Private funds in London
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Large, high-value private equity fund formation work remains the cornerstone of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's leading private funds practice. Besides assisting elite private equity sponsors on both their flagship mega funds and additional fund vehicles and strategies, the firm boasts a number of specialist mid-market firms on its client list. Innovative areas of service include representing General Partners (GPs) in minority stake acquisitions, working on hybrid structures involving parallel Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and bespoke tax structuring capabilities. Head of department Jason Glover garners praise from peers and clients alike for his dominance of the London funds world and his depth of knowledge. Glover and recently made-up partner Robert Lee led on the €10.75bn fundraising of EQT Partner's eighth flagship buyout fund, EQT VIII. Also strongly recommend are Gareth Earl and Seema Shah, who recently worked on the €4.2bn Astorg VII closing and the BC European Capital X €7bn fundraising respectively. Senior associate Amy Fox is one to watch.
CVC Capital Partners
Mid Europa Partners
- Acted as fundraising counsel to EQT Partners in connection with the establishment of EQT VIII, EQT’s eighth flagship buyout fund.
- Acted as fundraising counsel to Astorg in relation to its seventh flagship buyout fund, Astorg VII, which was significantly over-subscribed.
- Acted as fundraising counsel to Bridgepoint in relation to its sixth flagship buyout fund, Bridgepoint Europe VI.
- Acted as fundraising counsel to Actis in relation to its first Asian focused real estate fund, Actis Asia Real Estate, formed to acquire a portfolio of assets from Standard Chartered Bank, as well as to make blind-pool investments.
Considered 'experts in their field' by many clients, Clifford Chance LLP's private funds practice is instructed on mandates covering an impressive breadth of asset classes including private equity, real estate, infrastructure, debt, credit and emerging markets and has a growing client base. Integrated tax and regulatory capabilities are a key strength of the group, which also boasts the expert support of offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg. One success saw real estate debt fund specialist Gerard Saviola and others assisting Apis Partners with the fundraising of its emerging markets fund, Apis Growth Fund II. Work involved representing the client in negotiations with a highly varied investor base, which included development finance institutions, sovereign wealth investors and funds of funds. Also of note is Alexandra Davidson, who acted as lead partner to Epiris in the successful closing of the £821m Epiris Fund II. Nigel Hatfield is practice head.
”Clifford Chance’s investment fund formation team are knowledgeable and approachable, minus the egos of some of their peers‘.
‘Exceptional technical knowledge and very approachable; their advice is always clear and to the point‘.
‘Fast, efficient and knowledgeable with deep international experience‘.
DWS Private Equity
Allianz Global Investors
Generation Investment Management
Stirling Square Capital Partners
Aberdeen Standard Investment
Arcus Infrastructure Partners
SMBC Aviation Capital
- Advising Generation Investment Management on Generation’s Sustainable Solutions Fund III.
- Advised Equistone on the formation, structuring and marketing of its latest fund -Equistone Partners Europe Fund VI – as well as on associated carried interest, co‐investment and co‐invest loan arrangements.
- Advising Stirling Square Capital Partners on its Fourth Fund. The fund is targeting a wide range of investors from Europe, Asia and North America.
- Advised Epiris on the successful closing of its £821m UK-focused private equity fund Epiris Fund II.
- Advising Apis Partners LLP on the formation of Apis Growth Fund II, a $400m growth fundraising targeting Fintech and other financial services opportunities in Africa and Asia.
Richard Watkins is head of the 'outstanding' investment funds team at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, which comprises a credit fund practice, led by Anand Damodaran and James Board, and a real assets practice headed up by Jonathan Tadd. Large fundraisings are core area of work for both teams, with Tadd recently advising Ares on the formation of the $6.5bn Ares Credit Europe IV Fund. Tadd also advised BGH Capital on the formation of the A$2.6bn BGH Capital Fund I. The group also includes a liquidity solutions division, which handles a large number of GP-led restructuring mandates, including the recent fund restructuring of EOS Partners, led by Theodore Cardos. Amala Ejikeme is also recommended, while secondaries expert Andy Shore joined from Proskauer Rose LLP in February 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides excellent technical advice with a commercial overlay, which is grounded in its deep market knowledge‘.
‘The team boasts long-term experience of the market and is always available, proactive and commercially-driven. Having worked with us for a long time, the team knows what is important to us and what is not, and tailors its advice accordingly‘.
CVC Credit Partners
IK Investment Partners
Montagu Private Equity
- Advised Ares on the Formation of Ares Credit Europe IV Fund.
- Advised BGH Capital on the Formation of BGH Capital Fund I.
- Advised EOS Partners on its fund restructuring.
- Advised Highland Europe on the formation of Highland Europe Technology Growth Fund III.
- Advised IK Investment Partners on the formation of IK Small Cap Fund II.
Strong expertise in the secondaries market is the hallmark of the private funds practice at Proskauer Rose LLP, which is led by 'trusted adviser' Nigel Van Zyl. In addition to assisting clients with fund restructurings and acquiring and selling portfolios, the firm's fund formation instructions constitute approximately 65% of its private funds offering. While some of these are from large, well-established managers, the team is becoming a particular favourite of first-time fund manager clients (especially those that have spun out from prior firms). Although GP-side work forms most of the practice, the firm advises over 100 Limited Partners (LPs) globally, ensuring a breadth of market knowledge. Kate Simpson is a name to note, having led on a structured transaction for Investcorp involving the sale and transfer of $185m worth of assets to a new fund. Also recommended for his specialist secondaries expertise is Bruno Bertrand-Delfau. Although Andrew Shore departed for Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in February 2019, Proskauer Rose LLP moved to rebuild with the hire of Leith Moghli from Reed Smith LLP in August of the same year. Brendan Gallen joined as special counsel from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in the same month.
Nigel Van Zyl
‘Strong team who always go the extra mile to deliver top quality service‘.
‘Nigel Van Zyl has the adeptness to successfully navigate even the most challenging negotiations‘.
‘Kate Simpson is a dedicated and knowledgeable partner‘.
Silverfleet Capital Partners
Gilde Buy Out Partners
G Square Health Care Private Equity
Adams Street Partners
M&G Investment Management Limited
Aberdeen Standard Investments
- Advised long-time client Hg on the formation of Hg Saturn, which closed at its hard cap of £1.5 billion.
- Advised Apiary capital on its debut fundraising, which closed at its hard cap of £200m.
- Advised Litorina Capital Advisors on the closing of Litorina V at the SEK 3b target, representing a 20% increase to Litorina IV.
- Advised on a GP-led transaction for Investcorp, the fund sponsor. This was a structured transaction involving the sale of certain assets, which were transferred to a new fund managed by Investcorp and funded by Harbourvest, for a total value of $185m.
Advising The Abraaj Group on its liquidation was a major highlight for Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP's well-regarded private funds department., which is led by Ed Gander . The advice given pertained to the disposal of management rights and of the Abraaj Global Healthcare Fund and certain Latin American funds, among other issues. The practice covers a broad range of work for leading buyout houses. In addition to a steady stream of fundraisings (primarily in the private equity and real asset sectors), the firm also handles a number of GP-led secondaries and restructuring processes. Funds regulatory and strategic advisory is another core service; James Bromley (who was made up to the partnership in January 2019) is a key contact on this front. In a recent success, James Sargent and others acted as lead fundraising counsel for Dalmore Capital on the £950m Dalmore Capital III fund, which is one of the largest UK-only infrastructure funds raised.
Aleph Capital Partners
aPriori Capital Partners
AS Equity Partners
Astarte Capital Partners
Benefit Street Partners
Columbia Threadneedle Investments
Disruptive Capital Finance
Farview Equity Partners
Generation Investment Management
Graphite Capital Partners
GMT Communications Partners
ICG Enterprise Trust
Montagu Private Equity
Parker Infrastructure Partners
Prudential Portfolio Managers
- Acting for the joint provisional liquidators of the manager entity within the Abraaj group, the largest ever collapse of a private equity fund manager.
- Advised Actis in relation to the formation and fundraising of its $1.5 billion target Actis Long Life Infrastructure Fund.
- Advised Astarte Capital Partners LLP in respect of the establishment of their flagship fund, Alternative Special Opportunities Platform, a $200 million specialist alternatives co-investment platform targeting investments in real assets.
- Acted as lead fundraising counsel for Dalmore’s largest fund to date by a significant margin (raising £950 million, far exceed the initial hard cap)
- Advised GMT Communications Partners LLP in 2018 on the establishment of Apse Capital, a new independent European private equity group that focuses on buyout and development capital opportunities in European tech-enabled information and services businesses..
Ashurst 'strikes the perfect balance between representing fund managers as clients while maintaining an excellent dialogue with investors and making them feel comfortable'. Private equity, debt and credit, infrastructure and real estate funds all lie within the scope of the practice, which receives additional support from the firm's specialist tax and regulatory teams. Besides handling core fund formation mandates, the group also offers services in tax structuring, commercial negotiations, advisory and secondary transactions. Practice head Piers Warburton assists clients with private equity, private debt and sector specific funds. Also recommended is Nick Goddard, whose practice extends to carried interest and co-investment work.
Other key lawyers:
‘Ashurst’s fund formation team is incredibly strong, reliable and easy to work with. They not only deliver high-quality results, but are also extremely good at easing the work load burden for in-house fundraising teams by adopting a highly structured approach‘.
‘Ashurst is able to thoroughly understand the broader commercial strategies being pursued and advise accordingly; the team is highly practical‘.
‘Nick Goddard always makes himself available and understands our goals.’
‘Piers Warburton is a humble fundraising superstar. He stands out thanks to his ability to fulfil his clients’ wishes while ensuring our investors feel satisfied with the structure and terms of their investment.’
Intermediate Capital Group
Shard Credit Partners
Inflexion Private Equity
Rothschild Merchant Bank
- Advised Intermediate Capital Group on the establishment of its €4.5 billion fund, ICG Europe Fund VII.
- Advised Altor Equity Partners on the establishment of its €2.5 billion private equity fund, Altor Fund V.
- Advised Inflexion on the simultaneous establishment of two private equity funds which raised £2.25 billion and included a market-leading innovation by providing for substantial funding for a charitable foundation.
- Advised Rothschild Merchant Bank on the establishment of the €625m Five Arrows Direct Lending Fund.
- Advised Equitix on the establishment of multiple co-investment structures which, alongside other consortium members, acquired interests in John Laing Infrastructure Fund’s infrastructure portfolio, the Intercity Express Programme and the M25 motorway network.
The investment management group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, which 'provides a boutique-like experience wrapped up in a US powerhouse offering', took on more than a dozen new fund clients during 2018. The team works with a wide range of clients, from brand new fund managers and independent boutiques to global alternative asset firms and the private equity arms of major banks. In a first-time fund formation of its kind for the client, European private equity chair Geoffrey Kittredge advised Apera Capital on the establishment of its new debt fund, Apera Capital Private Debt Fund I; the fund raised approximately €750m. Funds regulatory specialist and international counsel John Young joined the team from Ropes & Gray LLP in September 2018, while John Rife was made up to the partnership and Delphine Jaugey was promoted to international counsel.
‘The firm’s private funds practice provides outstanding services well informed not only by the latest European legal developments, but also by US private funds developments’.
‘Legal excellence is paired with strong negotiation experience, which helps to arrive at amicable agreements with even difficult counterparties’.
‘The Debevoise & Plimpton team differentiates itself by giving true advice at critical points of the process. Unlike other firms, who tend to merely explain what the options are, Geoff Kittredge and his team give you practical advice and get the job done’.
‘Geoff Kittredge is a hugely experienced partner who has an immense history assisting major PE clients. His technical knowledge, industry nous and commercial focus wrapped up in a charismatic character makes him a formidable lawyer’.
‘John Rife has become a leading partner in the team. He is a technically very able lawyer with a great pedigree of experience’.
‘The London private equity practice at Debevoise & Plimpton is led by a group of excellent lawyers with extensive experience in the market who work well together as a team. When working with Debevoise you are confident that you will receive top quartile advice and will therefore be well placed in any legal discussion or negotiation’.
‘This team is at the cutting edge of the fund formation space. It is reliable, effective and always able to deliver against tight deadlines in tough situations’.
‘John Rife is an excellent lawyer in the private equity market, with a strong reputation and excellent commercial judgement.’
DBAY Advisors Limited
Exponent Private Equity Partners
- Advising Glendower Capital in connection with the fundraising of Glendower Capital Secondary Opportunities Fund IV, which is seeking $2.5bn in aggregate commitments.
- Advised Tishman Speyer in connection with the fundraising of Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Venture VIII, a European-focused value-add real estate fund.
- Acted as legal counsel to Apera Capital UK in connection with the formation of its first private debt fund, Apera Capital Private Debt Fund I SCSp.
- Advised Canson on the formation of Canson Capital Partners Co-Investment, SCSp, structured as a Luxembourg limited partnership.
Combining 'technical excellence in the law with commercial street smarts', Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP's asset management department handles a steady stream of work involving private equity, credit and real estate assets. The firm has also seen an upswing in mandates in the energy and natural resources sector. Global tax and regulatory capabilities ensure the group is able to structure bespoke products in the funds market. Kate Downey leads the team in London, alongside New York duo Kenneth Rosh and Lawrence Barshay. Also highly recommended is London managing partner Mark Mifsud, whose practice is focused on GP representation across a wide range of funds. Recent highlights include Mifsud and others acting for RoundShield on the raising of its third European special opportunities fund at €500m; the fund was almost three times oversubscribed. The group hired Sam Wilson from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in September 2018.
‘The Fried Frank private funds team combines exceptional industry knowledge and insight with first rate legal service. The team understands the commercial drivers behind fund structures and well as the assets classes they are structured around, which is essential in delivering superior results. The team also provides exceptional fiduciary advice‘.
‘I would highly recommend the Fried Frank team. It goes without saying that all practitioners have incredible knowledge and practical experience in the funds sector, but they are also a pleasure to work with‘.
‘Fried Frank have been integral to our firm’s growth and have helped us from Fund I. Their support and advice has been invaluable through the numerous hurdles and milestones we experienced‘.
‘The team is always accommodating and works towards our often very tight deadlines. It works seamlessly with our corresponding offshore lawyers and administrators‘.
‘Kate Downey is a rare combination of an exceptional technical lawyer and a practical and commercially-driven provider of solutions. She also provides excellent fiduciary advice on complicated issues not answerable in the four corners of the document or in the governing law’.
‘Ken Rosh is one of the few people who understands the unique issues and challenges of the current market dynamics his clients are operating in‘.
‘Mark Mifsud’s personality is a big part of the firm’s London profile‘.
‘We see Sam Wilson as an extended arm of our internal legal team because he works so seamlessly. We can always count on Sam for strategic advice, both during fundraising and after‘.
- Representing new client, FSN Capital, the Norway-based private equity investment firm focused on the mid-market segment in connection with fund advisory matters and co-investment activities.
- Represented RoundShield, the leading UK-based independent investment firm focused on European asset-backed special opportunities, in the successful raising of its third European special opportunities fund.
- Representing Balderton Capital, the UK-based venture capital firm and Europe’s leading early-stage venture capital investor, on a wide range of complex matters throughout the year.
- Advising BlueBay in connection with Direct Leading Fund III, BlueBay’s latest, circa €6 billion European-focused private debt fund, and in an associated parallel accounts direct lending mandate.
- Advising Vitol on the establishment of a joint venture with Low Carbon; and on its investment in VLC Renewables Fund I, a fund that will invest in European renewable energy generation projects that will be managed by Low Carbon.
'One could not ask for a better team of partners than Michael Halford, Shawn D’Aguiar and Patrick Deasy' at Goodwin, according to one client of the firm. The private investment funds group boasts 'decades of proven track record working with both large and emerging funds across the world', as well as Luxembourg vehicle-specific expertise. Tax, regulatory and finance capabilities are also integrated within the offering. D’Aguiar boasts a clear specialism in infrastructure, energy and emerging markets funds; he recently assisted Ambienta with the raising of Ambienta III, which is dedicated to private equity investments related to long-term environmental growth trends. 'True professional' Ajay Pathak led on the establishment of VLC Renewables Fund I for Low Carbon, which will invest in European renewable energy generation projects. Also highly recommended is associate Benjamin Yeoh, whose practice spans private equity, real estate, infrastructure, debt and venture capital funds.
‘The team possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the dynamic requirements of fund regulation, legal structures and investor needs. It is always on top of client communication‘.
‘After a decade of working with Michael Halford, Shawn Aguiar and Patrick Deasy, I can say they are truly exceptional industry leaders with proven track records in successfully structuring fund platforms and working with investors across the globe‘.
‘The Goodwin Procter Fund formation team is the best in the market for several reasons; they are extremely reliable and trustworthy, available at any time of day and night and they go the extra mile to gather market insight from their colleagues in other offices where relevant. Most importantly, they are extremely creative in terms of fund formation solutions, as well as secondary advisory work‘.
‘They are the most commercial of any funds legal team we have ever worked with. They are highly responsive, creative with solutions to problems and are a genuine pleasure to work with. Their depth of knowledge is second-to-none‘.
‘Ajay Pathak offers insights which are practical but also unique. No problem is too large to overcome. He fully integrates himself into the ambitions of the fund or business and makes himself one of the team. We always feel that we are in safe hands when working with him‘.
‘Ben Yeoh is a real up-and-comer. He is extremely bright, insightful and refreshingly cost-conscious. He always makes himself available to assist which, during difficult fund closings, is a real life-saver‘.
‘Michael Halford deserves the reputation he has garnered as a industry figurehead. His ideas are always one-step-ahead of the competition‘.
Ambienta SGR S.p.A
Centum Investment Company Ltd
Core Equity Holdings GP Ltd
Kharis Capital Partners
UBS Asset Management Funds Ltd
- GP-led restructure of five existing assets, plus a stapled primary commitment, for Invetscorp.
- Advised longstanding client Macquarie on the structuring and fundraising of the first series of Macquarie Super Core Infrastructure Fund SCSp.
- Advised Core Equity Holdings as it achieved final close on its maiden fund at over €1 billion (including general partner commitment), exceeding by one-third its target of €750 million.
- Advised longstanding client Bregal on the structuring and fundraising of Bregal Unternehmerkapital II, believed to be the largest DACH-focused fund ever raised.
- Assisted Ambienta on the raising of its third fund, Ambienta III, with a first and done close after less than three months of active marketing.
'Great support from other groups within the firm such as tax, financial and regulatory' reinforces the four partner-strong investment funds team at Linklaters LLP, which is led by key partner Matthew Keogh. In addition to a robust Luxembourg presence, the firm also boasts a significant LP offering, with investor-side mandates constituting at least 30% of the London team's total workload. In a major ongoing mandate, Jonathan de Lance Holmes and newly made-up partner Rahul Manvatkar are advising SoftBank Investment Advisers on the operations and subsequent closings of the world's largest technology fund valued at $98bn. The 'creative, flexible, hands-on and commercial' Tom Alabaster is recommended given the insight he can offer from his previous in-house experience at The Carlyle Group. 'Highly capable associates' are also part and parcel of the practice; among them managing associates Clare Baker and Charmaine Yeoh. Baker specialises in representing institutional investors, while Yeoh has prior experience at the firm's Hong Kong office.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent legal expertise combined with deep industry and market knowledge. The work is high quality and the team are very sensitive to client’s needs and goals‘.
‘Very good at identifying the most appropriate solution for each particular client and situation‘.
‘Tom Alabaster has an understanding of how things work in Asia and is very flexible and creative in addressing the peculiarities of the market and investors here. The team is also highly responsive and willing to work around time zone differences‘.
‘What makes the practice unique is the calibre of individual practitioners who work very well together to provide seamless service to clients. The attorneys are always responsive and provide high quality advice, and are also very friendly and personable individuals. Overall an absolute pleasure to work with‘.
‘Tom Alabaster is very comfortable across a range of subject matters. He instils confidence in his clients and brings an aura of calm. Given his in-house experience, he really understands the client’s perspective and provides great client service‘.
‘Matt Keogh is excellent in every way. He has exceptional legal knowledge, a deep understanding of the asset management world and provides top level service to his clients‘.
‘Clare Baker is a standout associate. An extremely knowledgeable lawyer with a solutions-based approach, she provides excellent service to clients. She is always approachable and engaged‘.
‘Charmaine Yeoh is outstanding – hardworking, responsible and good at drafting’.
‘Jonathan de Lance Holmes is a true expert in his field‘.
‘Rahul Manvatkar has been a great lawyer to work with, providing high quality advice while remaining personable and approachable in manner‘.
SoftBank Investment Advisors
Cinda International Holdings Limited
British Business Bank
- Advising SoftBank Investment Advisers on ongoing operation and further closings on the world’s largest technology fund which initially closed with c.$93bn of capital and now has capital commitments of over $98bn.
- Act for British Business Bank (BBB) and its subsidiaries in relation to proposed investments into seven venture capital funds, with BBB making commitments of up to £230m.
- Advising Deutsche Bank in relation to various alternative investment products. The firm acts as fund counsel and provides ongoing support to DB Asset Management in respect of their closed-ended products, including the German Access Fund.
- Advised Marwyn on the applicable marketing rules in various EEA and non-EEA jurisdictions where shares of Wilmcote Holdings plc would be marketed to investors with a view to securing equity financing for Wilmcote’s proposed acquisition of a life sciences company.
- Advised Vannin Capital on matters of English law and regulation in the context of its IPO.
Stephen Robinson leads the investment funds team at Macfarlanes LLP, which dominates the mid-market private funds space. The group works very closely with the firm's expert tax offering, and is most often instructed by fund managers seeking to implement pan-European strategies. The firm advises both LPs and GPs, ensuring it is able to provide well-balanced advice. It covers a range of mandates, with fund instructions spanning the private equity, credit, infrastructure and venture capital asset classes. Alexander Amos and Christopher Good are both highly recommended; Amos is the name to note for alternative fundraisings while Good focuses on private equity and venture capital.
Other key lawyers:
Alex Amos; Christopher Good
‘Working with Macfarlanes and its competent and responsive team was a key success factor in executing our highly time-sensitive and complex matters‘.
‘Macfarlanes is well structured, organised and coordinated; I have not had a single negative experience with the team‘.
‘Macfarlanes are very much the go-to firm in the City for domestically-focused UK mid-market private funds work; it has a substantial team which is properly focused on this market‘.
‘The scale of Macfarlanes’ practice in the City is comparable to the scale of practice of the major funds firms which are focused on much larger fundraisings. Macfarlanes focus on the mid market is very much to their advantage.’
‘Response times are good, even when the team are clearly busy. They are commercial and provide practical ,relevant advice based on evolving market conditions‘.
‘Alex Amos and Chris Good are particularly remarkable in their ability to view the matter at hand with a global commercial perspective‘.
‘Chris Good stands out as excellent; he is technically very able, always available (he is hands on when required but not excessively so) and has the judgement to make appropriate commercial calls when necessary‘.
‘Stephen Robinson has been a consistent and reliable partner for nearly 20 years; he is knowledgeable and calm, gives great advice and has that rare ability to give a 360 degree perspective on any legal or LPA issue. We rate him exceptionally highly‘.
LGPS Central Limited
Mayfair Equity Partners
Hayfin Capital Management LLP
Lyceum Capital (now Horizon Capital)
Aberdeen Standard Investments
- Advised LGPS Central Limited, one of eight local Government pension scheme pools in England and Wales, on the launch of its inaugural pooled private equity platform.
- Advised London-based private equity firm Mayfair Equity Partners on the raising of its second fund, Mayfair Equity Partners Fund II LP, which closed at its hard cap of £650m – exceeding its target of £600m.
- Advised venture capital investor Dawn Capital on the raising of its third fund, Dawn III, which after increasing its hard cap twice, attracted commitments of £165m, making it one of the largest venture capital funds raised in Europe in the last couple of years
- Advised UK-based private equity firm ECI Partners on the raising of its eleventh buyout fund (ECI 11), its largest to date, which closed after hitting its hard cap of £700m within 80 days of launching.
- Advised healthcare-focused private equity firm Apposite Capital on the closing of its second fund Apposite Healthcare Fund II and associated vehicles at £144.5m.
The investment funds department at Travers Smith LLP possesses 'excellent insight into industry standards and has a great understanding of private equity strategies, including venture', according to one client. Another comments that 'we cannot rate them highly enough'. While private equity fund formation is a core area of operation, the group also handles a regular flow of secondaries transactions and some work relating to the infrastructure and private debt asset classes. Head of practice Sam Kay is a key contact, while Jeremy Elmore is the name to note for institutional investor representation. Also recommended is senior associate Edward Ford, who advises GP clients on fundraisings in the private equity, infrastructure and debt spaces.
‘Travers Smith are professional, commercial and highly responsive. They are our go-to law firm for our most important strategic projects‘.
‘Travers Smith is excellent in terms of quality, commercial acumen and technical expertise‘.
‘A great team with partners from several disciplines who really work together to bring the optimal solution to the client. They listen to what you want or need and build solutions around that. They will also work seamlessly with other providers‘.
‘Sam Kay will always give us the time and attention that we need; he very much leads from the front. His technical expertise is first-rate but, just as important, he is very solutions-orientated. We also value his calm strategic input when we are dealing with various business challenges‘.
‘Senior associate Ed Ford is an excellent lawyer and a valued member of the team. In particular, he understands the responsibility that comes with facing our investors and he manages the process expertly‘.
‘Ed Ford is commercially-minded and always prompt‘.
‘Sam Kay is excellent‘.
SV Health Investors LLP
Hermes GPE LLP
Benson Elliot Capital Management LLP
Local Pensions Partnership Investments Ltd
Medicxi Ventures Management (Jersey) Limited
Piper PE LLP
GLIL Infrastructure LLP
PiP Managers Ltd
Abris Capital Partners Ltd
Kester Capital LLP
Pemberton Asset Management
Njord Partners LLP
- Advised SV Health on the successful fundraising of the Dementia Discovery Fund, with total commitments of £250m.
- Advised long-standing client Benson Elliott on the £830m fundraising of Benson Elliott Fund V.
- Advised Hermes GPE on the GP-led secondary of a $1.5bn portfolio of a private equity funds of funds portfolio.
- Advised ADM Capital on the successful fundraising of Cibus LP.
- Structured and implemented the new LGPS infrastructure pooling vehicle for GLIL.
An influx of private equity fund specialists from O'Melveny has significantly enhanced the investment management offering at Akin Gump LLP. Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic, who joined in April 2019, both focus on private equity fundraisings, secondary transactions and LP representation. The following month saw the team welcome John Daghlian and Mary Lavelle, now boasting a total of eight London-based fund partners. Besides private equity mandates, the group is also able to handle work related to distressed debt and credit, real estate and infrastructure.
The financial services and investment management department at Dechert LLP has a clear focus on private debt and fund work. Thanks to additional practices in Luxembourg, Dublin, Munich and Paris, the group boasts a 'strong fund structuring knowledge when it comes to pan-European vehicles'. The practice receives further support from the firm's broader tax team, as well as from financial regulatory specialists who sit within the funds group itself. Gus Black, who leads the offering, represents both sponsors and cornerstone investors. Also recommended is Christopher Gardner, noted for his dual specialism in debt and credit funds and private equity buyout funds.
Other key lawyers:
‘The funds team at Dechert is a great asset to any asset manager or investment company requiring legal advice across the full value chain of setting up and managing the life of a fund‘.
‘Highly commercial and client focused. The team takes a flexible approach and is willing to think outside the box, with all partners willing to go the extra mile for their clients‘.
‘The firm’s strength lies in its expertise in market trends in as well as its strong connections to important market players‘.
‘The team has a deep understanding of regulation and utilises its knowledge to produce innovative and creative solutions‘.
‘Dechert’s breadth of experience in private funds launches, as well as its industry engagement, ensures that the client benefits from market insights‘.
‘The team is fantastically knowledgeable and uniquely experienced to help clients. They are always available and present all available solutions. They truly provide personalised advice and always remain objective‘.
Apollo Global Management
AGC Equity Partners Limited
Amber Capital UK LLP
Columna Capital LLP
Pemberton Capital Advisors LLP
Steadfast Capital GmbH
- Advising one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers on a broad range of matters globally including a number of European fund launches, regulatory matters and Brexit planning.
- Advising on the launch and close of European-focused private loan funds, a global-focused private loan fund and separate managed accounts.
- Advised an asset management firm on the structuring of a new private equity fund of funds.
- Advised on the structuring, formation and first two closings of a fund to invest in small to mid-market companies in Europe.
- Advised a private equity firm on the structuring and establishment of an Irish loan origination vehicle for European mid-market loans.
Latham & Watkins' investment funds practice group is highlighted by one client for its 'availability, competence and thoroughness'. The practice, led by Nick Benson, assists both fund managers and investors in fundraisings and fund-related transactions. The latter was an area of particular growth in the past year, with the firm advising on a number of LP joint investments and GP-led secondaries deals. Real estate fund formation instructions have increased, though private equity, private debt, venture capital and infrastructure remain core areas of focus. James McRory boasts in-house secondment experience at BC Partners, LaSalle and Actis.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is creative, available, competent, thorough and rigorous‘.
‘Latham is able to fully understand the client’s need and proactively operate to satisfy them all‘.
‘Latham’s fund practitioners are very knowledgeable of the industry in which they operate and are able to add value to any job that is given to them‘.
Alkemi Venture Partners
Argan Capital Management
ASK Investment Managers
Buran Venture Capital
Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec
Capvis Equity Partners
Charterhouse Capital Partners
China Life Insurance Co.
Citic Capital Partners
Cornerstone Corporate Finance
The Fine Art Group
LaSalle Investment Management
New Mark Advisors LLP
Novo Holdings A/S
Pravega Venture Capital
Raine Securities LLC
Searchlight Capital Partners
Step Exchange Pty Ltd
United Pacific Venture Capital Management
- Advised LaSalle with respect to the formation of its fifth generation, closed-end, pan-Asian real estate fund: LaSalle Asia Opportunities V.
- Advised Capvis on the final closing and initial co-investment of its fifth European buyout fund, Capvis V, which raised a total of €1.2bn in commitments, a significant increase on the predecessor’s fund size of €750m.
- Advised CDPQ with respect to its multi-billion joint venture arrangement with Generation Investment Management LLP, together with the terms of the joint venture’s initial portfolio acquisition of FNZ.
- Advise Generali’s private equity investments team on the investment of its annual private equity allocation.
- Advised Quadriga on the formation of a single investor fund to acquire two companies (Vescon and Schiller) and develop a buy-and-build platform.
Simmons & Simmons has extensive experience across the whole asset management sector, with private funds forming part of its practice alongside its particularly well-known strength in hedge funds. The firm frequently advises clients, including large fund managers, fund service providers and large institutional investors, on complex matters and is willing to tailor advice and challenge clients. Key lawyers include private funds head David Williams, as well as Dale Gabbert, Matthew Pitman and Cindy Valentine . The London team benefits from an international network including a Dublin office launched in 2018 by funds partner Fionán Breathnach.
British Business Bank/British Patient Capital
First State Investments
Therium Capital Management
- Advised British Business Bank/British Patient Capital (BPC) on implementing the legal and regulatory structure for the seeding of BPC with c. £400m of existing and approved venture and growth fund commitments.
- Advised Man Group FRM on the creation of two initial vehicles tailored to large individual investor requirements.
- Fund counsel to First State’s flagship infrastructure fund, European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II.
- Advised Therium Capital Management in connection with the establishment of two litigation finance funds, utilising an innovative structure designed to meet the requirements of a broad range of investors.
The asset management team at Allen & Overy LLP has a two-thirds to one-third split between GP representation and LP representation. In one highlight, a group led by Pavel Shevtsov and Nick Williams reviewed over 50 investment management agreements for various pension funds and sovereign wealth funds for investments totalling over £30bn. Private equity fund work has been a key growth area for the team, which also handles real estate and infrastructure mandates. The firm's presence in Luxembourg and other European jurisdictions lends further support to the London practice. Also recommended is Matthew Huggett, who leads the team together with Shevtsov and Williams. Nick Smith joined the London offering from the Dubai team.
Matthew Huggett; Nick Williams; Pavel Shevtsov
Other key lawyers:
‘Knowledgeable, familiar with the market and incredibly responsive‘
‘Pavel Shevtsov’s team responds incredibly quickly‘.
.’We have had a very positive experience with the team as a whole. Pavel Shevstov and the rest of the team are knowledgeable and responsive‘.
Electra Private Equity
- Advised Aviva Group in connection with the investment by it and other Aviva entities in the US$10.6bn Hillhouse Fund IV, Asia’s largest private equity fund, including advice in relation to the terms of the investment and certain regulatory issues.
- Advising a UK pension entity on its proposed investment into a fund with a leading global alternative asset manager.
- Advising a large and diverse group of institutional investors, including many large pension funds and major sovereign wealth funds around the world, on their investments in a wide variety of pooled investment vehicles including dozens of limited partnership funds.
Strong relationships with key sovereign wealth funds are the hallmark of the investment funds practice at Baker McKenzie, which has a well-balanced approach to GP and LP representation. The firm has added a number of new clients to its roster and handled a number of matters, including acquisitions and disposals of funds and asset management firms. Highlights include James Burdett and his team advising Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation on its acquisition of Colonial First State Global Asset Management from Commonwealth Bank of Australia for $2.9bn with the help of the firm's Tokyo and Hong Kong offices. Mark Simpson is the name to note for funds regulatory work.
Other key lawyers:
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
Government Pension Fund of Thailand
Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia
Arcus Infrastructure Partners
Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation
Japan Bank for International Cooperation
Allianz Capital Partners
- Advised Mitsubishi UFJ Trust & Banking Corporation on its acquisition of Colonial First State Global Asset Management from Commonwealth Bank of Australia for A$4.1bn (US$2.9bn).
- Advised Odyssean Capital on its establishment and authorisation by the FCA.
Garnering client praise for its 'extreme dedication, professionalism and cost consciousness', the investment management department at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is led by Nigel Farr. The group's 'thorough experience in funds matters' covers the areas of private equity, real estate and infrastructure, with a particular strength in funds investing in developing markets such as Asia and Africa. Blue chip entities such as BlackRock and BNP Paribas feature on the firm's client list, which also saw significant growth on the LP side due to the addition of new investor clients. Also noteworthy are Stephen Newby and Tim West; Newby boasts prior experience at the firm's Singapore and Dubai offices while West possesses funds regulatory expertise.
‘Herbert Smith Freehills are very responsive and turn things around quickly. They are able to make commercially-savvy decisions and have a genuine interest in making a positive social impact‘.
‘HSF are very efficient, competent and work well within deadlines and budgets‘.
‘Stephen Newby is highly experienced in pretty much all fund-related issues, from fund formation to GP-LP negotiation issues, fund economics and tax’.
‘Stephen Newby is very approachable and engaged‘.
Sustainable Development Capital
Neuberger Berman Private Equity Partners
J.P. Morgan Asset Management & JP Morgan Cazenove
HarbourVest Global Private Equity
Aberdeen Standard Investments
Pension Protection Fund
- Advised Alvin Partners LLP on a number of partnership matters.
Hogan Lovells International LLP covers a wide range of investment funds work in London, with a particular focus on both private and listed infrastructure funds, including advising on the formation of funds investing in social infrastructure. The team is headed in the UK by Nicholas Holman, who co-leads the firm's investment funds group and advises across a broad range of alternative investment funds including real estate, private equity and infrastructure. The firm is also able to call on the dual US/UK qualifications of partner Jonathan Baird , who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in 2017 and has a particular focus on listed funds.
Other key lawyers:
Erik Jamieson; Jeremy Pickles; Amran Hanif
Aberdeen Standard Investments
CDC (UK development bank)
DEG (German development bank)
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Fengate Capital Management
Foundation Investment Partners
FMO (Dutch development bank)
GELF Management (Lux) S.à r.l.
General Organisation for Social Insurance (Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund)
IFC (Part of the World Bank)
InfraRed Capital Partners
International Fund Management Limited
John Laing Capital Management
M&G Investment Management
Nippon Life International Inc
The Prudential Assurance Company
Ventiga Capital Partners
- Advised UBS Asset Management on the launch of its second infrastructure debt fund, Archmore Infrastructure Debt Platform II (IDP II).
- Advised Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Prudential, on the establishment of a new £1.85bn Europe-focused infrastructure fund, which is the largest fund raised to date by Infracapital.
Jones Day's cross-practice funds offering combines professionals from the firm's broader banking, finance and securities, real estate and private equity practice groups. While the firm's workload is primarily sponsor-side, it also occasionally represents investors in secondary transactions and fund co-investment transactions. Private equity and real estate funds are core areas of focus, while additional offices in traditionally buoyant markets including the US, Hong Kong and Singapore support the group's ability to handle cross-jurisdictional mandates. John MacGarthy and Anna Cartwright are practice heads; Alistair Grant is recommended for private real estate fund work.
John MacGarty; Anna Cartwright
Other key lawyers:
Delancey Real Estate Asset Management Limited
Motion Equity Partners
- Advised CBRE on a number of fund-type structures and joint ventures in the real estate sector, with assets located worldwide, including: Australia, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Characterised by one client as 'proactive, business-friendly, excellent at negotiating and focused on problem solving', Mayer Brown International LLP's fund formation and investment management department acts for start-up investment management and family investment firms on both first time and subsequent fund formation matters. It is also known for its strong expertise in real estate private equity funds, where it tends to represent larger asset managers. The firm continues to expand its pension fund offering with experts assembled from different practice areas, all of whom boast a specialist knowledge of pension clients. Tim Nosworthy is practice head and key contact.
‘The team is very approachable and we know we can always phone them to discuss how a piece of work would best be scoped. The partners will draw in the relevant individuals for each piece of work from around the firm‘.
‘Duncan Watson pulls the stops out to complete instructions within even very tight deadlines. He looks at legal questions analytically without making assumptions and thereby achieves better outcomes‘.
British Telecom Pension Scheme
Electricity Supply Pension Scheme
Heitman NoPension Protection Fund
Principal Financial Group
USAA Real Estate
Mishcon de Reya LLP's London funds team is well known for its technology-focused private equity funds niche. In addition to advising on fund formations, the practice also advises on matters such as spin outs and has in-house capabilities to advise on regulatory and tax law. It has a particular emphasis on advising UK real estate institutions on capital raising efforts. The team is headed by Daniel Greenaway.
Crest Capital Partners
AEW UK InvestmentManagement
Alony Hetz Properties &Investments
- Advised NCL, a EuVECA manager, on the establishment of an onshore life sciences fund.
- Advising AEW UK Investment Management on launch of €290m investment platform with Allianz.
- Representing Frog Capital on fundraising matters.
Morrison & Foerster LLP's London funds team is led by partners Oliver Rochman and Rob Mailer. Sitting within a wider global offering, the team advise sponsors and institutional investors on a cross section of funds work including real estate, infrastructure and private equity. The firm has particular experience within the startup, venture capital and tech funds sectors in the UK, acting on a number of high profile matters in these markets.
Oliver Rochman; Rob Mailer
‘A knowledgeable and experienced team able to understand and cater to a client’s individual needs.’
‘I had a very positive experience working with Rob Mailer. Rob scored highly on all of my criteria for choosing a lawyer to set up my first venture fund. He is a pleasant person, trustworthy, has a strong professional manner and is always reachable on very short notice. He understands my business and has experience working with similar clients. He is commercial and realistic. He really helped me understand what was going on at each step of the process and helped coach me throughout. I felt that I could confide and ask for advice anytime. That was important to me.’
‘Oliver Rochman is an outstanding lawyer who understands his clients well and is able to provide high quality and pragmatic advice and solutions.’
‘Rob Mailer provides hands on support and, notwithstanding other client demands, is always available. He is personable, professional, and combines good legal knowledge with a very practical approach and good commercial awareness.’
SoftBank Group Corp.
Newgate Private Equity
Global Logistic Properties (GLP)
Force Over Mass Capital
Social Finance Ltd
Next Gen Capital
Brookstreet Equity Partners
Air Street Capital
Eos Venture Partners
Edge Investments Ltd
Hermes GPE LLP
Impact X Capital Partners LLP
Collective Equity Ownership
- Advising Oxx on the formation and fundraising of its growth fund focused on B2B SAAS companies in Nordics and UK.
- Advising Hermes GPE on multiple investments into private equity funds in Europe and the US as well as advising on multiple co-investments alongside private equity fund managers.
Osborne Clarke LLP
In a particularly high-profile highlight, Helen Parsonage led a team which advised Amber Infrastructure on the launch of The Mayor of London's Energy Efficiency Fund. The fund invests in energy-efficient projects in the Greater London area, including decentralised energy schemes and small-scale renewable generation. In addition to innovative vehicles of this kind, the Osborne Clarke LLP investment funds practice also advises on matters involving venture capital and real estate funds, with an especially active secondaries offering. 'Parsonage leads her team extremely well' in the words of one client. Also recommended is practice head Tim Simmonds, who specialises in real estate funds.
Other key lawyers:
‘Osborne Clarke listens to clients and offers suitable solutions rather than cookie-cutter versions of what has been done before‘.
‘A good breadth of industry knowledge which ensures the team can provide advice that is considered and well thought out from every angle. They take a highly pragmatic approach compared to other firms‘.
Foresight Group LLP
Brent Capital LLP
Notion Capital Managers LLP
Illuminate Financial Management
Oxford Capital Partners
Social Tech Trust
Brunel Pension Partnership
Local Government Pension Schemes (various)
University of Cambridge and the Cambridge University Endowment Fund
Round Hill Capital
- Advised Amber Infrastructure on the launch of The Mayor of London’s Energy Efficiency Fund
- Acted for Brent Capital LLP, an investment advisory vehicle set up by Brent Hoberman and Spencer Crawley, on the establishment of its first venture capital fund – firstminute capital I LP.
- Advised Notion Capital Management on the final close of its first opportunities/growth capital fund, Notion Capital Opportunities LP, which brought the total fund size to its original target of £60m.
- Acted for InReach Ventures on the establishment of its first venture capital fund, InReach Ventures I LP.
- Key adviser to IFM and advised on the launch of its second fund, IFM Fintech Opportunities II LP, structured as an English private fund limited partnership, targeting £75m in total commitments from investors.
With 'a straightforward and responsive manner' and 'high levels of integrity', Paul Hastings LLP's private funds offering is jointly led by Diana Minott, Christian Parker, Katherine Rainwood and Duncan Woollard. Private fund instructions fall within the scope of the firm's private equity practice group. Besides working across private equity, real estate, infrastructure and credit funds, the team further boasts a niche expertise in fund financing matters. In particular, the group is highly experienced in structuring leveraged financing for direct lending funds. One complex highlight saw Minott and Rainwood advise on the establishment of Pemberton European Mid-Market Debt Fund II, which involved parallel vehicles and multiple tax feeder structures. Practitioners are 'friendly and knowledgeable'.
Diana Minott; Christian Parker; Katherine Rainwood; Duncan Woollard
‘The Paul Hastings team is proactive, understands our business and is always ready to find solutions. This results in a partnership in which both the client and the law firm benefit‘.
‘Duncan Woollard is outstanding for innovative thinking’
‘The team provides timely and high-quality advice, is very approachable and willing to help with whatever is needed to ensure a deal reaches a successful conclusion‘.
‘Duncan Woollard is experienced, easy to deal with and gives clear and useful answers to tricky questions‘.
‘Christian Parker is knowledgeable and solution focused‘
CVC Credit Partners
Rothschild & Co
JP Morgan Asset Management
Wells Fargo Asset Management
Oak Hill Advisors
- Advised JP Morgan Asset Management on a $1bn fund for significant Far Eastern investment into US commercial mortgage loans. The fund was the first of its kind for JPMAM.
- Advised on the establishment of Pemberton European Mid-Market Debt Fund II which closed at £2.5 billion in March 2019 and doubled the size of Fund I.
- Advised on the establishment of Pemberton European Strategic Credit Opportunities Fund which closed at £1bn.
- Advised the client on a global ‘risk retention fund’ – a fund structured to provide capital to Alcentra in London and New York.
- Advising CVC Credit Partners and its Luxembourg securitisation vehicle in relation to the establishment of a follow-on C share offering by CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities Limited.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP has a broad investment funds practice in London covering private funds as well as listed. The firm advises on both domestic and cross-border transactions for investors and sponsors, with its strong US presence supported in London by dual US/UK fund lawyers. It advises clients on everything from fund formation and structuring through to secondaries work and restructurings, acting for investment funds, fund managers and individuals. The London team includes UK/US qualified Panos Katsambas and Winston Penhall. Leith Moghli left for Proskauer Rose LLP in 2019.
Panos Katsambas; Winston Penhall
‘Partner engagement is exceptional and that is what makes the firm stand out in my view. Matters are dealt with in a very efficient manner with a responsiveness at short notice that could not be surpassed. Practical commercial solutions are sought out with a conscious effort to limit drafting/cost to the minimum.’
‘We primarily work with Winston Penhall; his engagement is exceptional. He has a deep knowledge of the industry and an ability to anticipate issues upfront and offer sensible options to resolve them. His availability (for instance at weekends or whilst on leave) often exceeds expectations. I trust his judgement.’
Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP
'Aside from offering knowledge and expertise', the investment management practice group at Schulte Roth & Zabel International LLP is also 'reliable and responsive'. In the emerging markets space, Christopher Hilditch and Cathy Weist assisted Falcon Edge Capital with launching its second fund which seeks to invest in private equity in India. Private equity fund formation of this kind is a key focus area, in addition to co-investment work and hybrid funds. The firm also offers funds-related tax and regulatory advice. On the LP side, the group boasts specialist expertise in distressed investing. The team hired Emily Brown from Macfarlanes LLP in November 2018. Josh Dambacher and Hilditch are joint practice heads.
Josh Dambacher; Christopher Hilditch
‘Schulte has unparalleled knowledge of private fund structures and terms. They are always on the cutting edge of developments‘.
‘The firm has breadth of expertise across various asset classes. They are making much progress in closed-ended fund work with the hire of Emily Brown, who is exceptional‘.
‘The individuals are proactive and provide a personal service‘.
‘Chris Hilditch is extremely experienced, thoughtful and responsive. Cathy Weist is always on top of every detail and knows the transaction documents inside out‘.
‘Emily Brown’s energy and market knowledge is unbelievable. She functions like an extension of our team rather than an external service provider. She understands exactly what concerns GPs and LPs alike, and is able to plot a course that keeps both happy‘.
Arcis Capital Limited
Blossom Capital Ltd
Dialectic Capital Management LLC
Falcon Edge Capital LP
Kingsway Capital LLP
Large European Institutional Investor
Norland Capital LP
Sprints Capital Management Ltd
UK Venture Fund Manager
- Advised Arcis Capital Limited on a number of separately negotiated portfolio acquisitions.
- Advised Blossom Capital Ltd on the establishment of its first fund which is focused on technology investments in Europe.
- Advised Dialectic Capital Management LLC on a number of transactions and offers made in relation to two private equity funds.
- Assisted Falcon Edge Capital LP in launching its second fund focused on private equity investments in India.
- Advised Kingsway Capital LLP on the establishment and launch of two separate co-investment structures.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP's asset management group is viewed by some clients as a 'trusted long-term partner'. The practice covers the full scope of fund formation work, from assistance with fund structuring and investment management arrangements to ancillary tax and regulatory advice. the team handles a number of innovative energy-related and emerging markets fund instructions, with practice head Solomon Wifa leading a team advising CardinalStone Capital Advisors on the establishment of its first private equity fund dedicated to investing in Nigeria. Henrietta de Salis is the name to note for funds regulatory work.
Other key lawyers:
‘Practical advice informed by up-to-date market knowledge‘.
‘Solomon Wifa has excellent market knowledge and a pragmatic approach; he is happy to get stuck into the detail himself‘.
Impax Group plc
Uhuru Investment Partners
Blue Water Energy LLP
Synergy Capital Managers Ltd
CapVest Partners LLP
CERN Pension Fund
Banque Cantonale de Geneva
- Advised Impax on final closing of its third renewable infrastructure fund.
- Advised NTR on the organisation and first closing of its second renewable energy income fund.
- Advising Uhuru Investment Partners on the establishment of its first private equity fund focused on investing in Western Africa.
- Announced the final closing of Blue Water Energy Fund II with total commitments in excess of $1.1 billion, surpassing its target of $1 billion.
- Advised Synergy Capital on the establishment of its second private equity fund focused on investing in Western Africa.