GERMANY - US law firm Schiffrin & Barroway is launching a service for German-speaking institutional investors to help them monitor corporate governance at firms where they invest.

S&B said the service, known as "securities tracker", would enable the investors to better monitor such issues as how much board members at companies are paid or what the stock options of senior managers entail.

"We can also tell the investor whether the company has already been the target of lawsuits alleging corporate misconduct," said Darren Check, partner at S&B and director of institutional relations.

Check added that the service was particularly suited to German-speaking investors active in the US market. "Many need assistance when investing in US companies as they are not very familiar with its corporate laws."

To promote the service, S&B has formed an exclusive alliance with Frankfurt law firm Winheller, which specialises in legal advice for non-profit clients.

Securities tracker will be provided at no cost to German-speaking investors. In the event that the investors want to take legal action against a company, Winheller will represent them on a contingency fee basis.

Stefan Winheller, founder and managing partner of the eponymous firm, said that amid its partnership with S&B, it would increasingly focus on institutional investors other than non-profit organisations. As examples, Winheller cited banks, insurers, asset managers, companies and pension funds.

Based just outside of Philadelphia, S&B specialises in legal advice for institutional clients and is currently representing them in cases against US firms Tyco, Sprint, Delphi and Viacom.

S&B says that in recent years, it has claimed several billions of dollars in damages for its clients.