BLM’s fast growing Commercial Advisory team adds white collar expertise
BLM, the UK and Ireland's leading insurance and commercial risk law firm, has invested in its Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth practice with the appointment of Iskander Fernandez as partner, bringing a wealth of experience in advising and representing clients with white collar crime issues.
It marks the third expansion in the team's services in as many months, following the appointment of private wealth specialist James Beresford as partner in June, and England and Wales family law expert Daniel Jones in July. Launched in October 2017, BLM's Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth team has increased its client portfolio advising household names such as Sainsbury's, Urban Splash and Russell Hobbs.
Joining from international law firm CMS, Iskander has over 15 years' experience advising corporates and high-net worth individuals in a variety of white collar crime proceedings involving allegations of bribery, corruption, fraud and money laundering.
Iskander's recent representation of Skansen Interiors Limited saw the UK’s first, and currently only, contested prosecution under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, where the 'adequate procedures' defence was raised for the first time. Iskander's other high profile cases have included advising two former directors in the SFO's investigation of grocery giant, Tesco, and advising and representing senior Gambian diplomats as part of a multi-million-pound VAT fraud prosecution.
Commenting on the growth of the team, BLM senior partner, Matthew Harrington, said: “The Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth team has gone from strength-to-strength since its launch, in great part due to a sustained effort to diversify its offer to the market. With the current challenges facing the legal sector, we've identified areas of investment across the firm that will ensure BLM stays ahead of the curve and help to unlock new markets. Adding private wealth, family law and now white collar expertise to its services, in such a short period of time, demonstrates the versatile approach of this team and their drive for growth.
"Iskander has enjoyed considerable success in an arena that attracts a high level of scrutiny, particularly in the media, with businesses and individuals increasingly seeking support on compliance, anti-bribery and corruption training. We are delighted to have Iskander on board to broaden our existing practice areas."
Siri Siriwardene, BLM's head of Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth, said: "Iskander's experience expands our scope to deliver new specialist services to existing and new clients in line with the firm's client-centric approach. Iskander's arrival will ensure that we can meet the strong level of demand from our clients as we head into the next quarter of 2018. We're thrilled to welcome him to BLM. He added: "We're seeing effective collaboration across practice areas. It is thanks to all at BLM that this team has been able to integrate and develop so rapidly."