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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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Germany > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Financial services: regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: financial services: regulatory
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Dirk Bliesener - Hengeler Mueller
    • Alexander Glos - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Thomas Paul - Hengeler Mueller
    • Frank Schäfer - Sernetz • Schäfer
    • Gunnar Schuster - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Andreas Steck - Linklaters

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Alexander Behrens - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Markus Benzing - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Andreas Dehio - Linklaters
    • Christian Schmies - Hengeler Mueller
    • Frederik Winter - Linklaters

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Financial services: regulatory clients in Germany using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


According to competitors and clients Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s ‘strong’ practice is ‘by far the market leader’ due to its broad expertise and a balanced combination of transactional and day-to-day advice to financial services providers on regulatory matters, including banking supervision, investment regulatory and payment services law as well as in connection with banking insolvency. The client portfolio comprises German and foreign banks with business in Germany but also industrial companies and internet-based platforms. The team’s close collaboration with colleagues in London manifests itself particularly in the context of Brexit and mandates such as advising the London Stock Exchange on the planned merger with the German Stock Exchange. The firm also recently advised UBS on the merger of its European asset management business in UBS Europe SE with headquarters in Frankfurt and another highlight is advising longstanding client HSH Nordbank on several parallel portfolio transactions and in the context of the privatisation of the bank. Alexander Glos is considered ‘leading’ in the market and Gunnar Schuster is equally ‘first-class’. Thomas Emde continues to be recognised for his longstanding experience and Markus Benzing was promoted to counsel at the start of 2017.

Well anchored’ in banking regulatory law with a sector-based approach, Hengeler Mueller advises banks and financial services providers on transactions, handles regulatory stand-alone mandates and gives ongoing day-to-day regulatory advice. Pillars of the practice continue to lie in pillars lie the European central banking supervision, measures through the Single Resolution Board (SRB) and the execution through the German resolution authorities, but also in advice around Brexit. The well regarded Dirk Bliesener advised PSA on the €1.3bn takeover of Opel and Vauxhall from GM. He furthermore acted for Commerzbank and Hypothekenbank Frankfurt regarding the regulatory winding-up of Hypothekenbank Frankfurt by means of a spin-off with subsequent absorption into Commerzbank after the change in responsibility from the German Federal Financial Services Regulatory Authority (BaFin) to the European Central Bank (ECB). Thomas Paul advised on the regulatory aspects of the establishment of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG as 100% subsidiary of Credit Suisse AG with its own banking licence, while the firm led the worldwide coordination of legal advice by firms in 20 jurisdictions together with Bär & Karrer Ltd.. The ‘very experienced and very sociable’ Christian Schmies is recognised as a rising star; he ‘does his work well’ and has particular expertise in FinTech.

Linklaters’ ‘recommendable’ banking regulatory practice ‘sets standards’ with ‘excellent availability’ and ‘outstanding industry knowledge’; the team is ‘always well informed about the market’ and advises on regulatory matters in connection with M&A, restructurings, the subjects of Brexit and FinTech and corporate governance and compliance. Strategic advice often concerns complex legal developments with regard to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) and Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR), and the so-called Basel IV reforms. Clients include banks, insurance companies and corporations. A highlight continues to be the regulatory advice to the German Stock Exchange regarding the planned merger with the London Stock Exchange. The team furthermore advises Montagu Private Equity on the acquisition of asset manager Universal-Investment-Gesellschaft. A longstanding client in restructuring matters is HSH Finanzfonds, recently concerning the establishment of HSH Portfoliomanagement AöR (the Germany-wide first bad bank under local state law) and in the context of advising HSH Beteiligungs Management on the privatisation of HSH Nordbank. ‘Good lawyer and a good soul’ Andreas Steck heads the practice with assistance from the equally recognised Frederik Winter and Andreas Dehio, who was promoted to partner in May 2017 and is considered up-and-coming.

Allen & Overy LLP’s regulatory practice, which focuses on advising domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, asset managers, infrastructure providers for financial markets and associations of the finance industry, saw some team changes: While ‘top lawyer’ Frank Herring has supported the practice as of counsel since April 2017, and the team was already strengthened a month earlier with ‘good regulatory lawyer’ Alexander Behrens from Mayer Brown LLP, but the ‘very impressive’ and ‘very strong’ Kai Schaffelhuber departed in September 2017 and established his own firm Schaffelhuber Müller & Kollegen in Luxembourg in November 2017. With a focus on Brexit the firm advises a British and an East Asian financial corporation on the optimisation of the corporate structure with regard to commercial activities in EU member states after Brexit, including the approval procedure for a future EU passporting hub in Frankfurt. Other clients include an international provider for mobility services regarding the structuring of an app-based parking fees payment solution; a large German bank concerning the review of the entire compliance structure; and a Swiss private bank in connection with the cross-border merger of group companies and the transformation of a subsidiary into a branch of the company.

Clifford Chance’s ‘excellent’ practice has recently had a strong focus on Brexit-related regulatory matters besides its regulatory advice in the context of M&A transactions and broad regulatory activities in the context of the development of new business activities and products, business organisation, risk management and litigation. With a particular strength in cross-border matters the firm advised Fosun on the majority acquisition of Hauck & Aufhäuser and its subsidiaries in Luxemburg and Switzerland, and GE on the strategic reorientation of its financial activities in Germany, France and Italy, including the execution of licensing procedures. The team has also been busy giving regulatory advice to British and German banks, US investment banks and Japanese, Swiss and Canadian banks regarding relocation and general Brexit strategies. Another client is RBS Deutschland concerning the handling of activities subject to approval and return of its banking licence. Practice head Marc Benzler is highly regarded in the market and has special expertise in connection with regulatory requirements of derivatives.

Due to its ‘very high service levelLatham & Watkins LLP’s clients have ‘no complaints’; the ‘partners are experts and very client-oriented’. The ‘strong’ regulatory team is particularly recommended ‘for special matters’: A focus lies on cross-border advice, especially in collaboration with the practices in London, the US and Hong Kong, and a strength also lies in the FinTech area. Together with the strong cyber security, technology and data protection practice the tech-savvy team also handles regulatory issues surrounding the digitalisation in the banking sector for banks. A recent transactional highlight was advising Berenberg Bank and Bankhaus Lampe on the sale of its shares in the capital management company Universal-Investment-Gesellschaft. Ongoing regulatory advice to various German financial institutions includes regulatory matters in connection with the European passport, the implementation of MiFID II and additional capital requirements at a European group level. A longstanding client is the Federal Association of German Banks (Bundesverband Deutscher Banken). With a focus on M&A transactions Markus Krüger has also ‘gained a good reputation in regulatory law’ and Axel Schiemann was promoted to partner at the start of 2017.

Besides giving stand-alone and ongoing advice to financial services providers and associations in the finance industry White & Case LLP’s ‘valued colleagues’ also handle regulatory matters in connection with transactions and disputes. Pillars of the practice lie especially in the area of European central banking supervision, where the team makes use of the firm’s international network, in the area of bank liquidation and the digital transformation of banks. In the M&A area a highlight was providing regulatory advice to DZ BANK regarding its merger with WGZ BANK. Henning Berger in Berlin also drew up a comprehensive legal opinion for The German Banking Industry Committee (Die Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft) regarding the application of the European and domestic banking supervisory regulations within the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). In Frankfurt Andreas Wieland is particularly active and Dennis Heuer is also recommended. Kai-Michael Hingst departed for Noerr’s newly opened Hamburg office in April 2017.

The strengths of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s compact team lie particularly in giving comprehensive advice on transactions in the finance sector, including seamless regulatory advice, and the ability to simultaneously cover German, European and US-law regulatory issues. Thomas Kopp advises GM on the regulatory aspects of the sale of its subsidiary Opel/Vauxhall and GM Financial’s European business activities to PSA, and Gabriele Apfelbacher took over the regulatory advice to Amundi in connection with the acquisition of Pioneer Investment from UniCredit. In another highlight Ward Greenberg and Hanno Sperlich assisted longstanding client Deutsche Bank with US and German law regulatory matters arising from the capital increase announced in March 2017. The team is also increasingly sought out for issues around Brexit.

GSK Stockmann’s broad regulatory practice ranges from advice on Brexit and in connection with banking M&A transactions to questions surrounding the newly emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU) and topics such as the digitalisation of the banking sector and crowdfunding. Recent clients include German and international banks, international infrastructure providers for financial markets, associations in the finance sector, capital management companies and credit card and payment services providers, but also DAX companies and start-ups. Oliver Glück has particular FinTech expertise, including with regard to payment services and blockchain matters. The practice is led by Markus Escher in Munich and the ‘knowledgeable, service-oriented and commercial’ Peter Scherer in Frankfurt, who focuses especially on regulatory matters relating to capital markets law. A strength of the practice also lies in advising on cross-border mandates with Luxembourg, since the firm has benefited from a local office since 2016.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s regulatory practice has ‘positioned itself well’ and advises banks, financial services providers, digital currency and payment institutions and investment companies from the planning, establishment and development of regulatory compliant products to their restructuring and liquidation. A particular focus lies on advising the payment industry; clients also include the Federal Association of Payment Institutions (Bundesverband der Zahlungsinstitute, BVZI) regarding all regulatory matters and the Federal Association of Electronic Cash Network Providers (Bundesverband der electronic cash-Netzbetreiber, BECN). In this context the team also increasingly advises on FinTech and recently acted for Concardis regarding the application for a licence for the operation of its digital currency business. Other expertise lies in support measures for financial institutions and bank restructurings. Also noteworthy is the team’s collaboration with the practices in London, Paris and the US. Tim Brandi and Richard Reimer in Frankfurt and Michael Leistikow in Düsseldorf are recommended. The practice was also strengthened with the arrival of Jochen Seitz from Mayer Brown LLP in October 2017; he has particular capital markets regulatory expertise.

With its product-oriented advice in the financial services sector Mayer Brown LLP covers various aspects of the banking and securities supervision law, especially regarding market infrastructure matters, the distribution of securities and issues surrounding capital requirements for banks and banking restructuring. A particular focus lies on advising on MiFID II and MiFIR; here the team cooperates closely with associations and domestic supervisory authorities. Recently the practice gained a series of mandates for online banks, such as for Deutsche Kreditbank, which the firm advises on MiFID II, MiFIR and PRIIPs. It also assists the Norddeutsche Landesbank – Girozentrale with the implementation of MiFID II and MiFIR. Other expertise lies in the regulation of OTC derivatives and the implementation of EMIR. After the team saw the departure of Alexander Behrens to Allen & Overy LLP in March 2017, practice head Jochen Seitz also left for Hogan Lovells International LLP in October 2017.

Noerr’s growing regulatory practice has particular expertise in the area of payment services, often advises on digitalisation in the banking area and thereby also focuses on the FinTech sector, such as providing comprehensive assistance to FinTech start-up Joinesty with its German and European roll-out, including regulatory matters. Expertise also lies in giving compliance advice in the area of investment services with increased work in connection with MiFID II, and another prominent topic in recent mandates was Brexit. Occasionally the firm advises in the context of transactions, such as advising Volkswagen Financial Services on all regulatory matters concerning the fuel card payment system in the course of the acquisition of a strategic participation in LogPay Transport Services. The ‘active’ Jens Kunz has ‘good knowledge’ and heads the practice together with Torsten Fett. The team has been strengthened significantly in recent times: in November 2016 it gained Stefan Gebauer, previously at the Vereinigung Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse, the umbrella organisation of the Stuttgart Stock Exchange group, as of counsel with expertise in compliance and regulatory law; in March 2017 Martin Haisch joined from Dechert LLP, who besides investment tax law also has regulatory expertise; and in April 2017 financial regulatory lawyer Kai-Michael Hingst arrived from White & Case LLP’s former Hamburg office.

Boutique Sernetz • Schäfer, which is particularly known for its litigation expertise in the banking sector, also provides an ‘absolutely high service level: extremely short response times, very good industry knowledge and competent advice’ in regulatory matters; clients note ‘especially the outstanding legal expertise and the collegial atmosphere’. The client portfolio ranges from banks and financial services institutions, capital management companies and industrial corporations to private equity funds and stock exchanges. The team also increasingly acts for family offices regarding German Banking Act (KWG) matters. A highlight continues to be the representation and regulatory advice to FMS Wertmanagement, the winding-up institution of Hypo Real Estate, in connection with the moratorium introduced by the Austrian supervisory authority FMA for liabilities of Hypo Alpe Adria’s settlement unit. Another client is Grovepoint. Frank Schäfer heads the team based in Düsseldorf and Munich, in which Thomas Eckhold is also recommended for ‘his friendly manner’; he ‘understands how to clearly explain in ways also non-lawyers can understand’. In July 2017 the group was additionally strengthened with Thorsten Voß from WTS and clients also note that the practice ‘benefits from a good network of foreign lawyers, among others’.

Aderhold Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s practice based in Munich is particularly known for its strong market penetration in the area of payment services and the team focuses on FinTech matters and also advises on regulatory, money laundering and contract law issues. It assisted longstanding client InterCard with regulatory and contract law questions in connection with the introduction of a mobile payment procedure PAYBACK PAY and key client Wirecard Bank with the cooperation with the savings app savedroid. Another client is solarisBank and the portfolio also includes Fidor Bank, Delivery Hero, the European FinTech Alliance and several associations. Peter Frey and Christian Walz are the key figures.

Deloitte Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s regulatory practice surrounding Mathias Hanten has been strategically expanding: After the arrival of Alexander Heist as salaried partner from the BaFin in May 2016, at the start of 2017 the team also gained Hannes Bracht as counsel from Sernetz • Schäfer. A strong focus lies on Brexit-related matters for large international banks and the practice also has expertise in the FinTech sector and concerning regulatory matters in connection with business in Iran, such as advising an Iranian financial institution on the establishment of a German branch after the lifting of European sanctions.

Dentons’ growing regulatory practice is ‘highly regarded’, not least due to its ‘excellent advice, very good industry knowledge and very quick response times’. The team surrounding Bernd Geier advises banks, market infrastructure providers and associations on strategic matters and transactions and also covers mandates in connection with internal investigations and litigation. A particular focus lies in advising on MiFID II implementation and the European Market Abuse Regulation (MAR); clients include the German Stock Exchange and Bankhaus Metzler regarding its MAR and MiFID-II project. Other clients are the Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband and BayernLB, among others.

Gleiss Lutz’s regulatory practice surrounding Maximilian von Rom advises on banking M&A transactions, such as recently assisting Crédit Mutuel with the acquisition of the German GE Capital Sparte, and increasingly on European banking regulatory matters in connection with international mandates without domestic aspects. A highlight is providing regulatory advice to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan regarding the cum-ex allegations against Maple Bank. Particular expertise furthermore lies in advising on the regulatory recovery requirements of CRD IV.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice around Rüdiger Litten and Martin Krause primarily advises banks and other financial services providers on regulatory matters, including a strong focus on MiFID II, but also EMIR compliance. The firm also recently saw increased work in the FinTech sector. Bankhaus Metzler is a regular client regarding regulatory issues in connection with derivatives and KT Bank concerning consumer protection. Another client is Wüstenrot & Württembergische. Also noteworthy is the team’s regulatory advice to Turkish banks in Germany in the context of capital markets business and structured products.

Besides regulatory expertise in the context of the FinTech area Taylor Wessing also frequently advises foreign banks on regulatory matters related to their market entry in Germany, groupwide restructurings and the banks’ product strategies. A client in this area is VietinBank. Another key client is Rabobank Deutschland since the introduction of the private client business of RaboDirect; the team advises on all regulatory banking and payment services matters and continuously on compliance and group-wide projects. In the FinTech sector the practice assisted N26, a start-up in the banking business, during its entire development phase. Volker Baas and salaried partner Anna Izzo-Wagner are the key figures in Frankfurt. Lea Maria Siering returned to the firm after a year at FinTech CrossLend and joined as salaried partner in Berlin.

Investment funds

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: Investment funds
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Investment funds clients in Germany using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


With an asset management approach and ‘outstanding quality of collaborationClifford Chance provides advice on fund structuring, the documentation and distribution of domestic and foreign funds, including hedge funds, and alternative investments and also handles restructurings. The punchy team, which is noted for its ‘good commercial understanding, good availability and reliable partners’, gained the ‘very, very good’ Sonya Pauls from King & Wood Mallesons’ closed Munich office in October 2016; ‘with longstanding experience in the fund sector, she is able to reduce complex topics to their essence and thereby simplifies decisions’. She recently advised Rocket Internet Capital Partners (RICP) on the development of the RICP fund, the largest European VC fund to date with over $1bn. With an increasing focus on Asia, practice head Gregor Evenkamp assists Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) with the establishment of a European investment fund for projects in continental and Eastern Europe. He also handled the sale of the office building NOVE by Citterio in Munich’s Arnulfpark for BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management Germany; and Marco Simonis, known for his investment tax expertise, currently advises Union Investment Real Estate on the acquisition of the Letnany Shopping Center in Prague for a special open-ended alternative investment fund (AIF) suitable as collateral. The firm’s portfolio also includes the structuring and launch of Europe-wide and worldwide real estate funds for various insurance companies.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s ‘great practice’ comprises ongoing regulatory advice for investment funds and capital management companies and service providers active in the sector, but also the structuring and implementation of AIFs and of investments via AIFs. The firm saw continuously increasing work in connection with investment structures for institutional investors and regarding innovative structures for debt funds. With a team considered ‘strong in advising banks and financial services providers’, Thomas Emde advises a German bank on the possible establishment of the group’s own capital management company and other German banks seek the firm’s advice on third party and self-administration of investment assets and the labelling of capital investment products as life insurances for tax purposes. The practice often advises on investments in real estate, airplanes and loans; Konrad Schott assists the asset manager of a German insurance company with the investment in a portfolio of aircraft financings. Another client is an English asset manager regarding the formation and management of an investment corporation with sub-funds and the team acts for multiple foreign UCITS funds in the context of notification procedures for distribution in Germany and compliance with ongoing requirements according to the BaFin. Niko Schultz-Süchting in Hamburg is also recommended.

Hengeler Mueller’s ‘outstanding’ investment fund practice continues to occupy a ‘top position’ in the market, particularly in ‘advising on complex matters with regard to open-ended funds’. A strength lies in regulatory advice, including the implementation of MiFID II, but the team also fully makes use of the firm’s expertise in other practice areas, especially M&A and transactional advice, such as assisting State Street with the takeover of business divisions (fund accounting and fund management) and supporting Dealis Fund Operations GmbH and Dealis Fund Operations S.A with data management. It was moreover able to expand its work for foreign asset managers in their activities for German investment funds in the context of outsourcing agreements with German AIFM: It advised a large US asset manager on its first outsourcing agreement with a German capital management company. The firm’s portfolio furthermore consists of numerous derivatives-related mandates in the asset management sector, including advising a British clearing broker on clearing services for a large German AIFM. ‘Quantitatively and qualitatively always very good’ if not ‘excellent lawyer’ Christian Schmies is ‘very quick, contentwise always on the ball, has good connections with the supervisory authorities and is willing to represent the opinion of clients’; according to competitors he will ‘shape investment fund law’. Thomas Paul is a ‘UCITS expert’ and Edgar Wallach is also recommended.

Linklaters focuses on alternative asset classes, including infrastructure, debt, real estate and private equity, and besides its strong position in the German market with clients such as Allianz Capital Partners, Hannover Leasing and Brockhaus Private Equity also regularly advises Swiss insurance companies and pension funds in connection with their investments in foreign funds and investment structures, and US managers regarding the renewed or debut distribution on the European market. With a focus on international real estate funds a key client is CBRE Global Investors; the team now also advises the group with regard to two further real estate funds together with the firm’s offices in London and Luxembourg. Clients in this area also include Internos, Invesco and Triuva. Other expertise lies in advising credit platforms and loan funds, such as acting for Allianz Global Investors in connection with the structuring and launch of a credit platform in conjunction with the IFC. The practice furthermore continues to handle M&A transactions in the asset management sector: It assisted Montagu Private Equity with the acquisition of Universal-Investment, including its subsidiaries and participations in Luxembourg and Austria, and Erste Abwicklungsanstalt with the sale of the asset manager Westfonds to HCI Capital. Alexander Vogt and Markus Wollenhaupt are the two key figures.

Dechert’s highly active practice covers advice on alternative and traditional funds with a particular strength in private funds and expertise in fund structuring and regulatory fund advice, and a focus on assisting investors. The firm’s advice often includes cross-border aspects, such as assisting Generali Investments with the cross-border merger with Generali Investments Deutschland for the further centralisation of worldwide asset management activities, and advising Pradera on the structuring and launching of a new reserved alternative investment fund (RAIF) based in Luxembourg for the acquisition of a portfolio of assets close to IKEA furniture stores. Recent highlights also include advising Deutsche Real Estate Funds (DREF) on the private placement of a second loan for the financing of student housing, and Prime Capital on the structuring and launching of a Luxembourg investment platform for the investment in aircraft debt for a German pension fund. In Munich Angelo Lercara and Hans Stamm have expertise regarding the distribution of funds and investment tax law respectively. In Frankfurt the well regarded Achim Pütz heads the practice, which saw the the departure of Martin Haisch to Noerr in February 2017 and in June 2017 of Benedikt Weiser to Simmons & Simmons LLP, but gained tax lawyer Klaus Hahne from Allen & Overy LLP in April 2017 and Joachim Kayser in June 2017; he was the former head of the alternative investments and asset management regulatory practice at PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft).

P+P Pöllath + Partners provides ‘an unwaveringly outstanding quality of advice and of all aspects of cooperation’; the large investment fund team continues to be recognised as strong in the market and is ‘very efficient, matter-of-fact, pragmatic, available and flexible’. It advises initiators and investors on legal, tax and regulatory aspects of alternative investment funds and worldwide fund participations with much experience in private equity funds, private debt, infrastructure, real estate and energy funds and good synergies between fund structuring and tax law. With expertise in fund structures in Luxembourg the firm advised the Guernsey Manager of the Luxembourg DBAG Fund VII and its advisor, Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, on all contract law, tax and regulatory aspects of the fund structuring, launch and distribution. It furthermore acted for Talanx Asset Management regarding tax and legal matters before and during the subscription of participations in private equity, debt and infrastructure funds at a volume of more than €1.5bn, and for PINOVA Capital concerning the fund structuring of the PINOVA Fund 2. The firm additionally expanded its asset management and fund litigation practice. The frequently recommended and, via the partner promotion of Jens Steinmüller at the start of 2017, growing team in Berlin also includes Amos Veith and Uwe Bärenz, who is recommended for his ‘very good expertise, business sense and creativity’ and according to clients ‘by now has reached the market leadership in Germany for the structuring of alternative investment funds’. In Frankfurt Andreas Rodin has ‘very good market and industry knowledge’ and Peter Bujotzek is ‘extremely effective and solution-oriented’. The highly regarded Patricia Volhard, however, departed with her team to Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in March 2017.

Simmons & Simmons LLP’s investment funds and asset management practice advises investment funds, hedge funds, closed-ended funds and their asset managers with a focus on the establishment, structuring, marketing and distribution of funds, and regulatory aspects, including regarding the AIFM directive, and questions surrounding buy-side activities of internationally operating investment funds. The team also has expertise in the structuring and listing of stock exchange traded funds and again was active in transactions. It advised Allianz Global Investors on the acquisition of a UK solar portfolio from BayWa, which consists of three solar plants, via the Allianz Renewable Energy Fund 2. It furthermore assists a family office with the restructuring of special fund structures for wealthy investors against the background of the investment tax reform. Other clients include Advent Capital Management, Coronation Global Fund Manager and GoldenTree Asset Management. Heiko Stoll heads the practice, which also includes Jochen Kindermann and the equally recognised Harald Glander. Christian Bornhorst was promoted to partner in May 2016 in Düsseldorf and the team was also strengthened with the arrival of the frequently recommended Benedikt Weiser from Dechert in June 2017.

With ‘deep legal expertise, very good industry knowledge and networks and large engagement and problem-solving awarenessCMS’ ‘coordinated’ and ‘quick and reliable’ team covers fund structuring and transactions, investor advice and regulatory and tax compliance in asset classes such as real estate, debt and renewable energy and ‘regularly keeps an eye on the economic interests of managers and investors’. Besides longstanding clients such as Universal Investment, Aquila and Jamestown it also gained Union Investment and German Estate Group (GEG) as new clients, the latter subsequent to the acquisition of a real estate ensemble consisting of Frankfurt-based high-rise buildings for introduction into an investment structure for institutional investors. The team also advises Chorus Clean Energy on legal and tax matters regarding the structuring and documentation of a closed-ended umbrella fund and regularly assists WillisTowers-Watson with five investments of a company pension fund, an employee pension fund and a contractual trust arrangement in various target funds based in Luxembourg and the UK. The ‘quick, good and out-of-the-box thinking’ Daniel Voigt is recommended for his ‘combination of economic knowledge, legal expertise and pragmatic negotiation skills’, Tilman Kempf focuses on investment tax law and Andrea München, who joined in 2016 as counsel and regulatory lawyer from DLA Piper, gives ‘the quickest German-Luxembourg legal advice at the highest standards’.

GSK Stockmannalways adheres to various quality and time standards’ and clients are therefore ‘entirely satisfied’ with its investment funds practice, which retains its strong position in the area of real estate funds, and also in connection with private equity and securities funds, and increasingly provides advice regarding hedge funds. The firm also covers tax matters in the context of fund constructions and benefits from a growing Luxembourg-related practice in close collaboration with its Luxembourger office. Practice head Robert Kramer, who has particular expertise in closed-ended special and mutual AIFs, and Dennis Stenzel, who focuses on open-ended real estate funds and was promoted to partner at the start of 2017, are both considered ‘highly competent, confident in their legal statements and strong communicators’. They advise ZBI Fondsmanagement on its extension of their business portfolio and licence of a real estate capital management company to the area of open-ended mutual AIFs and the launch of a debut open-ended mutual AIFs in the area of residential property. The firm also handles the liquidation of four closed-ended mutual AIF in the leasing area on the instructions of BaFin. The client portfolio also includes Deutsche Finance Investment, Publity Performance and HPG Capital.

K&L Gates LLP saw the departure of Henning Starke in March 2017, who subsequently founded his own firm Starke. Legal., but had already bolstered its investment fund practice with Hilger von Livonius and his team from King & Wood Mallesons’ former Munich office in July 2016. Consequently the firm strengthened in particular its work in the area of private funds, especially regarding closed-ended special AIFs for real estate. Besides its focus on regulatory advice it also covers the structuring of investment assets and comparable pools and has tax expertise. The practice is closely interwoven with the firm’s US investment fund group. The portfolio recently included handling the structuring and documentation of a special AIF for residential property for a German capital management company; advising an investment company on an investment opportunity for the special fund of a German insurance company in a Luxembourg fund; and assisting an asset and fund manager with the acquisition of a property in Paris for a German special fund. Till Fock is the main figure in Berlin.

With ‘high industry knowledge and legal expertiseKing & Spalding LLP advises on closed-ended and open-ended funds with a focus on asset classes such as real estate, infrastructure and energy. Advice ranges from the structuring and management of funds to the restructuring and liquidation of mutual funds following the financial crisis. Clients note the team’s ‘business sense and instinct for clients’ needs, whether of a legal or economic nature’. Expertise lies especially in real estate-related regulatory matters, but also in litigation: The firm acts for investment funds in the defence against court actions and arbitrations. Besides a focus on advising German funds it also increasingly assists foreign funds with Germany-based activities, such as advising Barings Real Estate Advisors regarding regulatory issues and the structuring in connection with new funds and the distribution of existing products in Germany. Another client is BMO concerning the regulatory and corporate structuring of several activities in various countries in Europe for a new pan-European fund and a new client is BEOS regarding the structuring and launch of a new fund product for institutional investors. Other clients include HANSAINVEST, Hannover Leasing, Savills Fund Management and TRIUVA. Andreas Böhme has ‘phenomenally detailed knowledge and long-lasting negotiation power as well as an understanding for the economic aspects of the transaction’. Mario Leissner is also recommended.

Since the prominent Frank Herring has only assisted the practice as of counsel since May 2017, Allen & Overy LLP’s investment fund team has significantly less manpower but continues to focus strongly on transactional work with increasing advice also on MiFID II. It advised key client Union Investment on the implementation of MiFID II. It furthermore acts for International Campus Group (IC) regarding the launch of a fund for student accommodation under Luxembourg law with an equity volume of €600m. Another client is Deutsche Asset Management.

Respectable playerDebevoise & Plimpton LLP gained the renowned Patricia Volhard from P+P Pöllath + Partners in March 2017, who is known for her ‘good know-how’ and ‘good eye for clients’ needs’ and consequently offers ‘notable’ regulatory expertise in the area of private funds. In close collaboration with the London team the practice focuses on cross-border matters in continental Europe. It acts for Lexington Partners, Bain Capital and other capital management companies in connection with European regulatory and fund-related issues, assists Adams Street Partners with the establishment of a German branch and advises SwanCap Partners not only on regulatory matters but also regarding the cross-border investment activities of funds in target funds.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s investment fund practice provides advice on the conception of funds as much as on transactions and regulatory matters. A focus lies particularly on real estate funds, such as advising AVANA Invest on the launch of a special open-ended hotel property AIF. A recent highlight was assisting new client HTB Hanseatische Fondshaus with the establishment and structuring of two closed-ended mutual AIFs and the firm also continues to act for WealthCap, including regarding the structuring of the closed-ended domestic mutual AIF WealthCap Immobilien Deutschland 39 and in connection with the structuring of a closed-ended special AIF for a single investor. Michael Dröge in Hamburg heads the practice and Christoph Gringel in Frankfurt is considered ‘very good in investment regulatory law’.

With ‘extremely sound expertise’ and ‘very high client focusHogan Lovells International LLP advises on the structuring of investment funds and distribution of investment shares in Germany and Europe, including related regulatory and tax issues. The client portfolio consists of domestic and international investors and capital management companies and the team works with the firm’s practices in Luxembourg and the US. It advised Commerz Real on the tax structuring from the perspective of German and Luxembourg law regarding the securitisation of a participation in a closed-ended fund and assisted Allianz Global Investors with the worldwide outsourcing of AllianzGI Investor Services to State Street for its entire range of funds with over €450bn of managed assets. The firm was also able to expand its work for Cheyne Capital, TRIUVA and Union Investment. Michael Dettmeier has a ‘very high tax expertise and clear opinions, which he represents effectively’. Michael Leistikow heads the practice.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘very broad portfolio’ in the investment fund area consists of advice on open-ended and closed-ended funds, including alternative asset classes. The client portfolio is comprised of asset managers, international investment banks and issuing houses and the firm advises on the structuring of funds and the distribution with regulatory expertise on matters around MiFID II, among others. The team surrounding Martin Krause has been busy providing advice in connection with funds for institutional investors. The practice also benefits from an office in Luxembourg.

White & Case LLP’s investment fund practice around Andreas Wieland advises a client portfolio consisting of asset management companies and German capital management companies and handles regulatory and tax matters but also transactions related to asset management, such as assisting Ameriprise Financial with the planned takeover of Pioneer Investments. The firm also regularly acts for foreign investment companies with regard to the distribution of foreign funds in Germany and other EU jurisdictions, including tax aspects. Key clients concerning matters around the German Capital Investment Code (KAGB) and distribution in Germany include Allianz Invest, BNY Mellon Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Global Asset Management and Fidelity Investments. The team furthermore advises private equity investors on issues in connection with private equity investments in Germany.

Lending and borrowing

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: Lending and borrowing
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Anne Grewlich - Ashurst LLP
    • Mario Hüther - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Frank Schlobach - Gleiss Lutz
    • Sabine Schomaker - Taylor Wessing
    • Thomas Weitkamp - Clifford Chance

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP impresses with a broad range of clients in the finance area, both on the lenders’ and borrowers’ side: the spectrum of advice spans from corporate finance to leveraged finance and acquisition finance, where the firm advises both investment banks and sponsors in the private equity and leveraged finance market on LBOs and MBOs from the mid-cap to the large-cap segment, classic acquisition loans, bank bond financing, unitranche debt and term loan B financing. A particular strength lies in corporate finance in connection with internal restructurings and spin-offs, such as advising Uniper on the €5bn financing in the context of the spin-off of E.ON. In the area of takeovers, the team assisted Evonik with the acquisition of the Specialty Additives business division from Air Products for $3.8bn, and for Hapag-Lloyd Thomas Neubaum handled various financing aspects related to the merger with United Arab Shipping Company. A highlight was also advising Bayer on the financing for the planned acquisition of Monsanto at a volume of $57bn. The team not only works closely with the firm’s London practice, but the Frankfurt-based John Coburn also offers advice on English law. In May 2017 Walter Uebelhoer took over as practice head from Peter Hoegen, who is equally recommended for his restructuring expertise. The renowned Neil Weiand, however, departed for Linklaters in October 2017.

Clients have ‘great respect’ for Clifford Chance’s broad, ‘continuously strong’ and ‘very visible’ finance practice with ‘good bench strength’, which advises banks, private equity investors and companies, including family-led corporations, on domestic and international transactions, including acquisition and corporate financings and refinancings. Bettina Steinhauer heads the ‘very well regarded’ team, which also includes the frequently recommended Barbara Mayer-Trautmann, and which not only covers German law but under Loren Richards also advises on English law and at an international level focuses in particular on Eastern Europe and Turkey. A highlight was advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse on a syndicated loan agreement of over $57bn for Bayer in connection with the financing of the acquisition of Monsanto. The firm also assisted J.P. Morgan with the financing of a portfolio of distressed loans of HSH Nordbank via hsh portfoliomanagement AöR; UniCredit with the structuring and procurement of the financing for the acquisition of Invitel Gruppe by CEE Equity Partners; and Deutsche Bank as agent in relation to a $3.6bn syndicated loan agreement for Henkel in the context of the acquisition of Sun Products Corp. Thomas Weitkamp furthermore acted for Raiffeisen Bank International and SEB in connection with the financing of the acquisition of the Losberger group by funds advised by Gilde Buy Out Partners.

Top firmFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer provides an ‘excellent service with ready-for-use solutions’ in the financing area; the ‘very proactive’ team has ‘strong expertise with a good understanding for economic questions’ and ‘acts as a business partner’. With a focus on advising borrowers and sponsors the firm covers leveraged finance and acquisition finance, corporate finance, complex real estate finance and restructuring and insolvency-related loan finance. In the private equity area it assists Permira with the acquisition of a majority share in P&I Personal & Informatik and other longstanding clients include BC Partners, CVC, Charterhouse and Macquarie. Some clients on the corporate side are Infineon, Vonovia, ZF Friedrichshafen and Ströer; the team also advised Fresenius on the bridge financing for the €5.67bn acquisition of Spain’s private hospital operator Quirónsalud by Fresenius Helios. The team also acts for banks such as Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and UniCredit and was able to expand its work for alternative lenders. It assisted H.I.G. Capital with the recapitalisation via a loan fund, a unitranche financing with a volume of €350m. Another highlight was providing finance advice to IVG Immobilien regarding the sale of its subsidiary OFFICEFIRST Immobilien to Blackstone Fonds. Clients appreciate the ‘legal advice in a multijurisdictional environment’ and the team advises both on German and English law. Practice head Frank Laudenklos is ‘experienced’, ‘very active’ and ‘popular with clients’; the ‘responsive’ Mario Hüther has ‘good knowledge and always practical solutions’; Maximilian Lang has ‘impressive negotiation skills and remains calm even under pressure’; and Michael Josenhans is also recommended. Yorck Jetter retired.

Hengeler Mueller’s ‘excellent’ financing team is noted for its ‘very good, very professional collaboration’ and ‘good advice primarily in the areas of syndicated loans, acquisition finance and Schuldschein loans’. It advises on carve-outs, for example advising Waterland Private Equity on the financing aspects of the carve-out of MEDIAN Akutkrankenhäuser into the newly founded and independent emergency hospital group ATOS, which is held and developed by Waterland, and also in takeover situations, for example assisting KION with the €3bn syndicated bridge loan for the financing of the acquisition of Dematic. Expertise furthermore lies in bank bond financing; the firm advised Braas Monier on the refinancing via a syndicated loan and a high-yield bond with collateral security ranking pari passu. Also in complicated market environments, such as solar and steel, the team handles syndicated loans for clients including SMA Solar Technology and Schmolz + Bickenbach. Also noteworthy is its advice to a banking syndicate consisting of Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bank Luxembourg regarding a €3.5bn term loan and revolving credit facilities with currency option for ZF Friedrichshafen under Thomas Cron and Nikolaus Vieten’s lead. The practice saw increased work in the issuing of Schuldschein loans and here advised mobilcom-debitel, freenet and Phoenix Pharmahandel, amongst others. Johannes Tieves has an ‘excellent sense for the economic side of finance structures and considerations’ and is ‘somebody who always looks carefully at how to reach a result and in the process has outstanding ideas’. Ralph Defren is also recommended and the ‘rising’ Daniela Böning, who was promoted to partner at the start of 2017, is considered a ‘name to note for the future’.

Cutting-edge and market leading’, Latham & Watkins LLP’s finance practice ‘enjoys a very good reputation’ and ‘belongs to the preferred firms, particularly for transactions with bond aspects and for mid-sized German LBOs’. The team is ‘recommended by financial institutions and clients (private equity, corporate) and is equally strong on both sides and always professional and performance-oriented’. Thanks to close links with the firm’s practices in London and the US, a strength lies in cross-border matters. Besides acquisition finance, bank-bond financing and LBO transactions the team also advises on restructurings and real estate financings. Clients include US sponsors (Advent International, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman), European private equity firms (Equistone, Nordic Capital and Orlando), banks (Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan) and German key players (UniCredit, pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and LBBW). Recently the firm advised BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, J. P. Morgan and Rabobank on the granting of a €60m loan to HelloFresh, and the banking syndicate on the financing of the planned public takeover of Stada. Other highlights included advising Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking on the financing of the voluntary public takeover offer of Vonovia to the shareholders of the Austrian conwert Immobilien Invest, and Pfleiderer on the refinancing of its existing loans and operating line of credit. The ‘very experienced lawyer’ Alexandra Hagelüken is considered ‘one of the best lawyers in credit law in Germany’. The ‘extremely solution-oriented’, ‘sociable and commercialAndreas Diem and the ‘pragmaticChristian Jahn are also recommended; all are noted for their ‘negotiation strength, decisiveness and concentration on what is essential and doable’. The team was also strengthened with the addition of counsel Sibylle Münch from White & Case LLP.

Very commercial and pragmatic in its approach’, Ashurst LLP continues to be one of the ‘best firms for LBO documentation’, according to clients, and besides acquisition finance also covers corporate loans, asset and real estate finance and financial restructurings and loan portfolio transactions. Traditionally strong in advising on mid-cap LBOs, the practice also increasingly handles large-cap transactions. Highly regarded practice head Anne Grewlich advised an international banking syndicate led by UniCredit on the granting of an €800m loan to the Scout24 group and the firm also acted for UniCredit as financing bank for the Chinese bidder Kingclean in the auction process for the €1.6bn acquisition of the German tableware manufacturer WMF. The equally recognised Bernd Egbers assisted UniCredit, Commerzbank, ING and IKB Deutsche Industriebank with the financing of the acquisition of a majority share in Universal Investment via the British financial investor Montagu. Besides advising banks and companies, the team also increasingly acts for loan funds and was able to expand its work for private equity sponsors such as Capvis and Chequers. Derk Opitz focuses on real estate and asset finance and is ‘pragmatic and pleasant in his cooperation’. After a few departures in the past years the remaining large and ‘very good’ team was strengthened with counsel Nikolos Tsagareli from Gleiss Lutz in May 2017 and thereby expanded particularly its acquisition and project finance practice. Sebastian Schoon, however, departed for Gibson Dunn in the summer of 2017.

Gleiss Lutz’s ‘professional team’ continues to enjoy a ‘very good standing in the market’ for financing advice with ‘evident skills in the area of syndicated loans’; it is noted for its ‘competent and proactive support with good suggestions and feasible structures’. Traditionally strong on the borrowers’ side, the practice also increasingly acts for banks and advises on corporate finance, including syndicate loans and Schuldschein loans, and acquisition finance in the sub-investment grade segment. Key client Steinhoff sought the firm’s advice on the financing of the takeover offer by subsidiary Steinhoff Europe for Poundland, noted on the London Stock Exchange, and the £673m financing of the planned takeover of Darty via its subsidiary Conforama. Another client is United Internet regarding the financing of the voluntary public takeover offer for Drillisch. Clients also include private equity houses; the frequently recommended Frank Schlobach advised DBAG for the first time in the LBO segment on the financing of the acquisition of the Dieter Braun group. Helge Kortz, who is particularly recommended for restructuring cases, and Eva Reudelhuber assisted a banking syndicate of seven banks led by Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale with the restructuring of the €2.5bn financing for the construction of Berlin Brandenburg Airport via the airport operating company Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg. In the area of real estate finance the ‘very prompt and focused’ Burkhard Jäkel has an ‘incredible commitment and is an excellent lawyer’. Nikolos Tsagareli joined Ashurst LLP as counsel in May 2017.

Linklaters advises both borrowers and lenders, covers acquisition, corporate and real estate finance and is known as particularly active in the LBO segment. Practice head Marc Trinkaus assists Montagu with the financing of the takeover of Universal-Investment and acts for HSH Portfoliomanagement AöR in connection with the financing of the acquisition of a €6.2bn loan portfolio of HSH Nordbank. On the banking side two clients were JP Morgan and Barclays Bank concerning the €1.9bn financing of the acquisition by Evonik Industries of Air Products’ Speciality & Coating Additives business. The firm also saw increased work for Chinese investors in connection with inbound business in Germany, such as for Chinese bidder Goldvac Trading regarding the financing of the attempted acquisition of WMF. In the corporate finance area, on the borrowers’ side the team advised FUNKE on the refinancing of its loan for the acquisition of Axel Springer publications. In real estate finance it is active for both banks and investors and assisted several international investors with cross-border transactions; clients include ING, DekaBank, CBRE and some debt investors. Occasionally the firm also acts for loan funds, such as for Alcentra regarding the financing of the acquisition of the d+b audiotechnik group via the private equity investor Ardian. Carl-Peter Feick is also recommended, Julian Zaich, however, left the firm in June 2017 and joined Gütt Olk Feldhaus in September 2017. Prominently, in October 2017 Neil Weiand arrived from Allen & Overy LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s ‘outstanding’ finance practice is ‘worth the money’: it includes ‘top people, not only at partner but also at associate level’ and is noted for its ‘very high commitment for clients and total reliability’. The team ‘enjoys the utmost trust of banks and private equity investors’ and focuses on complex acquisition financings and LBOs, especially those that require a particular financing structure, the involvement of non-bank lenders and capital market products. It advised Barclays Bank and J.P. Morgan on the collateralised bank bond financing for the takeover of Atotech by Carlyle, and Wasser und Gas Westfalen on the refinancing via revolving credit facilities and Schuldschein loans. The firm also acted for KfW, SEB, ING and Mediobanca as lenders in the acquisition financing for First State Investments’ offer for the acquisition of Thyssengas and assisted Pemberton with the refinancing via a unitranche facility and a senior term and revolving facility by Deutsche Bank. Also in the area of corporate finance the team primarily handles selective, time-sensitive transactions. A recent example is advising UniCredit on the extension and adjustment of credit lines for CBR-Modegruppe via an English scheme of arrangement. Lastly, the practice also increasingly covers advice on debt funds, especially in connection with acquisition finance in the mid-cap segment via unitranche and super senior loans. According to clients and peers Thomas Ingenhoven is ‘one the best financing lawyers in the German market: very experienced; assertive without being aggressive and commercial in the best sense of the word’. Associate Alexander Klein is also considered ‘excellent, exceptionally trained, authoritative and clear in negotiations’.

Clients continue to have ‘good experiences’ with CMS’ finance practice, which gradually has expanded its original focus on the corporate side to also advising banks and private equity sponsors, such as Oaktree. The firm recently saw an increased work load in connection with public takeover offers and cross-border matters, including assisting Coherent with the financing of the takeover of ROFIN-SINAR Technologies, which is listed in New York and Frankfurt, in all relevant jurisdictions. The team is also strong in real estate finance: It advised Allianz on the participation in a credit line for Invesco for the refinancing of existing real estate financings and the financing of further real estate acquisitions in various jurisdictions, and another client was GEG regarding the financing of the acquisition of the International Business Campus in Frankfurt. Other clients in the area include pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and Savills. The team based in Hamburg is very active in the financing and refinancing of ships. Kerstin Block was promoted to partner at the start of 2017. Markus Pfaff and Marc Seibold head the practice.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘excellent’ financing team ‘delivers work quickly and effectively’ and covers acquisition, corporate, real estate but also trade and export finance. Besides companies and banks it also advises alternative lenders, including debt funds, FinTechs and insurers. In the corporate finance segment it assisted Globus with a €150m revolving facility, which was issued by a syndicate led by Commerzbank, LBBW, Saar LB and UniCredit, and recently advised Vapiano on a syndicated loan in the context of its IPO. A client in acquisition finance is HNA regarding the first phase of a complex €1.5bn debt financing in connection with the CHF2.7bn acquisition of the Swissport group. Patrick Mittmann (‘very quick, technically unchallenged, clear and precise language, no unnecessary top dog behaviour, unpretentious’) focuses on real estate finance and acted for Deutsche Hypo, Berlin Hyp and HSH Nordbank with regard to a €960m financing of various companies under the DIC group. Clients appreciate the ‘consideration of sector specifics and particularities of the asset and the regulatory requirements of the lenders’. The ‘very competent’ Katlen Blöcker is ‘also an excellent lawyer’, who stands out for her ‘extremely pleasant collaboration’.

At Noerrthe complete package is just right’: The ‘very innovative’ team, which places a focus on real estate financings but also handles corporate and acquisition financings, is ‘very competitive with high personal engagement of all lawyers’, ‘extremely competent and yet pragmatic’ and was able to ‘take a big step forward’ and gain ‘much visibility’. The firm was able to position itself particularly on the banking side, such as by advising LBBW and Siemens Bank on the financing of the acquisition of the Dieter Braun group by DBAG, and recently also assisting LBBW with the financing of a high-volume real estate transaction, the takeover of the City Carré in Magdeburg by the British investor REVCAP. Other clients include NordLB and BayernLB. On the corporate side the team advised Scout 24 on the signing of a new syndicated loan agreement with new credit lines over €800m, and handled an international financing transaction for Novelis. Andreas Naujoks (‘high competency; very pragmatic and systematic in his approach; good ideas’) heads the expanding team, which also includes the frequently recommended Tom Beckerhoff and the ‘very pragmatic and resolute’ Nikolai Warneke, who was promoted to partner at the start of 2017. The practice furthermore gained Kai-Michael Hingst in April 2017 with the takeover of White & Case LLP’s former Hamburg office; associated partner Torsten Werhahn is also recommended.

With a focus on advising domestic and international banks and financial institutions the ‘excellent’, ‘always available, tactically adept and overall very client-oriented’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright focuses in particular on corporate, real estate and asset finance. It advised KfW IPEX-Bank on a $154m loan agreement covered by Euler Hermes between KfW IPEX-Bank and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank for the purchase of an airbus A330-200 and an airbus A330-300 by RwandAir. Anthony Morton, who advises on English law, assisted the IFC with a loan agreement with PT. B Braun Medical Indonesia and PT. B. Braun Pharmaceutical Indonesia as borrowers and B. Braun as guarantor. Clients on the banking side also include LBBW and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, and AEW Europe and Invesco Real Estate sought the firm’s advice on various real estate financings in Germany and abroad. The client portfolio, however, also consists of mid-sized companies on the borrowers’ side, such as a German real estate company in connection with the refinancing of an existing margin loan agreement. The well regarded Oliver Sutter has a ‘longstanding wealth of experience’ and is noted for his ‘expertise, flexibility, quick grasp, goal-orientation and pragmatism’. Nadine Bourgeois is also recommended. The firm merged with Chadbourne & Parke in June 2017.

Shearman & Sterling LLP focuses especially on LBO transactions, international bank bond financings, unitranche loans and PIK and Schuldschein loans, but also covers corporate finance and financial restructurings. It assisted longstanding client Ardagh Group with its refinancing. Highlights in the area of acquisition finance included advising Avenue Capital, BlueBay and Invesco on the financing of the acquisition of Kimble Chase Life Science by DURAN Group, and BIP and new client Luxempart on a unitranche financing for the acquisition of ARWE. The team also handled an ECA covered export credit facility and a commercial credit facility for the financing of technical innovations for ICIG and subsidiary Vynova. The ‘amiable team’ includes the ‘very activeWinfried Carli, who focuses on the LBO segment and on advising financial investors, and the ‘very solution-oriented’ counsel Matthias Weissinger. Esther Jansen, who primarily covers acquisitions and corporate financings, is also recommended.

White & Case LLP is traditionally strong on the banking side and stands out for its advice on cross-border finance transactions. The firm often acts as local counsel in close collaboration with its practices in London and New York and offers advice on German, English and New York law from its offices in Germany. In the acquisition finance segment it also increasingly advises private equity houses: The ‘very active’ Vanessa Schürmann assisted Triton with the financing of the acquisition of WernerCo. Thomas Flatten focuses on real estate finance, but also handled the $4.4bn financing for the acquisition of Akron by Fresenius for a banking syndicate led by Credit Suisse. Expertise furthermore lies in financial restructurings: The ‘highly esteemedTom Schorling advised Commerzbank as documentation agent on the refinancing of Ströer’s syndicated credit facilities and recently on the €1.75bn refinancing of Evonik Industries’ syndicated credit line. Local partner Sibylle Münch joined Latham & Watkins LLP as counsel in May 2017 and with the closure of the Hamburg office the team lost Kai-Michael Hingst to Noerr in April 2017.

Clients have ‘good experiences’ with Baker McKenzie’s finance practice, which primarily acts on the banking side and focuses on syndicated loan business, particularly in the area of trade and export financings. Oliver Socher predominantly advises on acquisition finance with additional expertise in asset-based lending. He advised a banking syndicate led by DZ Bank on the financing of the acquisition of multiple hospitals by Vitanas. Other clients include BerlinHyp and ING regarding the refinancing of the Taunusturm in Frankfurt and new client Corestate in connection with several real estate financings and also the takeover of 94.9% of shares in Hannover Leasing. Real estate finance expert Filip Kurkowski, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP in July 2016, left the firm again for Ashurst LLP in February 2018.

DLA Piperparticularly stands out for the team’s technical expertise and pleasant collaboration in comparison to other firms’; the finance practice provides an ‘extraordinarily high level of service’ advising on corporate and acquisition finance with a focus on the corporate and sponsors’ side. It assisted Sun Capital as sponsor and Flabeg Automotive as borrower and guarantor with the refinancing of the acquisition of the Flabeg group by Sun Capital and in the debt fund segment gained Proventus Capital and Rantum Capital as new clients in connection with a mezzanine Schuldschein loan by Cheplapharm. The team also advised an international company in the wind energy sector on a corporate financing by the European Investment Bank and relevant intercreditor issues in connection with the existing corporate line and high-yield bond, and assisted a German pharmaceutical supplier with Schuldschein loans. Additionally the firm occasionally positions itself on the banking side, expanded its work for DZ Bank, among others, and advised on a syndicated corporate financing for Poppe + Potthoff. The ‘level-headed and technically and legally extremely strongTorsten Pokropp is noted for his ‘outstanding skills and always makes clients feel they are in good hands’. The equally recommended former practice head Wolfram Distler, however, departed for Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in September 2017.

Clients feel ‘well taken care of’ at Jones Day’s finance practice, which continues to position itself in advising on acquisition finance, corporate loans and real estate financings. On the borrowers’ side it assisted MAHLE with financial matters in connection with the sale of the industrial filtration group division to the Filtration Group, a subsidiary of Madison Industries, and recently also with the financial aspects of the sale of its forging activities to the Frauenthal Group, noted at the Vienna Stock Exchange. The team also acted for SEB as documentation agent regarding the granting of a €210m refinancing for Vetter Pharma. The client portfolio also includes private equity sponsors, such as Aurora Resurgence, a fund by Aurora Capital Group, concerning the financing of the acquisition of Karl Höll via the portfolio company Alltub. In the real estate segment Claudia Leyendecker in Düsseldorf advised Hansteen Holdings on the sale of its German and Dutch real estate portfolio at a purchase price of €1.28bn to the Onyx joint venture by The Blackstone Group and asset manager M7 Real Estate. In Frankfurt practice head Sandra Kamper and the extremely active European counsel Sascha Schmidt are recommended.

Mayer Brown LLP’s advice ranges from mid-cap acquisition financings for sponsors and banks to financial restructurings, asset-based finance transactions, real estate financings and advising companies on debt finance transactions. The firm’s focus predominantly lies on acting for banks and private equity funds, but the client portfolio also includes some prominent corporations. The team often collaborates with the practices in Paris, London and the US: Together with the Paris office Markus Strelow assisted BHF-Bank with the financing of the buy-out of Avedo and Vocando by Seafort Advisors and the financing of the buy-out of WEETECH by Pinova Capital. The very active Martin Heuber handled the financing of the Allgäu Center Parcs in Baden-Wuerttemberg for BNP Paribas.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s finance practice around Johannes Kremer stands out for its ‘quick response times with a strong service orientation coupled with professional advice at the client’s level’ and ‘good industry and legal expertise plus local availability of the lawyers’. The portfolio includes acquisition and real estate financings, syndicated loan business and debt restructurings and the team acts primarily on the borrowers’ side with a focus on high-volume, complex financings and expertise in cross-border transactions. Recent highlights include advising Lanxess on the bridge financing of its $2.5bn acquisition of Chemtura Corporation, and together with the London office assisting Fabbrica Italiana Lapis e Affini with the financing of the acquisition of France-based Canson from Groupe Hamelin. AGRAVIS Raiffeisen and the provincial government of Carinthia are also clients, among others.

At the start of 2017 Taylor Wessing gained a team of King & Wood Mallesons’ former Frankfurt office and thereby strengthened its practice particularly in acquisition finance but also corporate and restructuring finance; in Hamburg the firm continues to focus on real estate finance. Clients appreciate the ‘consistently good advice and good service also in complex cases’; the team is considered ‘very client-oriented with a high grasp of economics’. Clemens Niedner advised Kalorimeta on the acquisition finance of Qundis and Sabine Schomaker advised EQT on the financing of the acquisition of a majority stake in Ultimaco. Ulf Gosejacob, who joined as salaried partner, assisted DBAG on the financing of the acquistion of Polytech Health & Aesthetics, and Silver Investment Partners on the acquisition of Varicor. Other clients include DZ Bank, LBBW, Helaba, Steadfast Capital and a few savings banks. A client on the corporate side is REWE and in the real estate finance segment a key client is HSH Nordbank, recently regarding the financing of two office buildings in Stuttgart. Hauke Bornschein in Hamburg is ‘consistently service-oriented, flexible and matter-of-fact in the realisation of projects’.

Besides the very active project finance practice Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s ‘very uncomplicated and pragmatic’ team also covers acquisition, corporate and asset finance and advises clients in the transport, real estate, private equity, energy and infrastructure and banking sectors. With rolling stock expertise the ‘commercially trained and well regarded’ Frederik Lorenzen in Frankfurt assisted HSH Nordbank with the financing of Railpool’s acquisition of 196 electric trains from DB Cargo. In Hamburg, where the team is primarily based, the also ‘very commercially minded, entrepreneurial-oriented and pragmatic’ Clemens Hillmer recently advised Commerzbank on the granting of a corporate loan to the FRS group for the further expansion of the company. The firm also frequently gives advice around loan portfolios, in particular in the shipping area, such as to KKR Credit regarding the acquisition of a portfolio of distressed and non-distressed shipping loans together with a sovereign wealth fund. Stefan Kilgus focuses on mid-cap acquisition financing; Alexandra Michalopoulos advises on English law.

Since opening its first office in Germany in 2015 Goodwin was able to continuously expand its finance practice around the well-known Stephan Kock. The main pillar of the practice lies in real estate finance, however, it also covers other loan financing and has particular expertise advising on matters with a US aspect. Pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, Helaba and Bank of America Merrill Lynch were first time clients with regard to the refinancing of OFFICEFIRST. Other new clients include HSH Nordbank and Natixis Pfandbriefbank. On the sponsors’ side the firm advises key client Gramercy on the sale of the €1bn portfolio Gramercy Property Europe to Axa, and Slate Asset Management on the financing of the acquisition of 67 food markets, operated by large retailers such as Lidl, Aldi, Edeka and REWE.

Herbert Smith Freehills Germany LLP’s finance practice has been growing since 2015 and broadly covers acquisition, corporate and real estate financings primarily on the banking and sponsor side. Key figure Julia Müller advised RBC Europe, ING and SEB on the financing for DIF and EDF Invest to support their acquisition of Thyssengas and acted for the financing banks Natixis and Citigroup regarding the planned $3.9bn sale of Engies Exploration and Production International (EPI) business to Neptune Energy. Kai Liebrich assisted ICBC with the financing of the successful public takeover of the German automation company Kuka by the Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea. Clients in the real estate finance segment are Qatar Investment Authority, Amundi Immobilier and Cording Real Estate Group, among others; the portfolio furthermore includes Danske Bank, China Construction Bank, NordLB and Beechbrook Capital.

With a focus on advising lenders and firm roots in the German mid-sized sector, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek covers acquisition finance, corporate finance, including financial restructurings and the optimisation of financings, and also occasionally real estate financings. Recent highlights include advising Vetter Pharma on a €210m refinancing and Railpool on several financings of rolling stock. The team is also often active in the public sector due to advising savings banks and state banks, for example advising Helaba regarding the financing of the acquisition of a minority share in the BGM corporate group from a market leading DIY chain; another client is the district savings bank (Kreissparkasse) Hannover. Thomas Schrell is the key figure.

K&L Gates LLP covers asset finance with particular expertise in rail transport and rolling stock, real estate finance, particularly real estate acquisitions and portfolio transactions, and acquisition finance, and advises German and international banks and other financial institutions, companies, municipalities and regional authorities on domestic and cross-border transactions. The team acts increasingly for private equity and debt investors, infrastructure funds and other sponsors and alternative lenders. Key clients include AerCap, Bayerische Landesbank, KfW IPEX-Bank, KKR and Paragon Partners; the practice also gained new clients such as Mainsite and a leading French transport company. Frank Thomas, who enjoys a ‘very good reputation’, advised a bank specialising in project and export financings on the refinancing of the acquisition of a portfolio of 32 used Vossloh Locomotives; a private operator of public means of transport on the completion of a leasing financing of 28 regional trains; and a bank specialising in transport financing on financial restructurings of a French leasing company for cars and trucks. Matthias Grund heads the practice.

King & Spalding LLPachieves complete client satisfaction’ and the team, which focuses on real estate financings, is recommended particularly ‘for complicated processes, especially abroad’. On the lenders’ side it frequently advises clients such as LBBW, Helaba, Münchener Hypothekenbank, BayernLB and Natixis, and on the borrowers’ side TRIUVA, HANSAINVEST, Orion Capital Managers, AEW Europe and Barings Real Estate Advisers, amongst others. Tishman Speyer sought the firm’s advice on the acquisition and financing of the Pressehaus on Alexanderplatz from media corporation Bertelsmann for the new fund Tishman Speyer European Real Estate Ventures VII. Another client is DekaBank regarding real estate financings in Germany, Europe and the US. Highly recommended Andreas Böhme is admitted in Germany, England and Wales and focuses on advising borrowers and Sebastian Kaufmann, who is admitted in Germany, New York, England and Wales, divides his time between Frankfurt and New York with expertise on the lenders’ side for cross-border transactions with the US. Werner Meier now heads the restructuring practice at Simmons & Simmons LLP.

Besides an important presence on the borrowers’ side, specifically in the upper mid-market, Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH also acts for banks and debt funds and has additional expertise in advising on factoring; clients appreciate the ‘very quick response rate, good advice, negotiation skills and industry knowledge’. Key figure Christoph Schauenburg ‘delivers good work’ in loan financing and restructuring matters. He assisted key client Idinvest Partners with a unitranche financing for Steadfast Capital’s acquisition of Stanz- und LaserTechnik Jessen; advised HIG Whitehorse on an acquisition financing for Belgian company Legris’ acquisition of the German target company Schiederwerke; and handled the revision and increase of a syndicated loan agreement for STEICO. Other active clients include UNIWHEELS, FIEGE, Banco Santander and Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien.

In close collaboration with the London and New York practices Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is particularly strong on the sponsors’ side (Montagu Private Equity, Advent International, Angelo, Gordon & Co.), but also acts for banks (Barclays Bank, UniCredit). The team surrounding Michael Kohl was strengthened significantly in September 2017 with the arrival of Wolfram Distler, former head of banking and finance at DLA Piper, who has broad expertise in corporate, acquisition, energy and infrastructure, real estate and export finance. The firm also advises on financial restructurings. It assisted Centerbridge and its portfolio company on the adjustment and restructuring of existing bank financing in connection with the private placement of Senvion shares at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. A highlight was assisting the shareholders of Tipico with the sale of Tipico shares in CVC Capital Partners and the related financial commitments by various banks.

Project finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: Project finance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Not comparable to any other firms’ in project finance matters according to clients, Clifford Chance provides ‘top-level advice throughout’ and is ‘worth every penny’. The ‘very competent and successful advice’ includes German and international business and financings in the infrastructure and energy sector from highways and pipelines to power stations, including in the offshore wind segment. The team advises VINCI Concessions Deutschland and Meridiam Investments on the financing of the extension of the A7 federal highway by means of a PPP and also the lenders (including OPIC, IFC, FMO and KfW) regarding the financing of the Redstone Solar Power project in South Africa. Other recent highlights include assisting transmission system operator bayernets with the planning and financing of the MONACO pipeline and the banking syndicate with the €1.2bn financing of Merkur offshore wind farm. The ‘magnificent’ team ‘understands which conflicts need to be resolved’: The frequently recommended Beda Wortmann ‘optimally combines character, professional ethos and professionalism and thereby ensures expedient negotiations and results’; Florian Mahler is ‘quick and solution-oriented, also in complex and politically difficult situations’; Christof Häfner was promoted to partner in May 2017 and besides project finance also has expertise in asset financings in the aircraft and rail sectors.

Allen & Overy LLP continues to advise on project financings in the energy and infrastructure sectors both in Germany and abroad. It is currently assisting banks with the financings of wind farms in Canada, France and Finland and solar parks in Spain and the Netherlands. Within Germany recent highlights include advising DEME on the acquisition, the construction and financing of Merkur offshore wind farm and acting for Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale in the refinancing of the Finsterwalde II and III solar parks, which together have a capacity of 40 MWp. In the conventional energy sector the firm advises Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale as leading bank in connection with the €75m financing of the Mainz-Wiesbaden power plants, and in the infrastructure sector a client is European Investment Bank regarding the financing of the A7/II highway. Norbert Wiederholt and Peter Stenz are particularly active.

CMS is known in particular for its activity in the renewable energy sector and is here highly active in the financing of wind farm projects, both in Germany and abroad. Recent highlights include advising Luxara on the acquisition and financing of onshore wind project Egersund in South Norway from the Norwegian project developer Norsk Vind Energi and assisting WIRCON with the financing of the largest solar park in the Netherlands. For Partners Group and InfraRed Capital Partners the team handled the acquisition of the majority share in the corporation, which holds the project rights for Merkur offshore wind farm and the parallel project financing of the offshore wind park. Other clients include DEG and John Laing Group. The key figure is the frequently recommended Marc Riede in Hamburg, where Kerstin Block was promoted to partner at the start of 2017.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s Frankfurt and Hamburg-based and ‘absolutely recommendable’ infrastructure, energy, resources and projects group advises on the entire life cycle of projects, including project finance. The team is ‘very well organised’, ‘always available and delivers good solutions’; it advises within Germany but also on projects abroad, frequently under foreign law, such as assisting a consortium of strategic and financial investors with a $2bn waste water project in Kuwait, including the project finance and advice on Kuwaiti law. A highlight was advising Merkur Offshore on the €1.6bn project finance, including the debt capital and €500m equity financing. ‘Extremely pragmatic’ counsel Carla Luh, who is recommended for her ‘deep financing know-how’ and was promoted to partner at the start of 2018, also acted for NRW.BANK regarding the refinancing of the Trianel Windpark Borkum offshore wind farm. The firm furthermore continues to advise in the infrastructure sector, including on the financing of highway projects. Christian Knütel ‘gives the right advice’.

Linklaters’ ‘very good’ project finance practice is well regarded due to its ‘very high service level, solution-oriented negotiation methods, pragmatic approach, high understanding of economic correlations, partner involvement, timely advice and experienced transactional lawyers’. With expertise in the energy and infrastructure sectors the team advises banks and sponsors on project finance in Germany and abroad. It acted for the project corporation in the refinancing of the loans for the construction and operation of Butendiek offshore wind farm; advises the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the financing of a coastal power plant in Kiel; and also assisted the lenders on the refinancing of solar parks in Spain. A longstanding client is Macquarie. Counsel Judit Körmöczi is particularly active, ‘focuses on what’s essential’ and ‘maintains a steady overview’. Michal Hlásek is also recommended and advises on English law. Julian Zaich, however, left the firm in June 2017 and in September 2017 joined Gütt Olk Feldhaus.

Norton Rose Fulbright continues its ‘strong’ project finance practice and primarily acts on the lenders’ side in projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors. A highlight was advising an international banking syndicate with the participation of EIB and KfW on the €950m refinancing of the 288 MW Butendiek offshore wind project under the lead of Dirk Trautmann. He also assisted the financing banks with the A7 II highway PPP project in Lower Saxony and continues to act for KfW IPEX-Bank and an international banking syndicate regarding the financing of Nordergründe offshore wind farm. Timo Noftz is also recommended.

With recognised sector expertise in the energy industry Watson Farley & Williams LLP frequently advises on onshore and offshore wind farm projects, solar park projects and projects concerning conventional energy, and here primarily acts on the lenders’ side. Besides its activity in the German market, the firm also acts for German banks and investors in France and handles projects in Scandinavia, Great Britain and Ireland. Recently it assisted an international banking syndicate with the financing of the €1.3bn Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm project. A key client is HSH Nordbank for which the team handles a multitude of projects, including advice on the financing of the 12.5 MW Mont d’Erny wind farm and the Jeppo-Haukineva wind farm in Finland which has a total capacity of 13.8 MW. It also advises the client on solar energy matters, such as the financing of one of the largest solar parks in Denmark, Vandel 2, and additionally acts for BayernLB in connection with the financing of 12 solar PV plants with up to 5MW respectively at seven locations in England and Wales. Thomas Hollenhorst in Hamburg heads the practice.

White & Case LLP’s ‘strong’ project finance practice mainly handles highway and renewable energy projects on the lenders’ side. A recent highlight was advising a consortium of banks and institutional investors on the refinancing of a highway project implemented in the form of a PPP for the A8 highway, including project loans, bank loans and a novel form of support by the EIB with a total volume of €440m. The team furthermore advised a banking syndicate on the structured financing of the Monaco 1 gas pipeline and other infrastructure projects by bayernets. It also handles projects abroad, such as for the banks regarding the financing of the expansion of a bauxite mine in Guinea; for NordLB concerning the financing of the Oppido wind farm in Italy; and for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and an international banking syndicate in connection with the $3.8bn project financing of the Liwa Plastics Industries Complex in Oman. Florian Degenhardt is the key figure.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has expertise in advising on project finance in Germany and at an international level both in the infrastructure and the energy sector, including highways and wind park projects. Daniel Reichert-Facilides is considered ‘one of the strongest lawyers in Germany in the area of project finance’. He advises a consortium consisting of DIF Infrastructure IV, HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions and JOHANN BUNTE Bauunternehmung on the new construction of a section of the A6 highway in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Another client was the concession company PANSUEVIA regarding the refinancing of the A-model (PPP) A8, together with HOCHTIEF and STRABAG, which hold 50% in PANSUEVIA respectively.

Gleiss Lutz advises on project finance both in the infrastructure and energy sectors. Recently the firm acted for the EIB in the PPP project financing for the extension of the A6 between Wiesloch/Rauenberg and the Weinsberg junction and advised Blackstone on the sale of the Meerwind offshore wind farm to China Three Gorges. Helge Kortz and the well-known Eva Reudelhuber also assisted a banking syndicate consisting of seven banks under the lead of Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale with the restructured financing at a volume of €2.5bn for the construction of the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.

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