JPMorgan has appointed Charlie Jacobs, the senior partner at top law firm Linklaters, as its new co-head of investment banking in the UK, making the veteran M&A lawyer the latest to swap the law for finance.
Jacobs, who in three decades at Linklaters became one of the City’s top legal advisers to companies including Glencore, will take up the role later this year and lead the unit with David Lomer, according to a JPMorgan memo seen by the Financial Times.
The South-African born lawyer, who had announced internally in December that he would not seek a second term as the senior partner, will succeed Ed Byers, who will become JPMorgan’s vice-chair of UK investment banking.
At JPMorgan, Jacobs will advise blue-chip UK companies on challenges thrown up by a post-Brexit market and recovery from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bank’s UK investment banking division counts 30 per cent of the FTSE 100 and 350 as corporate broking and advisory clients.
In shifting to banking, Jacobs follows in the footsteps of several senior UK lawyers who made the switch towards the end of their careers. The list includes Mark Rawlinson, who left Freshfields in 2015 to become chairman of UK investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and Will Lawes, the former senior partner at Freshfields, who is a managing director in the UK at Lazard, the advisory firm.
His exit comes at a critical period for Linklaters, which is under pressure to keep pace with the pay offered by deep-pocketed US rivals.
The firm earlier this year kicked off a protracted election process to replace Jacobs as senior partner in which the firm’s 500 partners will vote. A result is expected in May.
Jacobs, who has worked extensively with clients in the metals and mining sector, joined in 1990. He has worked on transactions including brewer SABMiller’s $108bn takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2016 and miner Xstrata’s merger with Glencore in 2012.
Jacobs’ hiring comes weeks after JPMorgan appointed former Labour MP Chuka Umunna to oversee its environmental, social and governance efforts. The former employment lawyer and politician has taken up a newly created role to unite the bank’s ESG-related work with clients.