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United Kingdom > Scotland > Finance > Unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Douglas Armstrong - Dickson Minto WS

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A notable hallmark of CMS’ first-rate practice is its breadth; the ‘highly responsiveKaragh Gilliatt is an expert in retail funds (particularly those with a real estate element), and recently advised various UCITS managers, including Baillie Gifford and T. Bailey Fund Services, on aspects of the implementation of UCITS V. Other key individuals are Colin Lawrie, who specialises in private funds (particularly private equity funds) and Scottish limited partnerships, and Wendy Colquhoun, who is a go-to expert in retail and listed funds. Investment trust specialist Scott Burns and retail funds expert Aidan Campbell are also recommended. In addition to handling the formation and management aspects of funds, the team provides regulatory advice (including on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs)), and also handles a wide range of funds-related corporate transactions. Gilliatt was the lead adviser to Lloyds Banking Group on a complex fund merger involving the client’s Clerical Medical ranges and certain funds in the Scottish Widows Unit Trust Managers range. Other clients include F&C Asset Management, Virgin Money Unit Trust Managers, Prestonfield Investments and Franklin Templeton.

Corporate boutique Dickson Minto WS has a standout reputation acting for listed investment trusts, which sees its team advising on vehicles targeting asset classes such as healthcare, debt, renewable energy and real estate. The team, which is led by Douglas Armstrong and Bruce Minto, also has expertise in OEICs and private funds. The group acts for funds managed by Scottish fund managers, and also increasingly act for funds managed by London-based fund managers. Its impressive client roster includes such names as Fidelity, Schroders, Artemis and F&C. Recent highlights include advising BlackRock Income Strategies Trust Plc on its merger with Aberdeen UK Tracker Trust Plc, and acting for Hg Capital Trust in its £350m investment into the Hg 8 fund. Andrew Todd, Colin MacNeill and Duncan Christison are other names to note.

Brodies LLP’s extensive practice spans fund structuring and formation, ongoing day-to-day management and regulatory advice, capital raising, marketing, fund restructuring, as well as assistance with funds-related tax issues and asset management outsourcing transactions. A particular specialism is the structuring of a wide variety of specialist and alternative fund structures using Scottish limited partnership structures. Another strength lies in the development of tax-efficient private wealth management fund structures. On the investor side, the firm advises clients on investments into funds and other investment management arrangements. Practice head Andrew Akintewe is leading a multidisciplinary team in its advice to LXB Retail Properties and other entities in its group on the formation of various funds, as well as on financing and investments into commercial real estate assets. Another highlight involved assisting Walls & Futures London Growth Fund on its restructuring into Walls & Futures REIT Plc and admission to the ISDX Growth Market. Other clients include Oaktree Capital, TPG Europe, Moorfield Group and FIM Services. Karen Fountain is ‘very knowledgeable, and provides practical, commercial advice’. Consultants Frank Doran and Alistair Campbell, and managing associate Paul McLaughlin are also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP has a particularly outstanding reputation in the use of Scottish limited partnerships in private fund vehicles, such as private equity funds and debt funds, among others. Led by Alan Soppitt, who is ‘wise and finds solutions’, the team provides assistance with every stage of the funds lifecycle. Another strong suit lies in borrower- side debt finance in relation to Scottish limited partnerships. The practice’s high-end client roster includes a number of UK and international private equity houses, and it also generates referrals from a significant number of City law firms. In a recent highlight, Soppitt and ‘calm, helpful and technically very good’ senior associate Andrew Christie advised Ardian Private Equity on the Scottish law aspects of the formation and launch of its $10bn ASF VII fund, which is structured as a series of Scottish limited partnerships. In addition to sponsor-side matters, the group also undertakes work for investors, an area of work led by recently promoted partner Paula Kennedy, who acted for Santander (CF Trustee) Limited as the lead counsel in its $75m cornerstone investment into ECP Africa Fund IV.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s Edinburgh-based team works alongside colleagues in London to undertake advisory and transactional work for a variety of UK-based and overseas clients, such as fund managers, banks and insurance companies, and investment funds. The practice covers a wide variety of fund types, such as retail funds (including authorised funds and enterprise investment scheme funds), listed funds and alternative funds. Group head Guy Norfolk divides his time between Edinburgh and London. Other key individuals in Edinburgh are Claire Armstrong and associate Owen McLennan.

Shepherd and Wedderburn has a strong closed-ended listed funds practice, which acts for clients such as Alliance Trust and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust. The team also has expertise in Scottish limited partnerships, which have been a notable area of growth for the practice recently. Paul Hally leads the practice, which covers every stage of the lifecycle of a fund.

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