Stephenson Harwood launches City private wealth practice

Stephenson Harwood has appointed Thomas Eggar’s international and business taxation head James Quarmby to spearhead the growth of its private wealth practice.

Quarmby will become the firm’s only dedicated London private wealth partner, when he begins his new role on 7 April 2014. The firm has also hired a private client senior associate, Vivienne Wild from Schofield Sweeney, to bulk up the practice. It has two further junior associates set to join the group within the next six months.

Stephenson Harwood’s international tax head Hugo Jenney said: “We asked ourselves whether we should lose our private client offering like other City firms did a few years ago. We decided we definitely weren’t going to do that, and that we wanted to create a different sort of private client practice.” 

He continued: “There’s no element of high street work in it at all – it’s just work for high net worth families with significant business interests, or significant tax or trusts issues. We’ll only work in areas that can add value.” 

The hires come a decade after the firm witnessed the exit of its entire private capital and family team, numbering 11 lawyers, to Charles Russell (26 July 2004).

Despite losing its dedicated practice, Stephenson Harwood  continued to deal with aspects of private wealth work via its corporate tax, tax disputes, and share scheme and remuneration groups. A substantial chunk of its instructions come from one particular high net worth client and his family, but it also advises a number of other family companies, hedge funds and their managers. 

Quarmby was formerly head of Thomas Eggar’s international and business taxation team, which he established and grew over the last decade. 

Jenney noted: “James grew the international business and taxation practice into a significant team with a good revenue. We recruited him because we wanted our group to be a little bit different to a traditional private client practice – a bit more go-getting. We were looking for someone with a lot of energy and drive.” 

The new private wealth team in London will complement the firm’s existing small practice in Asia. Stephenson Harwood currently has one partner, Ian Devereux, specialising in private wealth in Hong Kong alongside a full-time consultant and one associate.