Linklaters set to break into Luxembourg market

Linklaters will be the first UK firm to move into the Luxembourg market, subject to approval from the country's bar association this week.

It has signed up one of the country's largest law firms, Loesch & Wolter, to Linklaters & Alliance. Loesch & Wolter specialises in commercial, securities and banking work.

Loesch & Wolter partner Alfred Brausch says his firm will join the Alliance via a full merger with the Alliance's Belgian member De Bandt van Hecke & Legae.

“We have still to decide with the bar council exactly how we can do this. But I am not aware that there are any restrictions on trans-national partnerships,” says Brausch.

However, the tight regulations on foreign firms entering the country has, until now, kept out other expansionist Anglo-Saxon practices.

The only other foreign law firm that has ventured into the country is the Dutch-Belgian giant Loeff Claeys Verbeke (LCV), which merged with local firm Zeyen Beghin Feider. LCV is understood to be in merger talks with Allen & Overy.

Linklaters' move represents an important in-road into the lucrative banking market. “As one of my clients said, the link-up with Linklaters will give my firm added fire power,” says Brausch. Luxembourg is renowned as a world banking centre and is home to the European Investment Bank and European Monetary Fund. Its liberal tax laws and tough banking secrecy laws make the country a haven for rich investors.

Linklaters & Alliance refused to comment.