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Headed by Hervé Ekué, Allen & Overy LLP’s derivatives practice is often used by banks to advise on regulatory matters and on the establishment of new market infrastructure around central clearing houses. The firm also assisted Total with derivatives transactions linked to a non-dilutive synthetic convertible notes issuance. The firm also has ‘an excellent team for technical transactions’ in the securitisation space. The structured finance practice is headed by Fabrice Faure-Dauphin, who is ‘an expert in receivables financing, factoring, securitisation and banking with good negotiations skills’.

Clifford Chance provides ‘high-quality support thanks to a very professional and experienced team’. The firm runs a very prominent securitisation practice acting for arrangers and issuers; recent work includes advising on publicly listed securitisations of financial assets and on project and infrastructure loan refinancing through securitisation. Highlights included assisting GE Money Bank with the issuance by Sapphire One Mortgages FCT-2016-1 of debt securities – the first public securitisation of debt consolidation mortgage loans in France. It also assisted Natixis with the refinancing of intra-group loans via a French securitisation company issuing BMTN – the first listing of securities by a French securitisation company. The team also advises on derivatives. Jonathan Lewis and Frédérick Lacroix are the key names in the practice; counsel Julien Rocherieux is recommended for his ‘listening skills and attention to clients’ needs’.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has ‘unchallenged legal expertise in the context of French market’ securitisation, covered bonds and structured finance transactions. The team stands out for its ‘personal involvement, professional skills’ and ‘proven ability to adapt to innovative and hybrid structures and customers’ requirements’. Advising arrangers and originators, the practice recently advised on a major portfolio restructuring, including the creation of French securitisation mutual funds (FCT) and fonds de prêt à l’économie (FPE), the latter of which provide investment vehicles for insurers. Xavier de Kergommeaux ranks among the best in the field. Christine Van Gallebaert joined Jones Day. The derivatives practice is ‘extremely good, including when it comes down to tight deadlines and execution of complex transactions’; key contacts include ‘dealmakerArnaud Duhamel, who ‘manages to close highly strategic transactions thanks to his very fine risk analysis’, and London-based Karine Imbrosciano, who is ‘definitely one of the leaders in French derivatives’. Gilles Saint Marc joined Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.

Jones Day produces ‘high-quality work’ in derivatives, where the six-lawyer team advises on the market’s most strategic equity derivatives transactions. It notably assisted BNP Paribas with the acquisition of certain structured retail investor products and equity derivatives businesses and liabilities from RBS. BPCE and J.P. Morgan are also clients, while many professional bodies such as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association also turn to the firm for advice. The practice is jointly headed by the high-profile Alban Caillemer du Ferrage and Qian Hu. Recently promoted partner Philippe Goutay shows technical skills and efficiency. Structured finance and securitisation expert Christine Van Gallebaert joined from Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. in early 2017.

Latham & Watkins has ‘deep knowledge’ and ‘high-quality’ expertise in derivatives. The practice advises on highly complex transactions, such as assisting Air Liquide with a €8bn contingent FX forward derivatives hedging deal. The seven-lawyer practice also handles securitisation, where AXA Investment Managers is a client. Basil Zotiades co-chairs the firm’s structured finance practice. Thomas Vogel is ‘highly experienced’ and ‘committed’.

Linklaters provides ‘very good quality service’. The practice has ‘high-level expertise in OTC derivatives, producing in-depth analysis and strong involvement in transactions, and providing bespoke advice while meeting challenging deadlines’. Recent work includes complex hedging transactions, as well as assisting BNP Paribas and CACIB with Technip’s issuance of non-dilutive cash-settled convertible bonds. Counsel Cibele Natasha Antunes, who heads the derivatives and structured products practice, is ‘always looking out for the best interests of her clients and is able to distinguish between major and minor issues’. Patrice Doat is a highly experienced securitisation expert.

Orrick Rambaud Martel now has strong securitisation capability after hiring a top team from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The firm is recommended for ‘highly sophisticated securitisation transactions’ and ‘innovative transactions or difficult situations where strategic, technical and diplomatic skills are required’. The team recently advised on many high-profile transactions. It assisted BPCE as arranger of BPCE’s first consumer loans ABS transaction and advised BNP Paribas on the largest European synthetic securitisation transaction of recent years. Practice head Hervé Touraine is ‘very precise, diplomatic and always considers his clients’ interests’. The ‘very efficient’ Olivier Bernard is one to watch.

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