Burford Capital has made a significant statement of its intent to grow its stake in the UK third-party funding market by hiring Nick Rowles-Davies as a managing director to generate new business.
Mr Rowles-Davies previously led the new business and underwriting activities at funder Vannin Capital.
An experienced litigator and an accredited mediator, he was previously in private practice, and headed the dispute resolution practice at London boutique commercial firm Bridgehouse Partners.
AIM-listed Burford is the world’s biggest funder and in 2012 added after-the-event insurance to its portfolio by buying First Assist. Last week it reported a 25% increase  in profits before tax for 2013, after recording significant increases in income on both sides of the business.
Christopher Bogart, Burford’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have Nick join Burford in this important role to help address the significant interest in litigation finance offerings which we have seen in the UK. I have known Nick for some time and am enthusiastic about what he will be able to achieve at Burford.”
Mr Rowles-Davies said: “I am very pleased to be joining the leading player in the litigation finance space. Burford’s capitalisation and its institutional resources provide the ideal platform for me to continue to grow the company’s presence in the UK market.”
Meanwhile, Vannin – which claims to be the world’s largest private equity-backed funder – has brought in Appleby Global partner Nick Verardi as a Vannin board member and commercial director of Bramden Investments, the Isle of Man-based private equity house which backs Vannin.
He is joined by Chris Smith, who has moved from London firm Olswang, where he was a senior associate in the corporate team. As well as working for Vannin, he will be Bramden’s investment manager.
The company launched in 2010 with an initial £8m investment pool but now has a £100m-plus facility. It is currently handling litigation in 10 countries with more than £5.8bn of quantum under management.
Mr Verardi said: “The litigation funding landscape in the UK and across the globe is developing constantly and that creates unique opportunities and challenges for us and our clients, opportunities that I believe Vannin can seize.”