Asset Management & Investment Funds

William Fry continues to be the Firm of choice for significant and complex funds work in Ireland, consolidating our work with large global players and increasing the number of large asset manager clients.  Our leading position is emphasized both by our client list and through the number of leading expert lawyers at William Fry.  Our leading position reflects our strength and depth of expertise, the experience of our team, as well as the calibre of our clients and the transactions on which we advise.

The Best Funds Lawyer 2015 Award was given to William Fry in recognition of its Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) team’s prominence in the European market and their involvement in nearly every significant ETF deal in recent times. 

William Fry’s Investment Funds team:

  • Is one of the largest dedicated funds teams in Dublin with 9 Partners.   
  • As at 30 June 2016 William Fry advised 526 Irish domiciled funds with in excess of US$329bn of assets under management; 
  • Was the only Irish law firm to grow its market share in Irish funds with a 23% increase in 2014 (Monterey Insights 2014) and developed this further with another 10% increase in 2015.  We saw continued growth in 2016;
  • Has a Blue Chip client base, we advise:
    • 3 of the top 6 ranked promoters/investment managers of Irish domiciled funds by assets;
    • 5 of the 10 largest administrators of Irish domiciled funds by assets;
    • 6 of the 10 largest custodians of Irish domiciled funds by assets;
  • Has unrivalled expertise in the fastest growing investment fund sector (“Exchange Traded Funds”) ETFs;
  • Advises over 80% of all Irish domiciled ETFs with over US$60bn assets under management advising 3 of the top 5 global ETF providers;
  • Is at the forefront of innovation and cutting edge developments: 
    • creating the first Europe wide clearing system for ETFs;
    • the first conversion of an Irish Plc to an ICAV
    • advising on the establishment of an equity fund investing directly in mainland China;
    • advising hedge fund managers on launching some of the first products on Independent AIFM Platforms; 
    • developing passively hedged share class structures in a number of ETFs.
  • Our Partners are all recognised industry leaders in their fields:
  • Tara O’Reilly and Dan Morrissey have served as elected members to the Council of the Irish Funds (“IF”), the fund’s industry association group and Tara was an invited member of the EFAMA ETF working group; and
  • We also serve on 10 separate IF working groups including Legal, Hedge Funds, Private Equity, International Tax, Capital Markets Union and Events, responsible for raising and developing Ireland’s profile as a leading fund domicile.

Recent significant deals include advising:

  • The creation of an entirely new settlement model for ETFs. This was the first structure of its kind and has been adopted by other ETF providers since. 
  • Establised the ICAV and QIAIF investment vehicles for Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate, the successful purchaser on the largest real estate related transaction in the history of the Irish state, Project Jewel, a loan portfolio with a par value of EUR€2.6bn
  • BlackRock Inc on the acquisition of Credit Suisse’s ETF business in Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland to include Credit Suisse’s existing Irish UCITS management company, Credit Suisse Fund Management Company (Ireland) Limited. 
  • Hines GREIT II Ireland Fund Plc on its conversion for a Plc entity, this was the first time that this new legislation was used to effect a conversion of a plc to an ICAV.
  • Citibank Plc on all aspects of converting their custody business to compliance with the AIFMD Depositary Rules
  • Invesco PowerShares on the establishment of a new “Global Buyback Fund” within their PowerShares ETF range.
  • Otus Capital Management Limited on the process of establishing a UCITS umbrella fund in Ireland, the first occasion on which Otus established a UCITS
  • Protégé Partners on their establishment of a sub-fund within a third party AIFM Platform
  • Wisdom Tree on the launch of their first European domiciled funds
  • Barclays Bank plc. on the proposed cross-border merger of a number of its French and Luxembourg UCITS with Barclays Irish domiciled UCITS Multi-Manager platform.
  • Lazard on the establishment of two new funds within their $5.6bn Irish domiciled UCITS platform. 
  • Sands Capital, with $35bn under management, on the establishment in their Irish platform of an emerging markets equity strategy fund, adding to their existing US equity and global equity strategies.  
  • the Irish Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources on the Irish Government’s investment in a newly established, Irish domiciled, Energy Efficiency Fund.
  • US Bancorp the Minneapolis, Minnesota based diversified financial services group (and parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest bank in the US) in relation to the acquisition of Quintillion Limited, the Ireland based alternative fund administration company with USD 18bn in hedge fund assets under administration, for an undisclosed consideration.
  • Kennedy Wilson on the establishment of three property fund platforms through which approximately €750m of Irish property assets and related loans will be acquired
  • Green Property REIT Ventures Limited, the manager of the first REIT established in Ireland, whose shares began trading on the Irish Stock Exchange on 18 July 2013 and raised approximately €310m. The advice related to various  regulatory, stock exchange and commercial matters and was particularly notable for the ground-breaking nature of the transaction, being the first such complex product to launch in Ireland.

Central Bank Updates

View our digest of Q1 2017 Central Bank updates


ESMA Opinion on UCITS Share Classes

ESMA highlights principles to be followed when establishing share classes in UCITS funds


Pressure on for Supervisory Convergence

Continued forward momentum towards regulatory convergence in the asset management space


New Regulations for Fund Administrators, MiFID and Other Investment Firms

On 7 March 2017, the Central Bank published regulations amending and codifying the obligations of investment firms with regard to supervisory, reporting and organisational requirements generally and the outsourcing, organisational, own funds and capital adequacy requirements of fund administrators.


Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive's Effective Date Looms - Are You Ready?

AMLD4 will replace the existing AMLD3 and applies effective 26 June 2017. There are no transitional arrangements under AMLD4, so those affected will need to hit the ground running.


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Department

  • William Fry has been judged to be Ireland’s most innovative law firm and the sixth best innovative European law firm (non-UK) by the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report.The high ranking was awarded to William Fry in recognition of a case studies which drew praise from the judges.  William Fry showed exemplary innovation in Finance by overcoming jurisdictional issues to help create the first Europe-wide clearing house for exchange traded funds. Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report 2015
  • "The team is responsive and the quality of advice is good, backed up by knowledge of the industry as well as the law." Chambers Europe, 2015
  • William Fry ‘balances legal guidance with commercial requirements’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • A highly regarded group, advising leading investment managers, administrators, custodians and global service providers on the gamut of funds work. Offers standout expertise in Dublin's ETF market.  "We really appreciate the breadth of this practice." "The team has great connections with the regulators and was excellent to work with."  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Sources say: “The team helps us to navigate processes successfully. The advice is seamless and the lawyers have a great approach to client service.”  Chambers Europe, 2013
  • Sources say: 'William Fry has a great culture of client service and will tailor its advice to us. It is extremely helpful and it will go into areas that other lawyers often will not.' Chambers Europe, 2012
  • William Fry is ‘at the top of its game’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2012

Team

  • Dan Morrissey
    • Dan Morrissey is an extremely experienced senior partner who has served as a non-executive director for a number of leading fund management platforms. Sources describe him as "a very learned all-rounder in the funds industry, and a leading light with extremely useful knowledge." Chambers Europe, 2016
    • Dan Morrissey has ‘great knowledge.' Legal 500 2015
    • Department head Dan Morrissey is unanimously recognised as a high-profile figure in Ireland's funds market. Chambers Europe, 2014
    • As former chair of the Irish Funds Industry Association, Daniel Morrissey has huge experience and expertise in the area. Chambers Europe, 2013 
    • Department head Daniel Morrissey is lauded for his “fantastic industry knowledge.” Chambers Europe, 2012
  • Tara O'Reilly
    • Clients say: "She always treats every client like they are her biggest client. When we ask for advice she gives it with a clear, definitive view, articulated simply, so you always know where you are and what you need to do." Chambers Europe, 2016
    • Tara O’Reilly is ‘an outstanding practitioner’. Legal 500, 2016
    • Tara O’Reilly is ‘an expert in ETF-related issues’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Tara O'Reilly is described by one source as "highly technical and personable – the complete package." Commentators agree she has "cornered" the ETF market.  Chambers Europe, 2014 
    • Tara O’Reilly, has ‘considerable expertise in ETF-related work’ and is ‘at the top of her game in the Irish funds space’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014
    • Interviewees regard department head Tara O'Reilly as a market-leading specialist in ETFs.  Chambers Europe, 2013
    • Tara O’Reilly has ‘unrivalled expertise’ in exchange traded funds (ETF), and brings ‘both a legal and strategic aspect to her advice’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013
  • Cormac Commins
    • Sources report that "he makes everything seamless. He is a very calm and collected individual who gives sound, practical advice, and takes the time to understand your issues to the same extent an in-house lawyer would." Chambers Europe, 2016
    • Cormac Commins is ‘technically excellent.' Legal 500, 2015
    • Cormac receives praise from sources as a "very personable, down-to-earth and pragmatic lawyer, who understands the law and can explain it to clients." Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Cormac Commins is 'exceptional'. Legal 500, 2014
    • Cormac Commins is praised as "a safe pair of hands." Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Cormac Commins is ‘exceptional’. Legal 500, 2013
  • Ian Dillon
    • “Ian Dillon is an excellent and very experienced lawyer - he understands the industry better than any funds lawyer I have worked with because he has worked in house and as external counsel and has worked in, and is qualified in, multiple jurisdictions.”  IFLR 1000, 2017
    • Clients appreciate him as "someone who comes from the industry, and therefore has great knowledge and understanding," adding: "I have asked him some impossibly difficult questions at late notice and he came back with answers. Really impressed." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • Patricia Taylor
    • Patricia Taylor is ‘a top choice for regulatory advice’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Patricia Taylor is described by one source as "very technically strong and a regulatory expert." Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Patricia Taylor is ‘an innovative and strategic thinker’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014

Key Contacts

Dan Morrissey Partner

Tara O'Reilly Partner

Cormac Commins Partner

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