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An LFJ Conversation with Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot

By John Freund |

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot brings extensive expertise in compliance, risk management, and regulatory affairs. As the Managing Member of The Law Offices of Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, P.C., she ensures SEC-regulated entities adhere to compliance standards. With ties to FINRA and previous positions at the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, she has been listed among The Hedge Fund Journal’s Top 50 Women in Hedge Funds.

Hedonova, established in 2020, specializes in alternative investments, encompassing a diverse range of assets such as startups, real estate, fine art, carbon credits, and more. Hedonova offers a single fund structure that allows shareholders to invest without the burden of managing the day-to-day distribution of their investments. Hedonova’s mission is to make alternative investments accessible to all.

Below is our LFJ Conversation with Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot:

1. Hedonova has a unique business model. Can you explain how the fund works?

Certainly, the Hedonova fund operates on a single fund structure, which means that instead of offering multiple funds with different risk profiles, we consolidate various alternative investments into one accessible option for investors. This simplifies decision-making for our clients, as they don’t have to navigate multiple investment choices. Within this single fund, we strategically diversify across different asset classes, such as startups, real estate, art, litigation finance, and more. By spreading investments across diverse assets, we aim to manage risk effectively and potentially enhance returns for our investors.

2. How do you make it possible for investors worldwide to access alternative investments?

We prioritize global access to alternative investments through several means. Firstly, we leverage user-friendly online platforms, making it easy for investors worldwide to explore and invest in our fund. Hedonova has established and operates four feeder funds within its international framework across various jurisdictions, each meticulously structured under the relevant local laws. Additionally, we establish strategic partnerships with financial institutions across different regions, enabling us to reach a wider audience. Through these partnerships, we ensure that investors from various parts of the world can seamlessly participate in our fund, tapping into the opportunities offered by alternative investments. 

3. How are you adapting your business to the new regulatory requirements of the SEC’s Private Adviser Rule?

Adapting to the new regulatory requirements of the SEC’s Private Adviser Rule is a key focus for us. We’re enhancing our compliance measures and transparency practices to align with the regulatory framework. This involves thorough reviews of our operations and investment processes to ensure compliance. Additionally, we’re strengthening our communication channels with investors, providing them with clear and transparent information about our fund and its compliance with regulatory requirements. We aim to maintain trust and confidence in our operations by prioritizing investor protection and regulatory compliance.

4. Are there unique challenges in the Litigation Funding space for Hedonova?

Yes, the Litigation Funding space presents its own set of unique challenges. One significant challenge is assessing the financial viability of litigation cases. We carefully evaluate factors such as potential costs associated with litigation, the likelihood of successful resolution, and the estimated timeline for outcomes. Maintaining transparent communication with all parties involved, including law firms and plaintiffs, is crucial. We navigate these challenges by implementing rigorous evaluation processes and fostering open dialogue with our partners, ensuring alignment of interests and effective management of risks.

5. What are the advantages for investors in litigation finance?

Investors stand to gain several advantages from investing in litigation finance. Firstly, it offers the potential for high returns, as successful litigation cases can result in significant settlements or awards. Additionally, litigation finance typically involves shorter investment horizons than traditional investments, allowing investors to realize returns within a shorter timeframe. Moreover, litigation finance often exhibits a low correlation with traditional markets, providing diversification benefits to investors. By incorporating litigation finance into their portfolios, investors can access alternative sources of income and enhance overall portfolio resilience.

6. What are the types of litigation finance cases that Hedonova has invested in?

Hedonova has invested in various types of litigation cases across different sectors. These include commercial lawsuits, intellectual property disputes, class action lawsuits, and more. Each case undergoes a thorough evaluation process, where we assess its financial viability, the strength of legal arguments, and the expertise of the legal team involved. By diversifying across different litigation cases, we aim to spread risk and maximize potential returns for our investors.

7. How can investors use litigation finance to diversify their portfolios?

Investors can utilize litigation finance to diversify their portfolios by capitalizing on its non-correlation with traditional assets, as returns from legal cases are often unaffected by economic fluctuations. Diversification within the litigation finance asset class itself spreads risk across various cases with different risk profiles, mitigating the impact of any single case’s outcome. With the potential for high returns and exposure to alternative assets beyond stocks and bonds, litigation finance offers a unique avenue for portfolio diversification. Additionally, investors gain access to specialized legal expertise and thorough due diligence processes conducted by litigation finance firms, enhancing their investment decisions. As the litigation finance industry matures, it presents opportunities for long-term growth, making it an attractive option for investors seeking to broaden their investment horizons.

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Spear’s Releases Best Litigation Funders Ranking for HNW Individuals

By Harry Moran |

Whilst most coverage of third-party legal funding focuses on high profile disputes, from large-scale class actions to complex international arbitration proceedings, the services provided by litigation funders are equally highly valued by those wealthy individuals who may find themselves embroiled in costly legal cases.

The wealth management and luxury lifestyle magazine Spear’s has released its ranking of the best litigation funding providers for high-net-worth (HNW) individuals in the UK, covering those providers who support disputes ranging from divorces to large corporate cases. Spear’s Head of Research, Ian Douglas highlighted that these litigation funders offer HNW couples “the vital financial support they need to access the legal system on an equal footing”, and “can empower clients to secure a fair settlement in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

The complete list of Spear’s litigation funding index is as follows:

  • Katie Alexiou, Level
  • Christopher Bogart, Burford Capital
  • John Byrne, Therium
  • Alex Cooke, Schneider Financial Solutions
  • Susan Dunn, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Steven Friel, Woodsford
  • Camilla Funari-Sherman, Rhea Family Finance
  • Alex Hulbert, Schneider Financial Solutions
  • Mark King, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Ellora MacPherson, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Neil Purslow, Therium
  • George Williamson, Level

Among these ranked individuals, Spear’s highlighted the following four providers as ‘names to know’: Katie Alexiou (Level), Ellora MacPherson (Harbour), Camilla Funari-Sherman (Rhea Family Finance), and Alex Cooke (Schneider).

Spear’s Research Unit selects and ranks the providers in its index through a combination of detailed market research by interviewing industry participants, soliciting information from candidates for ranking, and employing a proprietary weighted scoring system to evaluate the providers’ practices.

Backed by Funders, Provenio Litigation Reaches £1 Billion in Litigation Instructions

By Harry Moran |

An announcement from Provenio Litigation revealed that the boutique litigation firm has reached £1 billion in litigation instructions only five years after it launched in 2019. The firm, which was founded by a team of senior litigation lawyers from DLA Piper, has grown the business to expand its services across different areas of litigation and into new jurisdictions, backed by partnerships with third-party funders.

Mark Goodwin, founder and managing partner of Provenio, said that despite the difficulties faced by founding the firm shortly before the Covid pandemic, the ability “to attract business litigation instructions with a combined value of £1 billion shows how far we have come over the last five years.” Goodwin noted that this growth means the firm is now involved in cases across Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East. 

Explaining the success of Provenio’s growth strategy, Goodwin said that this has been achieved “by attracting high value instructions, breaking into new areas of work and growing the business with a number of our high value cases being supported by the leading litigation funders.” The firm has also broadened its services with the launch earlier this year of Optimise, Provenio’s own insolvency litigation financing solution, which offers support to insolvency practitioners pursuing litigation against directors and third parties.

Opt-Out Claim Brought Against Valve for Alleged Breaches of Competition Law

By Harry Moran |

As LFJ reported in October of last year, Milberg London had previously announced that it had secured litigation funding from Bench Walk Advisors to bring a claim against Valve Corporation, one of the world’s largest gaming companies.

An article from CDR covers the news that this claim has now been formally brought against Steam, the games marketplace owned by Valve, over allegations that it breached UK competition law resulting in consumers being overcharged for purchases from the video game distributor. The opt-out claim was filed last week in the Competition Appeal Tribunal by Vicki Shotbolt, founder of the online safety advocacy group Parent Zone, and is being brought on behalf of up to 14 million UK consumers. The total value of the claim is estimated to reach £656 million, with the affected consumers potentially entitled to compensation of £22 to £44 if the claim is successful.

At the heart of the claim being brought against Steam, is the allegation that its use of a ‘price parity’ condition on game developers results in the end-consumer being charged an excessive price on games. This is because price parity prevents developers from selling the title at a lower price through other distributors, which combined with Steam’s 30% commission on all sales means that consumers are forced to pay an inflated price.

Shotbolt says that the claim aims to hold Valve “to account for breaking the law”, arguing that the company must be stopped from “abusing its dominant position to force publishers to sign up to illegal trading terms and tying consumers in and charging excessive prices.” 

Milberg London are acting for the proposed class, with representation by Robert Palmer KC, Julian Gregory and Will Perry of Monckton Chambers. As aforementioned, third-party funding has been secured from Bench Walk Advisors.

Natasha Pearman, partner at Milberg London, describes Valve’s monopolistic behaviour as part of its “stranglehold on the PC gaming market”, and that the Steam platform “has essentially taken away normal competition by introducing this price parity provision, so there’s no ability for real competition to thrive or emerge on alternative distribution channels.” For more information about the opt-out claim, visit the Steam You Owe Us website.