Firms To Watch: Investment funds

DLA Piper hired Aongus McCarthy from Pinsent Masons LLP in early 2021, bringing real senior-level credibility to this emerging practice, notably in licensing and regulatory matters, and the establishment of UCITS products.
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Investment funds in Ireland

A&L Goodbody LLP

A&L Goodbody LLP continues to advise a large number of new entrants to the Irish market, including private equity and venture capital service providers, along with private equity and venture capital fund establishments. It has detailed knowledge of UCITS and ICAV structures, and innovative ETF platforms. Brian McDermott leads the asset management and investment funds group and has an extensive record in the structuring and establishment of UCITS, AIFs, ETFs and non-regulated funds. Michael Barr is experienced in the UCITS and QIAIF fund ranges. Kerill O’Shaughnessy and Laura Butler provide additional senior level expertise, along with Stephen Carson in London.

Practice head(s):

Brian McDermott

Other key lawyers:

Michael Barr; Laura Butler; Kerill O’Shaughnessy

Testimonials

‘Hands-on approach. Very responsive.’

‘As a whole, the team is very experienced, knowledgeable and reliable.’

‘Excellent, knowledgeable, helpful, proactive and insightful’

‘Take the time to get to know their clients and understand their business’

‘Strong team, good access to partners. Take feedback well.’

‘Brian McDermott – Brian has extensive knowledge, is considered and clear with his advice and always offers a pragmatic solution to matters.’

Key clients

Aviva Investors

Goodbody Fund Management

Zurich Invest

HANetf

Tilney

Davy Global Fund Management

Kepler Partners

Griffin Global Asset Management

Obviam

Efficient Frontier Investing

WisdomTree

Garraway

WakeUp Capital Management

M&G

Link Fund Managers Solutions

Allied Irish Banks

Key Capital Investment Management

Lemanik Asset Management

Carysfort Capital

Optimus Capital

Gard AS

HSBC Global Asset Management

Marlborough group

DWS

BIT Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Wisdom Tree on all aspects of the conversion of its Irish UCITS public limited company ETF platform to an ICAV structure and on its migration from the CREST settlement system to the ICSD settlement model.
  • Advised BIT Capital on the structuring, establishment and regulatory approval of a complex master feeder hedge fund structure which included a US feeder vehicle.
  • Advised HANetf on the establishment on its Irish white-label ETF platform for the world’s first Shariah compliant actively managed global equity ETF.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox has a highly developed investment funds practice, noted for its recent experience in Brexit-driven and ESG fund launches. The team has advised a series of fund managers on the creation of Irish entities, bringing in its renowned financial services regulatory expertise. It continues to be active in the UCITS and non-UCITS segments, including consolidations in the UCITS field. Kevin Murphy and Tara O’Reilly  head the team, having excellent connections to major asset managers, with expertise across a range of UCITS, QIAIFs, ETFs, money market funds and private equity funds. Sarah Cunniff is noted for UCITS and ICAV matters, while Ian Dillon, Dara Harrington, Cormac Commins and Siobhán McBean are also key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Murphy; Tara O’Reilly

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Cunniff; Dara Harrington; Cormac Commins; Ian Dillon; Siobhán McBean

Testimonials

‘Other legal firms would do well to recognise that, more than ever, clients are looking at problem solvers, ideas, solutions, not simply translation of regulation and legislation. Arthur Cox delivers that.’

‘Experienced and proactive team, client oriented and caring for the client’s interests. Useful updates via e-mail – regular distributions as well as focused emails specifying relevance of the updated and timelines. Interesting and useful online seminars – also very focused on key topics, key updates. Just balances to not overdo with the information but keep good level of awareness.’

‘The Investment funds team at Arthur Cox is, I believe, amongst the most knowledgeable in the sector. Whilst that alone would make them a strong choice amongst their competitors, it is the way they deliver their service that stands out. From first engagement, to wrap up of the project, we received proactive assistance rather than solely formulaic legal advice. Proposals that are innovative, or unusual, are often given short shrift in financial services, due to the highly constrained regulatory environment, yet the team at AC didn’t simply dismiss the ideas, rather they worked hard to deliver the outcomes required.’

‘With particular reference to Sarah Cunniff and Tara O’ Reilly, both are dedicated to service excellence and uniquely client focused.’

‘Dara Harrington is a knowledgeable lawyer, with deep understanding of the European and Irish regulatory frameworks.’

‘We have worked with Cormac Commins for several years and really enjoy the business relations with him and his team. We, first of all, appreciate the proactiveness, focus on our needs and priorities but also, which is not less important, quick turnarounds with responses and being ready to provide support when it is needed at hoc. Professionalism and expertise go without saying – we had several complicated matters to resolve, and Cormac’s input and opinion were of real value and help.’

‘Cormac Commins was our first contact in the firm, remained our key adviser, and was responsible for selling the firm to us. From first contact to last, he understood our challenge, understood our constraints and, importantly, was happy to try and take us on the journey, rather than simply act as an adviser. An outstanding lawyer.’

‘Cormac Commins, and his associates, never ducked the issues. Where ideas were unworkable, they would tell us, and they could tell us because they have extensive knowledge and experience.’

Key clients

Aberdeen Standard

AlbaCore

Alter Domus

Amundi

Alprime

Altrinsic Global Advisors

Appian

Antarctica Asset Management

Arrowstreet

Axiom

Baillie Gifford

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

BlackRock

Blackstone

Blackwall

Blue Whale

BNP Paribas

Cafico

CapVest

CBRE

Channel Capital

CIFC

Citadel

Cohen & Steers

Colchester Global Investors

Core Markets

Credit Value Partners

Davy

Dimensional Fund Advisors

Dodge & Cox

Eaton Vance

EG Capital

Egerton

European Investment Fund

Federated Investors

Fine Grain Property

First Eagle Investment Management

First Trust

Formuesforvaltning AS

Franklin Templeton

Global Thematic Partners

Global X

Goldman Sachs

Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co. LLC

Green Property Management

Gulf International Bank

HSBC

Industrial and Commerce Bank of China Limited (“ICBC”)

Intertrust

Invesco

Janus Henderson

Kingnova

KKR

Lazard

Los Angeles Capital

M&G Investment Management

MacKay Shields

Maitland

Morgan Stanley

Mirae Asset Global Investments

Nuveen / TIAA

Oak Hill Advisors

Oasis Asset Management

OMIGSA

Overstone

Pillarstone

PineBridge

Platinum Asset Management

Poste Vita

Progressive Capital Partners

Rize ETF Limited

RTE Pension Fund

RTW Investments

Schroders

Seilern

Shenkman Capital

Sigrun

Somerset

Spear Street

State Street Global Advisors (SSgA)

Stone Harbor Investment Partners

Tabula ETF

Tilden Park

Trafaltin Park

Vida

Waverton

Wells Capital Management

Western Asset

Work highlights

  • Advised on the establishment of a UCITS umbrella fund for First Eagle, its first proprietary UCITS fund in Europe.
  • Advised Baillie Gifford on the establishment of a number of Article 8 and Article 9 funds under SFDR in advance of the 10 March 2021 deadline for the first set of SFDR disclosures.
  • Advised on Universal’s acquisition of Metzler’s Irish management company business, marking Universal Investment Group’s entry into the Irish market.

Dillon Eustace

Dillon Eustace is an asset management and investment funds giant, with this area being core to the firm’s business. Its team is comprised of over ten partners and advises a wide range of Irish-domiciled funds and a major market share of unique asset managers. The Irish firm has an additional presence in Cayman, New York and Tokyo, providing it with additional access to global clients and a greater ability to advise on cross-border engagements. Consultant Andrew Bates is one of the most high-profile names in the market, while head of department Donnacha O’Connor and partners Brian Kelliher, Brian Higgins and Brian Dillon are recognised top practitioners. Shane Coveney is an emerging talent.

Practice head(s):

Donnacha O’Connor

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Bates; Brian Dillon; Brian Higgins; Brian Kelliher; Etain de Valera; Cillian Bredin; Aisling O’Malley; Derbhil O’Riordan; Shane Coveney; Grace O’Connor

Testimonials

‘Individualised and personal service – talking to one person that takes personal ownership of the problem/ rather than a team.’

‘Taking the time to understand the unique problem, while being sensitive to billables.’

‘While thus far we have had limited engagement with the firm as a whole – we would point out that during a Central Bank of Ireland authorisation process, Dillon Eustace could often foresee and head off potential delays or problems, and push while being respectful. Upon reflection it is our opinion that Dillon Eustace is perhaps that only firm that possesses the competence to thread the needle of what is a hugely opaque process.’

‘Donnacha O’Connor is a maestro conductor guiding the client through an opaque process; possessing the capability to actually push the regulator, while retaining the relationship on both sides of the table. Mr. O’Connor could foresee and read between the lines of what was being asked of the Firm, and came pre-emptively prepared with work product that was helpful to the firm.’

‘The two partners I deal with most are Shane Coveney and Donnacha O’Connor. The response times have been great and Shane in the past year has really helped us with a new venture and getting clients on quickly through the legal contract process.’

‘The key unique quality of the team and especially Shane Coveney is the absolute integrity and reliability. During the six years we work with Shane Coveney there was of course a great development of experience and seniority but the collaborative approach never changed. The support is down to earth and realistic and paired with creativity to find good solutions.’

‘Shane Coveney is my main partner contact. He is always at the end of the phone and when necessary he will react very quickly in times when this is required. We get a very personal service from Shane as a group always feeling as though we are the priority. In addition Shane is very pragmatic and commercial in his approach to providing advice.’

‘Derbhil ORiordan. An extremely competent and professional service. Great communicator.’

‘Having know Cillian for many years, I can attest that Cillian Bredin epitomises the DE brand by having market leading knowledge of the Irish regulatory system for hedge funds, and also has a commercial mindset to implement solutions for his clients.’

Key clients

Golub Capital Partners

Roundhill Investments

Infinity Asset Management

Duff & Phelps

Ronit Partners LLP

Saranac Partners Limited

Green Investment Partners Limited

Alanna Homes

National Bank of Kuwait

Angelo, Gordon, LP

Aon Hewitt No

AXA Investment Managers

ANIMA

BNY Mellon Asset Management

Algebris (UK) Limited

Legal & General Investment Management

Old Mutual

Mediolanum

Odey Asset Management

Payden & Rygel

PIMCO

Swiss Capital Alternative Investments

Societe Generale

Work highlights

  • Advice on transitioning of Van Eck’s Irish ETFs to the ICSD settlement system from CREST, necessitated by Brexit.
  • Advising AXA Investment Managers Paris on the structuring and establishment of an AIF to investment in global private credit managers.
  • Advised on the establishment of KBC’s new Expertease and Sivik (socially responsible) pan-European UCITS fund range.

Maples Group

Maples Group is a global titan in the investment funds arena and through its substantial Dublin presence it has become a recognised leader in the Irish market. The funds and investment management group features 17 partners and some over 50 investment funds specialists. It is at the forefront of key industry trends such as ESG and sustainable finance, and the revised Irish Investment Limited Partnership (ILP) structure. The firm is a leader in private equity and private credit funds, and advised Bain Capital Credit on the authorisation of Bain Capital Special Situations Europe II ILP by the Central Bank of Ireland, the first ILP authorised by the Central Bank under the new Investment ILP Act. Peter Stapleton leads the Dublin team, which includes senior names Stephen Carty and John Gallagher, who are noted for regulatory matters, along with Eimear O’Dwyer and ESG funds expert Ian Conlon.

Practice head(s):

Peter Stapleton

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Carty; Adam Donohue; Ian Conlon; Eimear O’Dwyer; John Gallagher; Deirdre McIlvenna; Philip Keegan; Lorna Smith; Aaron Mulcahy; Ronan Cremin; Niamh O’Shea

Testimonials

‘To me, what sets Maples apart is their strength in depth and their dedication to understanding our business. They are the outstanding market leader in Irish investment funds.’

‘Peter Stapleton is unquestionably a market leader in Irish investment funds. He is widely regarded as the best funds and investment management lawyer in Ireland and is trusted and respected by industry peers, the Central Bank and Irish Government.’

‘John Gallagher has a deep knowledge about the Irish funds and the regulatory environment. John provides us with excellent insights on a consistent basis.’

‘Stephen Carty, the head of Financial Services Regulatory, is very knowledgeable on the technical aspects of MiFID and navigating the PRISM regime. Lorna Smith has recently joined the team and brings a wealth of experience on the insurance and credit servicing side.’

‘Ian Conlon is exceptional, he has incredible knowledge of the ESG and sustainable investment space.’

‘Eimear O’Dwyer is excellent, extremely practical and thoroughly focussed on delivering for our business.’

‘Adam Donoghue is very strong on the private equity side. He led the team on the first ILP launched earlier this year.’

‘The Maples partners are all extremely knowledgeable and experienced investment funds and regulatory lawyers. They are supported by an exceptional group of bright, commercially focussed associates. I would see them as being quite a progressive firm, there is always a good blend of gender diversity amongst their teams and they are the only Irish law firm to have scale overseas with dedicated Irish funds teams based in North America, UK and Asian markets. I am also very impressed with the Maples technology offering, they seem ahead of their peers on that front and increasingly think of a “full service” offering to their funds clients.’

Key clients

Amundi

Russell Investments

Neuberger Berman

HarbourVest Partners

Sagard Holdings

TPG Global

Brilliance Asset Management

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (“KKR”)

Blantyre Capital

8F Aquaculture ICAV

Kontiki Capital Management

Bain Capital Credit

Marshall Wace

Blackstone Group

Man Group

CVC Capital Partners

Starz Real Estate

Domain Capital Group

Marathon Asset Management

Artisan Partners

Deutsche Bank

Insight Investment

Tudor Capital

Nippon Value Investors

BennBridge Capital

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs

Banco Santander International

IPM Informed Portfolio Management AB

Arctic Fund Management

Earnest Partners

AXA Investment Managers Paris

SMT Capital

Invesco

MontLake

Guggenheim Partners

Portolan Capital Management

StepStone Global

Marcho Partners

Qube Research & Technologies

IAM Investments

Waterfall Asset Management

Troy Asset Management

Jupiter

Northern Trust Asset Management

Coronation Fund Managers

Selwood Asset Management LLP

Winton Capital

Sanderson Asset Management LLP

Nomura Investment Solutions plc

Innocap Investment Management Inc.

Sanlam Investment Management Holdings

Sector Asset Management

Avestus Capital Partners

Kepos Capital

Cardinal Capital Group

36 South Capital Advisors

Lansdowne Partners

Invest AD

7IM

Aksia

AKO Capital

Emso Asset Management

Metlife Investment Management

AllianceBernstein LP

Troy Asset Management

Greencoat Capital

BC Partners

Algebris Investments

Shenkman Capital

Eminence Capital

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead counsel for the SFDR implementation project for the Neuberger Berman Group, across both their retail and private equity business.
  • Advised Bain on the first ILP authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland under the new Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Act 2020.
  • Advised Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager, on a significant regulatory conversion to restructure its Irish investment management business as a ‘super-ManCo’.

Matheson LLP

Matheson LLP has developed a substantial team dedicated to the investment funds sector, including UCITS and alternative fund structures. It currently advises in excess of 1,200 Irish domiciled funds, and represents seven of the top ten global promoters of Irish funds. Eight of the top ten US asset managers, and the world's five largest asset managers are also among its client base. Department head Tara Doyle is chair of the Irish Funds' ESG Sustainability Working Group and Barry O’Connor is chair of the Irish Funds' Money Market Funds Working Group. Dualta Counihan, Shay LydonPhilip Lovegrove and Catriona Cole are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Tara Doyle

Other key lawyers:

Dualta Counihan; Shay Lydon; Philip Lovegrove; Michelle Ridge; Liam Collins; Oisin McClenaghan; Barry O’Connor; Catriona Cole; Donal O’Byrne; Eunan Hession

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable about: fund law and practice, fund structuring, regulator requirements, and is an experienced capable team.’

Bespoke client focus to deliver in a timely manner.

‘Client focused, networking, team players, working with multi jurisdictional cross-border clients and transactions seamlessly. A can do attitude.’

‘They know the law and the market inside out and they apply that knowledge practically and simply.’

‘They serve their clients, they don’t try to show you how much they know or scare you into thinking you have a a huge task ahead of you. They get on with it and make your life easier. Donal O’Byrne and Eunan Hession epitomise this.’

Key clients

Rockefeller & Co LLC

Goldman Sachs

BlackRock Asset Management

JP Morgan

Lyxor Asset Management

State Street Global Advisors

Man Group

Barings

Fidelity International

Morgan Stanley

Invesco

White Oak

Axonic

Funding Circle

Neuberger Berman Europe Limited

Hermes Investment Management

First Sentier Investors

ING Solutions Investment Management

AXA Real Estate Investment Management

Work highlights

  • Advised JP Morgan on the establishment of a new exchange traded fund designated as an Article 8 product.
  • Advised State Street Global Advisors on a significant restructuring of its Irish fund range as part of State Street’s efforts to rationalise its legal entity footprint in the EU.
  • Advised ING Solutions Investment Management on the establishment of its first fund in Ireland which included a number of initial sub-funds, the appointment of a Luxembourg-based management company and a UK-based investment manager.

McCann FitzGerald LLP

McCann FitzGerald LLP has achieved considerable growth in private equity, real estate and infrastructure funds. The core investment funds group works closely with colleagues in other departments such as derivatives specialist Judith Lawless. Mark White is an authority in the UCITS field and Iain Ferguson is another leader in the market, notably in the private funds segment. Darragh Murphy provides further experience in regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Mark White

Other key lawyers:

Iain Ferguson; Darragh Murphy; Hugh Beattie; Tony Spratt; Anna Moran; Morgan Dunne; Clare Gillett; Andrew McGovern

Testimonials

‘They are always attentive and will respond immediately to our queries. They will describe the action plan they propose taking but more importantly they will start work on it exactly to our demands and are conscientious and work well with timescales and to given deadlines. We feel that we are given good treatment and appropriate priority. When one team member is away the rest of the team work out appropriate cover to avoid slippage and ensure consistency of service.’

‘Responsive and helpful team, well connected in the industry.’

‘While I have worked mainly with our partner, the other staff we have worked with are very competent, very responsive and helpful.’

‘Mark White, Anna Moran and Andrew McGovern all provide excellent service. They all demonstrate remarkable specific knowledge and understanding of the issues that affect our funds and are able to explain clearly potential solutions.’

‘Mark White makes an effort to be available whenever possible and pulls the resources of the firm together to provide a holistic service.’

‘Iain Ferguson is exceptional to work with. He has deep industry knowledge and experience with the relevant regulator. He has a pragmatic approach that helps us turn problems into real-world solutions.’

‘Darragh Murphy and Clare Gillett are the epitome of professional – collegiate, knowledgeable and very helpful. They are ready to assist when and wherever possible.’

‘The team is excellent but Clare Gillett is a stand out for me with McCanns. She’s personable, knowledgeable and always willing to lend an ear to sound out something for a client before taking it further and incurring cost.’

Key clients

BlueCove Limited

ValueAct Capital

Nordea Asset Management

Metzler Bank

Urbeo Residential

Brookfield Asset Management

Aon Hewitt

Ardstone Capital Homes Limited

UBS Global Asset Management

Irish Life Investment Managers

Hewlett Packard

Insight Investment

Goodbody Stockbrokers

Equity Trustees Fund Services

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Fund Partners

AMP Capital

JO Hambro Capital Management

The Asset Management Exchange

Willis Towers Watson

Findlay Park Partners

UBS Wealth Management – Zurich

Brandes

Pzena Investment Management, LLC

HFR Asset Management

Impax Asset Management

Davy

Ireland (Irish State)

UBS Investment Bank

Fairfax (Hamblin Watsa)

M&G Investment Management

Coupland Cardiff Asset Management

Dragon Capital Management

Investcorp Credit Management

ABC arbitrage Asset Management

Marathon Asset Management

Alvarium Investments

PEAL Capital Partners

FFF Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising AMX, a fund platform established by Willis Towers Watson in 2017, on the launch of multiple funds, including common contractual funds and ICAVs, constituted as UCITS and AIFs.
  • Advised UBS on its fund offerings including UBS Wealth Management on its global private equity offering (STRIPE programme), UBS investment bank (with its complex structured UCITS offerings) and UBS Global AM (with various aspects of its Irish business).
  • Advised Alvarium on bringing its new ICAV platform to the market in late 2020 (and subsequent launches in 2021).

William Fry

William Fry has a fine reputation in the market with an impressive client base of the largest global asset managers and the top promoters of Irish domiciled funds, and an extensive record in ETFs and UCITS, along with growth in private equity and ESG/sustainability-linked funds. Dan Morrissey leads the team, which includes ETFs and UCITS specialists James Phelan and Sergey Dolomanov. Vincent Coyne is a key name on the alternative funds front, and Patricia Taylor  and John Aherne lead the funds regulatory side of the practice, and London-based Lorena Dunne plays a key role in ESG and sustainability-related funds.

Practice head(s):

Dan Morrissey

Other key lawyers:

James Phelan; Sergey Dolomanov; Vincent Coyne; Patricia Taylor; John Aherne; Lorena Dunne

Testimonials

‘The team are very responsive and seek to find solutions quickly to any queries or issues that arise. The depth of knowledge is very evident, particularly on new directives. Every effort is made to ensure we are ahead of new regulatory requirements.’

‘Lorena Dunne (London) is always very approachable and happy to give her time, even on occasions of short notice. The quality of her work is impeccable and you can be confident in the guidance she provides.’

Key clients

Architas Multi-Managers

AXA Rosenberg

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Barclays Bank Plc

City of London

Davy Funds plc

Equity Trustees Fund Services (Ireland) Limited

Iguana Investments Limited

Lazard Asset Management

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)

Natixis I.M.

TowerBrook Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised a  range of leading global and domestic fund providers on compliance with initial, future and ongoing requirements impacting fund managers and funds imposed by the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan, including in particular the obligations outlined by the Sustainable Finance Disclosures Regulation (SFDR).
  • Acted for TowerBrook on the Central Bank application for simultaneous authorisation of four private equity fund ranges.
  • Advised a large global asset manager on the addition of a range of important new sub-funds to its UCITS platforms, including an investment grade addition to its suite of sub-funds investing in the market in convertible securities; a new sub-fund investing globally in small-cap companies as the valuations of those improve in the wake of the Covid-19 market disruption; and a number of new sub-funds to add to its suite of thematic funds.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP has continued to grow its team, especially in the associate ranks, seeking to cement its standing as one of the leading international firms in the Dublin investment funds space. The team benefits from the international firm’s presence in multiple key fund centres around Europe, the US, Middle East and Asia. The group covers all alternative and mainstream asset classes, including hedge funds, private equity funds, exchange traded securities and UCITS. It has extensive experience in structuring, establishment and ongoing compliance matters. Carol Widger leads the team and represents some of the biggest fund managers in the market. Ciara O’Leary is at the forefront of ETFs, UCITS and the use of derivatives in the UCITS segment. Declan O’Sullivan and Jeff Mackey are also key names, along with newly elected partner Mark Dillon. Former partner Mark Browne  has joined Clerkin Lynch LLP.

Practice head(s):

Carol Widger

Other key lawyers:

Declan O’Sullivan; Jeff Mackey; Ciara O’Leary; Mark Dillon; Emmet Quish

Testimonials

‘Mark Dillon always a quick response (‘day and night’) with right quality and detail; also pro-active, very accountable and caring.’

Key clients

Granahan Funds Plc

UBS

Work highlights

  • Advised on a range of fund platforms (both UCITS and alternative investment funds) covering a multitude of asset classes, including fund of funds, money market funds, index tracking funds, ETFs, liquid alternatives, private equity funds emerging market and ESG investments.
  • Advised one of the top ten largest international asset managers in the world in respect of its extensive Irish-domiciled fund range.
  • Acted as Irish counsel for the authorisation of an alternative investment fund manager (AIFM), and the launch of a number of Luxembourg-domiciled alternative investment funds (Lux AIFs) managed by the AIFM.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP has a sizeable market share of UCITS and alternative fund launch engagements. It has achieved further growth in ESG and sustainability-linked funds. On the alternative fund side, the firm's historical commitment to the real estate sector has brought it a swathe of fund instructions in this area. The financial services team's work is complemented by a solid tax department. Conor Durkin is a senior name with an extensive client list of fund managers and investment managers. Sara O’Reilly has made a further impression since joining the team from Sanlam Asset Management (Ireland) in November 2020, and Rowena Fitzgerald provides further expertise in regulatory and licensing matters.

Practice head(s):

Conor Durkin

Other key lawyers:

Rowena Fitzgerald; Sarah Cloonan; Sara O’Reilly; Caoimhe Dunne

Testimonials

‘Key strength is the ability of MHC’s investment funds practice to advise on the most complex types of investment fund structuring. The formation of alternative funds such as real estate, infrastructure or private equity funds requires deep expertise in different areas of legal practice and MHC’s scale means they are able to integrate expertise from different areas of legal practice such as tax, bank financing, corporate and real estate in order to deliver an end-to-end service for clients. MHC’s investment funds practice is also comprised of individuals that have many years of transactional experience as well experience of working in house and on regulatory bodies.’

‘They are open to share information which will benefit companies and the general investment industry sector within Ireland. Participation on webinars was very beneficial over the covid-19 pandemic restrictions.’

‘Individuals I’ve engaged with are knowledgeable, generous with their experiences and foster engaging relationships which allow for a pooled sharing of knowledge for the greater good.’

‘The team are very efficient, knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘We have worked mainly with Conor Durkin who leads MHC’s investment funds practice and has deep expertise in the formation and structuring of investment funds. What stands out in our experience in dealing with Conor is the hands on attention he gives to clients and the experience he has gained from many years in practice.’

‘We have also worked with Rowena Fitzgerald whose experience in working across regulated entities provides a broader perspective and insight to clients.’

‘Conor Durkin – very responsive and willing to provide guidance, regulatory updates and assistance where required.’

‘Rowena Fitzgerald – always at the end of the phone should any questions arise or advice be required.’

Key clients

Fineco Asset Management DAC

Fineco Asset Management DAC and FAM Series UCITS ICAV

JTC Group

MM Capital Limited

Vermeer UCITS ICAV

Appian Asset Management Limited

Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG

Camac Growth Fund ICAV

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons continues to make headway in Ireland, bringing its outstanding global credentials to the market; it has a presence in many of the major financial centres around the world, including key European cities, London, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Frankfurt. The Dublin team represents many of the world’s leading asset managers. It has a particularly strong record in advising non-domiciled funds. Fionán Breathnach is a big name in the market, with Elaine Keane and Niamh Ryan providing further senior level experience with UCITS and AIFs. The highly-rated James McKnight was promoted to partner in May 2021.

Practice head(s):

Fionán Breathnach

Other key lawyers:

Niamh Ryan; Elaine Keane; James McKnight

Testimonials

‘Enjoyable people to work with on transactions. Very professional, and offer genuine, useable advice. The work is thorough, timely and not over-priced. We are very happy clients of Simmons & Simmons Dublin.’

Responsive, proactive, timely and concise advice.

Really strong team with diverse capabilities but very happy with what they delivered for me in the funds practise. Good relationships with the regulator and also with service providers and industry.

Relevant, actionable and timely information. Clear costings from the onset. Work is delivered on time and any issues are addressed immediately.

‘Niamh Ryan and the team in Dublin are simply 5-star excellent. We hugely appreciate the guidance and assistance received from the team in helping us make necessary business decisions. This is a rare attribute amongst lawyers in general, many of whom simply tell us the law with little assistance on navigating through the thicket of boundless regulation. The Dublin team delivers prompt and clear responses to questions, and are a real pleasure to work with.’

We really benefitted from the international approach at Simmons which is non-existent otherwise the Irish legal market, showcased not only by their international network and leading position worldwide in the funds industry but also James McKnight’s substantial offshore expertise.

‘James McKnight has been excellent – highly responsive and competent in all matters. Worked very hard and had innovative solutions to issues. Very happy that he made partner as it was well deserved.’

‘James McKnight – What stands out most about James is his responsiveness and given the amount of legal firms I have dealt with over 30 years, I feel I am in a good position to judge. The fact that James has experience of multiple jurisdictions is also a help when trying to explain to my own clients the nuances as to why we decided on one jurisdiction / structure over another.’

Key clients

Value Partners

Heptagon Fund plc

Arisaig Partners

Credit Suisse

Aravis Capital

WHEB Asset Management LLP

Deuterium UCITS ICAV//Deuterium Capital Management

CSC Global Financial Markets

Kandeo Fund Management

Initiative Ireland

Marshall Wace

Epoch Alpha Partners

FCS Global Fund Services ICAV

Work highlights

  • Advised Credit Suisse on an Irish QIAIF platform, including the establishment of a new sub-fund on the QIAIF platform.
  • Advised WHEB Asset Management LLP, a UK based asset manager, on the successful authorisation of a UCITS ICAV, classified as an Article 9 fund.
  • Advised CSC GFM on its successful application for authorisation by the Central Bank of Ireland as a real-asset depositary.

Walkers

Walkers has made significant progress under the leadership of the highly-respected Nicholas Blake-Knox . The team now advises a range of the world’s largest asset managers, top US hedge fund managers and a number of prominent private equity and debt fund managers. The Dublin group has an extensive record in cross-border matters, M&A in the asset management space, the ongoing operation of UCITS platforms and the launch of sub-funds. The firm is also at the forefront of the private debt market. Sarah Maguire, Jennifer Fox and Eimear Keane are also experienced partners in the asset management and investment funds field, along with of counsel Damian Barnaville.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Blake-Knox

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Maguire; Jennifer Fox; Eimear Keane; Damian Barnaville; Matt Hedigan; Joe Mitchell

Testimonials

‘Very good team with a focus on client needs, timelines and costs.’

‘Have a very friendly, pragmatic and intelligent set of individuals who take care and are responsive. They are approachable on all matters regarding fees and pressure points impacting these on certain projects. They are a very progressive and refreshing firm to deal with on all accounts.’

‘Walkers have a global presence and are deep domain specialists in the funds space, which makes them great people to work with. They definitely have an abundance of bench strength and capacity versus other legal firms, and are looking to grow further. They also have a strong relationship with the Central Bank of Ireland which is hugely important for all fund and other regulatory applications. They have a proactive approach, and will also help to connect the dots with their global reach which is also most helpful to my business, where I have clients and colleagues located around the world.’

‘Highly responsive and knowledgeable. Stand out partner Nicholas Blake-Knox.’

‘Nicholas Blake-Knox is very reactive and makes himself easily available.’

‘Nicholas Blake-Knox – partner who is super intelligent and approachable.’

‘Nicholas Blake-Knox is my primary point of contact at Walkers, and is one of the best fund lawyers around, if not the best fund lawyers in Ireland. His, and his team’s knowledge has been a key support for my firm, and has been hugely helpful in my business growth. They are cost competitive, straight forward to work with, commercially minded, innovative and highly proactive. All in all a highly professional legal partner to work with. Additional mention must also go to Jennifer Fox, Matt Hedigan, Eimear Keane, and Damien Barnaville, who all help to make Nicholas and his team the go-to legal partners for me.’

‘Joe Mitchell – One to watch for the future in our view. Great talent.’

Key clients

PIMCO Global Advisors Ireland

Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Edmond de Rothschild

W&W Asset Management

DCI LLC

Albemarle Asset Management Limited

Ardevora Asset Management LLP (Treligga plc)

Connacht Asset Management

Acer Tree Investment Management

IBM Retirement Funds

Ardan UCITS ICAV

Skyline Umbrella Fund ICAV

Ecamos

Gao Teng Global Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading US credit manager with assets under management of circa $20bn on the structuring and establishment of a distressed debt fund structure which achieved a capital raise of $3.5bn.
  • Advised DCI LLC on its acquisition by Blackstone and various matters related to its Irish funds and fund management structure.
  • Advised a global asset manager on the establishment of a credit opportunities fund structure, including a Loan Origination QIAIF, which also involved the establishment of US and Cayman feeder funds alongside the Irish master funds.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland has a well-rounded practice with particularly strong credentials in domestic and international regulations, including assisting clients with the implementation of MiFID II and other key regulations. The Dublin team is also working closely with colleagues in other jurisdictions in relation to fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency-related fund matters.  In addition, the group has worked on a series of sustainable finance and ESG engagements. Department head Deborah Hutton has extensive domestic and international experience.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Hutton

Other key lawyers:

Piaras Power; Peter Fahy

Testimonials

‘Eversheds Sutherlands, Ireland provides advisory legal expertise and advice to our mutual clients.’

‘Core competency of the lead partner and proactiveness of the team.’

‘Direct, clear advice.’

‘Deborah Hutton, has a true passion for her job. Her knowledge of funds law, hand in hand with her compassionate and commitment to representing and helping our mutual clients, is what makes her excellent. She communicates easily and is easily understandable and listens to a clients needs. Not only this but her openness and innovative nature keeps her ahead of the changing market trends.’

Key clients

IQ-EQ / G10 Capital

Apex / European Depositary Bank

Barometer Capital Management Inc

Oasis Crescent

Standard Charter

NTMA

SphereInvest

Goodbody Stockbrokers

CSC Depositary and Administration

Aon Hewitt Limited

ScalingFunds

Schroders

Gresham House

Work highlights

  • Advised Oasis on a number of regulatory and practical issues and  provided advice in respect of Brexit analysis, Investor Money Regulations (IMR), Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) authorisation process/requirements, UCITS regulations, project placement, capital requirements and remuneration polices.
  • Advised AON on establishing a large CCF under AIFMD with numerous sub funds to be marketed in Europe, the US and Canada, handling all Irish regulatory aspects of this including providing specialist regulatory advice.
  • Advised Apex Group and European Depositary Bank and Deutsche Bank on transactional matters regarding funds that Apex are providing services to and prepared and advised on various negotiations in respect of UCITS and AIFs and various fund products such as loan funds, property funds, ESG, private equity, bond funds and cryptocurrency funds.

LK Shields Solicitors LLP

LK Shields Solicitors LLP has a particular niche in the life settlements segments, and is building a greater presence in Brexit-related structures and regulatory compliance. In alternative asset classes, the firm has built a solid record in bespoke structures for mid-level asset managers. David Williams is a senior figure in the market, particularly in relation to the life settlements space. Trevor Dolan and David Naughton provide further senior level expertise.

Other key lawyers:

David Williams; Trevor Dolan; David Naughton

Testimonials

‘The people at LK Shields are very proactive and responsive, more importantly they make themselves accessible and provide a pragmatic and reasoned approach on matters.’

‘David Williams – has a great understanding of our business which is unique, he thinks outside the box when it comes to coming up with solutions for us.’

Key clients

G Squared Equity Management LLP

Suir Valley Funds ICAV

SS&C Technologies Inc

TCA Fund Management Group /TCA Special Situations Credit Strategies ICAV

Foley TrasimeneAcquisitionCorp. II

ECI Partners

Epic Private Equity LLP

Goodbody Fund Management Limited

Holborn

Smedvig Asset Allocation AS

Work highlights

  • Advised G Squared Equity Management LLP on the establishment of an ICAV for use as a vehicle to house side car investments offered to investors in the client’s Luxembourg Venture Capital Fund and for the purpose of doing stand-alone VC investments where each investment would be held in a separate segregated sub-fund of the ICAV.
  • Advised on the submission of an application for regulatory approval by the Central Bank of Ireland of the proposed acquisition by client SS&C Technologies, Inc. of 100% of the shares in Mainstream Group Holdings Limited, which is the 100% parent undertaking of Mainstream Fund Services (Ireland) Limited.
  • Advised Smedvig Asset Allocation AS on its QIAIF platform, managing a transaction which involved transferring the AIFM responsibilities to an external AIFM, and included significant regulatory considerations.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has made an impression in the specialised depository space and in relation to ESG funds. The Dublin team is noted for Irish licensing and regulatory matters, and Brexit-related issues. The group works closely with colleagues in the UK and in other international offices. Dublin office head Gayle Bowen has impressed in advising clients on Irish licensing options following Brexit, along with cross-border mergers and the establishment of ESG funds.

Practice head(s):

Gayle Bowen

Other key lawyers:

Áine Ni Riain; Ruth Hennessy

Testimonials

‘Professional, high level of expertise, dedicated, responsive.’

‘The practice provides a hands-on approach towards its clients. The advice received is less of an academic nature and focuses on practical implications on our business. Generally the practice has a high partner involvement and presence.’

‘Very transparent on billing practices. If they offer a fixed fee arrangement they will stick to it. Strong associates on the team.’

‘Pinsents Masons are focused on solutions for their clients.’

‘Gayle Bowen – Gayle is the industry leading Irish fund law lawyer for a reason. She is professional, knows Irish fund law inside and out, is extremely helpful and patient when answering questions, and goes the extra mile to address any requests we have in as timely a manner as possible. I would recommend Gayle to anyone in need of legal advice relating to Irish structures or fund law.’

‘Senior associate Áine Ni Riain is able to cope with an impressive work load and tight deadlines while keeping the quality of work on a constant high level both in advising in business related matters as well as in the formation of new investment funds.’

‘Ruth Hennessy in particular is excellent. She is very responsive, commercial and easy to deal with.’

‘They helped us tremendously as we transitioned from being a SMIC to a ManCo setup.’ 

Key clients

Julius Baer

Sanne Group

Global Impact Initiative fund

Osmosis Investment Management Limited & Prescient Fund Services (Ireland) Limited

World Carbon Cap Management LLP

ADCorp Limited

Dynamic Credit (Dutch based asset manager, with Irish ICAV)

Quanta Capital

Mercer

Insight Investment Management

Dalmore

Legal & General Investment Management Limited (“LGIM”) LGIM Managers (Europe) Limited

Elavon Financial Services DAC t/a US Bank Depositary Services

GAM Fund Management

Alpha Innovations

Carne

CQS (UK) LLP

Harrington Cooper LLP

Tabula Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advised Julius Baer Group on the establishment of its first Irish QIAIF platform ICAV in May 2020 with one initial closed-ended private equity fund.
  • Advised Sanne Group on the establishment and authorisation of Sanne Depositary Services Ireland Limited as a real asset depositary pursuant to Regulation 22(3) of the AIFM Regulations.
  • Advised the Global Impact Initiative on the establishment of its first Irish UCITS fund.