WINNER

Funds Team of the Year

Hogan Lovells

In an attempt to provide finance to businesses in the energy access sector, Hogan Lovells advised existing client International Finance Corporation (IFC), as it launched a cutting edge investment fund with the Shell Foundation.

The IFC and Shell Foundation, an independent charity of the Shell Group, wanted to establish the Luxembourg-domiciled fund to make working capital loans available to manufacturers and distributors of solar LED lighting and other devices. These provide an affordable first step up the energy access ladder for an estimated 2 billion people lacking energy access, with a particular focus on off-grid communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Those cases included a report into abuse allegations at Winterbourne View hospital in Gloucestershire and an investigation into the standard of care at Morecambe Bay hospital’s maternity unit.

Hogan Lovells worked with the companies to design the fund in three phases, enabling the amount of investment capital to be increased over time with the type of investments also widened. The way the fund has been designed will also allow it to be converted in three years time into an open-ended fund available for third party investment.

Overall, 2014 has been a successful year for Hogan Lovells’ funds team, during which time it advised on the IPO of John Laing Environmental Assets Group and the restricting of UBS Asset Management’s flagship UK real estate fund.

Runner up
  • O'Melveny & Myers

O’Melveny & Myers represented pan-African private investment firm Helios Investment Partners, as it raised what is the largest fund dedicated to African private equity. The $1.1bn close of Helios’ third Africa-focused fund broke the company’s own record for the largest ever fund of this kind and was raised well ahead of schedule. Picking up a new client in Helios, O’Melveny managed to simplify the company’s previous fund structure to reduce the administrative and operational burden of running it. The changes also enabled Helios to proceed to a significant first closing less than four months after negotiations began with investors.

Third place
  • Linklaters

Barclays has been a longstanding client of Linklaters, so it was only logical that four of the bank’s leading individuals would turn to the firm to advise on the spin off of high frequency and quantitative trading business nQuants. Under the transaction, Linklaters handled not just the spin off, but the establishment of the new business Squarepoint Capital and its subsequent fundraise. The deal could be said to reflect the trend in the market of major investments banks downsizing their trading operations and builds on Linklaters’ history of acting on spin offs in the alternative assets space.

Shortlisted
  • CMS
  • Osborne Clarke
  • Simmons & Simmons
  • Travers Smith