EUROPE - A new law firm has been set up specifically to advise European institutions such as pension funds on the structured investment product market.

It’s headed up by former Allen & Overy partner David Doble, who believes there’s a huge gap in the market for unconflicted advice in the fast-moving and increasingly complex field.

He said investors are “absolutely” at a disadvantage in terms of the advice they can get, compared to the investment banks which provide the products. “They don’t have the depth of expertise the originators have,” he told IPE.

The firm, David Doble Solicitors, has advised on six deals so far, with a typical value of between €50m and €100m. There was “quite a volume of institutions coming to us” he said – although he declined to name the clients. “There’s a mix: pension funds, savings banks, insurance companies.”

“We have pitched this at the European markets,” said his colleague, chief executive Stephen Turvey.

Doble reckons the firm’s edge will come because it will specialise in only advising investors, not arrangers. He and his team will use their experience in the market to spot the potential dangers lurking in the up to 1,000-pages of documentation that is sometimes involved.

“These things can end in tears,” Doble said. “It’s the ‘what-ifs’ that we ask.” He said experts at investment banks put products together that perhaps even their superiors may not understand.

Fees range from €10,000 to around €40,000.