Class action firm scores “largest ever” £100m funding deal

Pogust: Growing claim book

Class action specialist PGMBM has secured funding of £100m from alternative investments firm North Wall Capital, in what is believed to be the largest deal of its kind with a claimant law firm.

The money is in addition to the initial £45m funding line extended by North Wall last year and is targeted at litigation arising from environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

The investment takes the form of a loan secured against the revenues from winning or settling cases brought by PGMBM.

The fund involved in the latest deal is part of North Wall’s ESG-focused legal assets strategy. It is backed by “a range of global institutional investors, including pension funds, asset managers and private banks”.

Alexander Garnier, founding partner of North Wall, said: “We have been impressed with how the firm has cemented itself as the leader in complex ESG-focused multi-jurisdictional group litigations. This transaction demonstrates North Wall’s growing commitment and conviction in the European legal assets space.”

PGMBM, an alternative business structure, is a partnership between British, American, Brazilian and Dutch lawyers who specialise in bringing international group actions against large corporations.

It said the latest funding would be used “to address the growing demand from consumers and other victims of injustice to access recourse against corporates”.

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled that over 200,000 individual, corporate and institutional claimants represented by PGMBM could pursue their case against mining giant BHP in England and Wales, in the wake of Brazil’s Mariana Dam disaster.

PGMBM secured settlements for over 15,000 claimants in the Volkswagen diesel emissions group litigation in May and 16,000 victims of the British Airways data breach last year. It has also pioneered television advertising for specific group actions.

Harris Pogust, chair of PGMBM, said that, since the original deal with North Wall, PGMBM had grown to over 500 employees and over a million clients across several countries. “This latest funding will help us as we continue to grow our claim book,” he said.

Last year he described the relationship as “more of a partnership” than the usual funder/law firm dynamic: “I see them as an arm of the law firm.”

PGMBM managing partner and chief executive Tom Goodhead said: “With this funding behind us we have a fantastic future ahead of us… I can confidently say that there is no law firm in the world currently doing as ground-breaking and cutting-edge work as PGMBM. We are only just getting started.”

Fabian Chrobog, founder and chief investment officer at North Wall, added: “With corporates increasingly being held to account for their actions, there remains significant opportunities for firms like ours to gain exposure to ESG-focused legal assets.

“Accordingly, we plan to materially grow our litigation funding partnership business across Europe.”

Mr Chrobog said North Wall’s investment in PGMBM illustrated the “long-term, scalable partnerships” it cultivated.

“This significant financing package evidences our firm’s creative approach to structured capital solutions that should generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investors.

“Our firm continues to be committed to ESG-focused legal assets, and we are particularly pleased to continue to support a firm with such a strong commitment to championing consumer rights.”

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