Head of corporate Fabrizio Carpanini told The Lawyer that the decision to set up the group stems from a combination of growth in the firm’s wider corporate sector and the “regulatory environment becoming stricter”.
McDonnell, who specialises in UK and EU financial services regulation, will be expected to work on equity capital markets IPO and M&A work.
His departure from BLP coincides with the exits of funds and investment management associates Catherine Eshun and Claire Bates.
Eshun left to join Covington & Burling, following in the footsteps of former colleagues Timothy Spangler and Simon Firth, who also opted for a transatlantic firm with their shift to Kaye Scholer just over a year ago.
Bates, meanwhile, will move in-house to asset manager Russell Investments.
BLP will bring on board new senior associate Kirstin Pickering from Herbert Smith.