Pinsent Masons hires Ashurst partner to lead corporate FS team

Ashurst insurance partner Hammad Akhtar is leaving the firm for Pinsent Masons.

Akhtar, who also co-headed Ashurst’s graduate recruitment efforts, is joining the firm as head of its corporate offering within the financial sector.

Hammad Akhtar
Hammad Akhtar

He was previously a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and joined Ashurst in 2012 alongside insurance colleague Adam Levitt.

Akhtar’s clients include Royal London, Resolution Life and Swiss Re. He will join Pinsent Masons’ corporate financial services team, which is led by partner Alexis Roberts and supported by partner Hannah Brader.

Ashurst funds partner Jeremy Bell also exited the firm this week, joining Burges Salmon in Bristol.

The news follows a wave of departures during 2016, which calmed down after the u-turns of financial services partner James Perry and banking partner Nigel Ward.

At the end of last year, Ashurst partners voted in favour of a new profit distribution system, which will see the partnership inject an extra £1m in capital to the firm.

The decision means partners will now be paid a single annual distribution within 12 months of the financial year-end.

Over the summer, Ashurst also chose to revamp its lockstep system by extending its lockstep ladder and introducing a bonus pool for both equity and non-equity partners.

The firm restarted paying its quarterly drawings to partners last November after delaying payments in an attempt to free up cash.

The firm saw its average profit per equity partner drop 19 per cent last summer to £603,000, and also suffered a string of big-name partner exits in the UK. 

These included financial partner Rob Moulton and restructuring partner Simon Baskerville to Latham & Watkins, as well as litigation partner Mark Clarke and capital markets partner Jonathan Parry for White & Case.