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Latvia

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Editorial

Legal market overview

Latvia made significant progress in its banking sector by becoming a member state of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2016. In order to move towards a more trusted system, the country addressed concerns from the US and tightened money-laundering regulations on non-resident banks. One change saw the Financial and Capital Market Commission impose restrictions on Trasta komercbanka, which had its licence revoked by the European Central Bank.

More banks have been consolidating, with increasing competition from alternative financial services providers and fintech sector developments. In one of 2016’s biggest banking sector deals, Nordea and DNB agreed to merge their Baltic operations.

Other notable developments included the separation of Latvijas Gāze – the natural gas company – into two entities; the founding of the Latvian Startup Association; and new industrial property laws being enforced from January 2016.

In the legal market, shifting pan-Baltic alliances have been a theme of the past several years and the trend has continued with Fogels, Vitols & Paipa becoming Leadell Fogels, Vitols & Paipa following its decision to enter into an alliance with Leadell Balciunas & Grajauskas and Leadell Pilv in Lithuania and Estonia, respectively. In other news, BLS Kronbergs & Cukste joined forces with Estonian firm Derling and Dominas Derling in Lithuania, while Law Firm Varul rebranded as BDO Law. Glimstedt & Partners is now part of Ellex.

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