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EU regulatory: Financial services in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP advises financial institutions on MiFID and MiFIR compliance, alongside broad cross-border regulatory issues, and also has strong expertise in the insurance and fintech sectors. The team is active in responding to emerging trends, advising clients on ESG and sustainability regulations alongside innovative fintech products such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Sylvia Kierszenbaum leads the team, and is a specialist in the regulation of banking and insurance activities and financial services.

Practice head(s):

Sylvia Kierszenbaum

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance advises banks, funds, asset managers, and other investors on a wide range of regulatory issues relating to insurance products, derivatives, and licensing, with notable expertise in anti-money laundering and risk management advice. Alongside major institutional players, the firm also advises start-ups and challengers such as fintech companies and challenger banks. The practice is led by Lounia Czupper, who advises a wide range of lenders and regulated financial institutions on compliance and product development.

Practice head(s):

Lounia Czupper

Key clients

ING Belgium

AB InBev

JP Morgan

Athora

Bank Degroof Petercam

Deutsche Bank

Crédit Agricole

Generali

HSBC Bank

BNP Paribas Fortis

Work highlights

  • Advised on Euroclear security agreements for a number of large banks and financial institutions and for the European Investment Bank.
  • Provided a Belgian legal opinion to LCH Limited on membership, insolvency, security, set-off & netting and client clearing, and the impacts thereon resulting from the end of the Brexit transition period.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird leverages its strong record in tech and innovation work globally, advising domestic and international clients within the fintech industry on issues such as payment services, blockchain technology, open banking, e-banking, and e-finance, working with established players alongside start-ups and disruptors. Specific areas of expertise for the team, led by online payments specialist Scott McInnes and regulatory finance lead Paul Hermant, include financial services apps and innovative digital payment platforms, including cryptocurrency.

Practice head(s):

Scott McInnes; Paul Hermant

Testimonials

‘Scott McInnes – extremely knowledgeable within his area of law and with a buisness minded approach. He comes highly recommended.’

‘Scott McInnes, great at organising a team to support multi-jurisdictional work.’

‘We use Bird and Bird to provide legal advice across a number of very different and complex products. While Scott is our singular contact, the deep understanding of our products shown in the advice received from Bird & Bird and its various partners shows the depth of knowledge and understanding of his team and the quality of review.’

‘Scott McInnes is an amicable, professional, hands on, conscientious, highly responsive, and diligent partner. Of the various partners we have across products, Scott’s availability, timeliness, and attention to detail both in email exchanges and in work product stands head and shoulders above all others.’

Key clients

Stripe

Booking.com

Mastercard

Moneynet

bunq

Paysafe

Digital River

Riskified

Gaming1 (Ardent group)

Work highlights

  • Advising Mastercard on various FS regulatory and competition law issues.
  • Advising Stripe on FS regulatory issues.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises Belgian and foreign multinationals on regulatory issues concerning banking, fund structuring, financial services, and insurance, including regulatory compliance advice, transactional and products matters, through to enforcement proceedings. The team, led by specialist financial services regulatory adviser Pierre Berger, also has a strong record in fintech, advising a number of challenger clients such as neo-banks and payment providers alongside traditional players such as private equity funds, banks, and insurance companies.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Berger

Other key lawyers:

Pauline Kustermans

Testimonials

Pierre Berger’s team at DLA Piper stands out in terms of hands-on approach.’

‘A team combining expert knowledge with strong project management and communication skills.’

‘Pierre Berger displayed great client centricity, being on top of our file and ensuring we received proper attention when we needed it.’

Pauline Kustermans definitely deserves a commendation for her remarkable skillset. An absolute joy to work with.’

Key clients

Aion

Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC)

Argenta group

Belfius Bank NV/SA

Belfius Investment Partners NV

BNP Paribas Fortis

bpPost bBank

Caceis

Chess Capital

European Commission

Fortino Capital Venture II CommV

ICICI Bank

ING Bank

Invest for Jobs NV

ISDA International Swaps and Derivatives Association Inc.

KBC Group NV

Minna Technologies AB

Miraclon

Natwest Markets NV

Netoil Capital Limited

RIA Payment Institution

SharpX

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Tioga Capital Partners

Top Tier Access Partners BV

Travelex Acquisitionco Limited

Unifiedpost NV and Unifiedpost Payments NV

Visa Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Unifiedpost Group NV as well as its subsidiaries on the global roll-out of its product.
  • Advising Belfius on setting up a strategic partnership with Proximus NV.
  • Advised Travelex AcquisitionCo on the auction sale and purchase of the shares in Travelex NV.

Eubelius

With strong expertise in EU financial services regulations, including MiFID, AIFM, and AML, the team at Eubelius advises on insurance products, fund structuring, securities and alternative investments, alongside banking governance, with a broad range of clients within these fields. The team is led by Jean-Marc Gollier, a senior counsel focused on financial regulatory and transactional matters, primarily within the insurance industry, alongside Marieke Wyckaert, who advises a number of major international banking clients on governance and regulatory compliance.

Practice head(s):

Marieke Wyckaert; Jean-Marc Gollier

Other key lawyers:

Eva Milants

Testimonials

Eva Milants: knows her clients and cases perfectly. Anticipates problems, thinks outside the box when necessary. Always available. When needed other colleagues from the firm can intervene for specific problems.

Eubelius has a lot of experience with the regulators. Due to their knowledge and good perception by the regulator, they can open doors which aren’t possible for a small firm.

In a very difficult negotiation with a counterparty, they can open new insights.

Key clients

Belgian Federal Treasury Department

Batopin

AG Insurance

The European Payments Initiative

Lazard Fund Managers (Ireland)

Lazard Frères Gestion (France)

Dexia

ION

Leoville

Elia

KBC Asset Management

V-Bio Ventures

ING

NN Group

Bancontact

Allusion

Work highlights

  • Assistance to the Federal Public Service Finance and the Belgian National Bank in the planning, preparation, approval and EU clearance of several Covid-19 inspired state guarantee schemes, covering bank loans with an aggregate principal of up to EUR 50 billion.
  • Advised ION on setting up a EUR168 million Belgian Specialized Real Estate Investment Fund (FIIS).
  • Assistance to Batopin, a newly incorporated joint venture between the 4 largest Belgian banks, in the setting up of a unique ATM network on the whole Belgium territory.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP welcomed a team led by Ivan Peeters and Philip Van Steenwinkel from PwC Legal in May 2021, bolstering its cross-border EU regulatory offering with a strong client base of financial institutions and banks and expertise across regulatory issues for financing and lending transactions, trading, and broad compliance work. Of particular note is the team’s expertise in ESG issues, including sustainable financing, green bonds, and emerging regulatory pressures from the EU Green Deal.

Practice head(s):

Ivan Peeters; Philip Van Steenwinkel

Other key lawyers:

Charles-Henri Bernard

Testimonials

Hogan Lovells is working with us on a very innovative project to which there are no previous examples nor derivable best practices. Unlike other law firms, they were not afraid to accept this assignment and treat it as a an opportunity to learn together with us. This is not something many established law firms would do.

A big heads up to Philip Van Steenwinkel and Charles-Henri Bernard. Both have shown strong collaboration skills and interest to our activity, and they are not afraid to share more knowledge and expertise than what will be needed eventually to get things done. Their knowledge of setting up financial transaction structures is more than sufficient, and has already led to the introduction of solutions for difficult issues.

The team provided an outstanding combination of market knowledge, knowledge of our group’s legal/regulatory background and specificity, subject-matter expertise and responsiveness/availability in the face of a quite demanding timeline.

Key clients

Euroclear Bank

Euroclear Sa

Euroclear Investments Sa

ING Belgium

ING Solutions Investment Management

Belfius Bank

Natixis

Landesbank Baden-württemberg

Buy Way

Communauté Française De Belgique

Leaseplan

Bitstamp

Aion Bank

Medirect Bank

Inver Invest

La Française Group Uk Ltd

Warburg Pincus

ABN Amro

Sumitomo Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising Aion Bank on the set up, design and negotiation of a partnership with a Danish fintech aiming at facilitating goods purchasing by retail customers across the EU.
  • Advised Monneo on the restructuring of its safeguarding accounts.
  • Advised a major Swiss private banking institution on the design, structuring and establishment of an alternative investment fund and several acquisition vehicles.

KPMG Law in Belgium

KPMG Law in Belgium has a strong focus on regulatory finance, advising banks, insurers and investment funds on transactions and structuring, regulatory compliance, and licensing issues. The team is integrated with the wider consultancy’s international network, allowing it to handle work for a diverse international client base. The team is led by Isabelle Blomme, who has great experience within the financial services sector.

Practice head(s):

Isabelle Blomme

Key clients

ABN Amro

Alter Domus

Athora Belgium

Attijariwafa Bank Europe

Baloise Insurance

Bank Dierickx-Leys Private

Bank of New York Mellon

Bank J. Van Breda

Banque Degroof Petercam

Beobank

Bpost Bank

BNC10

Bru Wat 16

CaixaBank

CapitalatWork

Dela

DirectPay

Euroclear

Banque Eni

FCA Bank, Belgian branch

Flossbach Von Storch

Groupe LFPI

HDI Global

Hoist Finance

Intégrale

Leasys, Belgian branch

Lessius Vereniging VZW

Lloyd’s Insurance Company SA

Protect

QBE Europe

Quintet Private Bank (Europe)

Saxo Bank

State Bank of India

Touring

Toyota Financial Services Belgium

UBS

Volkswagen International Belgium

Wealtheon

Wise Europe

Work highlights

  • Advised Toyota Financial Services on its incorporation as a Belgian automotive entity.
  • Advised FCA Bank on legal and compliance related issues, including compliance with consumer credit legislation, commercial contracts with automotive dealers and incentive programmes.
  • Advised Lloyd’s Insurance Company on the legal and regulatory aspects of a comprehensive corporate restructuring of Lloyd’s group.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick advises banks, financial institutions, and insurers on a wide range of regulatory issues, including MiFID compliance, innovative issues relating to fintech products, commercialisation, and insurance sector issues such as the creation and issue of new products. The practice is led by Tom Van Dyck, a key regulatory adviser to a number of European banks, with associates Sarah Michot and Louise Verstraete both offering in-house financial services expertise from secondments.

Practice head(s):

Tom Van Dyck 

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Michot; Louise Verstraete

Testimonials

‘It is a great pleasure to collaborate with Liedekerke because of their excellent understanding of the situation of the company and the problems we are involved in. The great relationship with the team is important to us, and we are willing to have a firm which support us not only with purely legal solutions, but also with comprehensive approach of our whole business.’

‘We work with Tom Van Dyck and his team for a couple of years and have developed a very special relationship. Our core business is not located in Belgium, but we have very specific needs to develop our activity in this market. Tom is the perfect partner for our company to support our business.’

‘This practice is unique because of their extensive know how when it comes to all topics related to banking and finance. They are aware of all recent development within the field but are also very well informed on sector practices and have a good relationship with the local regulators. They have a very hands on mentality and are able to quickly provide correct, substantiated and complete legal advice which is nevertheless understandable and practical.’

‘Tom Van Dyck and his team stand out because of their extensive know how when it comes to all topics related to banking and finance. Tom Van Dyck has a hands on mentality, is very accessible, responsive and professional. He is also able to quickly provide correct, substantiated and complete legal advice which is nevertheless understandable and practical.’

‘Extensive experience in financial supervision, including supervisory investigations.’

‘Tom van Dyck immediately instilled confidence in the handling of a highly confidential investigation by the Belgian regulator.’

‘Specific expertise in financial product approval with legislators.’

‘We are honored to collaborate with Tom Van Dyck, who combines an in-depth knowledge of the Belgian financial regulatory framework and authorities with a very pragmatic and no-nonsense approach.’

Key clients

ING België NV

PMV

Triodos Bank

Deutsche Bank AG, Belgium Branch

BELGIAN INFRASTRUCTURE FUND

Union Services

Allianz Benelux sa/nv

Driesassur

BNP Paribas Fortis

AG Insurance

KBC BANK

Banque de Luxembourg International

Degroof Petercam Asset Services SA

Blackfin Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Assisting Banque de Luxembourg in relation to the set-up of SICAV BLB, a new Belgian publicly offered UCITS and providing ongoing assistance to the fund.

NautaDutilh

Working with national and international banks, financial institutions, and other regulated entities, NautaDutilh offers expertise across Belgian and European financial services regulations, and enjoys productive relationships with relevant regulatory authorities. Advising on a cross-border basis, the firm handles matters including M&A, corporate governance and compliance, audits and investigations, and the regulation of insurance products. The practice is led by the ‘highly respectedAnne Fontaine, a specialist in clearing and settlement systems, banking regulations, and transactional issues, with counsel Pierre De Pauw also playing a key role across the offering.

Practice head(s):

Anne Fontaine

Other key lawyers:

Pierre De Pauw

Testimonials

‘Very competent team, very accessible, very efficient and always punctual. We can always count on them.’

‘I work with Anne Fontaine. She is knowledgeable, approachable, pleasant, available, and achieves results within a very short time.’

‘Anne Fontaine knows the specificity of our company inside out – this is a great asset that facilitates the cooperation and speeds up the process.’

‘I have been working with Anne Fontaine and her team for a number of years now and they always provide an excellent service. Anne is very responsive and the team provide clear and pragmatic advice. They are also always willing to accommodate client’s demands. The team has in depth knowledge of the regulatory framework and covers a very broad range of legal areas which is very valuable.’

‘Strong team, well-integrated with Nauta’s other offices. Consistently give well-reasoned, practical advice.’

‘Anne Fontaine has been excellent on regulatory matters for payment service providers.’

‘Very responsive team. Very pleasant to work with.’

‘Anne Fontaine is a widely recognised and rightly highly respected practitioner, particularly on the funds regulatory side.’

Key clients

ABN AMRO

Belfius Bank

Euroclear

Klarna Bank

Liberty Mutual Insurance

QBE Europe

Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Advising Euroclear on regulatory issues.
  • Advising ABN AMRO on various financial regulatory topics in relation to its Belgian banking and investment services activities.
  • Advising Belfius bank as a member of its law firm panel on various financial regulatory topics.

Simont Braun

Simont Braun has a strong focus on financial services regulatory work, advising financial services providers on regulatory issues relating to their establishment within the Belgian market. The firm regularly engages with the NBB and FSMA in relation to licence applications, the introduction of new products and services, and regulatory investigations. Clients include major international banks, neo and challenger banks, and other innovative financial services and credit providers. The team is led by Joan Carette, a specialist financial services practitioner with in-house regulatory experience, alongside Philippe De Prez , known for his work with international financial services clients.

Practice head(s):

Philippe De Prez; Joan Carette

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Derval

Testimonials

The team has an in-depth knowledge of financial services laws and ancillary subjects such as AML laws. They know the industry, the regulator, and understand clients’ needs. They work with great speed and focus. It is a pleasure to collaborate with them on projects.’

‘Philippe De Prez is extremely knowledgeable about the laws and industry. He is a quick thinker and has a very structured approach to things. He is very responsive and very polite.’

‘Thomas Derval is very engaged and has a practical mindset. He is very knowledgeable in (consumer) credit laws and intent on finding good solutions for his clients.

‘Great people, very approachable and hands on. They have a fintech attitude which is extremely helpful in this fast paced environment which is a massive extra compared to the big “classic” law firms. They are very responsive and provide an excellent service.’

‘Philippe De Prez is one of the greatest lawyers I’ve worked with. Extremely hard working, very knowledgeable, has great connections in Europe who can help further with legal advice in most of the countries and mostly he is super approachable. His fintech knowledge is great, as well as his reputation with the regulator which is also helpful when building connections.’

Key clients

Aion Bank

Ebury

Wise

NewB

Belgian Mobile ID (app itsme)

Viva Wallet

Société Générale

ABN AMRO Private Banking

Oney

The European Commission

Taptap Send

Work highlights

  • Advised Aion Bank, Belgium’s first next generation digital bank, on the launch of a complete offer of new products and services.
  • Advised NewB on securing its licence as a credit institution and advising it on the development and setting up of its different banking products.
  • Advising the ABN AMRO Banking group on all its Belgian financial regulatory and insurance questions (PSD2, MiFID/MIFIR, consumer credits), contractual drafting and litigation matters.