Kaye Scholer plans London growth with FSA hire

The London office of US firm Kaye Scholer has continued its expansion by hiring a senior lawyer from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The arrival of Owen Watkins from the FSA, where he was for 15 years, brings fee-earner headcount at the US firm’s London outpost to nine. He will join as a senior consultant. Kaye Scholer follows Clifford Chance in taking on former FSA in-housers.

Tim Spangler, Kaye Scholer’s head of global investment funds, told The Lawyer: “I think we’re seeing two evolutions here. The first is UK firms beginning to appreciate — in a way US firms have done for some time now — how valuable regulatory experience can be. The second is that financial services advice is beginning to become increasingly focussed to strategically important clients.”

For Kaye Scholer’s London office, those clients are hedge funds, distressed debt funds and private equity funds. Such clients need particularly tailored advice that Watkins can provide, said Spangler.

Spangler himself only joined Kaye Scholer in October 2006, from Berwin Leighton Paisner. More growth is expected over the coming months. “We’re determined to have a London office comparable to our US peers,” said Spangler