Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update. Take a look at this week’s key trends, moves and developments in legal and compliance.
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1). Paris to become home of the European Banking Regulator after name drawn from hat
Paris has been chosen as the new home of the European Banking Authority (EBA), after three rounds of voting failed to produce a clear winner as where to relocate the regulator post-Brexit.
Eventually, names picked from a hat decided the fate of the authority as diplomats could not decide between Paris and Dublin.
The European Medicines Agency, also currently based in London, will be relocated to Amsterdam after it too tied in previous rounds of votes with Milan.
“You could not make it up if you tried” said one EU diplomat.
Relocating the EBA to Paris is seen as a big victory for French president Emmanuel Macron, who is pushing Paris as the EU’s premier financial centre after Brexit. With the city already playing host to the European Securities and Markets Authority, the French capital will now house both of the EU authorities responsible for setting banking standards.
The decision came as a shock to some who expected Vienna or Frankfurt to become the next home of the EBA. Indeed, Vienna had offered the most generous financial package to secure the EBA, and also topped an internal staff survey according to insiders.
The choices made by the EU27 foreign ministers mark one of the first tangible steps the bloc has taken so far to prepare for Brexit, and will serve to reduce the UK’s influence over the rules governing European finance. However, the impact that this is set to have on London as a financial services centre is considered to be marginal, according to experts.
2). Tougher appraisals introduced at Clifford Chance as Freshfields overhauls lockstep (again)
Today Clifford Chance (CC) announced a revamp of its appraisal policy, set to link partner pay with performance more than ever before.
Tied to the latest changes in the firm’s lockstep, introduced in May, partners will now be assessed on a range of targets including revenue generation, cross-selling, client development and service delivery and innovation. There will also be particular focus on the amount of high value business that partners bring in.
This marks a shift in what the role of a partner – especially senior partners – is seen mean at the firm, with a greater focus on the type of work you bring in and from where. This isn’t necessarily about bringing in new clients, but about working with new groups across different practices.
It also ushers in a more US-style approach to appraisals and remuneration, linking performance more closely with pay, as opposed to a more traditional lockstep system.
It is also possible that CC introduced the system to provide more transparency over the superpoints system in its lockstep, now accessed by 8-9 partners globally.
This mirrors a radical overhaul of Freshfield’s lockstep system, revealed last week. The new single lockstep ladder will run from 12 to 40 points, with a 40 to 60 ‘superpoint’ category applying only to star performers. The firm will also now be able to move partners down the ladder from a number of set gateway positions, something it was previously unable to do.
A deviation from Freshfields more conservative stance on lockstep reform, this provides yet another example of the depths the magic circle are willing to go to both improve profitability and retain their star performers.
3). Movers & Shakers
Former KWM global managing partner named legal head at KPMG
Ropes names first-ever female chair
Brona McKeown has left the bank, to be replaced by Regulatory Risk Director David Bagley.
Deloitte loses tax team to Denton’s in Russia
Dentons has hired Deloitte head of technology, media and telecoms Vasilii Markov as part of an eight-strong tax hire to grow its St Petersburg office.
Clifford Chance strengthens German corporate practice with White & Case partner hire
Markus Stephanblome joins Clifford Chance in Frankfurt
BLM London head quits for Clydes
BLM London head Jennette Newman has resigned from the firm, alongside fellow insurance partner Jonathan Edwards.
Weil London head of corporate set to depart for senior Treasury role
Peter King is set to take up a senior role at the treasury after a ten year tenure at the US firm
Herbert Smith litigation partner joins Cleary Gottleib
London litigation partner James Norris Jones is moving to Cleary’s in a rare hire for the US firm’s City office
Mergers & Alliances
Clydes seals Malaysia association as international expansion continues
Office Openings & Closings
Clyde & Co launches in Bristol office with Kennedys and Womble Bond double partner hire
Eversheds Sutherland launches second office in Saudi Arabia with Jeddah opening
Weil London lawyers miss out in US firm’s annual partner promotions