Litigation funder floats on Channel Island Stock Exchange
Edward Machin, Commercial Dispute Resolution, March 22, 2012
Third-party litigation funder Argentum Capital has launched on the Channel Island Stock Exchange, four months after the Royal Court in Jersey ruled that funding agreements will be recognised by the island’s judiciary.
The London-headquartered firm, which has been providing disputes funding since 2009, has raised gross process of GBP 5.5 million, while the issue will consist of 5,000,000 class B shares.
Sir David Keene, Argentum’s non-executive chairman, said the move will provide a “reputable and highly credible platform from which the company can deliver on its long-term growth strategies.”
Noting that litigation funding is now an “increasingly important tool for the legal community,” Keene said Argentum represents an “investment into a growth asset class that is becoming an integral part of the UK judicial system.”
Earlier this month, ATE insurance broker TheJudge announced it was entering what is becoming an increasingly crowded market, while banking group Investec launched a litigation funding arm in November 2011.
The following month, Burford Capital – the world’s largest funder – acquired ATE provider Firstassist Legal in what the company said was a “logical expansion,” given that “pending legislation will tilt the playing field still further in favour of litigation funding.”
Burford’s co-founder and former chairman, Selvyn Seidel, who now heads up Manhattan and London-based funder Fulbrook Management, says the Argentum float is “a boon for both the company and the wider funding industry alike.
"While not a big listing in amount, it reflects, I think, a welcome mat that various jurisdictions will be putting out for funders and the industry, adding diversity and opportunity to the industry and market."
Seidel says it is “also fascinating to see that the Channel Islands is taking the third-party funding sector seriously as an asset for the region itself, attracting business and activity to the region. I’m sure we will see other jurisdictions follow suit in the future.”
Harbour Litigation Funding’s Brett Carron also welcomed the news, saying he was “delighted for Argentum and the successful completion of their capital raise.”
He adds: “The Channel Islands is a good jurisdiction for listed funds generally, and is a logical place to list.”