Augusta secures £150m of capital as litigation funding market hots up

Hanna: Headcount to double

Augusta has become the latest third-party funder to raise new capital, securing an extra £150m as it claims to have funded more cases in the UK than any other.

The company started off in 2014 focusing on small claims worth up to £1m that other funders were not interested in, but in 2016 moved into bigger cases as well after receiving backing from asset management business CQS.

In all, it has so far committed £98m to funding 162 cases. Last year, it also opened an office in Australia.

All the money is coming from a single investor, but it does not want to be named.

It is further evidence of the market’s growth. Earlier this year, Burford Capital raised an extra £130m and Therium £300m.

Among the cases in which Augusta is already involved are the mooted group action against Clydesdale Bank of alleged mis-sold loans, the collective action against Mastercard and Visa over interchange fees, and the truck cartel class action. It is also involved in several major class actions in Australia.

Augusta managing director Robert Hanna said: “This financing represents a major milestone for Augusta. We have an attractive pipeline of new cases and a current portfolio which is maturing well.”

He said the UK and Australia would remain focus markets for Augusta, but it was also actively looking at funding cases in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe, Bermuda and Cayman.

Mr Hanna said he expected the 50-strong team – 39 in London and 11 in Sydney – to double over the next year.

In other litigation funding news, Vannin Capital has entered Germany, with Theo Paeffgen heading what is its ninth office globally in Bonn.

Mr Paeffgen is the former chief executive of Foris, the longest-established litigation funder in the German-speaking world.

He Paeffgen said: “Germany is a market with great potential and Bonn is well situated between the two largest finance cities in Germany, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, where all the domestic and international law firms have their headquarters.

“I very much look forward to helping Vannin Capital further expand into Europe, establishing and growing its presence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.”

In America, meanwhile, a new funder, Validity Finance, has entered the market with a capital commitment of up to $250m (£189m) from private equity investor TowerBrook Capital.

It is headed by Ralph Sutton, formerly chief investment officer of funder Bentham IMF and has offices in Chicago, Houston and New York, all headed by former senior private practice litigators.

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