Banking and finance: Bank regulatory in France
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP acts for investment banks, insurers and asset managers on the development of a wide range of financial products. The setting-up and structuring of innovative investment funds is another core specialism. Corporate support work constitutes another strong component of practice head Brice Henry's portfolio, as demonstrated by the firm's recent instruction from MFEX and Nordic Capital to assist with the approval procedure for their acquisition of fund platform Axeltis from Natixis Investment Managers. Dexia, AXA and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa are also clients. Counsel Mia Dassas provides key support.
Clifford Chance is especially active in high-profile restructuring matters, while also shouldering a busy workload in the fintech sector. Mandates related to issues stemming from the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) also provide a steady flow of instructions. In addition, practice head Frédérick Lacroix regularly advises on Brexit-related matters. Counsel Sébastien Praicheux is also noted. Clients include Caceis, World Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. offers strong contentious and non-contentious expertise, with corporate support work making up a third key pillar of the practice. The group also boasts an innovation and fintech desk to assists start-ups and established players alike with the regulatory issues at the intersection of technology and financial services. Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville, who co-directs the practice with managing partner Stéphane Puel, advised Kepler Chevreux on regulatory issues relating to the acquisition of 28% of its share capital by Atlas Merchant Capital Fund and Edmond de Rothschild. Olivier Bernardi assisted Eurazeo with the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Idinvest Partners. Guillaume Goffin, who has a particular focus on investment funds, was recently promoted to the partnership.
At Linklaters, transactional mandates make up a large component of the firm's work, alongside both contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters, especially regarding anti-money laundering and insurance regulations. Compliance instructions and fintech-related matters are other busy areas for the firm. Marc Perrone directs the practice and recently carried out an analysis for a private blockchain platform to establish the French legal status of tokens issued and offered to the public via the platform. One recent transactional highlight was advising Banque PSA Finance and BNP Paribas Personal Finance on the regulatory aspects of their acquisition of Vauxhall's financing activites, covering 11 European countries. Other clients are Société Générale, Montagu Private Equity and AXA.
The 'experienced' team at Spitz Poulle Kannan impresses with its 'deep knowledge and network within the regulatory sphere'. 'Knowledgeable' and 'commercial', the practice 'clearly lays out legal issues and counsels to the highest standard'. The boutique advises on the full spectrum of regulatory work, from contentious work and contractual matters. In recent highlights, the team advised a global corporation on the structuring of a new payment services product, advised a major financial institution on the reorganisation of its regulated French activities, and acted for a bank regarding the regulatory framework of structured finance transactions. The practice has three partners, the deepest bench in the French market. 'Able to take new ideas from emerging technologies and law in financial services in order to deliver strategic counsel', Arut Kannan's 'experience and knowledge always result in an impeccable work product and successful transactions'. Nicolas Spitz and Jean-Baptiste Poulle 'stand out through their regulatory expertise and knowledge of the market'.
The 'professional and constructive' team at Ashurst LLP advises on a wide range of regulatory issues, including authorisation procedures, contractual and compliance documentation and the structuring and distribution of financial products such as securities, life insurance policies, structured deposits and funds. Hubert Blanc-Jouvan, who leads the practice, recently advised LCH on the negotiation and signing of the renewal of its agreements with Euronext for the continued provision of derivatives and commodities clearing services for the next ten years. Other clients of the practice include BNP Paribas Asset Management, Natixis Asset Management and Advanzia Bank.
The CMS team specialises in the regulation of financial product distribution networks and the setting-up of investment firms, management companies and financial institutions. Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related instructions also form part of the group's portfolio of expertise. Practice head Jérôme Sutour is the key contact and recently advised Schroders Group on the setting-up of Schroder Aida, a new French management company, including obtaining authorisation from the French Financial Markets Authority. Other clients include Liquid Share, VTB Bank and German direct bank N26. Counsel Geoffrey Lesveque joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.
DS Avocats stands out through its fintech, digital banking and cryptofinance group, but the practice advises on contentious and non-contentious matters regarding securities, corporate finance and capital markets. Recent transactional highlights include advising Assurances du Crédit Mutuel on Eurosic's €2.6bn takeover of Foncière de Paris and on the acquisition of Eurosic by Gecina, deals which were both led by practice head Frédéric Bellanca. Thibault Verbiest, who specialises in digital banking and cryptofinance, splits his time between the Paris and Brussels offices. BNP Securities Services, Zürcher Kantonalbank and Bank of China are also clients of the firm.
Fieldfisher has a strong focus on advising on the regulations relating to cryptocurrency and blockchain projects. Practice head Arnaud Grünthaler is also acting for domestic and international credit institutions, investment service providers, management companies and financial intermediaries. A recent highlight saw Arnaud Grünthaler advise IOV on the legal and tax structuring of its ICO and the launch of its new blockchain. Crédit Suisse, 808 Labs and Lazard Frères Gestion are also among the team's client roster.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP boasts an active contentious practice alongside strong capabilities on the non-contentious side. While Antoine Juaristi focuses on finance services regulatory disputes, Vincent Hatton and Régis Oréal specialise in non-contentious work. The trio, who co-lead the practice, regularly advise on headline-grabbing matters for major French and international banks, asset managers and insurers, financial institutions and other large companies. The group represented Sigue Global Services in disciplinary proceedings before the French Prudential Authority, while Citibank, Société Générale and Banque Travelex also feature on the client list.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP has strong cross-border capabilities, with a substantial track record in advising on large multi-jurisdictional projects. The group covers a broad range of matters, with retail banking and payment services, e-money, anti-money laundering and corporate support work accounting for the majority of instructions. The practice often joins forces with the London office, for example when advising HSBC on the implementation of the Revised Payment Services Directive under the lead of French practice head Sébastien Gros and London-based Emily Reid.
The practice at Jeantet rests on the shoulders of Martine Samuelian , who heads up the financial institutions and services group and banking and finance department. Anti-money laundering strategies and the structuring and distribution of financial products, including the setting-up of internal compliance systems and obtaining authorisations, are other areas of strength for the firm. A series of recent hires attest to its steadily growing client roster, which now features Société Générale de Banque au Liban, and Samuelian advised on the regulatory aspects of the bank's acquisition of the share capital of KBL Richelieu Banque Privée and KBL Monaco Private Bankers.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has particular strength in fintech and payment services matters, but is also experienced in advising on the structuring of financial products, the regulatory aspects of contracts with service providers, and compliance regarding anti-money laundering and other regulations. Led by Hubert de Vauplane, the team also includes Hugues Bouchetemble and Gilles Kolifrath, with counsels Pierre Storrer and Valentine Barbelivien providing support. De Vauplane's recent standout matters include advising the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector on the African regulatory environment applicable to multiple islamic financing lines. Amiral Gestion, BNP Paribas and Carrefour are also clients of the firm.
Pwc Société d'Avocats
Pwc Société d'Avocats combines advice on the structuring and operation of credit institutions, investment firms, asset managers and insurance companies, with a busy litigation caseload. The structuring of investment management companies and their funds, particularly hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds, is an area of particular strength. Practice head Nicolas Mordaunt-Crook recently advised UBS on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Banque Leonardo and its subsidiary Ocea Gestion, including obtaining the required authorisations from the French Financial Markets Authority and the French Prudential and Resolution Authority. Directors Manon Carissimo and Pierre Birotheau are also noted. Other clients include Novaxia Asset Management.