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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Belgium > Banking, finance and capital markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  2. Leading individuals
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Who Represents Who

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The broad practice at Allen & Overy LLP covers the gamut of financing and capital markets, with particular strengths in financial regulation and acquisition, project, trade and commodity finance. Its presence across key hubs in Europe and further afield make it well equipped to handle complex, multi-jurisdictional finance transactions. Sylvia Kierszenbaum advised KBC Bank on its first small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) loan securitisation and the issuance of €3.2bn SME asset-backed floating rate notes due 2051 by Compartment SME Loan Invest 2017. The ‘very pragmatic’ Yves Van Pul ‘delivers outstanding work and goes the extra mile’; he acted for BNP Paribas Fortis as lender on the proposed public takeover bid by TVH Group of Lavendon Group. Counsel Greet Vanslambrouck is also recommended. Filip Tanghe heads the department.

Responsive, knowledgeable and pragmatic’, Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL’s banking, finance and capital markets group is best known for its lender-side work, though it also counts major financial institutions among its clients. In equity capital markets, the team’s recent highlights include acting as underwriters’ counsel and as tax transactional counsel to Tinc on the €76.7m capital increase of Tinc by means of a rights offering. Its acquisition finance highlights include advising TVH Group on a facilities agreement with BNP Paribas Fortis connected to the contemplated public takeover of Lavendon Group. Antoine De Raeve, Roel Meers and Koen Vanhaerents, who heads the capital markets team, are noted.

A ‘benchmark firm’ in finance, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has a long history in the Belgium market. Its clients include issuers, domestic and international financial institutions, private equity firms and international corporations, which turn to the firm for assistance in complex, high-value and multi-jurisdictional transactions. In a cross-office effort, Christophe Wauters in Brussels worked alongside colleagues in Paris to advise the Republic of Madagascar on its first commercial loan, which was arranged by Deutsche Bank, with a partial guarantee from the African Development Fund. Laurent Legein and Géraldine Bourguignon are key contacts.

Clifford Chance provides ‘an excellent cross-border service, both content wise – connecting legal knowledge with a thorough understanding of the economical context – and in terms of response times and accessibility’. The firm’s equity capital markets practice was further strengthened by the arrival of associate Valérie Demeur from the Financial Services and Markets Authority. 2016 and 2017 saw the team handling a broad spread of high-value finance deals, including equity and debt capital markets and restructurings. A cross-office team including department head Bert De Maeyer advised the creditors on the restructuring, recapitalisation and refinancing of Hamon. Counsel Wim Aerts receives strong praise. Other key practitioners in the team include Lounia Czupper and Niek De Pauw.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Linklatersknows its market and domain very well’. Its financial regulation expertise is of particular note, as is its regular involvement in the full spread of debt and equity capital markets work. Other key areas of practice include leveraged, structured and acquisition finance. Recent work includes the team’s advice to Deutsche Bank as arranger and lender on the Belgian aspects of a €92.2m loan facility to finance OpenGate Capital’s acquisition of Umicore Zinc Chemicals. Recent internal developments included the promotion of Anne-Sophie Vankemmelbeke and Jellen Rasquin to managing associate. Practice head David Ballegeer ‘is one of those rare lawyers who manages to combine impressive in-depth expertise with fine-tuned deal-making skills’. Charles-Antoine Leunen is another key contact; he regularly works for clients in the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors.

With ‘a long track record of securitisation transactions in Belgium, having worked for all major banks’, Stibbe has a strong position in the market, and receives praise for its ‘to-the-point, no-nonsense and accurate advice’ and ‘very deep knowledge of the applicable regulations, even in complex transactions’. Its extensive client base sees it receiving instructions from lenders, borrowers, issuers and underwriters. Sofie Heremans was promoted to counsel in 2017; she and Wouter Ghijsels are noted for their ‘commitment and knowledge’. Ivan Peeters and Philip Van Steenwinkel joined PwC Legal in September 2018.

Ashurst LLP handles a steady flow of cross-border finance transactions for international financial institutions and corporate clients. Other strengths include its structured products offering, where the team is a popular choice among retail investors. Clients include Citibank, JPMorgan and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. Arnaud Wtterwulghe heads the team, which includes four dedicated associates and also draws on the regulatory expertise of corporate partner David Du Pont.

The ‘strong team’ at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer excels in debt finance and debt capital markets, and also maintains a leading position in equity capital markets. The team is a popular choice for lenders and borrowers in a range of financing transactions, particularly acquisition finance. Geert Verhoeven has strong experience in capital markets deals, and works alongside corporate law specialist and managing partner Vincent Macq, who is also well versed in this field. The ‘very experienced’ Deborah Janssens has a ‘lot of know-how in different matters’, and counsel Lien Delvoye is another key name.

Jones Day’s finance and capital markets practice covers all areas, from corporate lending and leveraged finance to banking regulatory matters. The team’s success can be traced by its impressive growth in recent years; it currently fields three partners, one of counsel and a sizeable pool of dedicated associates. In recent work, Matthieu Duplat advised Belfius Bank on the annual update of its €10bn medium-term notes programme, listed on the Luxembourg stock exchange. David Roger heads the banking and finance practice. Ferdinand Brughmans is also recommended.

Highly experienced in national and cross-border transactions’, Laga is noted for its ‘smooth execution of complex deals’ and ‘proactive approach’, which allows it to ‘anticipate new situations and scenarios’. In addition to acting for financial services and corporate clients, it also enjoys well-established relationships with international firms, which accounts in part for the strength of its international practice. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Werner Van Lembergenperfectly combines excellent technical knowledge with a practical approach’. Senior associate Laurent Godts is also recommended.

Areas of expertise at Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick include general corporate lending, leveraged finance, project finance and debt restructuring. Recent highlights for Freya Mareels include her advice to Sonaca on the financing of its acquisition of LMI Aerospace. Jan Vincent Lindemans heads the banking and finance department. Tom Van Dyck is a key contact for financial services regulation, and Roel Fransis excels in financial litigation and insolvency. Fintech and financial regulations specialist Joan Carette joined Osborne Clarke in 2017.

Loyens & Loeff receives plaudits for its ‘swift, pragmatic and tailor-made solutions’. Asset-based lending is a substantial area of focus; recommended partners Marc Vermylen and Koen Panis are key names in this field. The firm is also well recognised for its experience in renewable energy financing, where it has ‘a proactive approach’ and ‘in-depth industry knowledge’. Senior associate Jan Missoul and associates Sarah Libregts and Mathias Diricx also receive praise.

The highly rated team at NautaDutilh is active in domestic, Benelux and international transactions. Standout areas include project finance and financial regulation; in the latter field, Anne Fontaine is the key contact. Elke Janssens co-heads the capital markets practice alongside Nicolas de Crombrugghe; de Crombrugghe and Philippine De Wolf recently advised the underwriters on the Belgian and Dutch law aspects of the Nasdaq IPO by ArgenX. Thibaut Willems and Frédéric Heremans co-head the finance practice.

White & Case LLP acts for banks and corporate clients on domestic and complex international transactions, often exceeding €300m. A highlight in 2017 was its advice to the arrangers on the leveraged financing of Refresco’s acquisition of Cott’s bottling business. Counsel Willem Van de Wiele joined from Allen & Overy LLP in November 2016 and now heads the capital markets practice. Thierry Bosly and Hadrien Servais lead the restructuring and insolvency, and banking practices, respectively.

At Altius, Yves Brosens is active in a range of banking and finance transactions, with an emphasis on project finance and export finance. The team has strong relationships with financial services clients, including Barclays, RBS and Commerzbank, and also advises on the lender side. Kasper Van Landeghem left the firm for an in-house position.

CMS is particularly active in real estate and acquisition finance and is also noted for its capital markets expertise. In recent work, counsel Benoît Vandervelde advised Deutsche Bank on the €100m bonds issuance by SPGE. Arnaud Van Oekel and Bruno Duquesne are the key partners.

In the banking and finance sphere, Lydian provides an ‘efficient service’, and its advice is ‘invariably clear, concise and easy for clients to digest’. Asset-based lending, asset finance and project finance are strengths. Regulatory work for banks and other financial services companies also features. Practice head Tom Geudens, senior associates Pieterjan Van Assche and Pieter Meeus and associate Inez Vermeesch are noted.

The ‘prompt, efficient and professional’ team at Simont Braun has a broad finance and capital markets offering. Of particular note is its digital finance practice, which combines the expertise of finance, IP and data protection specialists. Paul Alain Foriers’ practice includes financial litigation. Sandrine Hirsch, Catherine Houssa and counsel Philippe De Prez are other names to note.

The ‘client friendly’ team at Astrea provides ‘a good alternative’ to the bigger players in the market. It has a strong track record advising on the financing of renewable energy projects; other areas of expertise include real estate finance, commodity finance and crowdfunding. The ‘reliable’, ‘accurate’ and ‘hands-on’ Dieter Veestraeten leads the team.

Bird & Bird is known for its capabilities in the payments sector, particularly in fintech, where it advises clients on regulatory, competition and commercial law issues. Highlights included Paul Hermant’s advice to Creditplace on the regulatory structuring of a new invoice marketplace platform to be launched in multiple European countries. The team is also active in the insurance industry.

Cresco Advocaten’s team provides ‘legal advice that is practical and takes into account the business environment and goals’. It is well known for its work in the venture capital space, and acts as finance and capital markets counsel for fund managers, entrepreneurs and growth companies. Fintech is another area of expertise. David Dessers, Pieter Capiau and senior associate Yannick Verrycke are noted.

At DLA Piper, the integrated transactional finance and finance regulatory practice has a strong profile for infrastructure, real estate and renewables financing. Its expertise in infrastructure financing was demonstrated by its involvement in the refinancing of the north-south Kempen road PPP, where it represented the sponsor. Johan Mouraux and counsel Axelle Van Den Broeck are the names to note.

Nora Wouters leads the team at Dentons, which has an impressive practice in financial services regulation and insurance law. Among its areas of focus are commodities, clearing and settlement systems and derivatives. The firm’s extensive office network is a distinguishing feature, allowing cross-office teams to handle multi-jurisdictional mandates.

At ‘highly reputed firmEubelius, the team is ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic, including at the associate level’. Practice head Marieke Wyckaert advised Royal BAM Group on a €400m revolving credit facility agreement with a syndicate of banks. Jean-Marc Gollier is the name to note for financial regulation and insurance and Anthony Logghe is active in project finance.

Monard Law’s ‘efficient’ and ‘professional’ team provides ‘sound and pragmatic advice’. Recent highlights for the ‘very knowledgeableBram Delmotte include advising Marine Harvest on a senior-secured multicurrency revolving credit facility. The team has ‘a good reputation’ for aviation finance, where ‘accomplished lawyerBirgitta Van Itterbeek is the name to note.

PwC Legal, which was formerly Law Square, was boosted by the arrival of Jacques Richelle from Strelia. It excels in financial regulation, and also handles a range of capital markets and finance transactional work. Ivan Peeters and Philip Van Steenwinkel were new arrivals from Stibbe in September 2018.

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