find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Corporate Lawyer (3-5 years PQE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· National firm acting for domestic and multinational clients
View details
Lawyer – CTP Insurance (2-3 years)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Well-regarded team offering mentoring and career development
View details
Ex-Blakes partner eyes super changes

Ex-Blakes partner eyes super changes

THE UNPRECEDENTED level of consolidation in the superannuation industry is having an effect legal firms acting for the super funds, according to Maged Girgis, newly appointed partner for Minter…

THE UNPRECEDENTED level of consolidation in the superannuation industry is having an effect legal firms acting for the super funds, according to Maged Girgis, newly appointed partner for Minter Ellison’s growing superannuation practice.

Girgis, among the country’s most respected financial services lawyers, with more than 13 years in the practice, made a move last month to Minter Ellison from Blake Dawson Waldron, where he had been for eight years. Blakes simultaneously lost its other financial services partner, Michael Vrisakis, to Freehills.

Girgis lamented the way some of the press had written about the departures. While Vrisakis was said to have “dumped” Blakes, Girgis “said sayonara”.

“Yet it wasn’t like that at all,” said Girgis, stressing that his colleagues at Blakes were “a good bunch of people”, and that he regretted “having to leave them short handed”.

Vrisakis and Girgis left Blakes for similar reasons, he said. Superannuation is the fastest growing industry in Australia, expanding at an annual rate of 10 per cent. Much of that growth is fuelled by changes in legislation and strong recent investment returns. Financial services as a whole has been estimated to be a greater proportion of GDP than mining. On the other hand, licensing changes mean that super has been consolidated into fewer funds, and many corporations have outsourced their super funds to huge master trusts, like AMP, BT and MLC.

The consolidation of the industry has also led to consolidation in the legal fraternity, with master trusts setting up three-year panels of a few law firms, which tend to be maintained as the status quo. “Blakes hadn’t traditionally operated in the master trusts area, and it was getting more and more difficult to get into it, with well-established law firms already in an exclusive position,” said Girgis.

“Both [Vrisakis] and I realised that we had to be with those master trust clients if we wanted to continue doing the cutting edge legal work that those master trusts would generate.”

Minter Ellison had long operated in the master trusts base and boasted clients like AMP, Challenger, BT and AXA. Girgis’s predecessor at Minter Ellison, Ruth Stringer, who left to work in-house at MLC, left a strong financial services client base and a team of four lawyers. “It wasn’t a very difficult decision for me to start talking to them,” said Girgis.

With the additional team of four lawyers that Girgis brought from Blakes, Minter Ellison looks well set to compete in the ever-changing field of superannuation law. “The big issue right now is corporate governance as it relates to super,” said Girgis.

“Consumers are looking for better governance from their funds, as for many people super is becoming a bigger investment than their home. For the players, it’s a bit of a minefield, and lawyers need to help them negotiate that.”

Deborah Hodgson is the new Features Writer at Lawyers Weekly.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Ex-Blakes partner eyes super changes
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...