The US leader has just added its third finance partner in London in one month, with GE Capital Real Estate counsel Quentin Gwyer joining as a partner in the firm’s new real estate finance practice.
The move comes hot on the heels of the addition of Dechert real estate finance partner Jeremy Trinder and Ashurst global co-head of regulation Rob Moulton.
With Trinder, Latham entered the real estate finance space in London for the first time. Moulton, meanwhile, joins the financial institutions group in the City, having been a partner at Ashurst since 2010.
Hamilton said: “We don’t know what is going to happen but if London became a more distressed market we are well hedged, because it is work we can also do. If there’s any knock-on effect on Europe as well, we are also well placed.”
The pair, who used to work together at White & Case, will focus on “the more complex end of the market”, said Trinder, highlighting “non-performing loan portfolio acquisitions and financings”, particularly in the more distressed jurisdictions, but also elsewhere in Europe.
The two-partner City real estate finance practice is not expected to expand significantly, but Hamilton said it will offer fresh opportunities for the firm. “If you look at our finance practice, the thing we have most people doing is pure leveraged finance and project finance, and a smaller number of people doing structured finance. Real estate finance is a real specialism – there are not many at the top end of the market.”
In the wake of Brexit, Trinder expects a rise in US investment into the UK real estate finance market due to the weak pound and low interest rate environment. “Some sponsors are looking at this as an opportunity, particularly US investors. The potential hiatus does create opportunities.”
And though magic circle firms may expect to be in prime position for UK government work relating to Brexit, Hamilton says he expects to win a slice of this regulatory work. “One thing we do have is a very strong US regulatory practice and we are adding to that side in London. We are advising clients on issues to do with European rules and financial institutions; that sort of stuff needs regulatory expertise. Rob Moulton links up nicely with our people in the US.”