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aosphere and the asset management sector: a strategic success


14 June 2017

Asset managers now account for 60% of aosphere’s client base (up from around 4% in 2012). This article explains how and why aosphere has targeted this sector and why the strategy has been so successful.

What is aosphere?

aosphere is a wholly-owned affiliate of Allen & Overy specialising in online legal subscription services. With over 340 subscribing entities, aosphere has been market-leading in the online delivery of legal expertise for well over a decade. Our services historically focused on helping the world’s biggest banks manage the complexity of cross-border derivatives regulation. More recently we have broadened our focus into the asset management sector to meet demand from the buy side for the high-quality services we have been offering to the sell side for many years.

With an increased regulatory burden on cross-border marketing and investing activities, the asset management sector has welcomed aosphere’s services as a smart way to manage risk and reduce costs. aosphere’s expertise in delivering online legal services meant we were perfectly placed to create a suite of services which would help the sector manage, in particular, the complex world of cross-border marketing, and shareholding disclosure requirements – all areas which buy side clients told us they were struggling to manage due to the traditional legal advice or services given by our competitors being not detailed or operational enough.

How is aosphere helping the asset management sector?

The aosphere model has been well honed – we provide access to complex legal information online, for an annual fixed subscription fee. A team of expert lawyers manage the content and proactively monitor changes which are communicated daily to keep clients ahead of the curve. Subscribers have access to incredibly detailed legal analysis from a global network of experts that they can access 24/7, providing for a cost efficient but detailed alternative to bespoke advice.

aosphere’s lawyers (who work exclusively for aosphere) have created new products and re-designed old ones to meet the needs of the buy side, engaging with asset management clients along the way to ensure the products continue to meet their evolving needs.

The services

Rulefinder Marketing Restrictions – Asset Management focuses on the cross-border marketing of funds and investment management services. The service seeks to answer scenario-based questions in over 60 jurisdictions which reflect how clients tell us they do business, covering, for example:

  • the ability to use reverse enquiry to sell services
  • the intricacies of what constitutes “pre-marketing” in Europe
  • UCITS, AIFMD, MiFID and other regional passporting mechanisms
  • the application of Private Placement Regimes around the globe, and
  • an exhaustive list of marketing activities – sharing business cards, meeting investors at conferences, fly-ins, fly-outs, capital introductions and marketing via social media.

aosphere has also significantly expanded its regulatory flagship service, Rulefinder Shareholding Disclosure, to specifically address how investment and fund manager clients calculate and manage major shareholding disclosure obligations, for example through the introduction of a detailed managed holdings section which looks at how the rules vary depending on a variety of investment and voting control scenarios. Leveraging Allen & Overy’s reputation at the forefront of legal tech, asset managers can also purchase straight through solutions which automate reporting disclosures from leading vendors (e.g. regtech, fintech and OMS – order management system – providers), powered by aosphere legal content. This represents a dramatic improvement for the client in operationalising legal data.

aosphere has also been well placed to help asset managers with areas of compliance which historically have been seen as a sell side problem. In a recent article, “Netting/Collateral regulatory review requirements for Asset Managers”, aosphere explained the legal opinion requirements regarding the enforceability of netting and collateral arrangements with OTC derivatives counterparties, and their applicability to asset managers. aosphere has a deep understanding of these rules as they have been aiding clients with netting and collateral analysis, through their netalytics, CSAnalytics, repoAnalytics and SLAnalytics services and their long-term relationships with industry bodies like ISDA and ICMA

aosphere’s Rulefinder G20 service has also been a ‘hit’ with buy side clients, helping them navigate the application of Dodd Frank, EMIR and the equivalent rules for OTC derivatives clearing, reporting, risk mitigation and collateralisation across the G20 nations.

What’s next?

For aosphere’s CEO, Marc-Henri Chamay, the future direction of aosphere will be wherever clients take it;  “Some businesses say they are client driven. At aosphere, we absolutely depend on clients to inform and shape our services with us. We expand our coverage and continually enhance our content to make sure it addresses the types of issues our asset management clients are facing.”

And with 60% of the top 100 asset managers* using aosphere, the sector seems to be in agreement.

Find out more at

*Based on AUM size, Towers Watson 2015 list




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