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  1. Wealth
May 31, 2011

Speechly Bircham to open offices in Luxembourg, Zurich

By Spear's

London law firm Speechly Bircham has today announced the opening of two new European offices. The firm is opening in Luxembourg and Zurich, which will enable its Financial Services and Private Wealth teams to offer direct support to clients and intermediary contacts in two of Europe’s other leading financial centres

London law firm Speechly Bircham has today announced the opening of two new European offices.

The firm is opening in Luxembourg and Zurich, which will enable its Financial Services and Private Wealth teams to offer direct support to clients and intermediary contacts in two of Europe’s other leading financial centres.

The Luxembourg office will open on 1 June 2011. Operating initially as Speechly Bircham Pfeiffer & Partners the firm will practise Luxembourg law. It will be led by experienced corporate lawyer and member of the Luxembourg Bar, Françoise Pfeiffer. Previously Françoise was Head of Banking and Finance at Oostvogels, and before that at Loyens & Loeff. She has also worked as legal counsel for the Luxembourg Central Bank.

Françoise will be joined by senior tax consultant Chokri Bouzidi, also from Oostvogels. Chokri was previously at Nauta Dutilh in London as well as Loyens & Loeff in Luxembourg. He has also worked at the renowned International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in Amsterdam. Both Françoise and Chokri will become partners of Speechly Bircham LLP.

As one of the world’s major financial centres, Luxembourg has Europe’s largest number of investment funds, second globally only to New York, and has a substantial asset servicing industry. Its well-developed commercial and private banking sector is also complemented by an established stock exchange on which a number of our clients have listings. The new office, therefore, neatly integrates the financial services, private equity, tax, corporate and private wealth capabilities for which Speechlys has a reputation.

The Zurich office will open on 20 June 2011 and will operate as Speechly Bircham AG. The office will be based in Basteiplatz, Zurich and headed up by Mark Summers – a partner in Speechly Bircham’s expanding Private client division. In 2010, Mark was included in Dow Jones’ 40 under 40 most influential wealth advisers in Europe. Mark is joined initially by two associates locally and several partners who will divide their time between London and Zurich. The Zurich team will practise English law.

Speechly Bircham represents a growing number of individuals and organisations from the UK and globally who use Zurich as their financial centre of choice for personal and corporate matters. It also acts for Swiss based private banks and wealth managers offering financial services into the UK.

Commenting on the new office openings, Michael Lingens, Speechly Bircham’s UK Managing Partner, said:

“Our firm is building a reputation for its work in the financial services sector, notably in the areas of investment and wealth management, and for our private client work in the UK and internationally. In this arena, our international offering will now include teams in Zurich and Luxembourg.

We will be one of the few UK law firms able to offer integrated corporate, tax, regulatory, funds and private client work to banks, fund managers, wealthy individuals and private offices operating across these three key European financial centres.

A strategic review in mid-2010 established our priorities for the future development of the firm. Notable among these was a clearer focus on core areas of sectoral expertise; financial services; private wealth; technology; and real estate & construction. Our new offices are tangible evidence of this.”

Speechly Bircham has also continued to invest in new senior lateral hires in the UK, and has attracted talent from much larger firms. It also made four internal promotions on 1 May 2011.

With effect from 1 June, Ashley King-Christopher has been appointed as an additional partner in the firm’s Tax Group. He has left Akin Gump in London and was previously at Withers. He has unrivalled experience in tax work for funds and private offices, an essential ingredient to our new extended offering in Luxembourg, Zurich and London.

The appointment in February of former DLA partner Malcolm MacDougall, as Head of the Private Equity, has already proven critical to the firm’s recent work on the recent All Saints restructuring with new private equity investors.

In the past week, the firm has also strengthened its offering in the real estate & construction sector with the hire of Projects partner Meriel Bennett from Berwin Leighton Paisner. Meriel joins the Projects team as successor to Andrew Walsh, who has been appointed as Acting General Counsel at Qatari Diar in Doha after a period of secondment there.

Commenting on the firm’s results for 2011, Michael Lingens said: “Last year our revenues grew by a modest 2% overall, reflecting a year of consolidation and mixed results from our various practice areas. However, I am pleased to say that we have continued to attract senior talent and have acted on a number of notable matters in the past 12 months. These have included the sale of Execution Noble, Bouygues’ acquisition of Leadbitter, our success for World Programming in its ground-breaking copyright claim against analytics software giant SAS Institute, and the refinancing of the All Saints fashion group.”

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