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09 April 2020

LCM hires construction veteran as it prepares to transfer leadership from Sydney to London

Former Gowling WLG partner James Foster signs up while CEO gears up for UK transfer

By Ben Rigby

Portrait of James Foster

James Foster will be focusing on portfolio funding deals

Litigation Capital Management (LCM) has bolstered its London team with the hire of a senior arbitration and construction disputes specialist from Augusta Ventures as it prepares to transfer its management team to the UK from Sydney.

James Foster is joining the AIM-listed litigation funder after less than a year as head of international arbitration at Augusta, which he joined in April last year from Gowling WLG.

The appointment comes hard on the heels of LCM’s announcement last week that its management team is relocating to London to pursue its ‘strategy of corporate portfolio transactions in the much larger economies of the UK, Europe and North America’.

Foster specialises in construction disputes having spent 17 years in Gowling WLG’s Dubai office, where he was head of construction disputes.

He will be charged with helping to expand LCM’s portfolio funding deals with companies and will work alongside EMEA head of underwriting Tobey Butcher.

He will predominantly work on underwriting, with some origination woven in, across a range of business sectors including construction.

An LCM spokesman said: “Our construction book is already very strong in terms of both single cases and corporate portfolios.

“However, given the construction sector operates on high volume and low margins, which particularly suits the corporate portfolio model, James will add significant value in this area.”

Meanwhile, chief executive Patrick Maloney is preparing to relocate from Sydney as soon as global travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic ease, while the firm has also appointed a London-based finance director to replace existing CFO, Stephen Conrad, who has elected to stay in Australia.

Mary Gangemi is joining from Irish- and UK-listed IFG Group, where she was group financial controller.

Maloney said: “With the marked progress we are making in our geographic expansion strategy outside Australia, it is logical that our executive management team relocate to London.

“Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to work more closely together in one of the world's pre-eminent financial centres and the convenience of the time zone, importantly we will also be at the centre of our key growth area of corporate portfolio investments. “

He added that the funder remained committed to Australia and Asia-Pacific regions and would continue to grow in that region.   

Last month, LCM unveiled a strong set of half-year figures with income up by 105% to A$24.1m ($14.2m) against a 113% increase in gross profits to A$12.2m ($7.2m) and completed the first close of a new $150m fund, marking its return to managing third-party funds.

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