Banking and finance in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

The banking and finance practice at Birketts LLP provides 'detailed knowledge, practical solutions and clear advice'. One client describes it as 'a regional firm working at a national firm level - the lawyers are quick, commercial, know the law and make sensible suggestions'. Mark Henry in Ispwich leads the practice, in which banking partner James Allen is a stand-out name. Other recommended names include Greg Allan, Alex Schaafsma and Andrew Tubb. The firm is regarded as one of the leading regional players for corporate and development finance, property and agricultural finance and invoice discounting.

Practice head(s):

Mark Henry

Other key lawyers:

James Allen; Greg Allan; Alex Schaafsma; Andrew Tubb; Lottie Fletcher


“Birketts is a law firm we regard very highly, and its finance and banking team is considered a very strong element of the business. Its capabilities are very diverse and its track record for concluding deals is very good.”

“All the individuals we interact with are highly competent, knowledgeable and work tirelessly to deliver quality solutions on time.”

“Lottie Fletcher is prompt in responding to us, manages our cases well and to agreed timescales. She is also available for any queries which may simply require a short conversation on the telephone.”

“They always get the job done regardless of timescales.  They are professional and diligent.”

“Hardworking, professional and approachable – even for a general query.”

“The Norwich team is highly capable and professional. Nothing is too much trouble and they often find the time to talk me through the work they are doing.”

“Lottie Fletcher is amazing. She has high integrity and the quality of work is always top-class.”

“The firm has a broad range of knowledge and skills that give it the expertise in all legal matters.”

Key clients

Clydesdale Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc


Lloyds Banking Group (including Bank of Scotland)

National Westminster Bank plc / Royal Bank of Scotland

Santander plc

Metro Bank plc

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Ipswich Building Society

Work highlights

  • Represented HSBC UK Bank plc in its funding of a Management Buy Out (MBO).
  • Represented HSBC Bank plc in advising on a demerger by its listed plc customer.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank plc on restructuring education sector loans.
  • Represented HSBC UK Bank plc in refinancing a building sector group.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has a banking and finance practice with a truly national focus. The real estate finance group, spearheaded by leading light Laura Holdaway, acts for a broad range of lenders and borrowers including banks, debt funds, local authority and governmental bodies, property investors and developers. Acquisition finance and asset-based lending expert Zak Virgin acts for the structured and leveraged finance teams of the main UK clearing banks. Sarah Seed has a national practice for debt capital markets and private placements issuance for not-for-profit clients. William Roles is the overall head of the practice. Principal associates Matthew Howling and Frances Churchard are promising rising stars in the field.

Practice head(s):

William Roles

Key clients

PNC Financial Services UK Limited

Midwich Limited

Archant Limited

Hill Marshall LLP

University of Cambridge


Mick George Group

Mercers’ Company

Homes England


Work highlights

  • We advised Midwich Limited on a new revolving credit facility from HSBC to support acquisitions.
  • Advising Archant Limited, a longstanding client, on a new revolving credit and overdraft facility.
  • We advised the Hill Marshall LLP/Marshall Group(a joint venture between Marshall Group Properties and Hill Residential) on £20m infrastructure and development financing from Homes England.
  • Advised the University of Cambridge, working jointly with Clifford Chance, on its publicly listed bond issue, which was split between a fixed rate tranche and a CP linked tranche.
  • Advised the Mick George Group on acquisition finance facilities from HSBC to assist with the acquisition of Frimstone Limited, a family-owned aggregates business.

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal focuses predominantly on advising lenders and is on numerous bank panels, though it is steadily extending its reach among major borrowers. The firm is 'a good regional practice with customer-facing partners and associates who are very capable and supportive'. Practice head Ron Clare is 'a man of high integrity'. The practice has specialist knowledge of secured lending, agricultural finance and corporate finance, with typical loan values between £2m and £12m. It has a strong client base in the industrial, retail warehousing, leisure and care homes sectors.

Practice head(s):

Ron Clare

Other key lawyers:

Jeanette Dennis; Geoff Hazlewood; Mark Watson


“Excellent communication and a common sense approach to transactions, as well as the ability to explain complicated transactions in understandable terms. Mark Watson, Ron Clare and David Sloman are personable and have successfully undertaken work for us within tight timescales.

“Mark Watson and Ron Clare are excellent solicitors who we have enjoyed working with on a number of transactions. Their technical skills are as good, if not better, than other firms.”

“A well-established professional banking arm of the wider solicitors practice. The main banking partner that we deal with tends to deal specifically on bank-related matters and hence there is no chance of conflicts of interest arising.”

“Ron Clare is very thorough and tends to keep us abreast of matters through the deal.”

“Geoff Hazlewood and his team and others such as Ron Clare are excellent. They are practical, very commercial and ensure risks are understood, but dealt with in a practical fashion that ensures deals actually get done.”

“Everyone at Ashtons works together as a team, so if there is a property element to the work, there is seamless liaison between the different areas.”

“The Bury St Edmunds team led by Ron Clare is excellent. It definitely has a ‘can-do’ attitude to get deals done.”

“Ron Clare is proactive and provides excellent commercial views.”

Key clients

NatWest Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

Handelsbanken plc

Santander UK plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Cambridge Building Society

Work highlights

  • Representing Handelsbanken plc in connection with completing security – which comprised legal charges over a business park in Cambridgeshire and self-storage facilities in Wisbech and Dereham plus a Debenture, personal guarantee and inter-company composite guarantee – for the re-financing of one of its investor customers.
  • Representing Handelsbanken in connection with security for the re-financing of one of its hotelier customers.
  • Acting for Handelsbanken in connection with the refinancing of one of its investor customers, in which the securities comprised legal charges over a retail investment in St Neots, Cambridgeshire and two residential properties, plus personal guarantees.
  • Representing Handelsbanken in connection with funding to a syndicate of investors to finance the construction of a new unit on a business park in south Cambridgeshire and the buying out of an outgoing member of the syndicate.
  • Representing HSBC Bank plc in connection with the re-financing of an agricultural sector customer, in which security comprised legal charges over its factory site and a restaurant investment in Norfolk and we also completed a deed of priority with a group company.

Greene & Greene

Greene & Greene has experienced and highly technical lawyers advising on high-value, complex and high-profile banking and finance transactions for borrowers. Practice head Simon TJ Ratcliffe and key partner Mark Daly lead on corporate finance matters, of which a growing number have an international element. The practice acts for international PLCs, investors, SMEs and owner-managed businesses of all sizes. In 2018, it handled deals with a total aggregate value of just under £500m.

Practice head(s):

Simon Ratcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Neil Walmsley; Mark Daly; Andrew Cooper

Key clients

Treatt plc

Applied Design & Engineering Limited

Cipher Surgical Limited

Nexus Underwriting Management Limited

Wonde Limited

Ablatus Therapeutics Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Applied Design & Engineering Limited in connection with multiple rounds of debt fundraising and debt restructuring, and fundraising for a new corporate vehicle.
  • Advice to Cipher Surgical Limited on significant equity fundraising through the course of 2018, including investments by a Chinese syndicate.
  • The department advised Wonde Limited on a variety of closely linked corporate transactions that were critical to the future success of a fast-growing and exciting EdTech business.
  • The firm advised Ablatus Therapeutics Limited on a variety of closely linked corporate transactions that were critical to the future success of this fast-growing and exciting medical device company.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP acts for many of the UK’s main banks and also for a private corporate funder with a large turnover of high-risk investments. It also advises private clients on complex refinancing transactions. Joanna Nicholls, whose 'knowledge of commercial transactions is unrivalled', leads the real estate finance and banking practices, and has a steady flow of work in the leisure, real estate developments and healthcare sectors. Tessa Haskey acts for banks and private lenders in relation to property security. Corporate partner Robert Colman handles acquisition and debt finance for both borrowers and lenders.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Nicholls; Robert Colman

Other key lawyers:

Tessa Haskey; Steven Beach; Will Stokes; Charlotte McClean


“Excellent communication and knowledge and high-level diligence.”

“Charlotte Maclean is fantastic to work with and provides excellent support.”

“Joanna Nicholls is always diligent and her knowledge of commercial transactions is unrivalled.”

Key clients

RQ Capital Limited

HSBC UK Bank Plc

Lloyds Bank Plc

Barclays Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

National Westminster Bank Plc

Bank of Scotland Plc

C Hoare & Co

Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) now Handelsbanken Plc

Work highlights

  • Representing Svenska Handelsbanken AB in connection with a £3.8m loan facility.
  • Representing Svenska Handelsbanken AB in connection with equity release by way of overdraft facility.
  • Representing RQ Capital Limited in connection with a loan facility of £1million.
  • Representing RQ Capital Limited in respect of a loan of £750,000 to a developer.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank Plc lending £1.85 million of development funding on a new development of 23 houses

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

The Cambridge office of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP acts for both lenders and borrowers in key sectors including real estate, travel, leisure, education, technology and private wealth. In 2018, the firm was appointed to the HSBC banking and finance panel, and continued to receive instructions from long-term clients Link Asset Services and AIB. Practice head Helen Drayton is a recognised expert in acquisition finance, MBOs, bilateral lending and development finance. Real estate finance specialist Sarah Coates is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Helen Drayton

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Coates


“A regional Firm with many areas of expertise across the sectors and geography served. It has a technology specialism with the Golden Triangle, including overseas support and representation.”

“Helen Drayton is visible and proactive and is an excellent communicator through a deal or transaction. There are never any surprises when it comes to fees and she is always constructive with any suggestions, feedback or challenge.”

Key clients

HSBC Bank (UK) Plc

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Svenska Handelsbanken AB

Lors Homes Limited

Santander UK Plc

LTC Holdings Plc

Work highlights

  • Finance provided by HSBC by way of a £15m revolving credit facility with a £10m accordion.
  • Finance of £7m provided by AIB Group (UK) plc to facilitate the acquisition of a group of companies by a private equity backed MBO.
  • Finance of £3m provided by AIB Group (UK) plc to facilitate the acquisition of a company by a private equity backed MBO.
  • Penningtons Manches acted for HSBC Bank Plc in the financing on the management buyout of Cambridge executive search and recruitment business, Bailey Fisher.
  • Penningtons Manches acted for HSBC in the restructuring of a multi-let commercial property.

Greenwoods GRM

The merger in 2018 that created Greenwoods GRM gave the firm a stronger presence in the banking and finance market thanks to its team of five lawyers in the London office. In East Anglia, practice head Alastair Gunn is the key partner. He works closely with real estate partners Karin Horsley and Samantha East, and litigation associate Jamie McConnell, to advise financial institutions in the UK and overseas.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Gunn

Work highlights

  • Retained as off-panel adviser on major financial services matters relating to alleged negligence/FSMA claims arising from various investments and ancillary matters.
  • Defending a US$3m claim by a Gibraltan investment company.


The finance practice at Hewitsons is led from Northampton by Neil Harpham but the firm's Cambridge office has corporate, agricultural and real estate partners who handle high-value financings for their clients. James Lawrence handles corporate and acquisition finance, Deborah Sharples handles agricultural finance, James Simpson focuses on real estate finance, and Tim Middleton advises on residential property finance. Much of the firm's work centres on secured lending and bank funding in the education and charity sectors.

Steeles Law

Head of company commercial Richard Bailey leads on banking and finance matters at Steeles Law. The corporate, commercial property and dispute resolution practices work together to advise investors and borrowers, including multinational corporations and high-net-worth individuals in the UK and overseas, on financing matters. The firm increasingly works on the financing of start-up companies through its work with Norwich University of the Arts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Bailey

Other key lawyers:

Karen Bacon; Kate Ford; James Hopgood

Key clients

Animax Limited

Kingswood Financial Advisers

Highview Network Limited

Work highlights

  • Advice to a further education institution following its conversion to a multi-academy trust.
  • Advice to start-up regarding proposed equity investment.
  • Investment advice to a high-net-worth individual in the technology sector.
  • Settlement of multiple Financial Ombudsman complaints on behalf of IFA.
  • The team advised an exempt charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, on taking a facility from a bank.