Euroclear gifts Wragges first instruction on IT outsourcing

Wragges first instruction on IT outsourcing” />Wragge & Co’s outsourcing practice has scored a massive coup by advising new client Euroclear, Europe’s largest securities settlement house, on the IT and outsourcing elements of its group restructuring.

Euroclear has traditionally used Slaughter and May and Travers Smith for corporate and regulatory work in the UK, but turned to Wragges’ specialist IT and outsourcing team after an introduction from Wragges Brussels partner Bernardine Adkins.

“It could develop into a significant new client,” said partner Peter Hall, who led the Wragges team. “They’re an incredibly important player in this sector. It’s a sign of us moving into the core financial services arena on the back of our reputation in outsourcing.”

The four Euroclear operating companies have restructured their business model. An integral part of this has been the creation of separate company Euroclear SA/NV, which houses all of their support functions, including HR, regulation, audit and the legal team.

“It’s an internal outsourcing. It was an unusual project, unlike most outsourcing deals where there’s an external provider,” explained Hall.

Euroclear has group companies across Europe, so the new company needed a structure that satisfied regulators in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK.

“Euroclear is creating a ‘single settlement engine’ across all its central securities depositories,” said Hall. “It’s part of a pan-European strategy that they can provide to participants.

“IT systems are fundamental. If you drill through their business, they provide IT-based services. If anything goes wrong with those systems it’s a huge issue for the marketplace.”

Hall worked closely with partner Bill Jones, Euroclear’s general counsel Kristen Geyer, and Mirna Hidalgo, the Euroclear lawyer who managed the project.

Geyer commented: “We were very pleased with Wragge & Co’s support, which involved quickly understanding our intra-group relationships and the nature of our business, and finally creating ways to implement the project in the context of divergent regulatory standards.”

Hall and Jones are part of Wragges’ six-partner team, which focuses on outsourcing. They have a specific focus on the financial services arena, due in part to Hall’s background at Lovells and in-house at Citibank.

The team has closed a string of significant outsourcing deals in this sector over the last year, including an offshore outsourcing deal for Lloyds TSB, Liverpool Victoria’s back office outsourcing to EDS and a transaction for Royal Liver.