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. FCA and Asset Managers come under diversity scrutiny
Diversity and inclusion again hit the press this week, with the Financial Conduct Authority revealing that the proportion of women and people from ethnic minorities in senior leadership positions actually fell in the first year since the firm set targets to improve diversity.
The number of women in senior leadership positions dropped from 39 per cent to 36 per cent in the year to March 2017, while the proportion of people identifying themselves as black, Asian or other ethnic minorities (BAME) fell from 3 per cent to 2 per cent.
Last year the FCA set targets to increase the diversity amongst its senior leadership positions, aiming to increase the proportion of women to 45 per cent by 2020, and 50 per cent by 2025, and those from an ethnic minority to 8 per cent by 2020 and 13 per cent by 2025.
This is to be achieved by making diversity and inclusion a strategic imperative amongst senior management, the launch of internal mentoring schemes and the use of balanced shortlists when recruiting.
The organisation also revealed a gender pay gap of 20 percent, citing this due to there being less women in more technical and managerial roles, rather than discrepancies in pay between roles that are similar.
The asset management industry also came under fire this week for failing to address the pay gap between the sexes, this week measured at 27 per cent by benchmarking site Emolument.
With men earning a median £93,000 compared with £68,000 for women, based on data from 10,000 fund company employees, this compares with an 18 per cent gap nationally, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This does not bode well for asset managers, who need to publish their data on the gender pay gap by next April, and is indicative of wider problems hiring and retaining women across the sector.
This comes after the BBC revealed that the majority of companies required to report their gender pay data have yet to do so, with only 85 out of 9,000 companies reporting six months in to the policy.
2. Slaughters advances its fintech initiative
With six more startups joining ‘Fintech Fast Forward’, Slaughter and May has expanded its programme to dish out more legal advice and support some of the most promising fintech businesses emerging from the industry.
A panel of industry experts, including Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch, and led by financial services partner Ben Kingsley, selected the following businesses to receive £30,000 worth of free legal services: insurance data analytics business Digital Fineprint, insurance technology company Flock, machine-learning company Multiply, data engineering service TAB, financial services innovator TrueLayer and private company valuation business Valsys.
Other law firms have been employing similar methods to keep their finger on the pulse with new technologies. Simmons & Simmons set up a free legal advice service for select startups, whilst Allen & Overy’s Fuse initiative was launched to serve the budding regtech and legaltech products, and Mischon de Reya’s incubator MDR LAB was opened to early stage and growth technology start-ups in the legal space.
Incubators and start-up initiatives have proliferated over the last year in the legal sector. They provide law firms with the opportunity to build out their expertise in technology startups, which allows them to better advise clients in a rapidly growing industry. It can also be viewed as a long-term business strategy, out of which firms may generate valuable future clients in some of the startups they support.
Slaughters partner Ben Kingsley said: “With an uncertain economic environment and challenging headwinds facing many young and growing tech businesses in the UK, we hope the programme will help our new cohort navigate many of the challenges they face, grow their businesses and fulfil their undoubted potential.”
With technology and innovation sitting on top of most company’s strategic agendas, and fintech at the forefront of UK financial services, initiatives such as these will be an invaluable tool to help further advance the technology movement into the next phase of innovation adoption.
Movers & Shakers
Tony West has joined Uber from PepsiCo, where he served as executive vice president for public policy and government affairs, general counsel and company secretary. West replaces Salle Yoo, who retires her position at the firm after five years.
Restructuring partner David Manson joins Paul Hastings in London from White & Case
Chris Anderson has joined Brighton Hove & Albion FC. Where he previsouly served as head of legal services for Everton FC, Anderson’s new role expands to head of legal and commercial, and will be joining the club’s operating and executive committees
Former head of litigation for August Debouzy Kami Haeri is set to join Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Paris, bringing with him counsels Benoit Javaux and Valérie Munozpons, and associates Helen Adler and Noémie Coutrot-Cieslinski
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has hired senior Linklaters competition partner Wolfgang Deselaers to its competition ranks, splitting his time between Cologne and Brussels.
DLA Piper international senior partner and global co-chair Juan Picon is exiting the firm to join Latham & Watkins’ corporate practice in Madrid
Mayer Brown’s London head of tax Sandy Bhogal and global corporate and securities co-head Jeremy Kenley are both leaving the firm to join Gibson Dunn
Office Openings & Closings
Mergers & Alliances