Multi-disciplinary ABS aims to buy professional services firms

New ABS (l-r): Alexander Dunlop, Akbar Ali and Adnan Sajid

The head of a new multi-disciplinary law firm based in the City combining legal, finance and conflict resolution advice has said his aim is to buy law and other professional services firms.

Ali PSG specialises in transactions involving private equity and venture capital. It was founded by solicitor Akbar Ali, accountant Adnan Sajid, and Alexander Dunlop, a mediator and arbitrator.

It currently has four staff but Mr Ali, the chief executive, said the aim was to have 20-30 staff and a turnover of £2-3m by the end of 2022. After five years, he expected it to have 200 staff and a turnover of £20m-£25m.

He said the first priority was to grow the firm organically, and once that had “bedded down”, he would be targeting not just with law firms, but “accountants, trade mark attorneys, HR advisory businesses and professional services generally”.

Ali Professional Services Group (PSG) is divided into Ali Corporate Law, Ali Corporate Finance and Ali Corporate Services. Mr Ali is head of legal services, Mr Sajid – formerly a partner at UHY Hacker Young – head of corporate finance, and Mr Dunlop, who has mediated over 500 disputes, head of conflict resolutions.

Mr Ali said: “What makes us different from most dealmaking firms is our joined-up legal and finance offering.

“This means both of the crucial elements of a client’s transaction are delivered in tandem, making for a quicker, smoother experience.

“We are unique because we integrate conflict resolution into that offering. We have seen the issues that can occur in the aftermath of corporate transactions and are able to use this expertise to structure deals in a way that pre-empts disputes and minimises the chances of conflict further down the line.”

Mr Ali said that, when it came to acquisitions, the directors would either use their own funds, debt finance or seek private equity investment.

He qualified as a solicitor at a high street law firm and then worked for two years as a solicitor at Riverview Law, followed by 18 months as legal counsel at SGS, a Swiss-based testing and certification specialist.

He returned to private practice with brief spells at Beyond Corporate and US firm Latham & Watkins, before becoming head of corporate at Glaisyers and the same role at Berkeley Rowe in London.

Mr Ali added that having a “hub” at Bishopsgate in the City, was important as most corporate finance deals or disputes required a group of people to get round a table.

He said every member of staff would spend at least one day a week working from home, with more days agreed on an ad hoc basis if necessary.

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