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Australia > Regulatory compliance and investigations > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Regulatory compliance and investigations
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Andrew Eastwood - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Guy Foster - Allens
    • Jason Gray - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Richard Harris - Allens
    • Luke Hastings - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Rani John - DLA Piper
    • Grant Marjoribanks - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Nicholas Mavrakis - Clayton Utz
    • Alexander Morris - King & Wood Mallesons

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Well known for its high-quality client base, strength in depth and breadth of expertise, Allens’ department handles high-profile regulatory investigations, anti-bribery and corruption work and high-level corporate compliance. Paul Nicols and the ‘highly reputable’ Guy Foster advised CIMIC on various matters arising from allegations of foreign bribery, including investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Federal Police. Richard Harris represented Westpac in ASIC’s investigation of alleged manipulation of the bank bill swap rate (BBSW), and in ASIC’s proceedings against Westpac alleging misleading and unconscionable conduct. Michelle Levy, who acts for major retail banks, wealth managers, insurers and superannuation funds, is also recommended.

Especially active in financial services regulatory and investigations work, the ‘outstanding’ team at Clayton Utz also handles offshore corruption and fraud work, particularly in the energy and mining sectors. Noted for its ‘extensive industry knowledge’ and ‘strong business acumen’, it acts for regulators as well as corporates; Reserve Bank of Australia is a representative client. The ‘self-assured, practical’ and ‘extremely intelligent’ Narelle Smythe pays ‘strong attention to detail’ and runs a ‘technically bright team’; she has particular knowledge of consumer credit and payments systems. The ‘efficient, commercial’ Ross McInnes is ‘a pleasure to work with’; Matthew Daley and Nicholas Mavrakis are also recommended for contentious and non-contentious financial services work, while Gary Berson and Tobin Meagher are the names to note for anti-corruption and investigations. Forensics expert and chartered accountant Paul Fontanot is valued for his data analytical skills, especially when handling corruption work and ASIC investigations. The group’s clients include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and BMW Australia Finance.

Herbert Smith Freehills fields ‘a go-team for serious financial regulatory issues’; it has excellent contentious and non-contentious capabilities, and is praised for its ‘amazingly consistent excellence’. Numerous partners, including Anna Sutherland, ‘great strategist’ Cameron Hanson, the ‘extremely reliable’ Luke Hastings, ‘very strong performer’ Andrew Eastwood and the ‘strategic, cost-effective’ Jacqueline Wootton, acted for various high-profile financial institutions and individuals in ASIC’s investigation into alleged BBSW manipulation. Hastings is noted for his ‘unique insights into financial services regulatory work’, and is ‘calm, thoughtful, pragmatic’ and ‘one of the best in the area’; he and Eastwood have ‘a thorough understanding of the financial regulatory landscape’. Fiona Smedley ‘knows her stuff’, Bryony Adams provides ‘comprehensive, well-considered advice’, and Michael Vrisakis is also recommended. Corporate crime and investigations are also core pillars of the practice: here, Wootton ‘combines deep technical proficiency with forensic rigour and practicality’, while the ‘stellar’ Grant Marjoribanks is a noted regulatory enforcement expert. The ‘responsive, communicative, deeply knowledgeable’ Paul Wenk is also recommended in this space. Tania Gray, an expert in financial services regulatory work, corporate crime and investigations, made partner in May 2017.

King & Wood Mallesons is commended for the ‘very high quality of its advice, expertise and industry knowledge’, and has superb contentious and non-contentious capabilities, especially in the financial services and telecoms regulatory space. Alexander Morris defended National Australia Bank (NAB) against civil penalty proceedings brought by ASIC regarding alleged BBSW manipulation, and acted for the bank in the ASIC investigation into insider trading and market misconduct, while the ‘strategic and thoughtful’ Moira Saville represented Westpac in similar regulatory proceedings regarding alleged breaches of consumer lending regulations. The team also handles regulatory work in fintech: Kate Jackson-Maynes advised Barings on the design and implementation of a regtech product. Scott Farrell is recommended for his expertise in financial services, especially over-the-counter derivatives, and is leading the Australian government’s inquiry into open banking. Katherine Forrest is highly recommended.

The ‘knowledgeable, helpful and commercial’ team at Allen & Overy LLP is ‘good value for money’, and benefits from the firm’s multi-jurisdictional strengths and its expertise in financial services. Based predominantly in Sydney, the department counts financial services regulatory work, white-collar crime, sanctions advice and anti-bribery and corruption as core strengths; the ‘really practical’ Jason Gray, who made partner in July 2017, and litigation and investigations expert Michael Shepherd are US- and Australia-qualified and have excellent knowledge of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Clients include ANZ, HSBC, Reckitt Benckiser and the New South Wales Treasury. The ‘experienced, knowledgeable’ Jason Denisenko and litigator and regulatory defence expert John Samaha are also recommended.

The ‘technically strong, very responsive and highly committed’ practice at Ashurst provides ‘amazing service’, has ‘very detailed market knowledge’ and is ‘deeply experienced’. Its key pillar is financial services regulatory work; it also advises clients on regulatory investigations into wealth management, stockbroking, insider dealing and consumer finance practices. Litigator Andrew Carter heads the team jointly with Jonathan Gordon, who is ‘very good’ at advising well-known financial institutions on cutting-edge and cross-border regulatory matters: he advised RBS on the closure of its Australian branch, and its subsequent ability to service the Australian financial markets from abroad. Financial services regulatory experts Cory McHattan and Ian Bolster are also recommended; Philip Trinca is noted for his fintech experience.

White-collar crime, anti-bribery and corruption are the key pillars of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s department, which is led jointly by Simon Johnson and the ‘whip-smartSam Delaney. Johnson acted for eBay International in a multimillion-dollar fraud claim against a former senior executive, while Delaney advised Alesco on its employee fraud claim to recover nearly A$2m-worth of company funds. It advises regulators as well as corporates: James Whittaker defended the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in injunction proceedings brought by property developer and former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy. Forensics expert Phillip Magness joined the Melbourne office as consultant after having spent 17 years with the Australian Federal Police; he bolsters the practice’s white-collar crime capabilities.

The key pillars of Baker McKenzie’s department are corporate investigations, front-end compliance work and risk assessments; corporate crime, anti-bribery and corruption are areas of particular expertise for the team. The firm’s cross-border connections lend the practice a multi-jurisdictional scope; the Sydney-based Georgie Farrant heads the group jointly with the Hong Kong-based Mini vandePol. Jurlique and Suez Environment are clients on the procedural compliance advisory side. Senior associate Andrew Emmerson is also recommended.

DLA Piper’s ‘pragmatic’ practice is noted for its ‘great access to its global team’; it is especially capable in cross-border anti-corruption work, and has a strong line in advising high-profile financial institutions on ASIC investigations and compliance. ‘Sharp, responsive, tenacious’ group head Rani John, who is ‘a very safe pair of hands’, ‘consistently delivers very strong client service: she is always available and unafraid to roll up her sleeves’, and provides ‘strategic, commercially astute advice’. She assisted Greenhill & Co with monitoring criminal proceedings against Mr Fei Yu, who was charged with insider trading after possessing insider information supplied by a former Greenhill analyst. The Malaysia- and Australia-qualified Gowri Kangeson is an expert in anti-bribery, corruption, white-collar crime and investigations. Special counsels Jonathon Ellis and Ryan Hennessey, who are anti-bribery and corruption experts, joined in 2016 from Ashurst and Baker McKenzie respectively.

Anti-bribery, corruption and high-profile Royal Commissions are core strengths of Gilbert + Tobin’s practice. Litigators Kate Harrison and Andrew Floro are particularly strong here: they advised the Attorney General’s Department on conducting the public inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of children at youth detention centres in the Northern Territory. Both lawyers also acted for Catholic dioceses and religious orders across the country, as well as for the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, on the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. The practice is also active in cross-border financial services regulatory work: it advised one of Australia’s major banks on a long-running ASIC investigation into foreign exchange practices in the banking industry. Financial services expert Steven Glass is recommended, as is special counsel Stephanie Wee, an anti-bribery, corruption and investigations expert.

Focused mostly on financial services regulatory work, Henry Davis York’s ‘outstanding’, ‘very responsive and friendly’ department benefits from the firm’s excellent banking practice and its ‘great connections with regulators and industry bodies’. Corporate and financial services expert Nikki Bentley and restructuring and insolvency specialist Scott Atkins head the group; Bentley and Jon Ireland, who is strong in funds and fintech, acted for a range of funds including Henderson Global Investors, Sunsuper and Vanguard Australia on new ASIC regulations relating to fee and cost disclosure requirements. The ‘smart, commercial and cost-conscious’ Claudine Salameh is ‘great to work with’; she and Atkins acted for a major Australian bank on a significant remediation programme. Henry Davis York and Norton Rose Fulbright have announced their intention to merge towards the end of 2017.

Especially strong on the financial services regulatory side, Minter Ellison’s practice was instructed by a major Australian bank on defences against investigations by ASIC and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding foreign exchange market conduct and, separately, BBSW manipulation. Ross Freeman acted for various current and past directors of OZ Minerals in ASIC investigations into the merger between Oxiana and Zinifex that created OZ Minerals. Paul Schoff is also recommended.

The ‘excellent’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright acts for large financial institutions on regulatory compliance matters, including defending them in ASIC investigations, and is involved in anti-bribery work. Regulatory investigations expert Grant Bonner acted for a large Australian bank in an ASIC investigation into foreign exchange market conduct, and represented a large finance business in ASIC’s investigation into its responsible lending practices. Zein El Hassan is also active in contentious and non-contentious financial services regulatory work. On the broader investigations front, Peter Cash advised Essendon Fields on the various external investigations that ensued after a flight accident in February 2017. The Brisbane-based Dale Rayner is noted for his anti-money laundering work. Abigail McGregor is recommended for her work in anti-bribery, corruption and business ethics. Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York have announced their intention to merge towards the end of 2017.

Clyde & Co LLP’s practice counts insurance as a core strength, though workplace safety compliance, financial services regulatory breaches and international sanctions are also areas of expertise. Dean Carrigan and ‘engaging, knowledgeable’ workplace health and safety (WHS) expert Michael Tooma jointly head the team; Tooma advised VicTrack on an assessment framework for its safety culture and on complying with WHS regulations. Avryl Lattin is an expert in corporate governance and regulatory work, and has experience in investigations by ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). Professional liability and financial institutions specialist Janette McLennan defends directors in regulatory investigations and civil and criminal proceedings.

Commended for its ‘very high level of service’, the team at K&L Gates is especially active in workplace health and safety matters and ACCC investigations, though it also acts for individuals in ASIC investigations. ‘Excellent communicator’ Mark Dobbie, who has ‘significant experience in regulatory investigations’ involving ASIC and APRA, heads the practice alongside competition specialist Ayman Guirguis. Clients include ANZ, MediBank and CIMIC.

Although it doesn’t handle regulatory work for banks or financial institutions, Squire Patton Boggs’ practice acts for clients in investigations across a wide range of sectors, and is active in governance compliance work and anti-bribery. Labour and WHS expert Bruno Di Girolami acted for Technip Oceania in an investigation and quasi-criminal proceedings brought by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) regarding an alleged safety breach during its diving work for Chevron in the Wheatstone gas field. He also acted for a multinational corporation on a significant employee investigation concerning allegedly fraudulent claims. Margie Tannock advised one high-profile individual on corruption allegations and the related local government investigation.

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