James E. Thomas
James Thomas is a partner in the asset management group and serves as leader of the firm’s asset management mergers and acquisitions team. James focuses his practice on regulatory and transactional matters relating to the financial services industry. He counsels investment advisers, registered investment companies and their trustees, and hedge funds and other private investment vehicles on all aspects of their operations. He has considerable experience in organizing and advising registered investment companies employing alternative investment strategies. James is also an experienced adviser to public and private companies in the financial services and other industries in a variety of matters, including debt and equity offerings, mergers and acquisitions and investment transactions.
- Represents the Putnam Funds and their independent Trustees in a wide variety of matters, including the development of innovative products (such as the Putnam Absolute Return Funds), fund reorganizations, compliance matters, investment activities, and advisory and other service provider arrangements.
- Represents Blackstone Alternative Asset Management in connection with the organization and on-going operation of its registered investment companies, the Blackstone Alternative Alpha Funds and Blackstone Alternative Multi-Manager Fund.
- Advised Virtus Investment Advisers in connection with a portfolio manager “lift-out” transaction and the related restructuring of its advisory business.
- Represented the Evergreen Funds and their independent Trustees in connection with Wells Fargo’s acquisition of Wachovia Corporation, which ultimately resulted in approximately 80 fund reorganization transactions relating to the combination of the Evergreen and Wells Fargo families of funds.
- Represented the Putnam Funds and their independent Trustees in connection with Great-West Lifeco Inc.'s $3.9 billion acquisition of Putnam Investments, which resulted in a change of control of the Funds' investment adviser, Putman Investment Management, LLC.
- Regularly advises clients regarding acquisitions, dispositions, and other transactions in the financial services industry.
- Has organized and represented a number of hedge funds of funds registered under the Investment Company Act.
- Quoted, “The Year in Regulation: Liquidity, ETFs, Derivatives,” BoardIQ (January 2, 2019)
- Quoted, “Looking under the hood of proxy voting,” Fund Directions (November 16, 2018)
- Featured, “Q&A: James Thomas, partner, Ropes & Gray,” Fund Directions (October 18, 2018)
- Quoted, “Boards to get ‘first glimpses’ of liquidity programs this fall,” Fund Directions (July 20, 2018)
- Featured, “SEC Naming Rules 'Trip Up' ESG Funds,” Ignites (June 1, 2018)
- Quoted, “For What It’s Worth: Growth Questions Complicate M&A Valuation Talks,” Ignites (June 13, 2017)
- Quoted, “Slow-Moving M&A Now. Fire Sale Later?,” Ignites (June 12, 2017)
- Co-author, PLC Investment Funds Handbook – United States, Country Q&A (2015)
- Quoted, “OCIE Warns On Alternative Investment Due Diligence,” Compliance Intelligence (January 31, 2014)
- Co-author, PLC Investment Funds Handbook – United States, Country Q&A (2014)
- Co-author, PLC Investment Funds Handbook – United States, Country Q&A (2013)
- Co-author, PLC Investment Funds Handbook - United States, Country Q&A (2012)
- Co-author, PLC Investment Funds Handbook - United States, Country Q&A (2011)
- Panelist, “Fund Directors’ Response to SEC Proposals/Regulation,” Interactive Data’s 2016 Fund Advisory Board Conference (May 10, 2016)
- Panelist, “Automated Compliance Issues,” Investment Adviser Association Compliance Conference (March 2015)
- Panelist, “Retailization of Private Equity,” PEGCC Chief Compliance Officers Working Group (September 2014)
- Panelist, “Retailization of Private Equity? Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities from a Compliance Perspective,” Private Equity Growth Capital Council (September 2014)
- Moderator, "Regulatory Considerations for Liquid Alts: 40 Act Funds," IIR Liquid Alternative Strategies West (April 2014)
- Moderator, Mutual Fund Directors Forum’s “Board Oversight of Valuation Roundtable,” (November 2013)
- Speaker, “Legal and Regulatory Requirements for Liquid Alt Funds,” IIR Alternative Strategy Mutual Funds Forum (September 2013)
- Panelist, “Navigating the Regulatory Forest,” Institutional Investor Institute Senior Delegates Roundtable (January 2013)
- Panelist, “Compliance and Regulatory Update – What’s New with the SEC and Other Regulatory Bodies,” Financial Research Associates 12th Annual Valuation of Hand-to-Value Securities and Portfolios (June 2012)
- Panelist, “Regulatory Update – What’s New and What’s on the Horizon?” Financial Research Associates Optimizing Hedge Funds Business Operations (January 2012)
- Speaker, “Hot-Button Regulatory Issues that Affect the Valuation Process,” Financial Research Associates 11th Annual Valuation of Hand-to-Value Securities and Portfolios (June 2011)
- JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1997; Book Notes Editor, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology
- AB, summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1994; Phi Beta Kappa
Admissions / Qualifications
- Massachusetts, 1997
- Legal 500 (2017-2019)
- IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms, Rising Star (2016-2020)