Hedge Funds | Financial Markets and Products | Fieldfisher
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Hedge Funds

Our specialist hedge funds team gives comprehensive advice to hedge funds of all sizes, their managers and investors and to individuals or teams wishing to start their own fund management business.

We provide the full suite of legal services for all stages of a fund and fund manager’s lifecycle. As well as mainstream hedge fund and fund manager issues, our core services include advising on tax and structuring, corporate and partnership matters and employment.

Our core practice areas

We advise in relation to:

  • The establishment, structuring and operation of hedge funds and managed accounts
  • Drafting fund documentation, including offering documents
  • Negotiating investment management, AIFM, distribution, depositary and administration agreements
  • Negotiating side letters and seeding agreements
  • Drafting shareholders and LLP agreements
  • Regulatory platform hosting and appointed representative agreements
  • Legal due diligence for investors

Our derivatives practice advises on and negotiates all the trading documents funds need, across all trading strategies and sizes of fund. We have extensive experience of negotiating counterparty documentation for OTC derivatives, futures, securities financing, clearing and prime brokerage with counterparties across the globe.

We take a robust, yet pragmatic and commercial, approach to negotiations. We also regularly advise on individual transactions (e.g. structuring, lifecycle events and defaults) and the regulatory landscape applicable to trading. We work with a diverse range of investment funds, financial institutions and investment managers.

We review and negotiate all of the elements of the prime and clearing brokerage documentation from fund inception through its entire lifecycle.  Our experience of the alternative investment world allows us to be cognisant of and consider the commercial realities of a fund’s negotiating position at each point of its lifecycle.  We ensure that, at each stage, our advice is appropriate to each client’s needs and cost sensitivities.

The documents we regularly negotiate include:

  • Prime brokerage agreements
  • Clearing agreements
  • Margin and financing term lock-up agreements
  • ISDA Master Agreements
  • Collateral documentation
  • Repo and stock loan documentation (GMRA, GMSLA, MRA etc.)
  • Master confirmations agreements, including portfolio swap arrangements
  • Futures and cleared OTC derivatives agreements

We provide client-specific advice in relation to transactions across the full range of underlyings, including:

  • Interest rate swaps
  • Equity derivatives (e.g. total return swaps, CfDs)
  • Credit default swaps
  • FX derivatives (including share class hedging and passive currency overlay arrangements)
  • Commodity derivatives
  • Structured repo transactions

The depth of experience of our team lead us to advise, at speed, in relation to live trading issues where advice needs to be given quickly and decisively. We have the expertise, and market experience, to provide that service.

Part of our wider Financial Regulatory group, our hedge funds team focuses on asset management regulation and derivatives/markets regulation as they apply to the sector, including:

  • Compliance with FCA rules, SMCR, AIFMD, and MiFID II/MiFIR
  • EMIR, SFTR and regulatory initial margin rules
  • Advice on financial promotion and UK and AIFMD marketing rules
  • Authorisation and regulatory perimeter issues (including CIS/AIF analysis)
Our contentious regulatory team helps clients deal with potential breaches of regulation including finding the reason for the potential breach, advising whether and how to report concerns to the regulator and, if the worst happens, defending businesses or individuals in regulatory or criminal investigations. Our work here typically involves systems and controls issues, regulatory discipline, market abuse and anti-money laundering processes.

Notable deals and highlights

  • Re-launching a Cayman master-feeder hedge fund and restructuring the management group following the principal moving from Switzerland to the UK.
  • Advising in relation to a large project that involved the standard regulatory hosting/AR model where the portfolio managers and several other employees from our client were seconded to the regulatory hosting firm.
  • Advising a client on the Most Favoured Nation clauses in various side letters and management account agreements.
  • Negotiating a marketing agreement for one of our placement agent clients and subsequently drafting a template marketing agreement for it
  • Various prospectus updates, including one for a Cayman master-feeder hedge fund following the recent regulatory updates in the Cayman Islands
  • Launching a new leveraged share class in a Cayman master-feeder hedge fund

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