Travers Smith LLP has announced today that Simon Witney, one of the private equity market's best known lawyers for the past two decades, has joined the firm as a senior consultant. With his unique mix of experience in regulatory, transactional and fund formation disciplines, he will become a member of the firm's team specialising in servicing clients in the international private capital market across those practice areas.
A prominent member of the UK and European private equity communities, Simon has served in senior positions at trade associations over a number of years. He is currently a member of the Council of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), which is responsible for the BVCA's strategic direction and oversight, and previously chaired its Legal and Accounting Committee. He is a past Chair of Invest Europe’s Tax, Legal and Regulatory Committee and a current member of its Professional Standards Committee and Financial Services-Regulatory Working Group. He has also been a member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association’s Legal & Regulatory Council.
Throughout his career, Simon has been a prolific writer and a regular speaker and commentator on company law, corporate governance and regulatory matters, and has advised private equity clients as well as the UK Government on a wide range of fund and transactional matters. In 2017 he completed a PhD at the London School of Economics focused on the corporate governance of private equity-backed companies. He is a Visiting Professor in Practice in the Law Department at The London School of Economics and Political Science, where he also teaches a course on private equity law on the LLM programme.
Simon will join Travers Smith from Debevoise & Plimpton where he has worked since 2017. Prior to that he was a partner at SJ Berwin between 2001 and 2013 and a consultant at King Wood & Mallesons between 2013 and 2017.
Starting with teams of transactional lawyers and financial services regulatory lawyers dedicated to the private equity sector in the 1990s, Travers Smith now advises many asset owners and asset managers in the private equity, alternative credit, real estate and infrastructure sectors and has a market-leading cross-practice team of 43 partners representing clients in the private capital sector who manage over US$4 trillion of assets. Through its consolidated approach to providing sophisticated legal services, across transactional M&A and private equity, infrastructure, asset management, fund formation and fund transactions, regulatory, tax, finance, derivatives, structured products, operational risk and sustainable finance (ESG), the team is able to combine cross-disciplinary specialisms to provide holistic support to these private capital clients on important matters both for the funds that they operate and for their own businesses, as well as on the structuring and raising of new private capital funds. The firm's relationships with asset owners, such as pension schemes and family offices, are also very strong.
Senior Partner Kathleen Russ commented:
"The private capital market is undergoing a significant change. Prompted by the current economic outlook, many asset owners and asset managers are increasingly looking to adopt more diversified strategies for deploying their capital. At the same time, private capital providers are becoming particularly focused on sustainable finance, responsible investment and stewardship. For some, this translates into impact investing. As a result, now more than ever, providers of private capital are seeking truly multi-faceted and sophisticated support from their legal advisers to help them navigate the complex issues they face.
We believe that with its strong and cohesive platform, Travers Smith is perfectly placed to respond to market developments and client demand. As a result of our private capital market focus and collaborative ethos, many of my colleagues at Travers Smith have had the pleasure of working closely with Simon Witney over the years. Having him now join our firm demonstrates our commitment to our clients and will further consolidate our market-leading presence in this sector.
As one of the most prominent practitioners and thinkers in the field of private equity, regularly advising on transactional, fund, regulatory and sustainability matters, Simon is a perfect fit for our practice and I am delighted that he is joining the firm."
Simon Witney said: "I have known and worked with the market-leading private capital team at Travers Smith for many years and am honoured to be joining them.
As business leaders and investors continue to embrace the inexorable move to more sustainable strategies and responsible business practices, I strongly believe that an active ownership model will thrive. In a world that increasingly expects business to play its part in creating a fairer and better society, private capital will be a force for good as economies recover from the COVID crisis.
I am looking forward to working with the team at Travers Smith as they help their clients to rise to the substantial challenges of the decade ahead."