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  1. Derivatives and structured products
  2. Leading individuals

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Sharp, commercial and easy to deal with’, Allen & Overy LLP’s practice ‘always provides innovative and practical solutions based on in-depth knowledge’. Richard Tredgett (‘a clear market leader’), Paul Cluley and Parya Badie advised a syndicate of global banks on the structured finance implications of the Greek financial crisis. Emma Dwyer (‘at the forefront of regulatory development’), David Benton and David Wakeling are advising ISDA on margin rules for uncleared trades. Other key figures include Franz Ranero, who ‘has a top-notch CLO practice’; Tony Drake-Brockman and Andrew Sulston, who advise on innovative packaged retail and insurance-based investment products; David Wainer, whose clients include Goldman Sachs; and Tom Roberts, who is ‘technically sound and inspires confidence’.

At Clifford Chance LLP, global practice head Habib Motani ‘has seen and done it all, and always provides excellent legal advice’. He leads a practice that includes retail and insurance product expert Andrew Coats and Asia-Pacific specialist Paget Dare Bryan, who lead the London group; emerging markets and structured credit expert Matthew Grigg, who advised RBS on the establishment of derivatives product company Nevis Derivatives No.3; and Jessica Littlewood. Also recommended are Anne Drakeford and William Winterton, who advised National Bank of Australia on clearing arrangements with Clydesdale Bank. The practice is European regulatory counsel to ISDA.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘business acumen and industry knowledge are the best in the market; the advice is always on-point’. Vinay Samani (who is ‘a fantastic businessman’), ‘excellent all-rounderDeepak Sitlani and Matthew Monahanare very knowledgeable when it comes to market practice’. Monahan advised Barclays Bank on restructuring £200m in swaps for Yorkshire Water. Other leading lights include ‘standout lawyerMichael Voisin and newly promoted partner Mark Drury (‘one of a new breed that is willing to innovate’), who focus on derivatives clearing. Simon Firth, the ‘razor-sharpPaul Lewis, longevity swap expert David Phillips, the ‘hugely experienced and hardworkingMark Brown, ‘top-calibre counsel’ Doug Shaw and Toby Gray are also recommended.

At Ashurst, Michael Logie ‘runs a great team at what is increasingly a firm of choice for structured products’, and which stands out for its ‘technical expertise, industry knowledge and value for money’. James Coiley’s highlights included advising Crédit Agricole as originator and arranger on the synthetic securitisation of exposures in the client’s corporate loan book. Jonathan Haines (‘a great adviser on regulatory matters’) acted for an international reinsurer in a complex longevity risk transfer trade involving more than £2bn in liabilities. Adair Gordon-Orr acted for an investment bank on a $225m secured financing restructuring. Counsel Kerion Ball is recommended for derivatives matters. Chris Georgiou retired.

Clients rate CMS for its ‘quick turnaround times, good value for money and the team’s ease with complex products’. Will Dibble advised a bank on a €500m insurance-linked trade. Jason Harding acted for an investment bank in a multibillion-pound hedging related to a note issuance. Mike Munro (who advised Pension Insurance Company on a £2.4bn longevity swap) and James Parker excel in longevity trades. Retail structured products expert Michael Cavers is also recommended. New arrivals include Jason Brooks, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP, and Thomas Lockley, former structuring director at Legal & General.

For some, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is ‘Europe’s leading arranger counsel for CLOs’. ‘Superstar’ David Quirolo advised Credit Suisse Securities on the $402m restructuring of Cairn CLO III. CLO and derivatives specialist Nick Shiren acted for arranger Sterne Agee & Leach on Commerzbank’s €230m debut leveraged loan CLO. Angus Duncan’s highlights included advising UnipolSai Assicurazioni on its €200m debut catastrophe bond. Special counsels Robert Cannon and Claire Puddicombe are recommended for insurance-linked securities and CLOs and repackaging, respectively.

Hogan Lovells International LLP has ‘an excellent, commercial and highly effective practice’. ‘Great structured products lawyer’ James Doyle advised UK Export Finance on the repackaging aspects of its $913m sukuk, and handled a structured EMTN programme for Crédit Agricole. 30-year structured finance veteran David Hudd acted for BNP Paribas on its €20bn secured structured products programme. Kit Johnson has a market-leading trustee practice. The firm also advises the London Metal Exchange.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s clients praise the practice’s ‘exemplary service’. US- and English-qualified Chris Arnold is ‘one of the world’s leading derivatives lawyers; he provides clear, sensible advice’ and acted as advocate for members of ISDA’s EMEA credit derivatives determinations committee in the first test of government intervention rules. Ed Parker heads the derivatives and structured products practice globally and advised Liberty Specialty Markets on a series of transactions designed to provide insurance to alleviate regulatory capital requirements concerning liquidity facilities and CMBS swaps. ‘Cogent, focused’ counsel Nanak Keswani (‘a safe pair of hands in any structured finance transaction’) and senior associate Marcin Perzanowski are ones to watch.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has ‘a market-leading CLO practice for managers and an experienced derivatives team’. Practice head James Warbey is ‘one of the most experienced partners in the market’ and advised Fifth Street SLF as issuers on a $416m CLO. Warbey also advised Zegona Communications on structured finance elements of its €640m acquisition of Telecable, and assisted Orchard Global Asset Management with a regulatory capital transaction relating to derivatives obligations to Credit Suisse. Newly promoted partner John Goldfinch acted for collateral manager Sankaty Advisors on the $400m NewHaven II CLO.

Partner-led practiceShearman & Sterling LLP is known for its ‘high-quality advice, which is delivered promptly’. Patrick Clancy (who is ‘a very safe pair of hands’) advised ABSA Bank as the main creditor of South African retailer Edcon on restructuring the ZAR2bn derivatives portion of its financing portfolio. The ‘calm, incisive, comprehensiveJames Duncan helped Orange Switzerland and Matterhorn Telecom Holding reorganise hedging arrangements. Ian Harvey-Samuel is also recommended. Other clients include Liberty Global, Ice Clear Europe and Deutsche Bank.

Sidley Austin LLP has a strong buy-side focus and provides ‘excellent technical and regulatory advice’. Matthew Dening (‘pragmatic, commercial and excellent with clients’) and Leonard Ng (who provides ‘robust and insightful advice’) advised Man Group on the impact of derivatives regulation reform. Also recommended are Rupert Wall, John McGrath, who is recommended for CLOs, contentious matters and restructuring, and leveraged finance partner Bryan Robson, who joined from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

The ‘very competitive and reliable team’ at Simmons & Simmons is noted for its ‘excellent value for money’. David Roylance (‘one of the City’s most brilliant and hardworking partners’) advised the underwriters on structured finance elements of a €750m notes issue. Other key figures include the ‘flexible, commercial’ Paul Browne, who is ‘committed to his clients’ and advises leading investment banks; newly promoted partner David Toole, who is ‘a rising star with an eye for detail’; Craig Bisson, who advises asset managers; and Sean Bulmer, who advises on OTC and securitised derivatives. Alan Davies and buy-side adviser Allan Yip are also recommended.

Slaughter and May is ‘an exceptional firm with great flexibility across the finance space’. Predominantly a buy-side firm, the practice is also handling a growing stream of sell-side work for global investment banks. Guy O’Keefe advised a European bank on complex credit default swaps. Azadeh Nassiri and Ed Fife are also recommended. Mark Dwyer joined DLA Piper and Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined Latham & Watkins.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ ‘very commercial’ CLO practice ‘has a deep bench of high-quality individuals who stay ahead of the curve’. It acted on one-third of all public European CLOs in 2015 and advised regular issuers such as The Carlyle Group. Team leader Jacky Kelly is ‘very strong on client management’ and advised Blackstone/GSO on the first CLO platform to be compliant with new US and European risk retention rules. Kelly and Brian Maher advised swap counterparty Barclays on restructuring derivatives and a swap term loan related to General Healthcare Group’s £2bn securitised debt.

White & Case LLP is ‘a very solid, reliable and good-value firm’. Derivatives specialist Ingrid York and David Barwise are ‘incredibly commercial, responsive and provide no-nonsense advice’; they acted alongside ‘excellent lawyerGavin McLean and Joshua Parbhu for Goldman Sachs as arranger on the issue of senior and subordinated CLO notes totalling more than €350m. McLean also advised Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur on structured elements of its $143.7m floating rate notes issue. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is known for ‘practical and targeted advice’ on both regulatory reform and transactions. Tariq Rasheed advised Deutsche Bank on clearing documentation for OTC trades, and acted for Goldman Sachs on developing its listed futures business. He also handled the addition of structured note products into Bank Hapoalim’s notes programme. Prashanth Satyadeva is also recommended. Paul Severs moved to Paul Hastings LLP.

Fieldfisher is ‘a client-focused and relationship-driven firm’. ‘Very bright’ group head Guy Usher has built ‘a highly respected derivatives practice’. Usher and Luke Whitmore advised a global bank on refinancing £600m in interest rate swaps. Edward Miller’s highlights included advising a brokerage on OTC swaption trades. Also recommended are Emma Spiers, for clearing and margin matters, Gonzalo Fernandez, for corporate trust issues, and Azad Ali (who joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP), for regulatory advice.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘at the cutting edge of innovation in structured finance’, particularly in the fields of insurance and regulation. Simeon Rudin advised financial institutions and corporate clients including Tesco and Worldpay on EMIR and Dodd-Frank regulations. James Grand specialises in derivatives, structured products and interbank funding structures and is active in the CLO market. Dougall Molson transferred to London from Paris.

Latham & Watkins has ‘a lean team whose work on innovative deals packs a real punch’. Dean Naumowiczcombines detailed knowledge and a practical approach’ and advised a leading investment bank on restructuring $247m in credit overlay transactions. Other key names include Basil Zotiades, who advised AXA IM on two CLO deals totalling $414m, Mark Nicolaides, and counsel Shatha Ali, who is recommended for derivatives transactions and regulatory matters. Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined from Slaughter and May.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘fantastic to work with, extremely helpful and proactive’. The ‘very impressive’ Dina Albagli advised an international financial institution on currency hedging for a highly structured guarantee arrangement. Structured products specialist Jake Jackaman acted for BlueBay Asset Management on its €450m corporate credit programme. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ senior associate Nick May is a rising star.

Norton Rose Fulbright has ‘an excellent, committed team with huge experience and great market knowledge’. ‘Clever, responsive problem-solverNigel Dickinson and the ‘very intelligent and highly experiencedDaniel Franks jointly head the team and are skilled in complex OTC derivatives transactions. Dickinson advised an investment bank on bespoke asset swaps valued at over $150m, and Franks acted for a global bank on credit risk protection arrangements for a securities lending business. Regulatory experts Hannah Meakin and Jonathan Herbst are also recommended.

Tamara Box leads the structured finance team at Reed Smith LLP, which counts US Bank, Wilmington Trust, Deutsche Bank and Citi among its clients. Claude Brown is among the City’s most experienced partners for structured credit and derivatives. Nick Stainthorpe stands out for equity derivatives and hedging transactions and advised on collar hedging for a global bank. Brett Hillis and Peter Zaman are recommended for regulatory matters.

Simon Porter now leads the structured capital markets group at Baker McKenzie LLP. Of counsel Farid Anvari is a key adviser to clearing houses on derivatives regulation. She also advised an asset manager on a structured repackaging deal involving a total return swap, and pension fund trustees on an insurance-based longevity transaction. Vincent Keaveny joined DLA Piper.

Martin Bartlam’s financial markets team at DLA Piper is ‘extremely knowledgeable and very responsive when it comes to getting a deal negotiated’. It continued its expansion with the recruitment of Vincent Keaveny from Baker McKenzie LLP and Mark Dwyer from Slaughter and May. Bartlam advised RBS on a novel MicroRates hedging service for its customers, and acted for insurer Generali on longevity risk management.

Key highlights for Dentons’ ‘capable and credible practice’ included Matthew Sapte’s advice on a structured equity deal for an international airline; and Rosali Pretorius’s work for Daiwa Capital Markets Europe on its assessment of the enforceability of OTC clearing obligations. Edward Hickman is recommended for structured products.

Eversheds LLPprovides good overall service, particularly in relation to regulations and fund structures,’ to a predominantly buy-side client base, as well as a growing number of sell-side clients including HSBC. Group head Jonathan Master advised Scottish Widows on the impact of Solvency II on its collateral management processes. Richard Batchelor is recommended for transactional and regulatory matters.

Jones Day’s Edward Nalbantian assisted BNP Paribas with its acquisition of a £15bn equity derivatives portfolio from RBS, which involved a review of 900 transactions. CLO specialist Neil Hamiltonhas in-depth market knowledge and is both technically excellent and innovative’. Amy Kho is a key adviser to Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Macfarlanes LLP’s ‘highly commercial’ practice ‘understands the needs of both buy side and sell side’. The ‘knowledgeable and personable’ Will Sykes (who is ‘very responsive under pressure’) advised Permal on setting up trading accounts for a new managed account vehicle. Richard Fletcher is ‘on top of every detail’.

At Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, structured credit and derivaties specialists Peter Green and Jeremy Jennings-Mares are ‘incredibly responsive and pragmatic, delivering legal advice in areas that are not black and white’. They advised Royal Bank of Canada on an equity-linked notes issuance.

Paul Hastings LLP has ‘a very responsive team, which is strong from lead partner to the lowest-level associate’. The ‘brilliant’ Christian Parker and senior associate Karen Stretch are ‘thorough and diligent, making sure issues are addressed effectively’. They advised EAP Partners on derivatives aspects of a $700m bond issue.

Travers Smith LLP’s practice is ‘effective, knowledgeable and responsive’ and provides ‘partner-led, friendly, technical advice’. Jonathan Gilmour’s highlights included a £2.8bn longevity hedging transaction, while Peter Hughes advised the trustee of Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan and sponsoring employer Heineken UK on an insurance-wrapped collateralised deal to hedge £2.4bn of longevity exposure.

Bryan Cave has built a new structured finance team around the vastly experienced Rachel Kelly, who joined from Macfarlanes LLP. Kelly brings experience in CLOs and structured products to a team that includes Helena Nathanson and that acts for clients including Bank of New York Mellon.

At Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP, lead partner Graham Soar advises FTSE 100 corporates, investment funds and pension fund trustees. He acted for FirstGroup on derivatives regulation and the negotiation of ISDA master agreements.

Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP is known for providing ‘good, reliable service from an accessible and proactive team’ led by the ‘very client-focusedKarine Imbrosciano. Imbrosciano advised an investment bank on a €1.2bn equity derivatives structure for shares in a French company. Dimitrios Logizidis is also recommended.

K&L Gates LLP is noted for its ‘excellent knowledge of structured finance’. Stephen Moller acted for EFG Bank on OTC swap clearing arrangements, and is recommended alongside Sean Donovan-Smith and trustee specialist Sean Crosky, who is ‘very down to earth and easily talks through the issues’. Paul Matthews joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP.

Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP’s team is ‘very knowledgeable, practical and has a good feel for the industry’. It advised clients including LCH.Clearnet and Futures Industry Association on compliance matters. Buy-side adviser David Brennand, and regulatory specialists Carolyn Jackson and Nathaniel Lalone are also recommended.

Olswang LLP specialises in deals with technology and real estate assets. Charles Kerrigan and Anne Chitan ‘understand the commercial risk areas of a deal and can be trusted to run a transaction’. Ruth Marken is noted for her ability to ‘appreciate commercial issues and technical legal points’. Clients include Investec.

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