Europe now open for Australian funding juggernaut

Peter Godfrey
by |
The controversial class action and litigation funding sector is continuing to see growth, as Australia’s largest litigation funder takes another step towards its goal of taking on the European market by forming a new alliance.

Last October Bentham IMF announced its intentions to expand its operations into Europe, and in particular into the UK and the Netherlands. 

The litigation funder has now entered into co-funding and joint venture arrangements with subsidiary entities of funds managed by a US –based hedge fund manager, Elliot Management.

IMF’s executive director, John Walker, believes that litigation funding has high potential in Europe due to the number of claims that could be made in relation to investments during the GFC. 
 
IMF chairman Rob Ferguson said the partnership was also part of the funder’s plan to deepen its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region.

IMF will offer Elliot the opportunity to co-fund cases in the Asia-Pacific region, with an initial budget of more than $8.5 million. 

“We have made no secret of our desire to replicate our success internationally after commencing business in the USA over two years ago,” Ferguson said.
 
Since it listed on the ASX in 2001, IMF completed 149 cases, of which 109 were won or settled, 35 withdrawn and only five lost.

The issue of litigation funding has recently become a hot topic, with the government indicating that it wants to review the sector amidst wider industry calls to reform class action funding methods. 
 
As reported in Australasian Lawyer earlier this month, one firm has ignited debate on the issue by claiming that the current Australian class action regime is vulnerable to inappropriate and abusive use.
   
Bentham IMF is currently attempting to fund a class action against the failed mining construction and engineering company Forge Group.  

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