Derivatives arm on brink as A&O ‘seeks investment’

Allen & Overy (A&O) is seeking investors for financially troubled derivatives risk analysis business docGenix, which the firm set up following its hire of derivatives star Dan Cunningham.

Dan Cunningham
Dan Cunningham

Derivative Services, which owns 58 per cent of docGenix, was forced to write down a £1.3m investment in docGenix last year, and if further investors are not found it will cease trading.

An A&O spokesperson told The Lawyer: “Most start-ups make a loss. The products we’re providing seem to be something the market needs. We’re looking for further funding, but we’re still behind the business.”

However, one former A&O capital markets partner was doubtful that the work was still there.

“Pricing is a third of that of a year ago,” the source said. “Margins have gone right down. Banks now have software that can do this.”

DocGenix was established in 2008, while Derivative Services launched just a few months after Cunningham - US counsel to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association – joined from Cravath Swaine & Moore on an enhanced package, including a stake in a new derivatives venture. He left A&O in 2009 for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.