The Solicitors Regulatory Authority has today granted alternative business structure (ABS) status to Optima Legal and Cost Advocates. This follows the announcement in September last year that Capita Legal Services Limited had agreed to acquire Optima Legal Services Limited (Optima Legal).
The granting of the ABS license will allow Capita to complete the acquisition of Optima Legal and Cost Advocates, making Optima the first regulated legal business within the Capita group. Optima Legal manages the legal aspects of debt recovery and litigation services and also provides services related to volume property transactions. Cost Advocates (a subsidiary entity of Optima Legal) provides legal costs services to insurers, law firms and corporates.
James Cowan, director of Capita Legal Services, said: “The opportunity for Capita to operate practice lines across the legal sector is significant given the breadth of services and relationships within the group. In addition, there are immediate prospects for Optima Legal to tap into significant business in its current service lines.
“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.”
The announcement coincides with Optima’s latest move into new premises in Leeds, from its current base in Bradford. Cost Advocates is centred in the City of London. Upon completion around 300 employees will transfer to Capita.
David Ashcroft, Capita Legal Services transformation director said “This is 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. 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.”
Phil Robinson, lead partner in Optima commented “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.”