Welcome back to the Fides Weekly Update. Read on for this week’s key moves, trends and developments in legal and compliance.
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1) Partner departs from Slaughter and May
Slaughter and May lost their first partner in Hong Kong since 2006 this week, as news emerged that corporate partner Laurence Rudge is to join global supply chain managers Li & Fung. Corporate partner Paul Chow, now of Davis Polk & Wardwell, was the last departure from Slaughter’s Hong Kong office when he jumped ship to Linklaters in 2006 to head their Beijing office.
RPC also made a move into the Asian market this week, after its alliance with Singapore’s Premier Law was announced on Thursday. This joint venture will double the size of RPC’s Singapore practice as well as giving them access to Premier Law’s corporate and commercial capability in Hong Kong, complementing the firm’s existing presence in this space.
International firms have been increasingly looking at boosting their offering in Hong Kong, as Olswang tied with local firm Haldanes in December and White & Case hired corporate partner Catherine Tsang from Paul Hastings earlier this month. However, firms are also considering the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the adverse effect it could have on the Hong Kong legal services sector, with many firms like Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy re-jigging their practices to reflect this new market reality and Fried Frank Harris Shiver & Jacobson leaving the jurisdiction altogether. For a full analysis into the Hong Kong legal market, click here to see The Lawyer’s Special Report.
2) New FCA chief announced
After a global search to find the replacement for Martin Wheatley, the FCA this week announced its new CEO to be Andrew Bailey, current chief executive of the PRA and deputy governor of prudential regulation at the Bank of England. Bailey will be taking on the position as permanent leader of the FCA as soon as a replacement is found for his current role, replacing interim chief Tracey McDermott who withdrew herself from the running for the top job earlier this month.
Overall, the reaction within the financial services industry has been fairly positive to his placement, with many describing Bailey as a safe and sensible appointment. Bailey is a well-respected character at the bank and HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver says the new FCA boss is “very bright, technically superb…He is tough and fair – a real coup for the FCA.” Bailey’s current standing in heading up the PRA provides him with sufficient knowledge and experience to run the FCA, although some argue that he may struggle with the publicity associated with the role as well as performing the enforcement aspects of the FCA, something which he hasn’t executed in his previous roles.
It will be interesting to see how this appointment affects the culture of the regulator, and whether or not Andrew Bailey’s leadership creates a more “bank-friendly” environment. However, the FCA and PRA have shown they plan to continue to clampdown on the sector as this week they also launched investigations into the senior managers at HBOS, after a report was released in November criticising the lenient decisions made by the Financial Services Authority.
The future direction of the FCA has been subject to much scrutiny recently, with the last-minute ditching of their review into banking culture as well as recent changes made to the Senior Managers Regime (SMR), which included removing the reverse burden of proof principle. (For our January blog on the issue, click here.) Some consider this to be the start of a new era of financial regulation, where others consider it proof that regulatory standards on banks are falling. Indeed, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry into the shelved banking culture review, and how Bailey responds to this and sets the tone for his first few months in charge.
Further confusion surrounding the SMR also emerged this week, as a further consultation was launched into the regime’s coverage of in-house lawyers, and whether those in charge of legal functions will need to gain approval under the regime. The FCA acknowledged that “significant uncertainty” existed regarding the overall responsibility of decision-making, and have made interim arrangements whilst they consult fully on the issue.
Movers and Shakers of the week
BNY Mellon hire BofE counsel
Former head of legal for markets, banking and notes directorates at the Bank of England Jacqueline Joyston-Bechal to join BNY Mellon as EMEA head of their advisory compliance team for investment services
Insurance firm RSA gains new chief legal officer
RSA’s GC and company secretary Derek Walsh is stepping down and being replaced by Charlotte Heiss, who will take the new role of chief legal officer and company secretary
BLP carry out double partner hire in UAE
King & Spalding’s Dubai disputes head Raza Mithani and DLA Piper’s energy and infrastructure partner Alexander Sarac join Berwin Leighton Paisner’s disputes practice and project finance practice respectively.
KWM boost Brussels corporate practice
King & Wood Mallesons have hired Squire Patton Boggs’ head of Belgium practice Anthony van de Hauwaert into their European corporate practice
A&O expand German disputes practice
Allen & Overy have appointed Orrick’s disputes partner Benedikt Burger to their Frankfurt office
Slaughters lose Hong Kong partner
Corporate partner Laurence Rudge has left Slaughter and May’s Hong Kong office to join global supply chain managers Li & Fung as deputy general counsel
A&O lose nine-strong team to Italian firm
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo have hired nine lawyers from Allen & Overy, which includes their Italian senior partner Massimiliano Danusso, to headquarter their London office.
Office openings and closings
Pinsents lauch second German office
Pinsent Masons have hired KPMG partners Thorsten Volz, Torsten Wielsch and Sönke Gödeke to lead their German energy practice and will be based in Düsseldorf
Simmons exit Abu Dhabi
Simmons & Simmons are closing their Abu Dhabi office, leaving the firm with four offices remaining in the Middle East
The Lawyer releases 2016’s Hot 100