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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

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Banking, finance and capital markets
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP's practice is highlighted for 'the transparent and constructive dialogue' between clients and the team. Led by¬†Filip Tanghe, the group stands out for its 'fast delivery and execution' on the entire ambit of finance products, including debt capital markets transactions, acquisition/leveraged finance, general lending transactions (such as refinancing transactions and recapitalisations), structured finance/securitisations, real estate finance, and trade, commodity and export finance. Tanghe and counsel¬†Greet Vanslambrouck¬†recently acted for Rivage Investment and the bondholders on a private placement of bonds issued by a Belgian special purpose vehicle set up by Vivalto Home Belgium. Another deal involved 'very committed partner'¬†Yves Van Pul¬†and Julie Vander Donckt¬†(who was recently promoted to senior associate along with¬†Axel de Backer) advising BNP Paribas Fortis on the ‚ā¨150m financing to Belgian entrepreneur Pascal Vanhalst for the acquisition of Suspa. Elsewhere, the firm also captures a significant share of the market for finance related to PFI/PPP projects. Beyond transactional work, the team provides guidance to Belgian and international financial institutions on MiFID II, payment services and funds legislation, among various other matters. Sylvia Kierszenbaum¬†is another key figure in the group.¬†Koen Vanlaer¬†moved to¬†Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Although¬†Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's banking work is primarily weighted towards advising lenders/financiers, the firm is experiencing a notable uptick in sponsor/borrower mandates. Led by 'very professional' EMEA region practice head¬†Antoine De Raeve, the dedicated transactional banking team demonstrates particularly strong capabilities in areas such as syndicated lending and real estate finance.¬†Michael Van Acker¬†is particularly well-known for his knowledge of leveraged acquisition and leveraged real estate finance transactions. Raeve and Van Acker are 'smart, knowledgeable and commercial'. In 2017, Van Acker, recently promoted counsel¬†Eric Blomme¬†and senior associate¬†H√©l√®ne Van Steenberge¬†acted for Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, Cr√©dit Lyonnais, ING Belgium, KBC Bank and La Banque Postale (as arrangers and lenders) on the provision of financing to Fedrus International and certain subsidiaries for the purpose of acquiring building materials company VMZINC from Umicore, and also to takeover French company MCP Defrancq.¬†The group's other areas of expertise include structured finance, export finance and asset-based lending.¬†Blomme also recently acted as the lead adviser to BNP Paribas Fortis on financing¬†the purchase of rapier weaving and airjet weaving machines by Turkish textile manufacturing company KipaŇü Mensucat IŇületmeleri Anonim Ňěirketi from Belgian exporter Picanol; Belgian export credit agency Credendo backed the financing.¬†Koen Vanhaerents, who¬†heads up the global capital markets practice, is active in both equity (including IPOs and secondary offerings) and debt capital markets transactions. Another key figure is¬†Roel Meers,¬†who was part of the group that assisted Mithra Pharmaceuticals with a ‚ā¨77.5m accelerated bookbuild private placement.

Clifford Chance's market-leading practice covers the full scope of business-critical banking and finance transactions - and sophisticated equity and debt capital markets matters - for a client roster including investment banks, development banks, sponsors, supra-national institutions and governments.¬†Bert De Maeyer¬†and¬†Niek De Pauw¬†recently¬†advised the creditors (led by BNP Paribas Fortis) on the ‚ā¨435m restructuring, recapitalisation and refinancing of Hamon. In 2017, a notable highlight saw De Maeyer and counsel¬†Wim Aerts¬†assist EQT with the financing aspects of its acquisition of Desotec from AAC Capital. De Mayer jointly heads the practice with¬†Lounia Czupper, who was the lead adviser to Econocom on its ‚ā¨200m convertible bond issue. Senior associate¬†Val√©rie Demeur¬†is another name to note in the group. Other clients include Standard Chartered Bank, European Investment Bank and ING Belgium. Philippe Hamer has retired from private practice.

According to its clients,¬†Linklaters'¬†team has 'best in class' expertise in the gamut of highly complex banking and finance transactions, financial services regulatory issues and capital markets (equity, equity-linked and debt) matters. The firm merged its banking and corporate practices to strengthen its offering in these areas. In the banking sphere, acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance, syndicated lending and debt restructurings are among the many areas of activity. David Ballegeer¬†jointly heads the practice with¬†Charles-Antoine Leunen, who was part of the cross-office team acting for The Carlyle Group as the sponsor on the ‚ā¨660m financing of its acquisition of Praesidiad from CVC. On the capital markets front, Ballegeer, recently promoted managing associate¬†Francis Wijnakker¬†and others acted for BNP Paribas (as arranger) and the dealers on the update of the ‚ā¨3.5bn euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme for Proximus. Another highlight saw Ballegeer and¬†Anne-Sophie Vankemmelbeke¬†assist KBC Ifima as the issuer with establishing a warrant programme in 2017.¬†Elsewhere, the group (which receives client praise for its 'availability and flexibility') advises on the formation of investment funds, which are linked to financing the development of new projects in sectors such as real estate, biotech and infrastructure. Other notable individuals in the team are¬†Arnaud Coibion, and counsels¬†Thierry L‚ÄôHomme¬†and¬†Filip Lecoutre.¬†Joyce Wieczorek¬†was promoted to managing associate.

Ashurst LLP's team, which 'concentrates on the main risks for the client', is equally highly regarded by international financial institutions and large corporates in complex cross-border banking and capital markets transactions. Clients note that it has 'a lot of experience' across a wide range of debt products, including those involving the provision of leveraged/acquisition finance, real estate finance and project finance, among other debt products. Debt refinancings and restructurings are another mainstay of the practice. The group, which is led by Arnaud Wtterwulghe, also has standout expertise in the offering of structured products to retail investors in Belgium, and is also knowledgeable about Euroclear settlement and related securities services. Wtterwulghe has led the advice to clients such as Deutsche Bank, Citibank and JPMorgan on their notes, warrants and certificates issuance programmes to ensure consistency with the Belgian Code of Economic Law. Renewi, Charterhouse and Ceva are among other active clients.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton¬†'demonstrates uniquely creative and strategic thinking'¬†in highly sophisticated financing and debt restructuring mandates, and it is also highly sought-after for banking regulatory advice. In addition, it has a strong track record in the capital markets space. Clients include bpost, Louis-Delhaize, Infrabel, Deutsche Bank and TPG. Its 'amazingly talented' team is 'very knowledgeable, committed and people¬†oriented'; 'it feels like your case is its personal matter'. Senior attorney¬†Christophe Wauters¬†is experienced in undertaking various matters with a nexus to Africa, including project finance transactions, bridge loans and debt restructurings. Beyond Africa-related work, Wauters is working with¬†Barth√©lemy Faye¬†in Paris to advise¬†Akuo Energy on the partial refinancing and sale of a 49% equity interest in its wind farm project in Montenegro to Masdar, a subsidiary of the Mubadala Investment Company. In another matter,¬†Laurent Legein¬†and Wauters recently assisted¬†private equity sponsor Alpha with financing the acquisition of European insulation materials group Ipcom. Legein and Wauters were also part of a cross-office team, which advised Belron Group on securing ‚ā¨1.5bn of financing for the purpose of debt repayment and shareholder distributions as part of a corporate reorganisation of the Belron Group.¬†Laurent Ruzette¬†and others are acting as issuer counsel to Eurofima (a Treaty-based international organisation specialising in rolling stock financing) on the update of its bonds programmes. Counsel¬†G√©raldine Bourguignon¬†is also recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's team 'understands the needs of the client perfectly, and is equally competent from associate to partner'. The firm's outstanding reputation in corporate M&A and private equity deals makes it a strong choice for related advice on complex leveraged and acquisition finance transactions. In 2017,¬†Deborah Janssens¬†acted for The Carlyle Group on financing the acquisition of ADB Seagate. It is also a strong performer in headline debt and equity capital markets mandates, as is evidenced by the fact that a team led by Janssens,¬†Geert Verhoeven¬†and practice head¬†Vincent Macq¬†has been acting for SFPI/FPIM and the Belgian State on the IPO of Belfius Bank. In addition, in 2017, Verhoeven, principal associate¬†Sigrid Ververken¬†and others acted for four banks (led by JP Morgan and KBC Securities) as the underwriters on¬†a circa ‚ā¨253m secondary public offering. The group also excels in providing clients with treasury and corporate finance advice to assist clients with managing their ongoing working capital requirements; areas of expertise in this space include trade finance, syndicated factoring and syndicated leasing, and event-driven financing. Other bedrocks of the practice involve assisting clients with financial regulatory issues and the Belgian aspects of cross-border financing transactions. Principal associate¬†Koen Vanlaer¬†joined from¬†Allen & Overy LLP¬†in March 2018.

Jones Day's sizeable group, which operates as part of a wider global network, advises on the Belgian, EU and cross-border aspects of the full range of banking and capital markets transactions. Its strong market presence makes it a leading choice among corporates, sponsors and many of the largest and most active financial institutions. In 2017,¬†Matthieu Duplat¬†was the lead adviser to BNP Paribas and Belfius Bank (as the joint lead managers) on the ‚ā¨30m debut bond issuance by real estate developer¬†BPI Real Estate Belgium SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CFE, and he also acted for the same clients on the establishment of Extensa Group's ‚ā¨150 million EMTN programme and its inaugural notes issue. A notable recent equity offering saw Duplat advise Hamon & Cie on a ‚ā¨68.1m rights issue. Another key figure is¬†Ferdinand Brughmans, who co-led a cross-office team, which assisted¬†Blackstone with the Belgian legal aspects of the real estate financing of the acquisition of a seven-block business centre called Corporate Village. Also notable is of counsel¬†David Roger's advice to¬†Cr√©dit Agricole CIB, Soci√©t√© G√©n√©rale, LCL, Cr√©dit Agricole Nord de France, Banque Palatine, and other banks on the ‚ā¨105m leveraged buyout financing for the acquisition of Dupont Restauration.

Laga's team of 'experienced and dedicated lawyers' is equally capable in domestic and cross-border banking, finance and debt capital markets matters; 'it explains local law issues in clear, commercially relevant terms' and also has 'a good understanding of the London market'. In addition, the firm's position in the Deloitte member firm network enables it to add value in relation to financial regulatory advice (including Basel III, Solvency II and Eurostat/ESR), and also the tax aspects of complex transactions. The 'extremely well-connected'¬†Werner Van Lembergen, who¬†leads the team, is 'responsive, pragmatic and consistently impresses instructing solicitors and clients alike'. The group is particularly active in public sector capital expenditure financings; Van Lembergen is acting for the hospitals network of Antwerp on a complex debt restructuring of more than ‚ā¨700m. He is also working with senior associate¬†Laurent Godts¬†and others to advise the European Investment Bank on various financings; recent work included assisting the client with the provision of finance to Biocartis¬†to finance investments in research and development (including industrialisation) and commercialisation of infectious diseases diagnostics solutions. Elsewhere, the firm assists clients with acquisition finance transactions and high-yield bond issuances, among other matters.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's¬†practice head¬†Jan Vincent Lindemans¬†and¬†Freya Mareels¬†specialise in banking and finance transactions and debt restructurings; their wide-ranging expertise spans areas such as leveraged finance, asset-based lending, structured finance and project finance. In 2017, Mareels was the lead adviser to New York-based private equity firm Argand Partners on the Belgian law aspects of the financing of its acquisition of Oase from Equistone. Lindemans assisted the Veldeman Group and PMF Finance with negotiating an amendment and restatement of existing facilities with KBC Bank.¬†Tom Van Dyck¬†is a go-to for advice on financial regulation, which includes funds regulation (UCITS and AIFMD), insurance regulation (PRIIPS and IDD) and MiFID II. Another notable individual is¬†Wim Dedecker, who has a strong track record in debt and equity capital markets transactions, and recently acted for Belfius Bank as a joint bookrunner on Xior Student Housing's ‚ā¨134m¬†rights issue and accelerated private placement bookbuilding.

Loyens & Loeff's banking and finance team is praised by clients for its 'responsiveness and pragmatism'. It works collaboratively with other practices to cover the entire ambit of advice on transactional, general advisory and regulatory issues to corporates and financial institutions. One of the cornerstones of the practice is in the project finance arena, where the group's 'in-depth knowledge and experience' is particularly evident in sectors such as renewable energy and infrastructure. The firm has been involved in the financing and development of all offshore wind farms in Belgium to date. Team head Marc Vermylen, Thomas Chellingsworth and others are acting as borrower's counsel to Northwester II NV on financing the development of a 218.5MW offshore wind farm in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Vermylen also recently led a team, which included senior associate Jan Missoul, in the advice to KBC Bank on the development, construction and financing of a biomass plant near Unilin’s production site in Wielsbeke, Belgium. Elsewhere, Vermylen and Koen Panis are sought-after for their experience in asset-based lending and trade receivables programmes; clients in this area include Wells Fargo, HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The group also handles various other transactions; a recent highlight involved Panis acting for Selecta Group on financing its acquisition of Pelican Rouge. It also has a notable real estate finance offering. In addition, the team also advises a wide variety of clients on the regulation of financial services and products, including investment funds, insurance companies and pension funds. In the debt capital markets arena, the group's work includes high-yield and convertible bond issues, among other matters.

NautaDutilh serves as a one-stop shop to¬†Belgian, Benelux and international clients in their most challenging, business-critical matters. Its finance practice is led by¬†Thibaut Willems, whose experience includes acquisition finance, asset finance and corporate finance transactions. In 2017, Willems, and senior associates¬†Nathalie Van Landuyt¬†and¬†Lorraine Vercauteren, were part of a cross-office team which advised international retailer Hema and its subsidiaries on a ‚ā¨750m super-senior revolving credit facility/high-yield bond refinancing. The firm has a particularly strong reputation in real estate, project finance/PPP and energy-related finance transactions; in 2017, Willems and others assisted Engie Electrabel with project finance transactions connected with the development and construction of a series of onshore wind farms in Belgium. On the capital markets front, which is an area co-led by¬†Nicolas de Crombrugghe¬†and¬†Elke Janssens, the firm generates mandates from issuers and underwriters in debt and equity transactions. It has a particularly strong track record in Nasdaq IPOs involving biotech companies. Another cornerstone of the practice, which is led by¬†Anne Fontaine, involves advising Belgian and international clients on financial services regulation. Fontaine is knowledgeable about clearing and settlement matters, MiFID II, IDD and CRD IV, among other areas. She has been particularly active recently in advising UK-based clients on Brexit-related matters.

Stibbe¬†has a strong position in the Belgian lending market, which is reflected by its work for borrower clients such as Vandemoortele, Cegeka and Proximus. Its 'client-oriented' team is 'easy to work with and very pragmatic'. The firm's broad banking practice spans acquisition finance, real estate finance and project finance, among other areas.¬†Wouter Ghijsels¬†(who succeeded Jan Peeters¬†as the Brussels managing partner in January 2019)¬†and counsel¬†Sofie Heremans¬†acted for Fedrus International on the ‚ā¨176m financing related to its acquisitions of Defrancq France SAS and Umicore‚Äôs building products business unit in France. Ghijsels is 'always reachable, even when working on multiple deals at the same time'. In another matter, Peeters¬†and senior associate¬†Pieter-Jan Van Houdenhove¬†assisted Novo Nordisk with negotiating the finance related to its purchase of Ablynx. In the real estate sphere, a highlight in 2017 involved advising Q-Park on the Belgian aspects of a refinancing following its takeover by KKR. The firm also has a strong client following among many of the largest and most active lenders, including Belfius Bank, National Bank of Belgium and KBC Bank. Ghijsels and senior associate¬†Pieter Nobels¬†advised¬†BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, Belgian real estate developer Immobel and CFE on the structuring and implementation of a financing package for the redevelopment of a mixed-use building complex located at the former headquarters of Solvay. Beyond banking work, the firm is also a major player in debt and equity capital markets transactions; this side of the practice is spearheaded by Ghijsels, Peeters and Pascal Vanden Borre. The firm also has a standout financial regulatory practice.¬†Julien Bogaerts¬†recently made partner.¬†Ivan Peeters¬†and¬†Philip Van Steenwinkel¬†moved to¬†PwC Legal.

White & Case LLP¬†features prominently in novel and landmark banking and capital markets transactions, where it acts for corporates, private equity sponsors and financial institutions. One of its areas of strength is in acquisition and leveraged finance deals; in a recent highlight, Hadrien Servais¬†worked with the London office to advise JP Morgan, ABN Amro, BNP Paribas Fortis and Rabobank on the provision of over ‚ā¨2bn leveraged financing to Refresco in relation to its acquisition of Cott's North American bottling activities. Another highlight saw Servais and others act for¬†ABN Amro Bank, Barclays, ING Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Unicredit on the financing to EQT of its acquisition of pan-European dental business Curaeos. Servais was also part of the cross-office team, which assisted Credit Suisse and Barclays with the ‚ā¨670m financing of Lone Star's acquisition of minerals company Imerys. Another key figure is¬†Thierry Bosly, who has more than 25 years of experience in advising borrowers and lenders on matters connected with receivables finance, public offerings of bonds, securitisations and project finance, among other areas. Servais and Bosly co-head the practice with counsel¬†Willem Van de Wiele, whose banking transactional work is complemented by his expertise in banking and financial services regulation. In addition, Van de Wiele also handles debt and equity capital markets transactions, and is also particularly noted for his knowledge of fintech and blockchain technology.

ALTIUS' practice is led by Yves Brosens, who has a particularly strong reputation in PPP projects and export finance, and is well-known for his experience of infrastructure projects and investment deals in sub-Saharan Africa. Brosens' arrival from DLA Piper has enabled the firm to win a number of key mandates in this area from banks and large multinational corporations. Brosens' team is also highly regarded for other types of structurally-complex finance transactions and matters involving a combination of finance instruments, such as corporate loans involving asset-based elements, among other matters. On the regulatory side, in addition to advising on issues directly related to transactions, the team assists clients with a wide range of standalone matters, including MiFID, Payment Services Directive II and anti-money laundering.

CMS¬†assists financial institutions and corporates with a broad cross-section of banking and capital markets transactions, as well as regulatory matters. Its wide-ranging banking work spans real estate finance, acquisition finance, and factoring and securitisation transactions.¬†In 2018,¬†Arnaud Van Oekel¬†and counsel¬†Beno√ģt Vandervelde¬†were the lead advisers to Getronics on the ‚ā¨700m financing of its acquisition of Pomeroy. Its team is also experienced in debt capital markets transactions and private placements. Regulatory work is another driver of activity for the team; recent mandates have concerned issues such as payment services, the implementation of MiFID II and Brexit. Bruno Duquesne¬†is another name to note in the team. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Aareal Bank, Helaba and NH Hotels.

DLA Piper's 'responsive and professional' group is 'very strong on delivery' and 'takes care of the client relationship'; 'it thinks with the client, instead of for the client'. It demonstrates strong capabilities in both transactional banking and financial services regulatory work; the firm's offering in relation to the latter was significantly bolstered recently following the arrival of Pierre Berger and a team of five financial services and insurance sector lawyers from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL. Isabelle Van Biesen and Simon Landuyt were among the other names to move across. Berger's experience covers all areas of banking, financial services, funds and insurance law. On the transactional front, the firm is particularly active in project finance, real estate finance and corporate finance transactions. Recent work includes Johan Mouraux and Sander Buysse acting for the lenders on the financing of the acquisition by South Korean investors of two large office properties in Brussels. In another matter, Mouraux and Buysse are assisting a bidding consortium with the financing aspects of a PPP project, which concerns the construction of eight bridges above the Albert Canal in Belgium. Another highlight involved advising ING Bank on the export financing of dredging works carried out by Belgian dredging specialist Jan De Nul at Puerto Bolivar, a port in Ecuador. On the debt capital markets front, the firm has been involved in virtually all sovereign bond issues by the Kingdom of Belgium since 2010; a recent matter saw Mouraux and others advise the consortium of primary/recognised dealer banks on the first-ever Belgian green government bonds issuance.

Lydian acts for clients on a standalone basis, and also works closely with international law firms on cross-border matters. Led by¬†Tom Geudens, its 'accessible' team has a particularly first-rate reputation in asset-based lending, asset finance, project finance, and trade and export finance. Its workload is broader, and also covers other areas, such as acquisition/leveraged finance, real estate finance, bond issuances and bank regulatory work. In a recent highlight, Geudens and senior associate¬†Pieterjan Van Assche¬†were among the advisers to Naxicap and The House of HR on a ‚ā¨680m financing transaction - arranged by JP Morgan, ING Bank, KBC Bank and KKR Corporate Lending - which was part of a global restructuring of The House of HR group. Another matter involved Geudens,¬†Patrick Della Faille, van Assche and senior associate¬†Virginie Bazelmans¬†acting for elderly care homes operator Vivalto Home Belgium on a ‚ā¨101m private placement of notes.¬†Investment funds are another area of strength, with members of the group assisting clients such as Pine Bridge and Aviva Investors with navigating the Belgian regulatory aspects of registering, offering and marketing UCITS and non-UCITS funds. Elsewhere, entities such as¬†Airplus Lufthansa and TakeAway.com instruct the firm on matters related to payment services, consumer credit and related regulatory issues. Counsel¬†Caroline Hoste¬†is a recent hire from Jan De Nul Group, while¬†Pieter Meeus has departed the firm to become a legal counsel at AG Insurance.

Simont Braun is an active player in the digital transformation of the financial services sector in Belgium, with its team advising Belgian and overseas-based clients on a wide range of fintech projects, including those relating to alternative lending, initial coin offerings, electronic trading venues and blockchain applications. The firm was a founding member of independent not-for-profit organisation FinTech Belgium, where Catherine Houssa is a director. Partner Philippe De Prez, who is also noted for his fintech expertise, is also knowledgeable about initiatives connected with InsurTech and RegTech. De Prez and Houssa advised French digital bank Oney Bank on introducing a micro-credit product to the Belgian market. Elsewhere, Vanessa Marquette is recommended for her expertise in international finance law, which encompasses areas such as factoring agreements, ISDA and credit agreements. The firm's broad practice also covers real estate finance, and bonds and rights issues. Sandrine Hirsch is another notable individual in the 'outstanding team', which is 'very unique in terms of engagement, availability and responsibilities'.

ARGO Law¬†undertakes banking and capital markets transactions for a broad client base, including listed companies, family businesses and private equity funds and entrepreneurs. Corporate finance head¬†Nico Goossens¬†is experienced in both debt and equity capital markets transactions, and also has extensive knowledge of the ICB and AIFM regulations. Goossens, and managing associates¬†Freya Jorens¬†and¬†Bert Van Camp, acted as Belgian law counsel to VGP and the selling shareholders on a ‚ā¨253m offering of shares to investors. The banking and finance side of the practice is led by¬†Pieter Bogaerts, who was the lead adviser to private equity firm Waterland and portfolio company United Pet Foods on the increase of a credit facility to facilitate the acquisitions of Spanish and Romanian companies. Another key figure is¬†Bert Van Ingelghem, who led a group that assisted ING and KBC Securities as the underwriters with Montea's ‚ā¨68m rights issue. Managing associate¬†Filip Meire¬†is also recommended.

Dieter Veestraeten leads ASTREA's notable banking and finance team, which acts for entities ranging in size from start-ups and growth companies to multinationals and Fortune 500 corporates. Belgian and foreign banks, and government departments, are among other key clients. The firm's high-quality offering ensures that it generates a strong flow of finance-related work connected with renewable energy projects, real estate transactions and PPP projects, among other areas. It also undertakes a significant amount of work for clients in the automotive sector. In the regulatory sphere, Veestraeten is advising French company 1001Pact SAS on setting up a new crowd funding platform in Belgium. Senior associate Philippe Willemsens is recommended.

Bird & Bird's Scott McInnes , who was formerly a senior regulatory counsel at Mastercard prior to his arrival at the firm in 2016, is a well-known name in the payments sector. McInnes has expertise in the various commercial and competition law issues associated with the industry, and is knowledgeable about the regulation of payment services (including Payment Services Directive II, EU SEPA Regulation and EU Interchange Fee Regulation). He acts for a wide range of market participants in this area, such as card issuers, merchants and fintech companies. The firm is 'on top of the latest payments regulatory developments, knows the market very well and is able to apply the law to the set of facts/market dynamics'. Beyond the payments sector, the firm provides licensing and regulatory compliance advice to a wide range of other financial services providers, including insurance companies and brokers, and financial advisers. Paul Hermant and others advise longstanding client Ethias on matters related to governance, products and marketing, among other areas. On the transactional side, Hermant has over 30 years of experience of advising clients on acquisition and project finance, IPOs and derivatives. Underlining the firm's full-service approach to meeting the needs of clients, it recently launched a public affairs offering by hiring Francine Cunningham from the US Mission to the European Union. Senior associate Cedric Berckmans is another name to note.

Dentons' Belgian practice is embedded within a wider European and international network, making it a strong choice for cross-border advice on commodities, clearing and settlement systems, derivatives, receivables purchasing agreements, securitisation structures and peer-to-peer lending, among various other areas. The key contact in Brussels is Nora Wouters, who has considerable experience of the international finance sector. In addition to being 'an outstanding lawyer', clients note that Wouters is 'personable, available and always helpful'.

Eubelius recently strengthened its bench of experts in finance transactions when it hired Frédéric Heremans as counsel from NautaDutilh. Heremans, banking head Marieke Wyckaert and attorney Thomas Donnez act as borrowers' and lenders' counsel to Belgian and foreign clients on a broad cross-section of matters, including those involving general corporate lending, asset-based finance and real estate finance. Anthony Logghe and Wim Goossens are recommended for their experience of PPP and other project finance transactions. Lars Van Bever, who heads up the capital markets practice, worked with senior attorney Tim Van Moorhem to advise Retail Estates on a rights issue (as part of the client's listing on Euronext Amsterdam), and also on an accelerated private placement of scrips. Senior counsel Jean-Marc Gollier is knowledgeable about CRD IV, Solvency II, PRIIPS and the implementation of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, among other areas of financial regulation. Matthias Wauters and senior attorney Joris De Wolf are also recommended.

Monard Law's¬†team head¬†Birgitta Van Itterbeek¬†has a particularly standout reputation in aviation finance, but her transactional expertise is broader, and also encompasses areas such as acquisition finance and structured finance. Van Itterbeek is also knowledgeable about various regulatory issues involving derivatives, UCITS and MiFID, among others. Elsewhere, project finance transactions are another pillar of the firm's banking practice; a notable recent highlight saw Bram Delmotte¬†and¬†Benoit Samyn¬†co-lead a group in the advice to¬†BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius Bank and KBC Bank on the financing aspects of a circa ‚ā¨100m PPP project to construct a new headquarters building for the Antwerp Police Department.¬†Stefaan Van Dyck¬†is experienced in real estate finance transactions.

PwC Legal¬†(formerly Law Square) strengthened its market position in September 2018 by hiring partners¬†Ivan Peeters¬†and 'excellent performer'¬†Philip Van Steenwinkel¬†from¬†Stibbe. The arrivals of Peeters and Van Steenwinkel have added breadth and depth of experience to the firm's existing team, which assists clients with real estate financings, investment funds financings and bond issuances. It also advises on regulatory issues such as market abuse and GDPR, and cutting-edge areas such as cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. With the firm having a close relationship with the non-legal arm of PwC, clients benefit from the full scope of advice on transactional finance, tax and compliance, among other areas. The team is particularly noted for having 'a good feel for market practices'; 'it knows what it takes to close a deal'. Peeters co-heads the practice with¬†Jacques Richelle, who was the lead adviser to¬†AG Heylen Warehouses (a joint venture between AG Insurance NV and Heylen Group NV) on the finance aspects of certain real estate acquisitions in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2018. In addition, Richelle and others¬†assisted Communaut√© fran√ßaise de Belgique with an update of its ‚ā¨6.5bn EMTN programme. ABN Amro, Cofinimmo and FCA Bank are among other clients. The group is 'very accessible and always willing to go the extra mile'.

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