Wedlake Bell has hired a Dechert lawyer to spearhead a new investment management unit.
The new initiative aims to target work for funds and fund managers and is a response to requests from clients that the firm has previously had to turn down.
Mark Brady joins from Dechert as a partner to head the unit and further hires are expected to follow.
The unit's main focus will be on the establishment and operation of funds, including hedge, private equity and property funds. Four partners and eight other lawyers will be part of a cross-disciplinary team providing a full range of services covering regulatory, tax, marketing, employee incentives and business start-up issues. It will also act for buyers and sellers in international and domestic fund management-related M&A transactions, and advise in relation to investments by funds and fund managers in Europe and other markets.
“For everybody, including us, the fund management market is wide open”
Mark Brady, Wedlake Bell
Brady said: “For a long time, Wedlake Bell has been active in the financial services community, not least through its Guernsey office. Moving into the fund management field is a very natural thing for the firm to do and it is in response to repeated requests from clients and other service providers.”
The firm's international connections and alliances will be used to access lawyers in Europe and the US, including in important listing jurisdictions such as Dublin, Luxembourg and the Channel Islands.
Only a small number of firms have practices dedicated to looking after funds and fund management businesses. They include Clifford Chance, Dechert, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters & Alliance, Simmons & Simmons and Stephenson Harwood.
“This is not an area known for having competency from small firms,” said Brady. “But for everybody, including us, the market is wide open. We will be focusing initially on start-up businesses, but in time we hope to be competing for larger deals.”
Brady said he was attracted by the client-intensive and personal approach of the smaller firm.
Wedlake Bell managing partner Julian Cuppage said that he had been looking for the right person to head the initiative for around a year. “We're confident of attracting new business, such is the strength of our links both here and in the key offshore centres,” he said.