Firms follow TJG's floats lead

LAW firms ambitious to get a foothold in to Stock Exchange flotation work could soon follow the lead set by Taylor Joynson Garrett last week.

And joint venture arrangements with stockbrokers or merchant banks could be one of the ways law firms might achieve it.

So far, Birmingham-based Martineau Johnson and London firms Gouldens and Howard Kennedy are known to have achieved SE authorisation, together with a number of accountants.

“We are breaking new ground,” says Martineaus' corporate partner Roger Blears, who leads the firm's capital finance team.

Blears says most firms lack fundraising or financial “placing power” for flotation work.

But he says they can overcome the problem: “I would think firms would form alliances with companies which have funds under management – stockbrokers who don't have a corporate finance arm.”

Michael Harris, a company commercial partner at Howard Kennedy, says: “In the right case we would look for a joint sponsorship with a broker.”

On achieving SE authorisation, he says: “It's a logical thing for a firm of our type to do. It's a very useful marketing tool.” He is now considering possible flotation candidates.

“Another reason is to counteract the disadvantage of not being in the City. It's good for City credibility,” he says.

Gouldens will offer itself as a co-sponsor but will not go it alone, says corporate finance partner Max Thorneycroft.

“We are just trying to add to the service offered by banks and brokers,” he says.

Taylor Joynson Garrett's flotation of Heritage on to the SE full list, heralded by other lawyers, is permitted under the SE's Yellow Book revision in 1993.