Cowan: significant opportunity

Outsourcing giant Capita can complete its purchase of Optima Legal and subsidiary Cost Advocates after the SRA today granted Optima an alternative business structure (ABS) license.

It was announced in September last year that Capita Legal Services had agreed to acquire Optima, which has around 300 staff.

Optima, which will be the first regulated legal services business within the Capita group, specialises in bulk debt recovery, litigation and property services. It has just moved its main office from Bradford to Leeds, and also operates out of Newcastle and Glasgow.

Cost Advocates, a subsidiary of Optima, provides legal costs services to insurers, law firms and corporates.

David Ashcroft, Capita Legal Services transformation director, described today’s announcement as a “pivotal step” in Capita’s delivery of legal services.

“We will focus on an increasing range of legal services, leveraging Capita’s proven expertise in delivering operational excellence within regulated environments,” he said.

“We intend to offer clients new propositions based on certainty of cost and quality, and building on the high level of specialist legal knowledge already present in Optima and Cost Advocates.

“This journey will involve significant investment in people, process and technology, a journey that started by establishing our presence in Leeds – an obvious choice given the city’s reputation as the leading legal centre outside of the capital.”

James Cowan, director of Capita Legal Services, said the opportunity for Capita to operate “practice lines across the legal sector” was significant, given the breadth of services and relationships within the group.

“The synergies with Capita’s expanding debt recovery businesses are obvious. This now spans analytics, collections, recoveries and enforcement. Capita’s presence in property consultancy and financial services also provide Optima Legal leverage to expand its property proposition.”

Phil Robinson, lead partner in Optima, added: “The granting of the ABS represents the next step in Optima’s evolution and an incredible opportunity for growth. I am confident that our clients, partners and staff will all benefit and quickly see the positive effects of Capita’s investment.”

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