Banking and finance: Bank regulatory in France
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP is held up as the ‘best team in the market from a technical point of view’. The group is well versed in advising the full range of banks, investment firms, payment institutions and insurers on their regulatory requirements, including product development, fund structuring and Brexit-related issues. Department head Brice Henry, widely recognised as an authority in the area, routinely advises on the setting-up, structuring and marketing of financial products and is robustly supported by experienced counsel Mia Dassas. The team recently cemented its leading position in this space with the hire of a three-lawyer team from Dechert LLP, which included funds specialist Antoine Sarailler.
‘The best team in the market from a technical point of view.’
‘Excellent knowledge and understanding of the market.’
‘Very good technically for bond issues.’
‘I would recommend Brice Henry and Mia Dassas.’
‘Brice Henry is a facilitator, who finds solutions.’
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa
Mitsui Bussan Commodities
- Advised Wells Fargo Securities Europe on setting up a new broker-dealer in France.
- Advised MFEX and Nordic Capital on the acquisition of fund platform Axeltis from Natixis Investment Managers.
- Advised Société Générale on its contemplated acquisition of the equity markets and commodities business of Commerzbank.
Clifford Chance continues to secure a significant share of financial institution restructurings, including recent work for major global banks. Over the past year, the team also kept busy keeping clients up-to-date with Brexit-related issues, as well as advising on the rapidly evolving fintech regulatory environment. Frédérick Lacroix heads the financial services and asset management practice and advises on French and EU laws regarding the full range of banking and investment services, including fintech. Structured finance head Jonathan Lewis is noted for his involvement in advising on the resolution of the euro area sovereign debt crisis. Counsel Sébastien Praicheux recently left to join DLA Piper.
‘Strong expertise and availability.’
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Association of Morrocan asset managers and investment funds) (ASFIM)
European Investment Bank
- Advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the derivatives reform in Morocco.
- Advised the association of Moroccan asset managers and investment funds (ASFIM) on the reform of the legal framework applicable to collective investment undertakings in Morocco.
- Advised Samsung on the launch of the Samsung Pay mobile payment solution in France, including assisting in the negotiations with the partner bank.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.’s well-rounded practice has a significant transactional dimension, which sits alongside its strength in general regulatory matters and banking and finance disputes. The team’s client base is equally wide-ranging and includes traditional financial services businesses and investment funds, through to emerging fintech players. Department head Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville has broad international experience, which marks him as a ‘great interlocutor for both domestic and international transactions’. Additional contacts include funds specialist Stéphane Puel, who brings to bear strong expertise in contentious and non-contentious matters, and up-and-coming partner Guillaume Goffin. Olivier Bernardi and senior counsel Benjamin Delaunay are also singled out by clients.
‘Gide designed the full regulatory framework of our innovative investment platform. The quality of their work and advice enabled us to secure key partnerships with top-notch institutional funds.’
‘Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville’s team combines expertise, professionalism, listening and availability, for major project needs.’
‘Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville provides a tried and tested service; legal assistance combined with a broad understanding of the operational stakes, which make him a great interlocutor for both domestic and international transactions.’
‘Olivier Bernardi and senior counsel Benjamin Delaunay are appreciated for their availability, knowledge and lateral thinking to find the right solutions.’
- Advised ICAMAP, an alternative investment fund manager, on the regulatory issues raised by the setting-up, structuring and marketing of the ICAWOOD, a real estate investment fund focused on low carbon office development.
- Advised Younited Credit in relation to the regulatory and prudential aspects of a €65m fundraising from a group of existing investors including the French public investment bank, Bpifrance.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises a broad range of wholesale and retail financial institutions on banking regulation, with strong capability in both contentious and non-contentious matters. On the non-contentious side, the group had a recent strong showing in Brexit-related matters and it also advised a slew of fintech, asset managers and credit insurers on the establishment of fintech platforms. On the contentious front, the team routinely advises on investigations and procedures before the regulators. Vincent Hatton and Antoine Juaristi co-lead the group and focus on non-contentious and contentious matters respectively. Regional finance head Régis Oréal is also a key contact and specialises in transactional issues.
Crédit Agricole Leasing & Factoring
Euler Hermes and Euler Hermes Digital Agency
La Banque Postale
Sigue Global Services
- Represented Western Union Payment Services Ireland in disciplinary proceedings brought by the French Prudential Authority in relation to the AML compliance failures alleged by the regulator.
- Advised Generali on litigation against an individual in relation to an investment made in structured products via a life insurance contract.
- Advised Euler Hermes Digital Agency and Euler Hermes France on structuring and drafting the first insurance policy issued by Euler Hermes to cover credit risks incurred in B2B marketplaces.
Spitz Poulle Kannan
A ‘go-to firm for regulatory advice in France’, Spitz Poulle Kannan’s deep bench and niche expertise finds favour with clients who opine, ‘there is no firm in Paris as specialised.’ The firm’s exclusive focus on banking regulation translates into a comprehensive practice, which spans the full scope of advisory, investigation, litigation and public affairs. A top choice for local and foreign financial institutions, the group recently boosted its cross-border capability with the launch of its new Frankfurt office to better serve EU Banks that fall under European Central Bank supervision. Name partners Arut Kannan, Jean-Baptiste Poulle and Nicolas Spitz are all highly regarded experts.
‘Spitz Poulle Kannan is a very good niche law firm in regulatory and litigation. There is no firm in Paris as specialised in banking and financial regulation.’
‘This is my go-to firm for regulatory advice in France – they have filled a gap that has formed in the market for commercially-focused regulatory experts.’
‘The team members we worked with have exceptional analytical skills and are capable to explain complex matters clearly without missing the practical aspects for implementation on the client side.’
‘The team is very efficient in corresponding with regulators.’
‘The only firm to have such a large regulatory team and covering as many topics. Excellent jurists, great practice, very reliable and available.’
‘This boutique firm is unique for its specialist and deep knowledge of French financial services regulation and the administrative workings of the French authorities.’
‘The firm offers high-quality legal analysis and is tailored to the needs of clients, both in the services offered and in their quotes.’
‘The firm comprises great experts in the banking and financial regulatory sector; their expertise is highly appreciated. They have an excellent knowledge of technical matters and are able to assist in a proactive way.’
‘Jean-Baptiste Poulle is extremely technical, especially in the fight against money laundering, and in the analysis of files and proposed solutions.’
‘Jean-Baptiste Poulle is an excellent expert and business partner, with excellent communication skills. He is proactive and able to handle highly complex and technical matters.’
‘Nicolas Spitz and Jean-Baptiste Poulle stand out for their specialist knowledge, excellent connections with the market and relevant authorities, and their client focus.’
‘Nicolas Spitz has strong knowledge of the stakes of the banking and financial players, he understands the legal, economic and strategic issues of the files entrusted to him. He provides relevant legal advice of a high quality.’
BNP Paribas CIB & BNP Paribas Securities Services
La Banque Postale
Perella Weinberg Partners
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa
London Stock Exchange
IG Markets Limited
- Assisted UK-based GLAS with obtaining a license as a payment institution before the French regulator.
- Represented broker-dealer IG Markets Limited before the French regulator in disciplinary proceedings.
- Advised the German Banking Association on the validity and enforceability of the close-out netting provisions set out in the French derivatives master agreements and their collateral annexes.
Ashurst LLP is distinguished by its strong record in market infrastructure matters, with clearing houses such as LCH, Euroclear and DTCC all on the team’s books. The group also secured a significant volume of Brexit-related work over the past year, with a string of large financial institutions turning to the firm for assistance with their Brexit planning. On the structured products front, the group was augmented by the recent arrival of new Paris-based global markets head Audrey Dahan, who was formerly head of the structured products practice at BNP Paribas. Hubert Blanc-Jouvan heads a team praised for its emphasis on ‘simple and effective solutions’.
‘The only regulatory team that perfectly masters the legal environment and the operation of a central counterparty clearing house.’
‘Responses are fast, records are well-followed. Communication is simple and effective.’
‘Strong mastery of the subject; they demonstrate innovation and are creative in finding solutions.’
‘The team takes into account the contextual, political and commercial aspects. When they have a doubt or question, they say it and come back with solutions.’
‘I am in contact with Hubert Blanc-Jouvan and his team. Their goal is always to find appropriate, simple and effective solutions. They listen to the client.’
Bank of America
Intesa San Paolo
Ostrum Asset Management
- Advised LCH on its day-to-day operations and the implementation of specific projects.
- Assisted major financial institutions with their Brexit planning.
- Advised Credit Suisse, in the context of the launch of its first French law programme and revised consumer credit documentation, on French law consumer protection rules.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Satisfied clients of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton state, ‘there is simply no equivalent in the market’. Certainly, the group’s international dimension is a significant differentiator and it focuses on EU-level financial regulatory matters, with a strong showing in the area of extra-territorial effect of EU/US regulations. However, the group is far from being a niche outfit and it handles the full scope of regulatory, transactional and contentious matters. Amélie Champsaur spearheads the EU financial regulatory practice and oversees a group that counts EU institutions, funds, major banks and other financial institutions among its clients.
‘The bank regulatory practice at CGSH is highly competent, unique in hard skills on supervisory issues, with a deep knowledge of EU institutional law (crucial to the understanding of the regulatory environment) and great litigation skills with an extensive training before EU courts.’
‘Good technical knowledge of bank regulation and the wider regulatory landscape.’
‘There is simply no equivalent in the market.’
‘They master technical, political as well as strategic issues for the banking industry, have a deep knowledge of the moving environment, react fast to our queries and deliver highly valuable advice within short delays.’
‘Amélie Champsaur might be the best attorney at law I have ever met.’
‘Amélie Champsaur is excellent, very knowledgeable.’
‘Aurèle Delors also provides helpful analysis and excellent legal support.’
Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)
Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)
- Represented BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole in a landmark victory against the European Central Bank in a case concerning leverage ratios.
- Advised several bondholders of Monte dei Paschi di Siena on the proposed recapitalisation of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, and associated bail-in of bondholders, on litigation currently pending before the EU General Court.
- Represented Millennium BCP in litigation related to the resolution of distressed Portuguese bank Novo Banco.
CMS’ offering is best known for its expertise in financial product distribution networks, including regulatory, commercial, anti-money laundering, and data protection-related issues. The group is also well versed in Brexit-related matters and the establishment of investment firms, management companies and financial institutions. Key contact Jérôme Sutour heads the financial services group and has an increasingly prominent reputation for his alternative funds expertise. The firm also houses a dedicated distributed ledger technology and cryptoasset practice, which Sutour co-leads alongside counsel Karima Lachgar.
- Advised LiquidShare on the setting-up of a blockchain platform for the issuance and the settlement of listed and non-listed securities tokens.
- Assisted GoCardless with the setting-up of a French payment institution .
- Advised N26 on the establishment of its French branch.
DS Avocats impresses with its ability to ‘anticipate regulations’, particularly in the fintech sector, where sources commend it as ‘open to technology innovation’. The department is split into two distinct units, with its financial services group responsible for advising on contentious and non-contentious matters relating to traditional banking, securities and stock market regulation. It also houses a standalone fintech group, which advises clients in the mobile payments, open banking, cryptofinance and insurtech fields. Frédéric Bellanca spearheads both sides of the practice. Thibault Verbiest recently left to join blockchain and digital services platform, Diginex.
‘The team demonstrates a 360-view of topics, anticipating regulations that can impact the business of the institution and market in which it operates.’
‘We value its “advisory” consultancy services, which enable the institution to make informed decisions, its lawyers’ availability, its ability to listen to clients’ needs, its negotiation skills and its litigation management.’
‘A large team, which sets itself apart through its international dimension.’
‘A group dedicated to the finance industry, with knowledge in regulatory and knowledge of our business.’
‘Expertise in custody securities, and all new market developments (including fintech, cryptoassets, securities tokens). Open to innovation, particularly technology innovation.’
‘Frédéric Bellanca has strong experience.’
BNP Securities Services (France)
Crédit Agricole Group
Crédit Agricole Titres
Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC)
Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale
Banque Publique d’Investissement (BPI France)
Crédit Agricole Indosuez France
ING Bank N.V.
Fieldfisher’s practice strikes a balance between fintech and traditional banking regulation. In terms of the former, the team benefits from strong skill sets in banking, asset management and capital markets, with niche expertise in advising credit institutions from outside the EU on cross-border lending and cross-border wealth management. On the fintech front, group head Arnaud Grünthaler is widely recognised for his cutting-edge work on pathfinder blockchain transactions and initial coin offerings. The firm acts for a varied mix of banks, asset managers, payment services providers and fintech players.
La Française AM
Go ETF Management/ Legal & Général
Internet of Value- IOV
LumX AM (ex EIM France/Gottex AM)
Lazard Frères Gestion
- Advised Goodyields Capital on a review of a subscription agreement of utility tokens.
- Advised Castlenode on several regulatory matters.
- Advised Thesaur.io on the legal and regulatory framework applying to the launch of its platform for issuers of tokens.
At Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP, transactional and non-contentious work compose the key pillars of the practice — it also has experience in regulatory disputes. The group has a strong track record in cross-border projects, with its ability to lean on its extensive international network providing extra firepower in complex, multi-jurisdictional matters. Outside of its work for prominent financial institutions such as HSBC and BNP Paribas, the group also acts for a growing share of major non-regulated financial services companies operating in the fintech area. Department head Sébastien Gros, who is dual-qualified in France and Germany, brings to bear a strong international outlook.
‘Hogan Lovells’ Paris office and banking department has a unique knowledge of our industry and our company. I also highly appreciate their reactivity and efficiency, being pragmatic and business-oriented, while finding the best fee arrangements.’
‘Deep knowledge of the e-payment/banking industry combined with high reactivity.’
‘A multi-disciplinary team, which is well co-ordinated in France and abroad.’
‘A competent team — reactive with a pragmatic approach to client needs.’
‘The individuals actively listen to client needs and understand operational challenges (Sébastien Gros and senior associate Franck Dupret). Accessible and pragmatic.’
Crédit Agricole (including affiliates, such as Crédit Agricole Leasing & Factoring/Crédit Agricole Payments)
- Advised HSBC on several regulatory matters, including advising HSBC France on the impact of the EU Payments Services Directive on its businesses.
- Advised a number of BNP Paribas Group entities on banking regulatory matters.
- Advised Crédit Agricole Leasing & Factoring on a global reorganisation of its Spanish entities.
Jeantet’s regulatory offering is weighted towards contentious work, with its recent experience spanning disciplinary proceedings before the AMF (the French stock market authority) and AMF control missions. The group also handles a significant share of non-contentious work, including advising on the establishment of internal control systems, anti-money laundering strategies, transactional support matters and the structuring of financial products. High-profile specialist Martine Samuelian steers the group.
‘A team that demonstrates very sharp efficiency and professionalism, with an excellent mastery in this field of activity.’
Société Générale de Banque au Liban
- Advised Société Générale de Banque au Liban on its acquisitions of KBL Richelieu Banque Privée and KBL Monaco Private Bankers — both subsidiaries of KBL European Private Bankers.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s broad offering is split between three core areas. A key strand of the practice remains traditional bank regulatory work, which includes corporate governance issues and the regulation and distribution of financial products. Fintech is another dominant element of the practice, and the group advises start-ups through to industry leaders on evolving fintech services and regimes. The third component is payment services, where the firm is well versed in advising banks, payment services and e-money providers on the establishment and development of e-money solutions. The ‘business-oriented’ Hugues Bouchetemble co-heads the team alongside alternative investment management specialist, Hubert de Vauplane.
‘A great team: available and business-oriented.’
‘Hugues Bouchetemble is business-oriented, flexible and a good lawyer.’
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Islamic Development Bank (SID/ICD)
Bank Al Maghrib
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation
Union Financière de France Banque
Eiffel Investment Group
Total / Sofax
Twenty First Capital
- Advised BNP Paribas on its dematerialisation documentation process for all retail clients.
- Advised Crédit Agricole Alpes Provence on regulatory governance issues.
- Advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on several matters, including on the legal and regulatory framework of capital markets in Tunisia.
The regulatory group at Lacourte Raquin Tatar has hit the ground running since its establishment in 2018. The firm advises a growing portfolio of credit institutions, MiFID firms, portfolio management companies and other regulated entities on regulatory issues, with strong activity in non-contentious and transactional matters. Key areas of experience include the structuring and marketing of collective investment schemes, general financial regulatory matters and fintech. Practice head Damien Luqué stands out for his ‘dedication, understanding, intellect and insights’.
‘The team has a wide range of skills that can answer all the legal problems posed to our bank, including regulation of the activities of the trading room and conditions of distribution of financial products to retail and professional customers.’
‘The people we worked with were incredibly sharp.’
‘The quality of service for the size of firm is what makes this practice unique. In-house peers would want to know that the breadth of services are all provided at high quality.’
‘The team’s strength is how well the partners of the firm work together to provide a seamless service. Many larger firms tend to feel very transactional between business practices with little continuity between teams.’
‘Damien Luqué is a truly outstanding and stand-out partner in his field. His dedication, understanding, intellect and insights are so greatly appreciated.’
‘Damien Luqué has a very good knowledge of the problems of the bank and trading room. He is aware of the latest legislative developments and even draft regulations.’
‘We have worked with Damien for a number of years, and also with other top-tier firms in France, and the service we have received from Damien has been far superior than what we have received from the likes of others.’
‘Damien is constantly engaged with our legal team and our French management team and has to juggle some demanding characters on incredibly complex topics. He is always available to help and the advice we receive has always been spot-on, commercial and, most importantly, effective.’
‘Damien Luqué has very strong financial knowledge, even on blockchain and the cryptocurrencies sector — we have worked with other legal offices and none were as updated on this front.’
Unibail Rodamco Westfield
Barclays France / Milleis
LaSalle Investment Management
Tikehau Capital Advisors
- Advised Naxicap Partners on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of a stake in Keys Asset Management, a group specialised in real estate investments.
- Advised Credit.fr, a subsidiary of Tikehau Capital, on the acquisition of Homunity.fr, an internet crowdfunding platform specialised in connecting investors with real-estate developers.
The increasingly prominent practice at Pwc Société d'Avocats routinely draws on the wider organisation’s audit and assurance teams to provide comprehensive advice on regulatory-driven banking projects. The group, which acts for credit institutions, investment firms and asset managers, handles an array of contentious, non-contentious and transaction matters, with fund structuring a notable sweet spot. Nicolas Mordaunt-Crook heads the department and has a growing profile for Brexit-related work; he recently advised a string of major banking institutions on relocations.
Novaxia Asset Management
Banque Extérieure d’Algérie
- Advised UBS on the regulatory aspects of the acquisition of Banque Leonardo and its subsidiary, Ocea Gestion.
- Acted for Novaxia Asset Management on six offerings of the shares in two companies.
- Advised Banque Extérieure d’Algérie on the setting-up of a new banking entity in France.