Simmons & Simmons has entered into an alliance with US firm Seward & Kissel to do hedge fund and asset management work.
The non-exclusive alliance will gift Simmons’ hedge fund clients access to a full suit of services – including fund formation and management, advisory services on regulation, derivatives, corporate structures, tax, litigation, employment, IP, finance, government investigations, and transactional services – in New York.
Seward & Kissel also has an office in Washington, which focuses on regulatory work. The alliance will not extend to other practice areas.
Simmons’ relationship with Seward & Kissel goes back some 30 years, with the US firm one of the first in the country to tap into the hedge fund market. But Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland said the imperative for Simmons to provide its hedge fund clients with US law advice – and for US firms to offer clients UK and Hong Kong law advice – has increased as regulation of the sector intensifies.
On top of this, a number of US firms that Simmons has worked with in the past have since launched in the UK. Simmons was forced to stop referring work to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Schulte Roth & Zabel and Wilkie Farr & Gallagher after they launched in London and became competitors.
Hoyland stressed that the relationship with Seward & Kissel was not a prelude to a merger but that the two firms are considering setting up secondments for their lawyers.
“There’s a lot of start-ups in the asset management industry and they tend to involve individuals who have spun out of larger funds or institutions,” said Hoyland. “They will be sophisticated buyers of legal services but may no have established relationships with firms and we’re pitching ourselves to do their start-up work and then more as their business develops.”