It was described at its launch as a “unique marriage” but Pinsent Masons today went one step further and announced that it is to acquire a majority stake and all technology rights in Cerico, the cloud-based compliance joint venture which it launched in conjunction with IT consultancy Campbell Nash two years ago.

Cerico, which is deployed on Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform, automates the compliance processes that businesses need as a result of legislation such as the Bribery Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The platform, which counts Aggregate Industries and Proserv among its clients, puts suppliers and service providers through regular compliance due diligence checks “in a cost effective and auditable way”.

The system ‘red flags’ significant legal risks and allows the purchase of products – such as e-learning or template compliance policies – to remedy any issues.  If substantive legal issues develop or are uncovered, in an ideal scenario Cerico clients will instruct Pinsent Masons to resolve them.

As of 1 August, Pinsent Masons will take a majority stake in Cerico and the company will relocate to the top 20 firm’s Glasgow office. All rights in the technology will transfer to Pinsent Masons.

Pinsent Masons head of client operations Richard Masters will become executive chairman of Cerico, which also counts Electricity North West Limited, Clyde Blowers Capital portfolio companies and Qinterra as clients. He will work alongside Cerico’s chief executive Jim Armstrong.

Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said: “This significant investment is a demonstration both of the confidence we have in the Cerico business, and of Pinsent Masons’ appetite for taking a chance on bold and innovative solutions. Through new products and technologies such as Cerico, SmartDelivery and [contract lawyer arm] Vario our aim is to lead disruptive change in the market rather than be defined by it. Richard has the right entrepreneurial instincts to develop the Cerico business and I am confident that he and Jim will make Cerico a great success.”