Fund managers have faced a torrent of regulation at a time when it is challenge enough to deal with difficult trading conditions and subdued investor demand. With our market leading reputation in all manner of fund types, we have the skills to guide clients through the regulatory maze.
In the retail funds world the period of rapid product innovation following UCITS III has been followed by more sober approach, based as much on lowering costs as on product launches but there are questions now being asked as to what funds are suitable for the retail market place. Should for example this be reconsidered from first principles as now contemplated by the European Commission's proposal for long term investment funds, LTIFs?
Generally the distinction between retail funds and non-retail funds is blurring. The introduction of the AIFMD has evened the regulatory playing field between UCITS and non-UCITS funds. Indeed AIFMD includes non UCITS retail schemes within its ambit, as well as the hedge funds and private equity funds on which it was designed to focus its efforts. And the level of regulation on these playing fields is being substantially upgraded.
We have taken a leading role in the steps leading up to the implementation of the AIFMD, with Kirstene Baillie being a member of the FCA's Legal Experts Group on AIFMD and Nicholas Thompsell speaking extensively on remuneration issues.
Our understanding across the board of all manner of fund structures – corporate, unit trust, limited partnership, investment trust and contractual schemes – and whether open or closed ended or somewhere in between is second to none. We understand the dynamics of all types of funds, being specialist fund lawyers rather than having asset sector focus. We are involved in funds which have a wide variety of underlying asset types including not only listed securities and bonds but also other asset classes such as private equity, property and media projects.
Our clients include some of the best-known names in the fund management arena, and we enjoy working on new start ups.
Our practice is highly ranked both within the UK and international legal directories and within the industry at large. We are ranked for retail funds, hedge funds, listed funds and private funds.
Legal 500 UK 2014 describes our Investment Funds practice as 'excellent'.
"Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has an excellent retail funds practice and broad expertise in private funds. Practice head Kirstene Baillie has 'good technical knowledge yet gives commercial advice'. Hedge fund expert Duncan Black is also recommended."
Legal 500 2013, Investment Funds
"This firm is well respected for its bespoke open-ended funds practice and its ability to provide clients with tax and derivatives advice. In addition to its authorised funds practice, the team also advises clients and offshore vehicles, UCITS, distribution models, regulatory requirements and closed-ended funds work."
Chambers 2013, Investment funds
Our practitioners publish papers on investment funds regularly. Kirstene Baillie writes the annual keynote chapter in the International Comparative Legal Guide to Alternative Investment Funds.
Notable deals / highlights
We established the Société Générale Asset Management range of unit trusts which then converted into a range of UK ICVCs then acquired by GLG and continue to act for GLG now that it has been acquired by Man. We have therefore advised over time on the mutation of a traditional long only fund range to a range which has a more adventurous use of derivatives in accordance with UCITS III. This involves team work from our investment funds, financial services, tax and derivatives experts.
Working with Federated in relation to its UK range of money including advising on matching the approach taken for their US and Dublin based fund ranges in the UK so far as is practicable, and ways of accommodating new regulatory initiatives for money market funds both in the EU and internationally.
We enjoy advising on bespoke offshore product structures which best suit particular purposes, having regard to the often competing fund regulation, financial services regulation and tax drivers. Recent bespoke offshore fund structuring projects have included designing Channel Islands based private placement and expert funds offering investors exposure to high profile media projects, in some instances dealing with wide distribution demands, including US private placement requirements.
Advising on international product rationalisations, including for a UK household name asset manager merging a Luxembourg Part 2 property fund into a UK ICVC product; and, for a Swiss owned group, rationalising both a UK authorised fund and a Cayman hedge fund into its Luxembourg SICAV UCITS umbrella structure.
Advising a well known intermediary firm in establishing a joint venture ACD with a mainstream UK fund management house, with its new fund range, and accommodating FCA conflict of interest, TCF and distributor influenced fund issues.