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Sean P. Donovan-Smith

Fax +44.(0)20.7648.9001
Fax +32.(0)2.336.1901
Sean Donovan-Smith is a partner in the firm’s London office. He is a financial services lawyer with almost 20 years' experience in the financial services industry, having acted for a range of clients including funds, managers, advisers, and institutional investors. Mr Donovan-Smith focuses his practice in financial services and markets regulatory advice, regulatory enforcement and investigations, advising on regulated and unregulated funds and the international marketing of funds, and other financial products.

Professional Background

Mr Donovan-Smith has developed a broad range of experience dealing with complex financial services matters including FSA interventions/regulatory transactions, OTC and Exchange Traded Derivative products, regulatory compliance, risk management, FSMA/FCA requirements and cross-border regulatory issues.

Before entering into private practice in 2003, Mr Donovan-Smith was with INVESCO Asset Management Limited between 1998 and 2002 where he was the Associate Director of Business & Legal Affairs for INVESCO’s offshore division. His responsibilities included supervising compliance with legal requirements in Ireland, Jersey, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. Following INVESCO’s acquisition of Liechtenstein GT in May 1998, he was seconded to Dublin to manage the integration of INVESCO’s key international distributors (Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab).

After leaving INVESCO, Mr Donovan-Smith was a management consultant between 2002 and 2003 at CSTIM Limited (now part of Navigant Consulting), a specialist financial services consultancy firm) where he consulted on regulatory compliance, outsourcing, lift-outs, UCITS funds and structured fund products. During this period he led a team advising a major U.S. bank on a potential cross-border acquisition and undertook a project to review of FTSE 100 international fund management company's compliance with new financial services regulations.

Mr Donovan-Smith is also a member of the firm’s Global Government Solutions practice and regularly participates in policy advocacy and advice and was a member of the Conservative Party’s Pensions Working Group to respond to the Government Green Paper on Pensions Reform and advised the Conservative Party’s chief negotiator for the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. Mr Donovan-Smith is also a presenter for the Conservative Party’s Leadership Development Programme.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Alternative Investment Management Association
  • Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association 
  • Futures Industry Association 
  • Futures and Options Association
  • Society of Conservative Lawyers 
  • UK National Defence Association

Speaking Engagements

Mr Donovan-Smith speaks frequently on financial services regulatory and compliance issues. His recent presentations include:
  • Stock take on the proposed EU/US trade partnership 
  • Implementation of UCITS IV in Italy hosted by SDA Bocconi
  • Protection of Customer Funds at the IDX International Derivatives Expo 2012 
  • Impact of the Default of MF Global
  • Future of Hedge Fund Formation 
  • Introduction of the Pan-European Short-Selling Regime 
  • Impact of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive 
  • The Regulation of Carbon Credit Trading 
  • Trends in Prime Brokerage Arrangements

Additional Information

Mr Donovan-Smith has been interviewed on BBC Breakfast, Sky News and Albourne TV; he has been a guest commentator for BBC 24 and BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight; he has articles published in Bloomberg’s Journal of European Business Law, City A.M., Compliance Reporter, Complinet, the Futures and Options Association Yearbook, Fund AIM, Hedge Fund Review, the Investment Lawyer and RBS Trust Magazine; and has been quoted in the Financial News and the Hedge Fund Journal.

  • Named in Legal 500 and Legal Experts (for Investment Funds) 
  • Advising on requirements introduced by the EUs Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) 
  • Acting for various clients in the default of MF Global Inc and MF Global UK Limited 
  • Advising on offshore fund structuring and formation including advising on UK and offshore fund migrations, fund re-structuring and outsourcing projects 
  • Advising on regulatory issues including the FCA approved persons regime, the EU Market in Financial Instruments Directive, the EU Capital Requirements Directive, training and competence, systems and controls and transfer pricing 
  • Establishing UK fund managers/advisers and applications for FCA authorisation 
  • Establishing new fund focused on Commodity Trade Finance 
  • Advising on carbon trading based investments 
  • Advising on obtaining FCA recognised status for offshore and EU based funds 
  • Negotiating and advising on service provider agreements such including administration agreements, Model B clearing and settlement and prime brokerage arrangements (including ISDA documentation) 
  • Reviewing and updating terms of business for broker-dealers 
  • Acting for clients in relation to claims related to failure to supervise Appointed Representatives, breach of investment mandates and breach of other regulatory rule requirements 
  • Defending allegations of market abuse against Canadian broker-dealer, Swift Trade, Inc. 
  • Advising on cross-border response to US litigation arising out of an SEC enforcement action (Trustees of AremisSofl Liquidating Trust v Kyprianou and others)