Pinsent Masons takes majority stake In cloud-based compliance venture

International law firm Pinsent Masons has announced that it is to acquire a majority stake in Cerico, the online compliance solution business which it launched in conjunction with IT consultancy Campbell Nash two years ago.

Cerico is a technology-driven solution that automates many of the compliance processes that businesses need as a result of legislation such as the Bribery Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The platform enables businesses to ensure that their suppliers and service providers undergo a thorough and regular compliance due diligence process in a quick, cost effective and auditable way. The system 'red flags' significant legal risks posed for the client company and supplier and allows the purchase of products – such as e-learning or template compliance policies – to remedy some issues. If substantive legal issues develop or are uncovered, Cerico clients will also have the option of instructing Pinsent Masons to deliver bespoke legal advice.

Pinsent Masons will take a majority stake in the joint venture from 1 August this year. As part of the move Richard Masters will become Executive Chairman of Cerico. Cerico will also be physically relocated into Pinsent Masons premises in Glasgow. All residual rights in the technology will transfer to Pinsent Masons.

Cerico has made significant progress since it was soft-launched two years ago, securing contracts with the likes of ProServ, Electricity North West Limited, Aggregate Industries, Clyde Blowers Capital portfolio companies and Qinterra.

Richard Foley, Senior Partner of Pinsent Masons, says:

"This significant investment is a demonstration both of the confidence we have in the Cerico business, and of Pinsent Masons' appetite for taking a chance on bold and innovative solutions. Through new products and technologies such as Cerico, SmartDelivery and Vario our aim is to lead disruptive change in the market rather than be defined by it. Richard has the right entrepreneurial instincts to develop the Cerico business and I am confident that he and Jim will make Cerico a great success."

Richard Masters, Executive Chairman of Cerico, says:

"This is a really exciting challenge and something I'm very much looking forward to. We have been in start-up mode over the past 24 months, and during that time have seen real and sustained demand for a solution which takes the heavy lifting out of the compliance burden for general counsel. The potential in the business is there for all to see, and it's now a question of delivering on that promise."

Jim Armstrong, Chief Executive of Cerico, says:

"I'm delighted that a firm with the scale, resources and international reach of Pinsent Masons has shown such a clear commitment to this business. This investment will allow us to take the business to the next level in terms of further development of the platform."

Published: Jul 27, 2015