Simmons & Simmons’ hedge fund practice has been advising hedge fund sponsors and managers since the early 1990s when the alternatives industry started to flourish across Europe.
It has the largest hedge fund team in London of any law firm, comprising a core team of 14 partners and 40 other legal staff. In addition, specialised lawyers outside the core team in London, including in the main economies across Europe, are available to advise on an array of issues pertinent to hedge funds.
Simmons & Simmons combines in-depth experience with expertise in specialist areas that enables the firm to advise on a full range of areas including fund structuring, regulatory issues, derivatives and prime brokerage documentation, ownership structures, employment, taxation and intellectual property rights.
The firm’s reputation is underscored by the fact that as of the end of 2010 the firm was advising 32 of the top 50 hedge funds in Europe. It also provides advice to six of the top 10 US funds with assets under management exceeding USD5bn.
According to partner Richard Perry (pictured), last year saw an improvement in new launch activity. “While the larger managers seemed to continue to dominate new allocations from investors, there were a number of big launches gathering substantial assets under management in the European market, which kept us busy,” he says. “There has also been a huge amount for us to get involved in on behalf of the industry on the regulatory front.”
Many of Simmons & Simmons’ hedge fund clients are based in the UK and US, but they also include fund managers in France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, as well clients in Asia, serviced through the firm’s Hong Kong office. Key clients include Brevan Howard, BlueCrest, Marshall Wace and Lansdowne Partners.
The firm has recently developed Navigator, an online subscribable regulatory service, in response to client demand for guidance on regulations globally on the marketing of funds and also on share disclosure and short selling. The service currently covers more than 80 countries around the world and is proving popular with clients.
Commenting on the fund marketing service in the context of the recent growth of Newcits funds, Perry says there seems to be increasing interest in the rules relating to marketing alternative Ucits internationally.
“We estimate that 70 per cent of our Navigator subscriber base now manage one or more alternative Ucits strategy funds,” he says. “Although the service covers all types of fund structure, there seems to have been an increased level of interest recently from clients wanting to promote Ucits funds.”
On winning the award, Perry adds: “This award reaffirms our position as the leading firm in European hedge funds and is a reflection of our desire to place client relationships and service at the heart of our business.”