Harper Macleod to set up corpfin arm

Scotland’s Harper Mac-leod has launched a standalone corporate finance arm to target small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

HM Corporate Finance Solutions will advise clients on a broad range of corporate finance deals valued at up to £25m, including mergers, acquisitions, management buyouts/buy-ins, private equity and debt fund raisings.

Harper Macleod senior corporate partner Donnie Munro said the launch of HM Corporate Finance Solutions was driven by SME client demand. Many SMEs find the large accountancy firms too bureaucratic and expensive. “By setting up HM Corporate Finance Solutions, we arrived at a part of the market that isn’t well serviced,” argued Munro.

He added that Harper Macleod’s offering was at least 50 per cent cheaper than the large accountancy firms and that its engagement letters were shorter and more straightforward.

Harper Macleod managing partner Professor Lorne Crerar said: “We’re not aware of any other law firm in Scotland providing this kind of corporate finance advisory service. HM Corporate Finance Solutions will allow us to provide a much broader and more complete range of services than simply handling the legal issues.”

The development of HM Corporate Finance Solutions will be led by Ramsay Duff, a qualified accountant who joined Harper Macleod from ING Barings’ Edinburgh office last December.

Harper Macleod’s move of setting up a separate corporate finance arm is reminiscent of Olswang’s LongAcre Partners venture, which it established in 2000.

Olswang began the corporate finance arm as
a joint venture with US investment bank JPMorgan to offer strategic advice on fundraising and M&A activity for start-up companies. Harper Macleod has set up its own corporate finance arm without investment from outside parties. Olswang’s partners owned a 60 per cent share in the business, while JPMorgan held the remaining stake.