The U.S. business of IMF Bentham has reported a 60% leap in investment opportunities over the past year as the third party commercial litigation funding giant this year opens an office in Toronto and hires new chief marketing officer Gretchen Koehler.

Bentham IMF in the U.S., which doubled in size in 2015, has over the past year seen the successful or partial conclusion of six funded matters, including three portfolio deals with law firms, and several large-scale disputes with additional recoveries expected going forward.

It has given new funding to 15 disputes (out of nearly 300 presented for the firm’s consideration in 2015) and its annual U.S. claim value now represents one-third of the company’s global annual claim value, with projections that the figure will reach 50% in the next several years. 

Recoveries include cases involving insurance claims, patent and copyright disputes, international arbitrations and whistleblower claims.

Meanwhile, Australia-listed parent company IMF Bentham in January announced it is to open a new office in Toronto, which will see it become the first leading commercial litigation funder to establish a Canadian presence, as the presence of international law firms and demand for dispute funding in the jurisdiction grows.

The office will be headed by Tania Sulan, chief investment officer for Canada, who formerly served as an investment manager in several of Bentham’s Australian offices. The Toronto office is Bentham’s fourth office in North America, after New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Globally the business has grown by more than 60 professionals across the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia, including the hire of Bentham’s first chief marketing officer in the U.S., Gretchen Koehler, a former lawyer at litigation firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, where she was director of business development and marketing from 2012.

“We’re extremely pleased with our benchmark results in the US for 2015,” said Andrew Saker, managing director and CEO of IMF Bentham. “The robust jump in quality funding opportunities confirms that we have become the funder of choice for claimants and law firms seeking access to the civil justice system.”

As of 30 June 2015, Bentham had completed 175 cases, of which it settled 117, won 13, lost 10 and withdrew in 35. According to its website, the company has made total recoveries of $1.6bn, of which $1bn was returned to clients.