Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

A spin off from Coronel & Pérez in August 2021, boutique firm Rodríguez | Rodríguez was established by former legal Under Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Boanerges Rodríguez Freire; he has ample experience of the financial sector and securities market, advising multilateral organizations, investment entities and private banks on the structuring of public and private financings.

Banking and finance in Ecuador

Bustamante Fabara

Bustamante Fabara is the result of the November-2021 merger of local heavyweight Bustamante & Bustamante and the smaller -but nevertheless top flight- corporate finance player Fabara & Compañía. The combined firm’s banking and finance practice handles a broad range of financing matters, complex collateral structures, debt securities’ issuances and liability management mandates, with cross-border work constituting a large proportion of the group’s caseload. The team is co-led by Juan Felipe Bustamante Crespo and Diego Ramirez, who both have extensive experience acting as counsel for major development finance institutions and foreign lenders; recent madnates include advisory to Goldman Sachs on the first sovereign social bond issued by Ecuador, and to Phoenix Tower International on a co-financing agreement with the International Development Bank (IDB). Other key team members include Juan Felipe Bustamante, who regularly acts on behalf of foreign investors on public procurement and major project finance mandates; and senior associate Kirina González, who has experience dealing with syndicated and asset-backed lending, securities offerings and liability management mandates. Since research concluded the firm has hired Jesús Beltrán, formerly head of the banking pracitce at Robalino, along with senior associate Patricio Santos - effective as of September 2022.

Practice head(s):

José Rafael Bustamante Crespo; Diego Ramirez

Testimonials

‘The team has in-depth knowledge both of Ecuadorian law and international standards in documentation. It is very commercially oriented and has excellent problem-solving skills.’

‘I have worked with Diego Ramirez many times over the years. He is a gentleman, very responsive and knowledgeable. He provides insightful local law advice which makes commercial sense as well.’

Jesús Beltrán has excellent technical command of NY law; fully bilingual in Spanish and English; great knowledge of industry issues in the region.

Jesús Beltrán has invaluable knowledge of international transactions, highly complex structuring involving multilateral organisations, foreign government agencies and large banks. His financial understanding combined with legal practice makes his advice outstanding.

Key clients

Goldman Sachs

Credit Suisse

Phoenix Tower International

Nomura Securities

AT&T Services Inc

China Development Bank Corporation

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Corporation

UBS AG

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Work highlights

  • Advised Goldman Sachs on the first sovereign social bond issued by Ecuador; the proceeds will finance “Casa Para Todos”, a program of mortgage loans on concessional terms to first-time home buyers.
  • Advised Credit Suisse on a matter relating to non-deliverable FX trading to hedge exposure to PEN currency risk.
  • Advised Phoenix Tower International on a co-financing agreement with the International Development Bank whereby Proparco was invited by IDB Invest to participate in the financing of PTIE through a loan of USD 25 million.

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce asserts its standing as a leader with regard to banking and finance work, with an international and domestic client roster featuring major financial banks and foreign investors. The team, which is led by Bruno Pineda, works out of Quito and Guayaquil, and has experience dealing with the full spectrum of financing modes, including complex loans, multilateral lending agreements and sovereign debt deals. Recent matters saw the team advise Banco Pichincha on the first securitization issued by an Ecuadorian bank to be purchased by a foreign segregated portfolio company (SPC). In a cross-border context, the firm also acted for Dutch investment agency FMO in a transaction with Produbanco, handling the drafting of a subordinated facility agreement. Associate support is provided by Ricardo Pérez and David Noel. Moreover, the team was significantly strengthened with the arrival of Pablo Ortiz (who undertakes banking, finance and insurance matters as part of his wider practice), formerly Ecuador's ambassador in Belgium and the European Union; and of senior associate Juan Francisco Simone (financial law, fintech, payment systems, 'insurtech' and capital markets), who joined from his role as Advisor to the National Assembly of Ecuador in November 2021.

Practice head(s):

Bruno Pineda

Key clients

FMO

Banco Pichincha

Avianca

Work highlights

  • Acted for Banco Pichincha on the local securitisation of a mortgage portfolio to be bought by a foreign trust by reviewing documents, assisting in negotiations and providing legal opinions.
  • Acted for Avianca on its exit from Chapter 11 by reviewing documentation, preparing the release of the debtor-in-possession loan, terminating local securities and issuing new securities.    
  • Acted for FMO in connection with the preparation of a senior facility agreement and a subordinated facility agreement with Produbanco.

Coronel & Pérez

Coronel & Pérez has experience dealing with a range of financing transactions and regulatory matters in both domestic and international contexts, with recent highlights featuring financing structures backed by guarantees and syndicated credit agreements. The practice underwent significant change in August 2021, with the departure of long time partner Boanerges Rodríguez Freire  and senior associate Boanerges Rodríguez Velásquez to establish their own boutique in August 2021, and the arrival of Octavio Rosselli (as an international counsel based in Guayaquil), after almost 20 years at Latin American development bank, CAF, where he rose to be General Counsel; his past experience also includes stints in both private practice and as a director of Banco del Pacífico. Senior partners Hernán Pérez Loose and César Coronel Jones are also active as regards banking and financing matters, the pair recently advising new client Citibank.

Practice head(s):

Octavio Rosselli

Key clients

Citibank

Cordiant Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Citibank with regards to the Ecuadorian legal aspects of international financing structures backed by guarantees (maritime mortgages) registered in Ecuador.
  • Advised Cordiant Capital as sole lead arranger, syndication agent and collateral agent, on a syndicated credit agreement granted to the Ecuadorian companies Productora Cartonera and Surpapelcorp, to refinance short and long-term debt and CAPEX.

Lexvalor Abogados

Quito-based Lexvalor Abogados handles both domestic and cross-border work with a focus on structuring, debt transactions, and the design of guarantee arrangements. The practice is co-led by Daniela Irigoyen and Margoth Chiriboga, who have experience advising a broad array of clients with regards to the structuring and management of fiduciary businesses and the securities markets, respectively. Recent highlights include mandates from Mercapital Casa de Valores, Fideval and Banco Pichincha. Senior associate Mariela Moreno has a broad corporate practice but also a specialisation in finance, securities and insurance law; she too is active in the fiduciary and trusts segment. Corporate and transactional partner Juan Francisco Almeida also advises on structuring investment mechanisms for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Practice head(s):

Daniela Irigoyen; Margoth Chiriboga

Testimonials

‘The team of partners and lawyers at Lexvalor are absolutely professionals. They have a big strength in knowing not only how but also with who to make business in Ecuador.’

‘Daniela Irigoyen is a young talent with a load of experience in fiduciary, real estate and business law. Excellent criteria, great knowledge, superb capacity of execution. One of a kind!’

‘The Lexvalor practice has an excellent human group, with a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of experience in business, entrepreneurship, purchasing and acquisitions. Ecuadorian legislation is complicated and it is not always easy to navigate in the world of venture capital, but they always try to find a solution and find a way to do the transactions.’

‘The level of follow-up and involvement in each business is very good, they are really interested in supporting and finding the best solution, even if that means longer hours of work.’

‘Very aware of technological innovations and the processes that must be implemented to be aligned with current laws and regulations. Accompanies clients beyond the legal issue, providing support and experience within our own line of business.’ 

‘Knowledge, empathy, professionalism, human quality.’

‘This practice provides comprehensive solutions under one roof, has extensive experience in different branches of law, provides personalized attention, and understands our business in depth, which greatly facilitates management, and maintains relationships within the union and with authorities.’

‘The firm’s lawyers are strategic business allies due to their knowledge, experience, involvement and commitment.’

Key clients

Mercapital Casa de Valores

Su Casa de Valores

Banco Pichincha

Grupo Nobis

Grupo Futuro

Corporación Favorita

Citibank

Banco Internacional

Fideval

Medicréditos

Work highlights

  • Advised Mercapital Casa de Valores on bond issues for the amount of $34m.
  • Advised Fideval on the legal structuring and approval of three new investment funds.
  • Advised Grupo Nobis on the structuring of an investment trust to be used for the production and sale of first-class agricultural products.

Robalino

Robalino Law remains firmly established as a leader in the banking and finance space following its separation from the Ferrere network in December 2020, maintaining its active role in a range of high-profile matters. With a focus on cross-border transactions, the team acts for domestic and international actors in bank lending, capital markets matters, project financings, bond offerings, secured and unsecured loan arrangements, and debt restructurings. Leading these endeavours, Jesús Beltrán  (a former Bank of America General Counsel) is noted for his experience in multi-jurisdictional investment banking and strategic transactional work. Among recent highlights, the practice advised IDB as an investor, in relation to a $50m ‘sustainable’ bond to be issued by Produbanco for the financing of social/green projects that meet the relevant criteria – a first of its kind in Ecuador. Beltrán can also call on significant strength at senior associate level, including Belen Jaramillo (insurance and fintech), financial and corporate transactional specialists Daniel Peré and Juan Bernando Guarderas. Since research concluded, the September 2022 departure of Beltrán has seen the firm hire Carol Riofrio as counsel and director of the banking practice. Riofrio’s in-house experience includes stints at Banco Pichincha, Banco Internacional and -most recently- as GC at Banco Finca (Ecuador); she is also known for her role in promoting the development of microcredit operations in the country.

Testimonials

‘They are very technical, with their practice aimed at providing solutions and simplifying processes. They have extensive knowledge of banking and finance legislation and their experience in similar transactions is very useful.’

‘Breadth of services; partners who ‘get’ into the business; staff availability and access.’

‘The team is very quick to respond to concerns, is highly knowledgeable about banks and is experienced dealing with regulatory authorities.’

‘We have managed to consolidate a very respectful and cordial relationship, and they act firmly and respectfully in negotiations with third parties in which they represent us.’

‘They are up-to-date in technology and the fact that they work mainly online and not in person has not affected the quality or agility of their services.’

‘The response and speed of its services.

Key clients

IDB Invest

US International Development Finance Corporation

Banco Guayaquil

Assicurazioni Generali

Banco del Austro

Bank of America

Banco ProCredit

Nord Anglia Education

Proparco

Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to IDB Invest in various projects throughout the year.
  • Acted as counsel to the United States International Development Finance Corporation in various cases for millions of dollars throughout the year.
  • Advised Banco del Austro on the establishment of -and first issuance from- its diversified payment rights securitisation program, based on flows derived from foreign remittances.

Carmigniani Pérez Abogados

Carmigniani Pérez Abogados acts for a range of banks, investment funds and corporate borrowers. Roxana Aguirre Avilés has a broad corporate and finance practice that ranges from contracts and company law to banking, finance and capital markets’ matters – particularly notes issuances and securitisation. Senior partner Pedro Pérez advises on banking regulatory matters, and also handles financial due diligence – particularly for interbank loans; fellow name partner Eduardo Carmigniani also has a banking and finance aspect to his practice.

Practice head(s):

Roberto Carmigniani

Dentons Paz Horowitz

July 2021 saw well-known market presence Paz Horowitz become the Ecuadorian arm of global powerhouse Dentons, thereby becoming Dentons Paz Horowitz, in what marks a new step in the nascent internationalisation of the Ecuadorian market. Quito-based Rocio Córdova, who has particular expertise in credit operations and financial regulatory compliance, heads the practice; she also acts on behalf of borrowers and lenders on secured and unsecured business loans, recently advising public utility Etapa on a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank.

Practice head(s):

Rocio Córdova

Key clients

Trilinc Global Sustainable Income Fund II Master

GAWA Capital Partners

Enabling Qapital

BlueOrchard

Cochapamba

Aqua Expeditions

Siigo

Zukalo

Fundacion Nova Assets

Etapa EP

Work highlights

  • Advised and assisted municipal public utility Etapa on obtaining a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank for $34.1m.

Flor Bustamante Pizarro Hurtado Abogados

Flor Bustamante Pizarro Hurtado Abogados  primarily advises local banks and finance entities, and multilateral lending agencies (particularly the DFC and IDB Invest), along with major project-company borrowers, although it is increasing active outside the project-finance niche in financings of both public and private entities. The team is led by name partner Mario Alejandro Flor, whose expertise encompasses both corporate and project finance – particularly in relation to the power, mining, oil-and-gas, and telecommunications sectors. Recent work saw Flor lead counsel to TMF Ecuador (as local collateral agent) in connection with LATAM Airlines’ DIP financing arrangement. Key support comes from finance-specialised senior associate Alejandro Pérez Arellano, who focuses on project finance and syndicated loans work.

Practice head(s):

Mario Alejandro Flor

Testimonials

‘What makes it unique is its proximity and speed of response to its clients. This has made them the first firm that comes to my mind when I have a legal question or when I need to hire a lawyer for my projects.’

‘The people and in particular Mario Alejandro Flor, are always at the distance of a message. This seems to me that makes them stand out from the rest.’

Key clients

TMF Ecuador

Wheaton Precious Metals

US International Development Finance Corporation

IDB Invest

Work highlights

  • Counselled Wheaton Precious Metals International and Wheaton Precious Metals in a definitive precious metals purchase agreement with regard to the Curipamba copper project in central Ecuador.
  • Acted as local legal counsel to DFC in the financing to be granted to Banco D-Miro, for expansion of its microenterprise and small and medium enterprise (“MSME”) loan portfolios.
  • Advised IDB Invest on a financing granted to major local retailer, Corporación El Rosado.