Legal Business Blogs

Online service take two: Allen & Overy re-launches e-business

Allen & Overy (A&O), which recently has set the pace for providing alternative service delivery models such as its PeerPoint flexible lawyer initiative, has re-launched its online derivatives service in a bid to appeal to a broader set of clients.

The online service, now dubbed ‘aosphere’, will offer compliance and risk management solutions and cross-border legal information as more clients globally are facing regulatory obligations. The re-launch comes as the firm aims to improve previous attempts of creating an online service that offers generic, low cost and accessible advice.

The re-branded site aims to tap into the firm’s wider client base, including asset managers and corporate clients, as well as financial institutions, and offer a wider range of services including G20 reporting requirements, derivatives clearing, shareholding disclosure, marketing restrictions and cross border data transfer.

‘US asset manager clients is where we are growing the fastest as compliance with regulatory frameworks outside of the US grows,’ says Marc-Henri Chamay, chief executive at aosphere. ‘In the last two to three years, we have also seen a rise in the number of sovereign institutions, banks and funds buying services in Asia.’

The team of 25 lawyers and support staff are based in London and Belfast and the service itself runs on an annual subscription fee paid by the clients. Over 50% of the subscription revenues come from non-derivatives products while the overall average subscription renewal rate stands at 97%.

A&O first launched the Derivatives Services in 2001 to sell a generic service that focused on the over-the-counter derivatives market with products such as netalytics and CSAnalytics but it wasn’t until the financial crisis that the service started to develop. Now, over 200 clients use the service compared to just 40 in 2008 – this mainly includes financial institutions but the firm is seeing a growing number of funds and asset managers take up the service.

‘Some clients used to do this themselves in-house. And then, the financial crisis hit and with it the pressure on budgets. People now want better solutions and the idea that “I can do this internally” has disappeared,’ Chamay added.

A&O is one of the most active from its peer group to experiment with new models, with the firm particularly getting noticed for challenging orthodoxy when it launched high-end contract service Peerpoint in 2013.

Other innovative models that seem to be paying off include the firm’s Belfast legal and support services centre, which helped reduce the firm’s operating costs by £15m through greater efficiency savings.