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Withers has appointed a partner from offshore firm Appleby to set up a pan-European investment funds practice.
Matthew Feargrieve joins Withers’ Zurich office after three years in the offshore firm’s Swiss base. He joined Appleby from Mourant Ozannes legacy firm Mourant du Feu & Jeune in 2010.
He is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands and focuses on fund structuring and investment in both public and private funds.
At Withers he is charged with setting up a team that will act for investment fund clients across Europe as the EU’s alternative investment fund managers directive is implemented later this year. The directive is expected to increase interest by fund managers and investors in domiciles such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta as alternatives to traditional offshore fund centres like the Cayman Islands.
“We’ve seen a lot of interest in these jurisidictions on the part of managers in Switzerland and other parts of continental Europe,” said Feargrieve. He said his experience advising on both structuring and investing would provide a strong base for the practice.
Feargrieve was the only partner on the ground at Appleby in Zurich. However, the firm said it was committed to the office.
A spokesperson for Appleby said: “Appleby continues to provide an active service to Swiss and international clients in Zurich from a representative base there.
“The Swiss market remains a strategically important jurisdiction for us. We have a strong client base in the region and our ability to service our clients isn’t affected by Matthew’s departure. We have a large multi-disciplinary team from across our offices who are regularly in Switzerland, particularly our funds team, our private client and trusts team and our banking team.”