Herbert Smith oversees London listing of Marshall Wace hedge fund

Herbert Smith is advising Marshall Wace on the London listing of its hedge fund MW Tops, which will take place thanks to updated listing rules.

The hedge fund launched in December 2006, but had to list on the Euronext in Amsterdam due to the strict requirements of the UK Listing Authority (UKLA).

Corporate partner Nigel Farr, who is leading the Herbert Smith team acting on the listing, said: “MW Tops is a feeder fund into a hedge fund. At the time it launched it listed in Amsterdam because it wasn’t possible to list a vehicle with some of its characteristics in London. For example, there was a provision in the rules that said the feeder fund had to control the master fund under it, but typically the master company is bigger so it’s not realistic to expect the feeder to be able to control it.”

However, updated rules that come into effect in the spring will make it easier for hedge funds to list on the UK’s main market and MW Tops is thought to be the first fund to take advantage of the changes.

The vehicle will maintain its Amsterdam listing but will take advantage of the greater liquidity offered in London.

“Because companies listing in London can get into FTSE indices, they are bought by index trackers, so this will enhance the demand for shares,” said Farr.

Farr is working alongside senior associate Tim West on the listing, with input from Herbert Smith’s Dutch ally Stibbe.

Hoare Govett is acting as financial adviser to the flotation, under advice from Stephenson Harwood partner Elizabeth Field.