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Baker McKenzie grows Life Sciences practice in New York

The co-chairman of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ life sciences practice, Randall Sunberg, and partner Denis Segota are moving to Baker McKenzie in the Big Apple.

Sunberg and Segota will join Baker McKenzie as partners in its health care industry group and its North America corporate and securities practice, the firm announced Tuesday. Though they are officially members of the firm’s New York office, they will operate out of the life sciences corridor in Princeton, New Jersey.

“The international platform is just unbeatable [at Baker McKenzie],” said Sunberg, who will now serve as co-head of the firm’s North America life sciences practice.

Sunberg joined Morgan Lewis in 1999 from Shook, Hardy & Bacon and has worked with clients on M&A and private financing transactions for more than 35 years.

He works with life sciences clients from biotech startups to multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies on complex collaborations, joint ventures and licensing transactions, as well as equity investments and alternative financing arrangements. He also works with clients on contractual arrangements for drug discovery, development and manufacturing.

It was the focus on health care and life sciences worldwide that drove the pair to make the jump to Baker McKenzie, Sunberg said. From the number of cross-border transactions to the firm’s role in M&A and emerging markets across the globe, Baker McKenzie offered “a compelling story for us and for our ability to serve our clients on an even larger platform,” he added.

And Baker McKenzie’s presence in these emerging markets provides a strategic advantage for some of the pair’s clients looking to access services in those locations.

“Our pharmaceutical clients are focusing on growth and they’re looking at emerging markets for [that] growth,” said Segota, who spent nearly 20 years at Morgan Lewis advising companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors on joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing and other arrangements promoting the research and development of new products.

Segota advises clients on M&A and private financing transactions, working with both financial institutions and companies in royalty monetizations, venture capital and other private equity financings.

“Randy and Denis are trusted advisers to companies across the life sciences sector, from biotech startups to global pharmaceutical companies,” Alan Zoccolillo, chairman of Baker McKenzie’s North America health care industry group, said in a statement.

“As health care companies look to grow in a hypercompetitive environment, they need pragmatic, business-focused solutions. Randy and Denis bring deep industry and technical knowledge that will immediately benefit our team and our clients.”

Sunberg said there is a lot of client overlap already between the firm and his and Segota’s practice, but the pair will now bring the licensing and collaboration expertise to representations on a more global scale.

“We are really looking forward to working with the rest of the health care team at Baker McKenzie to build [the practice] and make it even stronger and have a really purposeful approach toward adding elements where we think we need additional expertise to better serve our clients on their worldwide transactions,” he added.

The pair worked with Sabina Lippman and Vijay Luthra of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers in their move.

The addition of Sunberg and Segota is one of the first major hires stateside for Baker McKenzie, which earlier this year added White & Case M&A attorney Peter Lu as a partner and head of the firm’s China group in London. The firm also added consultants Casey Flaherty and Jae Um as director of legal project management and director of pricing strategy, respectively, as the firm looks to re-engineer the delivery of its services.

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Trianz recognised as ‘Best Management Consulting Firm’ by Forbes

Trianz, a global digital transformation consulting and technology services firm, has achieved its second consecutive year recognition as one of ‘America’s Best Management Consulting Firms’ by Forbes in its 4th annual listing comprising 218 firms.

This year’s list, like last year’s, spotlights Trianz once again for its best-in-class advisory excellence. Forbes collaborated with the business intelligence and analytics company, Statista, to assess firms’ performances.

Trianz’ business theme, ‘Digital Evolution Simplified,’ reflects its commitment to helping organisations across industries overcome dynamic digital age challenges through simple, yet effective, techniques. The firm collaborates with business and technology leaders to transition their organisations into digital enterprises by delivering industry-leading Cloud, Analytics, Digital, Infrastructure, and Security solutions, in addition to superior Managed Services that ensure long-term success. The firm’s unique delivery model, collaborative consulting approach, and its ability to deploy impactful, game-changing technologies together provide superior value to clients.

The 2019 list was tallied based on a two-phase study comprising an expert survey (partners and project managers from management consultancies) and a client survey covering senior executives, who have previously worked with management consultancies.

Expressing their delight, Co-Presidents at Trianz, Rollen Roberson and Ganeshan Venkateshwaran said, “Being named among ‘America’s Best Management Consulting Firms’ in this year’s Forbes/ Statista list makes us proud and happy indeed. The pride comes from this honor being reflective of our clients’ and peers’ favorable opinion of us. The happiness, of course, is a function of our value proposition being re-validated by Forbes / Statista for two straight years — that we are delivering on our commitment to create meaningful business impact.”

“At Trianz, we hold receiving objective feedback in high esteem. Especially since it motivates us to constantly drive successful business results and a competitive advantage for our clients. Being ranked in a list of such stature for two consecutive years is truly encouraging,” added Prashant Bhavaraju, Vice President for Marketing at Trianz.

About Trianz

Trianz simplifies digital evolutions through effective strategies and excellence in execution. Collaborating with business and technology leaders, we help formulate and execute operational strategies to achieve intended business outcomes by bringing the best of consulting, technology experiences and execution models. Powered by knowledge, research, and perspectives, we enable clients to transition to a digital enterprise by leveraging Cloud, Analytics, Digital, Infrastructure and Security paradigms. With offices in Silicon Valley, Washington DC Metro, Rosemont, Chicago, Austin, Boston, Denver, Irvine, Raleigh, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Dubai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai, we serve Fortune 1000 and emerging organisations across industries globally. For more information, visit https://www.trianz.com/

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Synpulse widens circle of Partners

International management consultancy Synpulse has two new partners. The appointments are a result of strong growth in the company’s business with banks and insurers in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Synpulse has appointed Prasanna Venkatesan and Salomon Wettstein as new partners, according to a news release on Thursday. The firm also announced that Yves Roesti has joined its team of managing partners.

Roesti is based in Singapore and responsible for Synpulse’s consulting business in Asia. He studied computer science and economics at the University of Zurich and started his career at Synpulse in Zurich in 2006. Since his relocation to Singapore in 2008, he has led the expansion of Synpulse’s consulting business in Asia.

Promoting Digital Roadmaps

In 2015, he was appointed partner. Under his leadership, Synpulse grew the team in Asia to 150 consultants across three key markets – Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. In particular, Roesti has been promoting banking operating model transformations and digital roadmaps.

Wettstein joined Synpulse in 2011. He holds a Master in Computational Science and Engineering at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Wettstein heads the Hong Kong office and oversees the banking practice in the Greater China region. He manages strategic business and technology transformations for clients in that region and is part of the global Operational Excellence leadership team.

Consulting Private Banks

Venkatesan also started his career at Synpulse in 2011 and is based in Singapore. He holds an MBA from the Nanyang University of Technology (NTU) in Singapore. He specializes in consulting for the private banking sector in the areas of advisory excellence, large scale transformation and leads the regulatory, risk and compliance practice in Asia.

Since its founding in 1996, Synpulse has supported banks and insurers along the entire value chain – that is from the development of strategies and their operational realization to technical implementation and handover. Synpulse stands out due to the industry expertise, passion and commitment of its more than 350 employees. The firm has offices in Zurich, Geneva, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Bratislava, Vienna, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and London.

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Letitia James wins New York attorney general race

Letitia James won the race for New York attorney general on Tuesday, setting her up to become a key legal combatant to President Donald Trump’s administration.

James, the New York City public advocate, was part of a Democratic sweep of New York’s state-wide elected offices along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who all won re-election on Tuesday.

She defeated Republican Keith Wofford, a private attorney who was originally from Buffalo and now lives in Manhattan, and three third-party candidates. The Associated Press call the race at about 11 p.m.

James, 60, will become the first African American woman to be elected to a state-wide office in New York.

DiNapoli, meanwhile, thwarted a Republican challenge from Jonathan Trichter, a financial expert and former Democrat.

James was the favourite to win the seat that opened up when now-former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned earlier this year after The New Yorker published accounts from multiple women who said Schneiderman physically abused them.

Barbara Underwood was appointed to finish Schneiderman’s term but did not run for a full term.

A former New York City councilwoman, James vowed to continue the Attorney General’s Office’s aggressive posture with the Trump administration, which has resulted in more than 100 legal actions challenging federal decisions or actions, including Trump’s policies on immigration and climate change

James won a four-way Democratic primary in September to advance to Tuesday’s general election.

Wofford, who specialises in bankruptcy law, had accused James of being too cosy with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other Democratic leaders, vowing to be an independent force in office.

James had about 63 percent of the vote with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

In a statement, Wofford thanked his supporters and wished James well.

“I wish Letitia James the best of luck as New York State attorney general and hope she will be an independent voice of law and order for the state of New York,” he said.

In the comptroller’s race, DiNapoli successfully won a third full term. He was first appointed to the position in 2007.

Trichter, a finance expert, challenged DiNapoli’s handling of the state’s $200 billion pension fund. He was a first-time candidate for office who struggled to raise money and air advertisements, leaving him unknown to most New York voters, according to public-opinion polls.

In a victory statement, DiNapoli thanked New Yorkers for electing him.

“With their renewed support, I will continue to guard the taxpayers of this state against waste and corruption and push to make government more accountable, efficient and transparent,” DiNapoli said.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting, DiNapoli had about 68 percent of the vote.

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London loses top financial centre ranking to New York

London has been replaced by New York as the world’s most attractive financial centre, a survey has indicated, as Brexit prompts banks to shift jobs out of the city to keep access to Europe’s single market.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU poses the biggest challenge to the City of London‘s finance industry since the 2007-2009 global crisis, since it may mean banks and insurers lose access to the world’s biggest trading bloc.

New York took first place, followed by London, Hong Kong and Singapore in the Z/Yen global financial centres index, which ranks 100 centres on factors such as infrastructure and access to quality staff.

London‘s score fell by eight points from six months ago, the biggest decline among the top contenders. The survey’s authors said this reflected the uncertainty around Britain’s departure next year.

“We are getting closer and closer to exit day and we still don’t know whether London will be able to trade with all the other European financial centres,” Mark Yeandle, co-creator of the index, said.

“The fear of losing business to other centres is driving the slight decline and people are concerned about London’s competitiveness.”

Since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, some of the world’s most powerful finance companies have started moving staff from London to countries that will remain in the bloc to preserve the existing cross-border flow of trading.

Financial services firms, which account for about 12 per cent of Britain’s economic output and pay more tax than any other industry, potentially have a lot to lose from the end of unfettered access to the EU.

About 5,000 roles are expected to be shifted from London or created in the EU due to Brexit by March, a Reuters study published earlier this year found.

The head of the City of London predicted in July that 3,500 to 12,000 financial jobs would go because of Brexit in the short-term and more might disappear later.

Asian competitors are closing in, with Hong Kong only three points behind London, the survey found.

Many London executives have warned the biggest threats to London are not from other European centres but from global competitors, such as New York and Hong Kong.

The rankings, which are based on nearly 2,500 respondents working in the industry, provide a twice-yearly guide to the relative performance of financial centres globally.

The number of banks saying they plan to set up new EU subsidiaries after Brexit has picked up in the past year. Most major US, British and Japanese banks said they would build up operations in Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin.

Other European centres moved up in the global rankings. Zurich rose to ninth place from 16th six months ago and Frankfurt to 10th from 20th, while Amsterdam climbed to 35th place from 50th.

“London and New York have long vied for the top spot of this index and the uncertainty around the future shape of Brexit is likely to be a factor in their latest switch in positions,” said Miles Celic, chief executive of the lobbying group TheCityUK. “In a competitive world we cannot afford complacency.”

A Bank of England official expressed optimism on Wednesday about the future.