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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 > Capital markets > Structured finance and securitisation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Martin Geiger - Hengeler Mueller
    • Bernhard Kaiser - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Oliver Kronat - Clifford Chance

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Patrick Scholl - Mayer Brown LLP

Who Represents Who

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advises on structured finance products and structured finance transactions, including advice on complex securitisations and derivatives. The firm’s portfolio recently included a wide variety of matters, such as a synthetic CMBS transaction; the restructuring of an ABS programme; a structured loan to a hedge fund for the acquisition of shares of a listed company; the securitisation of a portfolio of trade receivables; and advice in connection with receivable financing. For Crédit Agricole CIB and Royal Bank of Scotland the team advises in the context of the restructuring of the securitisation platform for Groupe PSA’s German motor vehicle financings. Another client is GMAC Mortgage Group regarding the securitisation of German loans and leasings via a warehousing company by way of a bond issue, and concerning the public securitisation of automotive loans and the back-up servicing of various German transactions. Bernhard Kaiser is the key figure, however, the partner promotion of Robin Helmke in May 2017 shows that the firm continues to invest in strengthening the practice.

Hengeler Mueller continues to be considered one of the first addresses for innovative, complex transactions in the area of structure finance and securitisations. A focus lies on the development, restructuring and expansion of asset-based commercial paper programmes and other forms of asset-based financings. The firm often advises on the securitisation of trade receivables, frequently at the pan-European level and with a private equity context, and on the securitisation of leasing receivables and also consumer credits, such as advising abcbank regarding the securitisation of leasing receivables of the bank and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg on the securitisation of consumer credits of CreditPlus Bank. Another highlight was assisting Bank of America Merrill Lynch with a CMBS transaction: the securitisation of the loan to Lorac Investment via Taurus 2016-2. Other expertise lies in RMBS transactions, structured covered bonds and synthetic securitisations. Stefan Krauss gives advice ‘at the highest level’ and is recognised as a ‘strong name’ in the market. Martin Geiger is also recommended, but is mainly based at the London office.

Linklaters places an emphasis on synthetic securitisations and the restructuring and handling of existing structured finance transactions, but also advises on portfolio transactions and their refinancing on the seller, purchaser and financer side, and on derivatives transactions. The frequently recommended Christian Storck and Jörg Fried are experts in the area of OTC derivates and recently acted for the Federal Association of German Banks (Bundesverband deutscher Banken) regarding a German netting opinion. Barbara Lauer and Burkhard Rinne, who was promoted to partner in May 2017, are considered ‘two extreme experts in securitisation’. The team advised the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the city of Hamburg on the transferral of an international portfolio of distressed ship loans of HSH Nordbank to the winding up-agency newly introduced by the states and its refinancing; and assisted EIB and EIF with a direct and indirect investment in the securitization of a €440m portfolio of Austrian leasing receivables. A key client regarding clearing matters is Eurex Clearing. Kurt Dittrich heads the practice.

Allen & Overy LLP advises on select securitisation transactions and structured financings with expertise in a multitude of asset classes and an equally active derivatives practice. Clients include German, European, Japanese and international investment banks and financial institutions, which the firm advises on financings backed by SME, airplane, ship and real estate loans and infrastructure and energy assets. Together with colleagues in New York and London, practice head Martin Scharnke assists four large investment banks with the implementation of new global regulations by the WGMR (Working Group for Margin Requirements) for security services for derivatives, including the negotiation and development of collateralisation documentation for master agreements for derivatives. He also provides comprehensive advice to Credit Suisse (Zürich, London and Frankfurt) regarding its business with structured products and the continued development of its pan-European issuing platform for structured products. Stefan Henkelmann has particular CMBS expertise and recently advised Vonovia on the full repayment and execution of the €3bn GRF-1, GRF-2 and Taurus-WOBA CMBS transactions. Another client is Mitsubishi UFG Securities EMEA regarding an innovative project bond repackaging under a programme for the issuance of collaterised liabilities of a foreign issuing vehicle; the underlying project bond serves the refinancing of an infrastructure project in Turkey. Matthew Howard withdrew from the legal profession in May 2017.

Considered by many as ‘leading in the ABS business in Germany’, Baker McKenzie’s ‘sociable team’ is doubtlessly ‘established’ in advising on structured finance and securitisation. ‘Reliable, pragmatic, quick and flexible’ the firm advises on various asset classes, continues to be considered one of the leading practices in the automotive sector with transactions for BMW and Volkswagen, amongst other, but also handles large, particularly multijurisdictional, ABCP transactions in the area of trade receivables (such as for Commerzbank, DZ Bank, ING and BayernLB) and in the area of leasing receivables and residual value receivables. The team acted for Société Générale as arranger counsel in the second public ABS leasing and residual value transaction of ALD Autoleasing D and was able to gain Rabobank as a new client regarding the establishment of a new bank factoring programme in Germany. DBRS has been another client for over two years in connection with continuous advice on the ratings of all asset classes in EMEA, recently concerning the Alpspitze transaction as a structured covered bond by Deutsche Bank with a volume of €35bn RMBS bonds. The team has ‘very good knowledge in the ABS business, takes into account economic and commercial aspects of clients and is always quickly available and uncomplicated’; Sandra Wittinghofer is recommended; Martin Kaiser, however, joined Ashurst LLP in August 2017 and Matthias Eggert already left for Dentons in April 2017.

According to clients Clifford Chance’s advice on structured finance and securitisation is ‘very satisfactory’; however, the practice saw the departure of Arne Klüwer to Dentons together with former senior associate Mortimer Berlet, who also joined the firm as partner. The frequently recommended Oliver Kronat now remains as the key figure; he continues to be highly regarded in the market for his ‘reliable availability, absolutely on schedule and very high quality work and broad knowledge’. His focus includes the securitisation of trade, leasing and loans receivables and fund shares, the establishment of ABCP conduit programmes and portfolio sales. He recently advised EIB and EIF on investments in various securitisations of receivables from leasing and lease-purchase transactions; Santander Consumer Bank as originator in the securitisation of German consumer loans at a value of €750m; and BMW Bank as originator in two securitisation transactions of automotive loan portfolios at a value of €1.07bn respectively. Counsel Kerstin Schaepersmann is also recommended.

According to peers Hogan Lovells International LLPcontinues to advance’ in the structured finance area; the ‘strong’ team is ‘highly visible’ when it comes to advice on derivatives and has an ‘established’ leading reputation with automotive banks. Recently the firm advised Mercedes-Benz Bank on the securitisation of a portfolio of German auto loans with a volume of €1.1bn, and Volkswagen Leasing on the securitisation of €1.2bn leasing receivables. Yet the team also advises on other asset classes, such as Nord/LB regarding the structuring and implementation of a privately placed securitisation transaction in connection with a portfolio of distressed and non-performing ship loans with an outstanding loan amount of $1.5bn in total. Besides the focus on structured issues and international ABS transactions, the firm also handles the establishment and management of programmes. Clients include Santander Consumer Bank, Sixt Leasing and FMS Wertmanagement, among others. The ‘very successfulDietmar Helms is considered ‘a renowned fixture in the market’ and Sven Brandt is also recommended.

Mayer Brown LLP’s ‘fantastic practice’ continues to hold its ground in advising on complex structured finance matters, particularly cross-border transactions, and is ‘highly esteemed’. Asset-based lending now makes up one of the most important structured finance products of the practice and advice ranges from the securitisation of trade and automotive receivables – such as assisting Crédit Agricole CIB, BNP Paribas, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Royal Bank of Scotland with the issue of €513.5m loans secured by German automotive loans of Opel Bank – to the establishment and updating of issuing platforms and a focus on retail products, including certificates, warrant bonds and other structured bonds. Particular expertise also lies in OTC derivatives. Andreas Lange continues to be well regarded in the market and Patrick Scholl is also recommended. The team also has good ancillary regulatory knowledge and works closely together with the US securitisation practice.

In structured finance and securitisation matters White & Case LLPbrings high industry knowledge and expertise to the table and comes up with acceptable solutions for all parties’; clients also especially note the ‘deep understanding of economic contexts’. A particular strength lies in the asset classes leasing and infrastructure. The firm advised Crédit Agricole and Société Générale as arrangers and BNP Paribas on the securitisation of German auto loan receivables, which were granted by RCI Banque for the financing of motor vehicles. For HSH Nordbank the team handled a complex synthetic loan securitisation. Other recent matters include the structuring and implementation of a complex whole business securitisation transaction, a repo transaction and advice regarding multiple structured covered bonds and in connection with non-performing loans. Key figure Dennis Heuer is an ‘experienced specialist with great detailed knowledge, particularly with regards to securitisations’; he has an ‘impressive track record’ and ‘convinces with his client orientation, pragmatism and cost awareness’.

Ashurst LLP is ‘strong in the area of structured finance and derivatives’ and places a particular focus on retail products. The ‘really good’ team surrounding Tobias Krug, head of the securities and derivatives group, not only has expertise in structured products but also regarding OTC derivatives and securitised derivatives. It also has particular knowledge in PRIIPs KID, the credit-linked area and in regulatory matters. It advises Deutsche Bank in connection with the global project for the implementation of EMIR; SIX Financial Services regarding the company’s PRIIPs offer; and Credit Suisse on the establishment of its first credit-linked note programme according to German law. Another client is Erste Group in the context of all its structured products programmes, including equity-linked, credit-linked, asset-linked and multi-asset-linked. A significant boost for the team was Martin Kaiser’s arrival from Baker McKenzie in August 2017.

Now also ‘on the radar’, Dentons was able to significantly strengthen its structured finance and securitisation practice: The firm not only gained Arne Klüwer from Clifford Chance in Frankfurt in April 2017, who now heads the German banking and finance group and the European structured finance practice, but Mortimer Berlet followed at the same time and joined as partner, and in the Munich office the ‘bright’ Matthias Eggert switched from Baker McKenzie. He currently advises BillFront on a financing structure for the refinancing of receivables from online advertisement, and provides continuous advice to Wilmington Trust SP Services as trustee regarding a multitude of securitisations and collatoralised financings. The team also advises various German banks on diverse cross-border trade receivables transactions, in some cases with multiple financings from different banks.

Jones Day’s ‘above average’ practice is noted for its ‘good advice’ on structured products, derivatives, securitisations, particularly of auto loans and trade receivables, but also in product-based regulatory law. The team is ‘very good: quick, efficient, direct, without detours and unnecessary additional work’ and focuses on asset-based financings especially with regards to support through new technologies, such as blockchain. It advises key clients Volkswagen Bank and Volkswagen Financial Services not only on the yearly update and extension of the seven securitisation platforms for ABS loans with a total volume of up to €10bn, but now also assists with the structuring and the new development of the Italian securitisation programme in collaboration with the Milan office. Another highlight is the firm’s advice to UniCredit regarding its asset-based commercial paper programme, the multi-seller programme Arabella Finance DAC with an outstanding volume of €4bn for the European and US market. ‘Very experienced’ practice head Ulf Kreppel is ‘very professional and solution-oriented and as transaction lawyer manages a balance of interests between all parties’. Nick Wittek is also recommended.

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