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Pinsent Masons buys majority stake in compliance technology

'Our aim is to lead disruptive change in the market rather than be defined by it,' says Richard Foley

27 July 2015

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Pinsent Masons is making a "significant investment" in Cerico, a cloud-based platform which automates compliance processes for clients.

From 1 August 2015, the international law firm will take a majority stake in the business, which it launched with IT consultancy Campbell Nash two years ago as a joint venture.

"Through new products and technologies such as Cerico, SmartDelivery and Vario our aim is to lead disruptive change in the market rather than be defined by it," said senior partner Richard Foley.

In spring 2013, the firm launched freelance lawyer service 'Vario' to undertake client assignments ranging from fixed-term projects to maternity cover.

In June 2013, it invested in Cerico as part of its efforts to improve client services.

Cerico has since secured contracts from ProServ, Electricity North West, Aggregate Industries, Clyde Blowers Capital portfolio companies and Qinterra.

The platform enables businesses in the UK to ensure compliance with legislation like the Bribery Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Clients' suppliers and service providers undergo "a thorough and regular compliance due diligence process in a quick, cost effective and auditable way," the firm said in a statement.

"The system 'red flags' significant legal risks posed for the client company and supplier and allows the purchase of products - such as e-learning or template compliance policies - to remedy some issues."

The expectation is that clients will instruct Pinsents to advise them on any substantive legal issues which arise.

Richard Masters will become executive chairman of Cerico, which will move to the firm's Glasgow premises.

Masters was formerly managing partner of Scottish law firm McGrigors, which merged with Pinsents on 1 May 2012.

"We have been in start-up mode over the past 24 months, and during that time have seen real and sustained demand for a solution which takes the heavy lifting out of the compliance burden for general counsel," he said.

Commented Cerico's chief executive, Jim Armstrong: "This investment will allow us to take the business to the next level in terms of further development of the platform."

Under the deal, all residual rights in the technology will transfer to Pinsent Masons.




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