Newly launched third-party funder Bentham Europe – a joint venture between leading listed Australian funder Bentham IMF and US hedge funds – has hired a leading litigator from Irwin Mitchell as its chief investment officer.
Jeremy Marshall was formerly Irwin’s London head of litigation and dispute resolution and joins as Bentham opens its London office, having first announced its plans in March.
Bentham Europe’s stated aim is to become Europe’s leading litigation funder “by investing in a broad range of high-value commercial litigation and international arbitration claims”. It will particularly focus on cartel cases, multi-party actions and securities litigation with a claim value of £5m plus in single-party cases and more than £30m in multi-party cases.
IMF has agreed co-funding arrangements and joint venture arrangements with subsidiary entities of funds managed by Elliott Management Corporation. IMF said these funds have billions of US dollars under management globally.
The pair are splitting equally the funding costs and operational expenses of Bentham Ventures BV, and in return will share in the profits and losses on an equal basis. They will jointly guarantee the business’s funding obligations to litigants, including adverse cost exposure.
Bentham Europe Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bentham Ventures, and will identify, evaluate and recommend funding opportunities to the joint venture. IMF will provide “certain consultancy services” for a fee.
John Walker, managing director of Bentham Europe and one of IMF’s founders, said: “We are looking to reinvent the market for third-party litigation funding with a streamlined approach to choosing cases and the financial ability to fund the largest multi-party claims. Having an experienced litigator, like Jeremy, with significant experience of the UK market will be a direct benefit to the law firms and the in-house community we will be working closely with.”
Mr Marshall added: “The opportunities are significant and I look forward to developing the European market as we fund major commercial litigation and arbitration claims.”
Bentham IMF’s annual results to 30 June 2014, published last month, showed that it recovered £42m from investments that completed in the year, of which £14.4 was net gain. Overall the company’s profit in 2013-14 was £5.5m. Over the 159 cases it has completed in its history, IMF has generated a gross return on every Australian dollar invested of 2.73 times.
Of the 159 cases, there were 104 settlements, 14 wins, six losses and 35 withdrawals. IMF is currently invested in 30 active cases with a combined claim value of £1.15bn.