LITIGATION funding firm Alvaro is planning to raise £50m by listing on the Alternative Investment Market this month in a move that could transform the way expensive cases are funded in the City.<br /><br />Alvaro will be the first contingent litigation funding company with a UK focus to float when it lists on 16 December. <br /><br />The firm will use the cash to fund shareholder disputes and breach of trust cases involving the banks, celebrity libel cases and multi-million pound divorce settlements.<br /><br />The market is worth £25bn in the UK alone, some 70 per cent of which is available in London.<br /><br />Alvaro is headed up by chief executive Ian Rosenblatt, 50, senior partner of City law firm Rosenblatt Solicitors, and non-executive chairman Richard Jewson, 65, the former managing director of Jewson, the timber and builders merchants.<br /><br />Alvaro will not fund any Rosenblatt cases but will instead target other City law firms. The average investment in a case will be between £250,000 and £5m and only cases with a high likelihood of winning will be taken on.<br /><br />Contingent litigation funding works in a similar way to conditional fee agreements, most commonly known as no win no fee cases, as the litigant does not pay if the case is lost.<br /><br />However, they differ in that in the event of a win, the funder recovers his costs but can also share an agreed percentage of the winnings.<br /><br /><br /><strong>PETER LENARDOS<br />ARDEN PARTNERS</strong><br /><br />ALVARO’s financial adviser is David Shapton, a founding partner at Akur Partners. <br /><br />A fan of Sunday league football and Olympic format triathlons, Shapton has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the City and, at the age of 31, has worked for BNP Paribas, CIBC World Markets and Numis Securities. <br /><br />Among the IPOs and fundraisings he has worked on in recent years are Paternoster, CEB and Empire Online, with aggregate funds raised in excess of £1bn. He has worked with Ian Rosenblatt on a number of key deals.<br /><br />Peter Lenardos, at Arden Partners, is the analyst covering Alvaro.<br /><br />Lenardos (above) is a colourful figure in the City and has worked as an investment banker on both sides of the Atlantic raising more than $2bn in equity capital and advising on more than $10bn in M&A transactions. <br /><br />He held partner level positions at two M&A boutiques in London before joining Arden in July 2009 to expand their financial services franchise. He regularly reports for CNBC Europe and Bloomberg TV.