Howard Kennedy launches affordable housing practice ahead of FSI merger

Pre-merger Howard Kennedy has raided City firm Devonshires again to launch an affordable housing team.

Mark Dembovsky
Mark Dembovsky

The West End firm has taken two partners, Susan Hall and Frances Leung, with Hall joining as head of affordable housing.

The second swoop follows the hire of ex-Devonshires senior partner Allan Hudson as a consultant in the property team in May 2012 (4 June 2012).

The firm is close to going live on its £45m tie-up with Finers Stephens Innocent – a deal that has been given a 1 February completion date (19 November 2012).

In the meantime, CEO Mark Dembovsky has been keen to maintain his focus on the performance of his firm despite the demands of merger discussions.

As part of this the firm announced a redundancy consultation before Christmas affecting up to 10 support staff (22 November 2012). The final number of job cuts has been confirmed as nine.

Hall spent eight years with British Coal on pension fund investment work before moving to DJ Freeman as head of property and later Olswang.

She regularly acts for housing associations on large scale acquisitions and advises registered providers of social housing.

Leung worked closely with Hall at Devonshires, having joined as a senior associate from DAC Beachcroft.

Howard Kennedy cut its property department 12 months ago after entering into redundancy talks with six non-equity partners in a bid to boost financial performance (14 February 2012).

However, the firm’s property head Paul Springhall said the firm is looking forward to expanding again.

He said: “Investing in the social housing sector is a significant move for Howard Kennedy and stresses our commitment to growth in key areas.”