James Phelan


+353 1 489 6590
james.phelan@williamfry.com vCard Linkedin

James Phelan is a Partner in William Fry's Asset Management & Investment Funds Department, specialising in advising asset managers in relation to the establishment, regulation and ongoing management of a wide variety of investment funds in both the UCITS and alternative arenas.  He has specialist experience in advising in relation to the establishment of both physical and synthetic ETFs and has also been involved in providing detailed guidance to fund directors in relation to corporate governance standards and the Central Bank of Ireland’s fitness and probity regime.

Significant projects include:

  • the recent establishment of a range of fundamentally-weighted, smart beta fixed income UCITS ETFs, the first such products to be listed on the London Stock Exchange;
  • advising one of the world’s leading ETF issuers in relation to the ongoing expansion of their Irish UCITS ETF platform, with the addition of a range of new sub-funds tracking mainstream indices;
  • establishment of an award winning ETF designed to provide exposure, via the RQFII investment programme, to the "A-share" equity markets in China;
  • advising a leading UK mutual fund manager in relation to the establishment of a range of infrastructure, emerging market debt and managed volatility funds.

 According to Legal 500 2020, one client notes that James "is a vital resource. He can provide a commercial perspective, combined with a deep understanding of the rules." James is considered "an invaluable source of support, always willing to go the extra mile for us and his advice is always sensible and on point. Exceptional understanding of the regulatory landscape and an ability to convey legal knowledge in a genuinely useful way."

"We can be confident that James will push the boat out for us when called on to do so. He has an excellent understanding of the regulatory environment in which our business operates." One source adds: "James is a personable, friendly guy, as are all of his team. He is highly thought of across the board." Legal 500 2020

According to IFLR 1000 2020, James "provides very thorough and sensible advice to us and has a keen eye for detail, puts the interests of his clients before all else. He provides great stewardship to the William Fry team and provides pragmatic advice in a clear, timely and responsive manner."

According to Legal 500 EMEA 2017, James has ‘a keen eye for detail’.