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Cleary Gottlieb lands A&O FinReg head Bob Penn in rare City hire

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.

For more on US firms in London click here for our 2016 Global London report.