Ontier has announced it is to move its corporate headquarters from Madrid to London in order to have “better access to new markets, resources and clients” as well as improve the support it provides for its 18 offices around the world.
Its corporate service centre will be staffed with five people, which will include audit and finance specialists, but not lawyers.
The corporate service centre will share offices with law firm SCA Ontier, the UK member of Ontier’s global network. SCA Ontier’s managing partner Seamus Andrew is an Ontier equity partner.
Carmen Bascarán, general manager at Ontier Global, said: “This strategic decision implied that the center of the decision-making in Ontier would need to evolve from a national-based perspective to focus on a broader, more international understanding of our business.
“London is one of the few cities in the world that is in itself truly global and where all the international players are present, and it is one of the main hubs for the legal sector. This move provides us with better access to new markets, resources and clients as well as allowing us to give better assistance to our offices around the world.”
Bascarán said the opportunity for the firm to attract external investment was not the reason for the firm’s decision to relocate its headquarters. “London is undoubtedly one of the financial centers of the world and being present in this market gives access to investors that might not be accessible in Spain,” she added. “But it was not a factor that weighed in the decision to move here. We do not have any specific plans at this moment to open the equity of the company to external investment.”
The move to London will aid the Ontier’s expansion into new markets around the world, according to Bascarán. “We believe it [London] is one of the best places to continue with our international expansion, especially towards central Europe and Asia, and the place where we can make the best of our business opportunities,” she said.
It is believed to be the first time an Iberian law firm has taken the step of moving its headquarters to the UK. Bascarán said: “We do not know of any other firms that have made this move. Nowadays, more medium business and almost all large companies are taking the path of globalisation, including law firms. It may happen that other law firms move their headquarters to the UK over time.”
Ontier, which billed more than €35 million worldwide last year, added a Chile office to its network in July and now has a presence in eight Latin American countries.