Ashurst finance partners Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor have become the latest to leave the firm, joining Paul Hastings in London.

Smith exits after 22 years at Ashurst where he focused on structured finance, securitisation, capital markets and derivatives. He takes with him Minott, who was made up to partner in 2014, and Saylor, who was a structured finance practice at Ashurst for one year.

Ashurst has seen a wave of partner exits in the UK in recent months, with a significant number moving to US firms.

The firm was forced to delay its quarterly distributions to partners for the first time in over four years earlier this year following the large number of exits.

High profile departures from the City include: restructuring partner Simon Baskerville and financial regulatory head Rob Moulton for Latham & Watkins; litigation partner Mark Clarke and corporate partner Jonathan Parry for White & Case; financial regulatory partner James Perry for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; and finance partner Diane Roberts for Reed Smith.

The firm also confirmed CFO Brian Dunlop was leaving “to take a career break”.

In the last few weeks, Ashurst partners voted in favour of changing the firm’s remuneration system in a bid to reward its strongest performing partners and retain its lawyers. The vote will see the firm add an extra 10 point to the top of ladder, as well as introduce a bonus pool for both equity and non-equity partners. 

Paul Hastings has been building up its London-based high yield capability since 2014, hiring Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy high-yield partner Peter Schwartz and Ashurst leveraged finance partner Luke McDougall.

The US firm subsequently hired two finance partners from Ashurst’s Washington DC and New York offices, Scott Faga and Eugene Ferrer in 2015. Ferrer was Ashurst’s US managing partner while Faga was the firm’s global co-head of securities and derivatives.