Sean Dononvan-Smith

Sean P. Donovan-Smith




Sean Donovan-Smith is a Partner in the London and Brussels offices of Locke Lord LLP and a member of the Investment Adviser and Alternative Funds section of the Private Equity and Venture Capital practice.

Sean is a financial services lawyer with almost 20 years' experience in the financial services industry, having acted for a range of clients including funds, managers, advisers, and institutional investors. Sean focuses his practice in financial services and markets regulatory advice, regulatory enforcement and investigations, advising on regulated and unregulated funds and the international marketing of funds, and other financial products.

Sean has developed a broad range of experience dealing with complex financial services matters including regulatory interventions/transactions, derivative and futures products, regulatory compliance, risk management, FSMA/FCA requirements and cross-border regulatory issues.

Prior to entering into private practice, Sean was Associate Director of Business & Legal Affairs for INVESCO Asset Management Limited's offshore division, and a management consultant at a specialist financial services consultancy firm.

Sean is recognised in The Legal 500 for Investment Funds and speaks frequently on financial services regulatory and compliance issues. He recently served as Commissioner and Counsel for an independent commission established by the UK Cabinet Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to examine expanding the UK's regime for dormant assets.

Representative Experience

  • Advising on onshore and offshore fund structuring and formation, including advising on UK and offshore fund migrations, fund re-structuring and outsourcing projects
  • Advising on the impact of the Brexit referendum and future of UK/EU financial services regulation
  • Advising on various regulatory issues including the FCA approved persons regime, the EU Market in Financial Instruments Directive, the EU Capital Requirements Directive, training and competence, systems and controls and conduct of business requirements
  • Advising on the EUs Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and private placement of share and fund interests internationally
  • Advising on the creation of alternative fund strategies as UCITS compliant funds
  • Advising on compliance with the EU's European Markets Infrastructure Regulations (EMIR) and the EU's EU Regulation on Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT)
  • Establishing UK fund managers/advisers and applications for FCA authorisation
  • Acting for quantitative and systematic investment managers active on futures and equities markets
  • Negotiating and advising on service provider agreements such including administration agreements, clearing and settlement agreements and prime brokerage arrangements (including ISDA documentation)
  • Reviewing and updating terms of business for broker-dealers and futures commission merchants
  • Advising on and establishing crowd-funding and social trading platforms
  • Advising on and establishing regulatory hosting and fund platforms
  • Acting for various clients in respect of counterparty defaults, particularly MF Global Inc, MF Global UK Limited and Lehman Brothers International Europe

Professional History

  • Partner, Locke Lord LLP
  • Partner, K&L Gates LLP (2012-2017)
  • Senior Associate, Speechly Bircham LLP (2009-2012)
  • Senior Associate, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (2006-2009)
  • Associate, KLegal LLP (2005-2006)
  • Trainee, KLegal LLP (2003-2005)
  • Associate Director of Business & Legal Affairs, INVESCO Asset Management Limited (1998-2003)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales (2005)

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Member, Alternative Investment Management Association
  • Member, Bank of England Financial Markets Law Committee
  • Member, Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments
  • Member, Financial Services Lawyers Association
  • Member, Futures Industry Association

Publications and Presentations

  • Sean Donovan-Smith has been interviewed on BBC Breakfast, Sky News and Albourne TV; he has been a guest commentator for BBC 24 and BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight he has articles published in Bloomberg’s Journal of European Business Law, City A.M., Compliance Reporter, Complinet, Fund AIM, Hedge Fund Review and the Investment Lawyer; and has been quoted in Bloomberg, the Financial News, the Financial Times, the Hedge Fund Journal and Thomson Reuters.
Recent presentations include:
  • Stock take on the proposed EU/US trade partnership
  • Implementation of UCITS IV in Italy hosted by SDA Bocconi
  • Protection of Customer Funds at the London IDX International Derivatives Expo
  • EMIR and MiFID II – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You for FIA's Law & Compliance Conference
  • Fund Spotlight on Shadow Banking Funds at the International Bar Association's Private Investment Funds Conference
  • Future of Hedge Fund Formation
  • Introduction of the Pan-European Short-Selling Regime
  • Impact of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive
  • Trends in Prime Brokerage Arrangements
Recent publications include:
  • Financial Sanctions and New Monetary Penalties in the UK
  • The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election; Brexit West?
  • Brexit: A First Look at the Impact on Asset Managers That Trade Derivatives
  • The UK Lobbying Act - Do you have to Register and Name your Clients?
  • Brexit Broker; UK Leader Strikes a Deal (Maybe)
  • Capital Markets Union: a Marathon not a Sprint
  • I'm OK, Eur OK; At Long Last, U.S.-EU CCP Recognition is Mutual