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). International network apprehensive ahead of Ince-Dadds merger proposal
The Paris office of Ince & Co is understood to be out of the proposed merger with AIM-listed firm Gordon Dadds should the deal go through, reports The Lawyer.
The French capital is not thought to be alone in its merger concerns, with sources indicating that at least one other international office is also considering breaking away from the network.
While no final decision has been taken to combine the two businesses, a proposal is thought to be presented at the Ince partner conference this weekend.
Making key business decisions on a consensus basis, the deal will only go to partner vote if more than 10 per cent voice concerns to management after a cooling off period. Any announcement on the deal would not be scheduled until mid-November at the earliest, although sources indicate that the due diligence process on the merger is complete.
As reported last month, announcement of the Ince-Dadds merger talks came as a shock to many. Although Ince have been looking for a merger for some time, being linked to Hill Dickson and Watson Farley & Williams, and have taken drastic measures to increase their financial stability, with revenues of just over £30 million, Gordon Dadds stands at just around a third of the size of its proposed merger partner.
The Ince deal would be, by a significant margin, the largest undertaken by an AIM-listed law firm, and with Gordon Dadds’ rapid growth, a reverse takeover expected to be the predicted vehicle for the combination.
Following the resignation of its international senior partner Jan Heuvels in August, the firm this week lost global insurance head Joe O’Keeffe to Stephenson Harwood.
2). Prudential Financial rids itself of ‘too big to fail’ status
As the US government continues to move towards lighter touch financial regulation, it was announced this week that insurer Prudential Financial will no longer appear in a list of companies defined as ‘systemically important’.
This comes as positive news for Prudential, as the financial institution is no longer subject to special supervision by the Federal Reserve nor does it have to meet enhanced capital and liquidity standards.
A select group of regulators termed the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) was formed following the 2008 financial crisis as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. FSOC created a list consisting of all companies that pose systemic risk, which required all those featured to endure stringent capital requirements and aggressive supervision.
Prudential were the last non-bank financial company to be tagged as a ‘too big to fail’ institution, and their removal from this list marks the efforts of the Trump administration in its rollback on Dodd-Frank. Fellow insurers AIG and MetLife were also rescinded as systemic risks, with the intention that loosening the noose of such strict regulatory requirements will allow for better economic growth.
As a result, Prudential could expect to save millions of dollars annually in compliance costs. According to Bloomberg, the company announced costings of $135 million in 2016 on reporting requirements and activities related to the extra oversight from the Federal Reserve.
3). Movers & Shakers
DLA Piper partner joins self-driving car startup as GC
DLA Piper intellectual property and technology partner Claire Bennett has left the firm to join UK self-driving car startup FiveAI as general counsel.
Former Latham partner fills in as Monzo’s interim legal head
Digital bank Monzo has brought in Andrew Macklin, a former Latham & Watkins corporate lawyer in London, as a new senior interim head of legal
BCLP exits mount as private client litigation head departs for City boutique
BCLP head of private client litigation Rupert Ticehurst has left the firm to join City boutique private wealth firm Maurice Turnor Gardner
Wave of partners call time on Goodwin Procter
Corporate duo Mark Soundy and Sarah Priestley are leaving Goodwin Procter after a two year stint at the firm, just days after the US firm lost a tax partner to Greenberg Traurig.
TLT ramps up Scots presence via acquisition of specialist real estate firm
TLT has expanded its commercial real estate offering in Scotland with the acquisition of Glasgow law firm Leslie Wolfson & Co. This will add three partners to the Glasgow office, including senior partner Howard Beach and commercial real estate partners Andrew McCowan and Donna Strong.
White & Case continues City recruitment spree with Kirkland high-yield hire
Kirkland capital markets partner Gilles Teerlinck becomes the US firm’s fourteenth City lateral so far this year
Kirkland hires Linklaters duo to launch in Paris
Kirkland is to make its long-awaited entry into France through the hire of Linklaters corporate partners Vincent Ponsonnaille and Laurent Victor-Michel
Ince insurance head exits ahead of proposed Gordon Dadds merger
Ince & Co global insurance head Joe O’Keeffe has left to join Stephenson Harwood ahead of its proposed merger with listed outfit Gordon Dadds.
Jenner & Block make a second white collar hire from K&L Gates
K&L Gates London-based partner Paul Feldberg follows former colleague Christine Braamskamp to Jenner & Block
Ashurst Asia disputes head leaves for Debevoise & Plimpton
Debevoise & Plimpton has hired Ashurst Asia dispute resolution head Gareth Hughes. He joined Ashurst in 2011 to help launch the firm’s Hong Kong disputes practice from Simmons & Simmons
Ropes & Gray hires former Freshfields US partner
Ropes & Gray has hired former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Matthew Jacobson to expand its M&A group in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Office Openings & Closings
Bakers settles on new US back-office base amid global business services shake-up
A&O has largest law firm flex offering as revenue soars
Ashurst increases NQ pay to £82,000
Innovation and Technology
A&O puts its name to fourth Fuse start-up in new licensing deal