‘Super’-sizing private equity in Australia

Following the global financial crisis, many critics of the financial services market expected private equity ventures to be the first alternative investment vehicle to disappear. Over the short term, this was true, with investment in private equity vehicles temporarily suspended by many foreign investors as they grappled with issues of liquidity and by Australian institutional investors because of the lack of transparency in private equity funds. However more recently there has been a resurgence of investment into the international private equity market.

Trustees of Australian superannuation schemes and pension funds, in particular, have recently been bullish about private equity in their search for greater alpha. Institutional superannuation trustees hold in excess of two trillion Australian dollars (approximately USD 1.523 trillion) of assets on behalf of Australian superannuants and are beginning to return to direct investment in a more stable post-GFC market.

Historically, there have been two factors which limit the flow of funds from the Australian superannuation industry to international private equity firms. The first, the lack of knowledge or familiarity of Australian trustees with the legal vehicles or structures used to organise private equity investments. The second, the lack of understanding by private equity firms of the Australian regulatory regime which imposes investment restrictions on trustees that can be incompatible with private equity investments.

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New Form I-9 Goes Into Effect On January 21, 2017

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

A revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9, which is required to be filled out for every new employee, was recently issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The new version is here. Among other changes to the form, Section 1 now asks to provide “other last names used” and streamlines the certification for certain foreign nationals.

The current version of the Form I-9 will continue to be valid until January 21, 2017. After this date, employers will be required to use the new form.

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Ny entreprenør havde ikke overtaget mangelshæftelse

I en ny afgørelse slår Landsretten fast, at en ny entreprenør ikke havde overtaget mangelshæftelsen for det arbejde, som den konkursramte entreprenør havde udført. Den nye entreprenør havde udarbejdet sit tilbud om færdiggørelse af entreprisen på baggrund af stadeopgørelse, hvori der intet var anført om manglerne ved entreprisen, som den konkursramte entreprenør havde udført..

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Law Firm of the Future: Are You Ready?

photo-1468645547353-56d325bb57ffWe’ve spent several weeks addressing the potential characteristics that the lawyers and law firms of the future will require in order to be successful. Today, we look at the last two contributors to High Q’s book on Smart Law and the Law Firm of the Future, but I invite all of you to continue to consider these issues and discuss them – particularly give some thought to whether the contributors missed anything you see as essential to law firms in the future and where you see our profession headed.

And what’s next? We’ve been looking at sort of where we’ll be in five or ten years, but not what the incremental steps will be to get there. So what is the first thing that firms and lawyers need to be doing in order to prepare themselves to be an effective law firm of the future? Is it embracing new technologies? Is it a shift in mindset at the leadership levels of the firm (or is that already happening)? Is it bringing in strong teams of professionals, not just lawyers? Are all of those things already taking place to some extent at many firms, and we just need to accelerate them?

What’s next?

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The U.S. Supreme Court May Review the Enforceability of Class Action Waivers

One of the most controversial issues in employment law these days involves the position of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) that an employer violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) when it requires employees to pursue any dispute they have with their employer on an individual, rather than on a class or collective action, basis with other employees. It is a position that has been adopted by two circuit courts and rejected by three—a conflict that suggests that the issue is ripe for U.S. Supreme Court review.

The NLRB has contended that when an employer requires employees to sign an agreement precluding them from bringing or joining a concerted legal claim regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment, the employer deprives them of rights guaranteed under Section 7 of the NLRA to engage in concerted activities for employees’ mutual aid or protection. That right, the proponents argue, includes the right to join together in class and collective litigation to pursue workplace grievances in court or in arbitration.

In making that argument, the NLRB appears to be neglecting the second part of Section 7 (added to the NLRA by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Amendments), which guarantees to employees an equal right to refrain from engaging in concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection. It would seem to follow that, if they have the right to refrain from engaging in concerted activities, employees could waive their right to participate in class and collective actions.

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Election 2016: New Laws Impacting Employers – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week: Election Day brings a wave of new laws affecting employers.

While all eyes were on the battle for the White House, voters in a number of states approved new legislation that will directly impact employers. Arizona and Washington will soon require paid sick leave for workers, as well as minimum wage increases. Medical marijuana is now legal in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota, while recreational use was approved in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The new laws in Arkansas and Maine explicitly prohibit employment discrimination against medical marijuana users.

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Appointing joint attorneys? Here’s a welcome clarification of the law

Lasting Powers of Attorney are an essential wealth management tool for anyone who directly holds UK assets and can name at least someone whom they trust to take decisions on their behalf.  They are often made by individuals concerned about who would continue to make decisions about their finances or their health and welfare if they ever lost capacity to do so themselves.  They are increasingly popular – registrations of Lasting Powers topped 533,000 in the year to end March 2016; a 35% increase from the previous year.  The increasing number of registrations indicates that there are more Lasting Powers in circulation. 

Many clients want to appoint more than one attorney.  The Lasting Power of Attorney legislation permits the appointment of both attorneys and replacement attorneys, the latter acting as substitutes.  Joint attorneyships are not uncommon.  Take the situation of an individual – James – who wants to appoint his wife Amy and his brother Bill as his attorneys, to act jointly in relation to his finances.  His lawyer tells him that it would be prudent to name a replacement attorney too and he chooses his son Christopher.  But his son is still in his twenties and, if either Amy or Bill or both were able to act, he would like them to do so in preference to Christopher.  This simple sounding request has had English law in knots for a while. 

English law assumes that, by appointing Amy and Bill jointly, James is saying that if Amy predeceases him, it doesn’t mean that he wants Bill to act alone.  In other words, James is appointing Amy and Bill as a unit – if he can’t have both of them acting, neither of them should.
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Hall & Wilcox ranked in six practice areas of The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017

Leading independent business law firm, Hall & Wilcox is pleased to have gained further recognition by recommendations in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 in six key practice areas.

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific provides a comprehensive listing of law firms and lawyers and insight into legal markets across the Asia Pacific. The rankings are based on a number of factors including the complexity of matters handled, size of the practice area, feedback received from clients and researcher interviews.

Hall & Wilcox has again been ranked in Banking and finance, Dispute resolution, Employment, Real estate and Restructuring and insolvency.

The firm has also been ranked in the Insurance category. This is the first time the firm has provided a submission for this area and has been supported by the national expansion of this area over the past two years.

As part of our rankings, 14 partners have also been recommended in the editorial.

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    Plain sailing for section 54

    The Full Court of the Federal Court has applied the reasoning of the High Court in Highway Hauliers regarding the operation of section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984.

    Factual background

    Mr Phillips held two policies of insurance against damage to his luxury yacht – one with Pantaenius Australia Pty Ltd (Pantaenius) and one with Watkins. Both policies covered the yacht while it was within Australian waters, but the Watkins policy included a term suspending cover from when the yacht cleared Australian Customs (for the purpose of leaving Australian waters) until it cleared Australian Customs upon its return to Australian waters.

    After returning from a race from Freemantle to Bali the yacht struck a reef north off of the Australian mainland near Cape Talbot (which is within Australian waters). It had not cleared Australian Customs upon re-entering Australian waters.

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    Growing Acceptance Nationwide: More States Approve Marijuana Use

    While the presidential election has attracted extreme attention, marijuana legalization initiatives were on the in nine states on November 8, 2016. Four states – Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota – approved measures providing for the medical use of marijuana, and three states – California, Massachusetts, and Nevada – approved initiatives allowing for recreational use.  The results in Maine are still close to call, but, if that measure is approved, it will be the fourth measure permitting recreational use.  Only one state (Arizona) defeated a marijuana legalization initiative.

    The following chart summarizes the approved initiatives, including implications for employers:

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