has a clear lead in the market capitalisation stakes. The clear water between the City firm and second-placed Memery Crystal was nevertheless cut significantly, with LG’s figure reduced from £6.2bn to £4.91bn. Memery Crystal’s drop was more marginal, falling from £3.9bn to £3.45bn.

Ashurst, a firm that sees itself as a higher-end corporate outfit, made a noteworthy jump into ninth place by market capitalisation having not ranked last time, although it did already advise a small handful of Aim-listed clients. It now tops the rankings for Aim-listed clients in the basic materials sector by market capitalisation, not far ahead of Cobbetts, Fasken, LG and Memery Crystal.

Ashurst’s gains included African Minerals and Bayfield Energy Holdings, but it lost Silence Therapeutics to Covington.

A number of Asian firms also have a small market share. Indian firm Dua ­Associates, Hong Kong firm Alan Lam Yam & Pe, Singapore’s RHT Law – Taylor Wessing’s new alliance partner – and Chinese firms Yuan Tai Law Offices and Zhejiang Pingyu Law Firm all have industrial clients.

Chinese outfits Guantao Law Firm and Lifang & Partners both have market shares among oil and gas clients on Aim, although Lifang’s share dropped from £1.04bn to £822m.

Memery Crystal’s top billing for client numbers represents a crystallisation of the firm’s move up the Aim ladder. It stood at eighth this time four years ago, but its rise has broken up the dominance of Norton Rose, LG and Pinsents, which had previously been the only three firms to have topped the table since it was first published.