In a rare partner exit from Allen & Overy (A&O), the firm’s head of non-contentious financial services regulation Bob Penn has quit to join Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in London.
The hire is a significant move for the Wall Street-bred law firm, reflecting the robust demand for senior regulatory counsel in Europe. Penn leaves his role heading A&O’s financial services London team to join Cleary as a partner.
A&O’s City-based banking regulatory team will be co-led by partners Damian Carolan and Etay Katz. The firm also promoted Kate Sumpter to partner in the team from 1 May.
Penn departs from A&O after 17 years having joined in 1999 and being made up to partner in 2007. His experience covers the full range of non-contentious financial services regulation, advising banks, asset managers, market infrastructure providers and financial institutions on national and international regulation.
He also led A&O’s UK and European financial services reform agenda, including advising on revisions to capital requirements, the introduction of recovery and resolution plans and crisis management and retail ring-fencing for banks. Penn notably represented HSBC on its structural reforms to ring-fencing reforms in the UK and EU.
London Cleary partner Simon Jay said: ‘He brings a fantastic wealth of knowledge in UK and EU financial services regulation. Bob’s appointment will enhance our ability to offer bank and other clients in the financial services industry a single source of the highest quality advice across the EU and the US.’
‘Following the financial crisis, regulatory developments in the US, UK and EU have had a profound impact on our clients,’ argued Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy. ‘Bob’s joining us in London will cement our position as the only leading firm with a truly transatlantic financial services regulatory practice.’
An A&O spokesperson commented: ‘We would like to thank [Penn] for the contribution he has made. We have a strong banking regulatory capability in London. Our banking regulatory practice includes over 30 partners and 80 associates globally, recently bolstered by Charlotte Robins, who will join our Asia-Pacific team this summer.’
The appointment is a rare City recruit for Cleary, despite the New York-based law firm having built a well-regarded European network, with a strong reputation for securities and antitrust work. The firm currently has 117 lawyers in its London arm.
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