Herbert Smith Freehills' London Funds and Asset Management team has recently acted on the launch of a new fund by Balance Legal Capital (Balance), a litigation financing business established by Robert Rothkopf, a firm alumnus.
Balance raised US$100 million from 8 institutional investors, for deployment in the UK, Australia and other common law jurisdictions. Investors include Balance’s anchor investor, which is increasing its commitment, and 7 new global institutional investors. Balance will use the new funds to invest in commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings with a continued focus on disputes in common law jurisdictions, particularly the UK and Australia. Balance will continue to invest across all sectors and commercial claim types including contract, tort, shareholder disputes, joint venture disputes, competition, intellectual property and class actions.
Balance was founded by Robert Rothkopf and Simon Burnett in 2015 and is led by a highly experienced team of litigators formerly of Herbert Smith Freehills and Freshfields. Its investment committee includes Lord David Gold (former global senior partner of Herbert Smith Freehills and head of its disputes division) and Ian Terry (former managing partner of Freshfields and global head of disputes). Fraser Shepherd (former litigation partner at Gilbert + Tobin, Sydney) and Nick Gardner (former head of Intellectual Property Litigation at Herbert Smith Freehills) are senior advisers to the investment committee.
Herbert Smith Freehills previously advised on the establishment of Balance. The firm's role on this fundraise included advising on the establishment of the new fund vehicle, negotiating commercial terms with investors and assisting Balance with obtaining FCA authorisation to manage the fund. The team was led by Stephen Newby (partner) and Nish Dissanayake (partner), assisted by Shantanu Naravane (senior associate), Zoe Wilson (associate), Richard Brown (associate) and David Tan (trainee), with Aurell Taussig (partner) advising on UK tax issues and Katherine Dillon (of counsel) advising on certain UK regulatory issues.
The transaction follows a number of other successful private fund launches for the London Funds and Asset Management team, including the HSBC Real Economy Green Investment Opportunity Fund, targeting green bond issuance from corporates in developing markets and Zamo Capital, which will seek to promote scale in the impact investment sector by taking strategic stakes in GPs. The team has also been involved in advising investors on proposed investments into private fund structures, recent instructions including Swedish pension fund, Alecta Pensionsforsakring Omsesidigt, on its investment into DOOR S.L.P., a fund established by Delancey and Oxford Properties as the investment vehicle which has invested into a c.£4.5 billion underlying real estate joint venture with APG and Qatari Diar. The business is focused on the acquisition, development and operation of residential led private rental assets in the UK.
Commenting on the transaction, Robert Rothkopf said: "We couldn’t have done this without the skill and dedication of this multi-disciplinary Herbert Smith Freehills team who brought to life our commercial objectives. This is an exciting new phase for Balance Legal Capital and I’m thrilled that my friends and colleagues at Herbert Smith Freehills are part of it."
Stephen Newby noted: "It is testament to the Balance team’s capability that they have been able to raise a multi-investor fund in a single close, in what is a challenging capital market. We are delighted to have been involved in bringing online this exciting new capability in the litigation funding sector and it is particularly pleasing to assist a former colleague in the next chapter of his business. We wish the team every success."