Dudek will join the firm this August as counsel in the corporate department and as a member of the capital markets practice and the firm’s national office. He will initially be based in New York but is set to transfer to Washington.
Dudek departs the SEC after 26 years. He was appointed to head up the corporate finance office 23 years ago, which serves as the point of contact for non-US companies or foreign private issuers (FPIs) and governments that register securities with the SEC.
Dudek said: “I am adding to a well established practice and my focus on foreign clients will fill a niche. I hope to work with foreign companies, especially in the UK and Europe.”
At the SEC, between a quarter and a third of listings that he worked on were European.
Alex Cohen, co-chair of Latham’s national office – which deals with US securities issues – said: “It is fair to call Paul Dudek the man in SEC regulation for foreign private issuers. He ran the office at the SEC with primary responsibility for that group of companies for the past quarter century.”
The US has the largest capital markets in the world. It is a key market for FPIs and foreign governments, whether they access the public capital markets through a US listing, or the private, institutional markets through a Rule 144A offering.
Around 900 of the 9,000 public companies registered with the SEC are FPIs.
At Latham, Dudek will advise clients who are dual listed in the US, said Cohen. “Any banks, or other kinds of financial institutions, private equity funds and foreign governments, looking to raise money in the US,” he added.
There has been an uptick in the number of European companies looking to access US capital markets during the past few years, according to Cohen and Dudek.
For example, in 2013 Latham won a lead role on Manchester United’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, ending long-running speculation as to where the football club would make its stock market debut.
Latham advised Man United on its submission to the SEC as part of the listing, while Davis Polk & Wardwell advised the banks.
“Certainly over the last couple of years there has been a small increase in European companies coming to the US markets,” said Dudek.
It is uncertain to what extent this will continue or how the UK’s Brexit result on 23 June may affect the trend. However, Cohen said that he was “very hopeful” that it would continue, “notwithstanding Brexit”.
He added: “The US remains the largest and deepest capital market in the world and those fundamental dynamics haven’t changed.”