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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Banking and finance > Financial services: regulatory > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: financial services: regulatory
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Dirk Bliesener - Hengeler Mueller
    • Alexander Glos - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Thomas Paul - Hengeler Mueller
    • Frank Schäfer - Sernetz • Schäfer
    • Gunnar Schuster - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Andreas Steck - Linklaters

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Alexander Behrens - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Markus Benzing - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Andreas Dehio - Linklaters
    • Christian Schmies - Hengeler Mueller
    • Frederik Winter - Linklaters

Who Represents Who

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According to competitors and clients Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s ‘strong’ practice is ‘by far the market leader’ due to its broad expertise and a balanced combination of transactional and day-to-day advice to financial services providers on regulatory matters, including banking supervision, investment regulatory and payment services law as well as in connection with banking insolvency. The client portfolio comprises German and foreign banks with business in Germany but also industrial companies and internet-based platforms. The team’s close collaboration with colleagues in London manifests itself particularly in the context of Brexit and mandates such as advising the London Stock Exchange on the planned merger with the German Stock Exchange. The firm also recently advised UBS on the merger of its European asset management business in UBS Europe SE with headquarters in Frankfurt and another highlight is advising longstanding client HSH Nordbank on several parallel portfolio transactions and in the context of the privatisation of the bank. Alexander Glos is considered ‘leading’ in the market and Gunnar Schuster is equally ‘first-class’. Thomas Emde continues to be recognised for his longstanding experience and Markus Benzing was promoted to counsel at the start of 2017.

Well anchored’ in banking regulatory law with a sector-based approach, Hengeler Mueller advises banks and financial services providers on transactions, handles regulatory stand-alone mandates and gives ongoing day-to-day regulatory advice. Pillars of the practice continue to lie in pillars lie the European central banking supervision, measures through the Single Resolution Board (SRB) and the execution through the German resolution authorities, but also in advice around Brexit. The well regarded Dirk Bliesener advised PSA on the €1.3bn takeover of Opel and Vauxhall from GM. He furthermore acted for Commerzbank and Hypothekenbank Frankfurt regarding the regulatory winding-up of Hypothekenbank Frankfurt by means of a spin-off with subsequent absorption into Commerzbank after the change in responsibility from the German Federal Financial Services Regulatory Authority (BaFin) to the European Central Bank (ECB). Thomas Paul advised on the regulatory aspects of the establishment of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG as 100% subsidiary of Credit Suisse AG with its own banking licence, while the firm led the worldwide coordination of legal advice by firms in 20 jurisdictions together with Bär & Karrer Ltd.. The ‘very experienced and very sociable’ Christian Schmies is recognised as a rising star; he ‘does his work well’ and has particular expertise in FinTech.

Linklaters’ ‘recommendable’ banking regulatory practice ‘sets standards’ with ‘excellent availability’ and ‘outstanding industry knowledge’; the team is ‘always well informed about the market’ and advises on regulatory matters in connection with M&A, restructurings, the subjects of Brexit and FinTech and corporate governance and compliance. Strategic advice often concerns complex legal developments with regard to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) and Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR), and the so-called Basel IV reforms. Clients include banks, insurance companies and corporations. A highlight continues to be the regulatory advice to the German Stock Exchange regarding the planned merger with the London Stock Exchange. The team furthermore advises Montagu Private Equity on the acquisition of asset manager Universal-Investment-Gesellschaft. A longstanding client in restructuring matters is HSH Finanzfonds, recently concerning the establishment of HSH Portfoliomanagement AöR (the Germany-wide first bad bank under local state law) and in the context of advising HSH Beteiligungs Management on the privatisation of HSH Nordbank. ‘Good lawyer and a good soul’ Andreas Steck heads the practice with assistance from the equally recognised Frederik Winter and Andreas Dehio, who was promoted to partner in May 2017 and is considered up-and-coming.

Allen & Overy LLP’s regulatory practice, which focuses on advising domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, asset managers, infrastructure providers for financial markets and associations of the finance industry, saw some team changes: While ‘top lawyer’ Frank Herring has supported the practice as of counsel since April 2017, and the team was already strengthened a month earlier with ‘good regulatory lawyer’ Alexander Behrens from Mayer Brown LLP, but the ‘very impressive’ and ‘very strong’ Kai Schaffelhuber departed in September 2017 and established his own firm Schaffelhuber Müller & Kollegen in Luxembourg in November 2017. With a focus on Brexit the firm advises a British and an East Asian financial corporation on the optimisation of the corporate structure with regard to commercial activities in EU member states after Brexit, including the approval procedure for a future EU passporting hub in Frankfurt. Other clients include an international provider for mobility services regarding the structuring of an app-based parking fees payment solution; a large German bank concerning the review of the entire compliance structure; and a Swiss private bank in connection with the cross-border merger of group companies and the transformation of a subsidiary into a branch of the company.

Clifford Chance’s ‘excellent’ practice has recently had a strong focus on Brexit-related regulatory matters besides its regulatory advice in the context of M&A transactions and broad regulatory activities in the context of the development of new business activities and products, business organisation, risk management and litigation. With a particular strength in cross-border matters the firm advised Fosun on the majority acquisition of Hauck & Aufhäuser and its subsidiaries in Luxemburg and Switzerland, and GE on the strategic reorientation of its financial activities in Germany, France and Italy, including the execution of licensing procedures. The team has also been busy giving regulatory advice to British and German banks, US investment banks and Japanese, Swiss and Canadian banks regarding relocation and general Brexit strategies. Another client is RBS Deutschland concerning the handling of activities subject to approval and return of its banking licence. Practice head Marc Benzler is highly regarded in the market and has special expertise in connection with regulatory requirements of derivatives.

Due to its ‘very high service levelLatham & Watkins LLP’s clients have ‘no complaints’; the ‘partners are experts and very client-oriented’. The ‘strong’ regulatory team is particularly recommended ‘for special matters’: A focus lies on cross-border advice, especially in collaboration with the practices in London, the US and Hong Kong, and a strength also lies in the FinTech area. Together with the strong cyber security, technology and data protection practice the tech-savvy team also handles regulatory issues surrounding the digitalisation in the banking sector for banks. A recent transactional highlight was advising Berenberg Bank and Bankhaus Lampe on the sale of its shares in the capital management company Universal-Investment-Gesellschaft. Ongoing regulatory advice to various German financial institutions includes regulatory matters in connection with the European passport, the implementation of MiFID II and additional capital requirements at a European group level. A longstanding client is the Federal Association of German Banks (Bundesverband Deutscher Banken). With a focus on M&A transactions Markus Krüger has also ‘gained a good reputation in regulatory law’ and Axel Schiemann was promoted to partner at the start of 2017.

Besides giving stand-alone and ongoing advice to financial services providers and associations in the finance industry White & Case LLP’s ‘valued colleagues’ also handle regulatory matters in connection with transactions and disputes. Pillars of the practice lie especially in the area of European central banking supervision, where the team makes use of the firm’s international network, in the area of bank liquidation and the digital transformation of banks. In the M&A area a highlight was providing regulatory advice to DZ BANK regarding its merger with WGZ BANK. Henning Berger in Berlin also drew up a comprehensive legal opinion for The German Banking Industry Committee (Die Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft) regarding the application of the European and domestic banking supervisory regulations within the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). In Frankfurt Andreas Wieland is particularly active and Dennis Heuer is also recommended. Kai-Michael Hingst departed for Noerr’s newly opened Hamburg office in April 2017.

The strengths of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s compact team lie particularly in giving comprehensive advice on transactions in the finance sector, including seamless regulatory advice, and the ability to simultaneously cover German, European and US-law regulatory issues. Thomas Kopp advises GM on the regulatory aspects of the sale of its subsidiary Opel/Vauxhall and GM Financial’s European business activities to PSA, and Gabriele Apfelbacher took over the regulatory advice to Amundi in connection with the acquisition of Pioneer Investment from UniCredit. In another highlight Ward Greenberg and Hanno Sperlich assisted longstanding client Deutsche Bank with US and German law regulatory matters arising from the capital increase announced in March 2017. The team is also increasingly sought out for issues around Brexit.

GSK Stockmann’s broad regulatory practice ranges from advice on Brexit and in connection with banking M&A transactions to questions surrounding the newly emerging European Capital Markets Union (CMU) and topics such as the digitalisation of the banking sector and crowdfunding. Recent clients include German and international banks, international infrastructure providers for financial markets, associations in the finance sector, capital management companies and credit card and payment services providers, but also DAX companies and start-ups. Oliver Glück has particular FinTech expertise, including with regard to payment services and blockchain matters. The practice is led by Markus Escher in Munich and the ‘knowledgeable, service-oriented and commercial’ Peter Scherer in Frankfurt, who focuses especially on regulatory matters relating to capital markets law. A strength of the practice also lies in advising on cross-border mandates with Luxembourg, since the firm has benefited from a local office since 2016.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s regulatory practice has ‘positioned itself well’ and advises banks, financial services providers, digital currency and payment institutions and investment companies from the planning, establishment and development of regulatory compliant products to their restructuring and liquidation. A particular focus lies on advising the payment industry; clients also include the Federal Association of Payment Institutions (Bundesverband der Zahlungsinstitute, BVZI) regarding all regulatory matters and the Federal Association of Electronic Cash Network Providers (Bundesverband der electronic cash-Netzbetreiber, BECN). In this context the team also increasingly advises on FinTech and recently acted for Concardis regarding the application for a licence for the operation of its digital currency business. Other expertise lies in support measures for financial institutions and bank restructurings. Also noteworthy is the team’s collaboration with the practices in London, Paris and the US. Tim Brandi and Richard Reimer in Frankfurt and Michael Leistikow in Düsseldorf are recommended. The practice was also strengthened with the arrival of Jochen Seitz from Mayer Brown LLP in October 2017; he has particular capital markets regulatory expertise.

With its product-oriented advice in the financial services sector Mayer Brown LLP covers various aspects of the banking and securities supervision law, especially regarding market infrastructure matters, the distribution of securities and issues surrounding capital requirements for banks and banking restructuring. A particular focus lies on advising on MiFID II and MiFIR; here the team cooperates closely with associations and domestic supervisory authorities. Recently the practice gained a series of mandates for online banks, such as for Deutsche Kreditbank, which the firm advises on MiFID II, MiFIR and PRIIPs. It also assists the Norddeutsche Landesbank – Girozentrale with the implementation of MiFID II and MiFIR. Other expertise lies in the regulation of OTC derivatives and the implementation of EMIR. After the team saw the departure of Alexander Behrens to Allen & Overy LLP in March 2017, practice head Jochen Seitz also left for Hogan Lovells International LLP in October 2017.

Noerr’s growing regulatory practice has particular expertise in the area of payment services, often advises on digitalisation in the banking area and thereby also focuses on the FinTech sector, such as providing comprehensive assistance to FinTech start-up Joinesty with its German and European roll-out, including regulatory matters. Expertise also lies in giving compliance advice in the area of investment services with increased work in connection with MiFID II, and another prominent topic in recent mandates was Brexit. Occasionally the firm advises in the context of transactions, such as advising Volkswagen Financial Services on all regulatory matters concerning the fuel card payment system in the course of the acquisition of a strategic participation in LogPay Transport Services. The ‘active’ Jens Kunz has ‘good knowledge’ and heads the practice together with Torsten Fett. The team has been strengthened significantly in recent times: in November 2016 it gained Stefan Gebauer, previously at the Vereinigung Baden-Württembergische Wertpapierbörse, the umbrella organisation of the Stuttgart Stock Exchange group, as of counsel with expertise in compliance and regulatory law; in March 2017 Martin Haisch joined from Dechert LLP, who besides investment tax law also has regulatory expertise; and in April 2017 financial regulatory lawyer Kai-Michael Hingst arrived from White & Case LLP’s former Hamburg office.

Boutique Sernetz • Schäfer, which is particularly known for its litigation expertise in the banking sector, also provides an ‘absolutely high service level: extremely short response times, very good industry knowledge and competent advice’ in regulatory matters; clients note ‘especially the outstanding legal expertise and the collegial atmosphere’. The client portfolio ranges from banks and financial services institutions, capital management companies and industrial corporations to private equity funds and stock exchanges. The team also increasingly acts for family offices regarding German Banking Act (KWG) matters. A highlight continues to be the representation and regulatory advice to FMS Wertmanagement, the winding-up institution of Hypo Real Estate, in connection with the moratorium introduced by the Austrian supervisory authority FMA for liabilities of Hypo Alpe Adria’s settlement unit. Another client is Grovepoint. Frank Schäfer heads the team based in Düsseldorf and Munich, in which Thomas Eckhold is also recommended for ‘his friendly manner’; he ‘understands how to clearly explain in ways also non-lawyers can understand’. In July 2017 the group was additionally strengthened with Thorsten Voß from WTS and clients also note that the practice ‘benefits from a good network of foreign lawyers, among others’.

Aderhold Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s practice based in Munich is particularly known for its strong market penetration in the area of payment services and the team focuses on FinTech matters and also advises on regulatory, money laundering and contract law issues. It assisted longstanding client InterCard with regulatory and contract law questions in connection with the introduction of a mobile payment procedure PAYBACK PAY and key client Wirecard Bank with the cooperation with the savings app savedroid. Another client is solarisBank and the portfolio also includes Fidor Bank, Delivery Hero, the European FinTech Alliance and several associations. Peter Frey and Christian Walz are the key figures.

Deloitte Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s regulatory practice surrounding Mathias Hanten has been strategically expanding: After the arrival of Alexander Heist as salaried partner from the BaFin in May 2016, at the start of 2017 the team also gained Hannes Bracht as counsel from Sernetz • Schäfer. A strong focus lies on Brexit-related matters for large international banks and the practice also has expertise in the FinTech sector and concerning regulatory matters in connection with business in Iran, such as advising an Iranian financial institution on the establishment of a German branch after the lifting of European sanctions.

Dentons’ growing regulatory practice is ‘highly regarded’, not least due to its ‘excellent advice, very good industry knowledge and very quick response times’. The team surrounding Bernd Geier advises banks, market infrastructure providers and associations on strategic matters and transactions and also covers mandates in connection with internal investigations and litigation. A particular focus lies in advising on MiFID II implementation and the European Market Abuse Regulation (MAR); clients include the German Stock Exchange and Bankhaus Metzler regarding its MAR and MiFID-II project. Other clients are the Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband and BayernLB, among others.

Gleiss Lutz’s regulatory practice surrounding Maximilian von Rom advises on banking M&A transactions, such as recently assisting Crédit Mutuel with the acquisition of the German GE Capital Sparte, and increasingly on European banking regulatory matters in connection with international mandates without domestic aspects. A highlight is providing regulatory advice to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan regarding the cum-ex allegations against Maple Bank. Particular expertise furthermore lies in advising on the regulatory recovery requirements of CRD IV.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice around Rüdiger Litten and Martin Krause primarily advises banks and other financial services providers on regulatory matters, including a strong focus on MiFID II, but also EMIR compliance. The firm also recently saw increased work in the FinTech sector. Bankhaus Metzler is a regular client regarding regulatory issues in connection with derivatives and KT Bank concerning consumer protection. Another client is Wüstenrot & Württembergische. Also noteworthy is the team’s regulatory advice to Turkish banks in Germany in the context of capital markets business and structured products.

Besides regulatory expertise in the context of the FinTech area Taylor Wessing also frequently advises foreign banks on regulatory matters related to their market entry in Germany, groupwide restructurings and the banks’ product strategies. A client in this area is VietinBank. Another key client is Rabobank Deutschland since the introduction of the private client business of RaboDirect; the team advises on all regulatory banking and payment services matters and continuously on compliance and group-wide projects. In the FinTech sector the practice assisted N26, a start-up in the banking business, during its entire development phase. Volker Baas and salaried partner Anna Izzo-Wagner are the key figures in Frankfurt. Lea Maria Siering returned to the firm after a year at FinTech CrossLend and joined as salaried partner in Berlin.

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