City firm SJ Berwin has appointed a financial services high flyer to advise its clients on new regulations.
Glenda Davies was formerly director of regulatory policy at the non-governmental regulatory organisation the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA), and has helped to draft many pieces of financial legislation.
SJ Berwin believes she is the first internal adviser of her kind. Charles Abrams, head of the firm's financial services group, says she was brought in because the relatively small financial services team, which has only four partners, does not have the resources to be able to research the various pieces of regulation itself. Professional support staff are usually former lawyers.
"Glenda was a very senior person so far as regulation of investment firms was concerned but she wanted a slight change in what she was doing with her extensive knowledge," explains Abrams.
"It is the sort of role that accountants would traditionally have asked for. In fact, one of her colleagues has just left to join Deloitte & Touche."
She is to work in professional support, giving advice both to lawyers and also directly to clients who are concerned they might fall foul of legislation, in particular the Financial Services and Market Bill.
"Because of my background in regulation work I can offer a glimpse into the mindset of the regulator, which is particularly important in this time of great change," says Davies.
"More generally, in the role of professional support it is useful to have a lateral thinker.
"With accountants setting up multi-disciplinary departments to give business advice on financial services, it makes sense for lawyers to start building people into their practices who have different backgrounds."
After leaving the SFA, Davies was director of securities and investments at the London Investment Banking Association, which represents the major investment and merchant banks in the UK.