Career path: After completing his Solicitor’s exams, Scott joined law firm Herbert Smith as a trainee in the corporate department focusing on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. In 1993 he joined Xansa, an IT outsourcing firm, as general counsel and company secretary. He was involved in business development, including large outsourcing deals and acquisitions in the UK and internationally. In 2000, Scott joined European mid-market private equity firm Duke Street Capital in a combined COO and general counsel role to help develop Duke Street’s business on the private equity side and through the creation of joint ventures across Europe and new business lines (the firm set up a new CDO business in 2001, for example).
Direct involvement: Scott says his main motivation for going inhouse was ?to get a better understanding of how corporates worked and more direct involvement in a growing company.? He says he found private equity ?irresistible? given its exposure to entrepreneurial investors and managers and a range of corporates in different industry sectors.
The day-to-day: Never let it be said that the lot of an in-house counsel is dull. Among the many and varied roles in which he has been involved, Scott cites: compliance, money laundering, internal business development, human resources, property, pensions, IT, restructurings and refinancings, establishing and dismantling joint ventures, supporting external lawyers on deals, helping portfolio companies, helping to set up the CDO business and fundraising.
Challenges and rewards: Scott says his toughest task is ?to provide effective, commercial advice on what are very often judgemental issues?. The pay-back comes from ?involvement with entrepreneurial, knowledgeable people whether investment executives, operating partners or management teams all pulling in the same direction.? He says he has been assisted by the fact that deal executives, while very driven, also respect the need for internal processes: ?Cutting corners for a quick win is not seen as appropriate.?
Regulatory rights and wrongs: Scott’s view is that UK regulator the FSA deserves much credit. ?They have quite correctly sought to place responsibility with the heads of private equity firms, which automatically ensures respect for their regulation. Equally they have sought to understand the industry and clearly respect the advantages it brings to the UK economy.? By contrast, he says European legislation ?threatens to subsume private equity within a broader framework of regulatory legislation, much of which is intended to protect retail investors and is often impractical and potentially unworkable in the private equity context.?