Bird & Bird advises Man Investments on collaboration with Oxford University

11 July 2007

International law firm Bird & Bird has been advising Man Investments (the asset management division of Man Group plc) on a collaboration with Oxford University which will see the creation of the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance. The Institute is intended to become the world’s leading interdisciplinary academic institute for research in quantitative finance, with a particular emphasis on alternative investments. Man Group, the world’s largest hedge fund group, is the sole provider of core funding for the Institute.

Man’s initial commitment to the Institute will be for £13.75m. Man will allocate £10.45m for the Institute in the initial five years and an additional £3.3m for an endowed chair, to be called the Man Professor of Quantitative Finance. In addition to its financial contribution, Man will house its own research laboratory in the same building as the Institute. The presence of the laboratory will allow academics increased direct access to industry-leading practitioners, while Man’s researchers will benefit from closer interaction with an outstanding academic community.

Nick Perry and Sally Shorthose led a multidisciplinary team of lawyers from Bird & Bird closely working with Man’s in-house legal team to manage a broad spectrum of issues including the structuring of the transaction, treatment of intellectual property and data protection. Specialist Charity Law advice was provided by Sam Macdonald of Farrer & Co.

The identification, ownership, protection and exploitation of intellectual property in this fast moving and academically sophisticated area were particularly interesting in circumstances where the University’s need to disseminate educational information and promote academic freedom is paramount to the wellbeing of the Institute.

Commenting, Bird & Bird partner Sally Shorthose said

“Our main challenge was achieving a balance between our client’s desire to protect its own commercial interests and innovations, while respecting Oxford’s open academic culture and enabling it to take full advantage of Man’s funding.”

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