Allen & Overy LLP has 'a very deep bench and wide-ranging practice that is able to execute complex transactions'. The firm is involved in every area of the market, from regulatory and transactional matters to the development of innovative technology solutions to help clients navigate a rapidly changing trading environments. It also has one of the largest structured finance practices in London, with many leading experts in their fields. Emma Dwyer leads the practice and is an expert on OTC derivatives regulation. Guy Antrobus is leading numerous matters relating to banks’ implementation of Initial Margin rules. Parya Badie is a leading adviser on credit risk-sharing transactions, bespoke OTC funding trades and structured credit and equity derivatives. David Benton is an renowned expert on credit derivatives. Paul Cluley is known for his derivatives transactional, contentious and advisory experience. Tony Drake-Brockman specialises in on and off balance sheet structured products and funded derivatives. Daniel Shurman is known for equity financings, particularly strategic corporate equity derivative, margin loan and structured repo and stock lending transactions. Richard Tredgett is a senior adviser on interest rate and currency hedging.
Derivatives and structured products in London
Other key lawyers:
Guy Antrobus; Parya Badie; David Benton; Paul Cluley; Tony Drake-Brockman; Daniel Shurman
‘A very deep bench and wide-ranging practice that is able to execute complex transactions due to ability to add additional resource when necessary.’
‘Parya Badie and her team are one of our go-to teams for structured credit work. She has helped us close many flow (e.g. CLO asset swaps) and highly bespoke transactions successfully this year. The ease with which A&O can draw in specialists from other fields and colleagues in their overseas offices is sine qua non as the majority of our transactions now have some cross-product and cross-jurisdictional element.’
‘Parya Badie is highly competent and excellent at finding workable solutions to complex structuring problems, particularly for our TRS work. It has also been great to work with an intelligent lawyer with such a calm and patient telephone manner during the stress of lockdown!’
AXA Bank Belgium S.A./N.V.
Banco de Sabadell S.A.
Credit Derivatives Determinations Committees (the DC)
Clifford Chance LLP has 'an excellent team, led by amazing partners who are very technical and have deep knowledge of the market and its regulatory aspects'. The firm has a deep bench of talent that includes market leaders in their fields. Practice had Paget Dare Bryan is 'excellent at managing clients and provides valuable technical insights'. Timothy Cleary is a market-leading adviser on synthetic securitisation, frequently acting for all the major UK and European banks, as well as banks in North America and Asia. Jessica Littlewood is the key partner for CLOs, while Andrew Coats is sought after for advice on repackaging programmes, derivatives, structured securities and retail-targeted securities offerings. Anne Drakeford's practice spans the full range of financial market products and transactional securities, and she is 'a technically excellent lawyer who shines through in the negotiations'. Faizal Khan is notable for his knowledge of US GAAP and IFRS off-balance sheet arrangements and other types of risk transfer products, and Will Winterton specialises in derivatives and structured capital markets work, as well as advising on counterparty risk management, margin and clearing.
Paget Dare Bryan
Other key lawyers:
Jessica Littlewood; Andrew Coats; Timothy Cleary; Anne Drakeford; Will Winterton; Faizal Khan
‘Will Winterton provides an excellent service to us. He know our business well, understands our requirements, and generally finds us a strong commercial solution that protects our legal interests. He has previously partnered with us on bespoke trading documentation suites, which enable significant efficiencies across our capabilities across counterparties for our derivatives and repo books of business, which has allowed us to spend more time looking at innovative and value-add products for our clients.’
‘Will Winterton has generally acted as quarterback to deliver a structured solution for us across a global landscape, which has saved us time and money in terms of understanding, and negotiations.’
‘An excellent team, lead by amazing partners very technical.’
‘Deep knowledge of market and regulatory aspects.’
‘Paget Dare Bryan is excellent at managing clients, staying ahead of their needs and both managing and meeting their expectations. Provides valuable technical insights but not afraid to bring in other expertise when required.’
‘The Clifford Chance derivatives team supported us on the derivatives aspects of the L&G/ReAssure Part VII. The team was very knowledgeable and helped to guide us through some complex issues.’
‘We worked closely with Anne Drakeford and Michael Brown. They are both technically excellent lawyers, and that shone through in the negotiations.’
Linklaters LLP is known for 'timely delivery, high quality and strong professionals', and clients remark that it is 'at the very top of the market and the partners are highly respected in the market'. The firm has a significant presence in every area of the structured finance space, and frequently advises on novel and innovative transactions, as well as taking a lead on regulatory reform projects. Practice head Deepak Sitlani, who is 'always responsive and easy to deal with', leads a team replete with structured finance experts. Pauline Ashall handles OTC and securitised derivatives, notably in regard to equities, funds and commodities. Mark Brown is the lead partner for Islamic derivatives. Mark Drury's practice spans infrastructure, securitised, OTC and exchange traded derivatives, as well as synthetic CLOs. Simon Firth , Vinay Samani and repack specialist Toby Gray also play pivotal roles in the practice. Global head of finance Paul Lewis handles collateral and custody structures, and fund-linked derivatives, while global head of capital markets Michael Voisin deals with derivatives, repacks and investment fund products. Matthew Monahan is a leading adviser on synthetic securitisations.
Other key lawyers:
Pauline Ashall; Mark Brown; Mark Drury; Simon Firth; Vinay Samani; Toby Gray; Paul Lewis; Michael Voisin; Matthew Monahan; Vinay Reddy; James Joseph
‘Very responsive and practical advice.’
‘Deepak Sitlani and Vinay Reddy – very highly recommended – always responsive and easy to deal with.’
‘The very top of the market. We use them on our most complicated trades. We find their cross-border ability very useful. They are also excellent at keeping on top of new regulations and keeping clients informed. The partners in the group are very strong and highly respected in the market.’
‘Vinay Samani: Absolutely top of the market. A reliable, high-quality lawyer. Understands his market inside-out and what his clients need. Marries a relaxed, common-sense approach with in-depth technical knowledge. Mark Brown: Hugely experienced, hard-working, very impressive attention to detail. Has become the go-to person in recent years for benchmarks reform, ably guiding his clients through some huge reform projects.’
‘Mark Drury: Goes from strength-to-strength. Sensible, flexible, solution oriented. Has a broad practice (covering CLOs, repackagings, fund financings, FMIs, Fintech and structured derivatives) which allows him to apply his in-depth knowledge across the board. Matthew Monahan is a first-rate transactional lawyer – he spots things we hadn’t thought of and finds simple solutions, he doesn’t over-complicate things. He is an expert on synthetic risk transfers.’
‘All round knowledge. Always willing to help. Very responsive.’
‘In our view, Linklaters are the market leaders in repackaged notes, the partners are knowledgeable and engaging. Staffing levels are such that a great deal work can be handled quickly and the quality of the output is exceptional. During the pandemic we have various video calls which have run very smoothly.’
‘James Joseph has excellent technical knowledge and a very calm and considered approach which engenders confidence and trust.’
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA)
OTC DerivNet Ltd
PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V.
Sound Point Capital Management
Royal Bank of Canada
Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)
Futures Industry Association (FIA)
International Capital Market Association (ICMA)
International Securities Lending Association
- Advising ISDA on the preparation and launch of the 2021 ISDA Interest Rate Derivatives Definitions.
- Advising a number of clients including AXA, Royal Bank of Canada with respect to interest rate reform.
- Advising the London Metal Exchange and its subsidiary CCP, LME Clear, on the dematerialisation of LME warrants.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons 'delivers thoughtful legal advice in a timely manner' on both buy-side and sell-side derivatives transactions, a broad array of structured products and regulatory matters. It counts the word's leading investments banks among its clients, as well as prominent hedge funds and investment managers. Among its highlights is its work for European Investment Fund on the EU’s programme of COVID-19 support to European SMEs. Paul Browne leads the structured finance and derivatives group and is a key adviser to leading investment banks. Allan Yip is a market-leader in advising buy-side institutions across the full spectrum of OTC derivative products. David Toole leads the risk-sharing and synthetic securitisation practice, which handled government COVID-19 guarantee schemes and a wide range of regulatory capital-driven products in 2020. Sean Bulmer has extensive experience advising leading investment banks on structured products and SPV structured finance transactions, including including leading on the ongoing Standard Repackaging Documentation initiative for Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and others. Eucharia Bragg specialises in repackaging transactions and structured credit for clients such as Credit Suisse. Rosali Pretorius is a key adviser on broker-dealer, asset management and bank regulation, particularly in regard to commodity derivatives. Managing associates Oliver West and Marcin Perzanowski are heavily involved the firm's key mandates.
Other key lawyers:
Allan Yip; David Toole; Sean Bulmer; Eucharia Bragg; Rosali Pretorius; Oliver West; Marcin Perzanowski
‘Commercial responses and incredibly detailed.’
‘The key characteristic of this team at Simmons & Simmons is their ability and openness to work with different law firms on certain projects which is essential to meet requirements of its client. Often enough then not, we have come across law firms who are limited in their willingness to partner with different law firm(s) which somewhat puts the onus on client to coordinate and spending time.’
‘Paul Browne has the ability to advise on complex topics is very thorough and commercial. He puts forth the best resources the firm has to offer on projects and are flexible both in terms of timing and fees.’
‘The team delivers thoughtful legal advice in a timely manner. They demonstrate thought leadership when designing solutions – and have worked closely with us in streamline our processes for more efficient legal execution. The team is reliable and always delivers. They have been our trusted legal adviser on a number of key matters and have sound institutional knowledge of us as a client. Their key strengths rest in their dependability and unflappability.’
‘David Toole is hugely dependable and unwavering in a under pressure. He has a calm assured manner that instils with confidence and can translate complex legal issues into practical solutions. He definitely one of my go-to partners.’
‘The firm has a competitive cost structure and is agile. It is able to bring together very good professionals across Europe on technical matters.’
‘Solid experienced team with a wide ranging skill set. Offer pragmatic and competitively priced legal services. Quality is on par (and often surpasses) magic circle peers.’
‘David Toole – excellent knowledge of the securitisation market, calm and measured approach to difficult issues and ongoing focus on the commercial requirements and outcomes. Also a proactive relationship partner for our firm; always finds time to alert me to new regulatory initiatives, relevant training sessions.’
Bank of Montreal
British Business Bank
European Investment Fund
- Advised the UK Government on its COVID-19 loan schemes supporting over £75bn of loans to 1.6 million UK companies.
- Strategic adviser to a top US GSIB on its global LIBOR project including development of a fully-automated due diligence engine to analyse LIBOR exposure.
- Advised UBS as arranger of a ground-breaking programme allowing public offers of actively managed instruments linked to a wide range of underlying assets.
Ashurst has one of the largest structured finance teams in London and it handles the full range of OTC derivatives and securitised derivatives, as well as asset repackaging and risk transfer transactions. The firm has ‘a solid finance practice and great depth in the derivatives and traded products space‘. Michael Logie is the head of global markets, in which the derivatives and structured products team resides. Clients remark that he is ‘an immensely experienced practitioner with a good eye for regulatory issues‘. James Coiley has a broad practice encompassing credit and other fixed income derivatives, repacks, TRS and other collateralised funding structures. Jonathan Haines is a leading adviser to major dealers on OTC derivatives. The firm also has a raft of up-and-coming partners in commodity and corporate equity derivatives specialist Kerion Ball, the ‘thoughtful and thorough‘ James Knight and structured products expert Jasmine Tiw. Senior associate Jeffrey Yow frequently assists global investment banks with structured products programmes for both retail and wholesale markets.
Other key lawyers:
James Coiley; Jonathan Haines; Kerion Ball; James Knight; Jasmine Tiw; Troy Pickard-Taylor
‘Ashurst has a solid finance practice and great depth in the derivatives and traded products space. It has the expertise in the product segments needed be they OTC derivatives, securities financing transactions and regulatory work. Developing talent in COVID times is indeed challenging but the impression is that at times, the skill level of some associates might be better managed. The global footprint is good particularly in the developed markets. When advice was required in jurisdictions where they do not have an office, it was efficiently managed.’
‘Kerion Ball is our primary contact. He has solid expertise and is thoughtful in his advice giving. He has assisted on both project related work as well as transactional deal doing. He is an engaged partner, available and open to discuss issues – he wants to help and values the client relationship. Jonathan Haines is very able technically and can distill complex legal issues to their essence.’
‘The team combines a high degree of expertise with good transactions skills and very competitive pricing.’
‘Mike Logie is an immensely experienced practitioner with a great deal of product expertise and a good eye for regulatory issues that we would not otherwise considered. He is well supported by a team of able associates.’
‘Very responsive, great communication skills, strong technical expertise and brilliant customer care.’
‘Ability to leverage other departments to provide a cross-product service which enables us in term to service our clients. Lots of technological innovations in the space of amendment template generation which mean we can use data to conduct large repapering exercises rather than necessitating expensive due diligence exercises.’
‘James Knight is thoughtful and thorough in his advice with an eye on pragmatism. Troy Pickard-Taylor brings energy to even the most mundane tasks helping to generate a feeling of being in it together.’
‘Michael Logie, Jeffrey Yow. They make you feel like you’re their no.1 client, no matter how busy they might be. Great availability, responsive, commercial in advice and approach to dealing with a problem.’
Pacific Alliance Group
Oak Hill Advisors
International Capital Group
Parian Global Management
Insight Investment Management
- Advised Lundin on the commodities, interest rate and FX hedging linked to the refinancing of its existing secured $4.75bn reserves based lending facility and other corporate facilities into new $5bn corporate facilities, which included the individual negotiation of new hedging documentation or amendments and restatements of existing hedging documentation with 15 hedging banks on a very compressed timescale.
- Acting as lead programme counsel for Citi in relation to the update of its Underlying Linked Notes Base Prospectus under the Citi $60bn Global Medium Term Note Programme for the issuance of Securities, as well as advising on periodic supplements, numerous drawdowns and other legal and regulatory matters under the programme.
- Advising Goldman Sachs as Issuer and Guarantor in relation to its Series P Programme for the issuance of Warrants Notes and Certificates. including advising on the new Prospectus Regulation, and Proprietary Indices.
Clients remark that the capital markets and derivatives group at CMS is 'highly responsive with deals staffed with experienced derivatives lawyers', among them practice head Will Dibble and key structured finance partner Jason Brooks. The firm frequently advises leading global investment banks on retail structured products, with Dibble, Brooks and Michael Cavers regarded as market-leading experts. The firm also handles repackaging transactions for clients such as Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Rand Merchant Bank, as well as advising on proprietary indices, credit derivatives, insurance credit risk mitigation, equity derivatives, repos and securities lending. Dibble and Cavers recently advised JP Morgan on retail structured products issuance, including notes, warrants and certificates across a range of asset classes. James Parker, Mike Munro and Thomas Lockley are acknowledged leaders in the pensions and longevity risk transfer market, having assisted the likes of Pension Insurance Corporation on high-value transactions. Derivatives specialist Jason Harding also plays a key role in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Will Dibble; Jason Brooks; Michael Cavers; James Parker; Mike Munro; Thomas Lockley; Jason Harding
‘Highly responsive with deals staffed with experienced derivatives lawyers. One never has the feeling that we are subsidising the training of their juniors. CMS understand our needs when it comes to complex documentation, but flow business.’
‘Will Dibble and Jason Brooks have built a very flexible offering. Matters have always been delivered on budget avoiding the cost surprises that others seem to enjoy throwing in at the end of a deal once it has priced! They just get it with respect to complex documentation, and flow business.’
‘They have demonstrated an efficient and modern approach, whilst offering clear technical advice when called for.’
‘Jason Brooks has a very broad knowledge across the derivatives and structured finance disciplines. He is willing to cater for different products and different stakeholder requirements with respect to them.’
‘Very strong partners who are commercially astute, highly experienced, and client-focused.’
‘Will Dibble’s enthusiasm for his subject inspires great confidence. Jason Brooks’ commercial insights and dedication to client service are unsurpassed.’
‘Jason Harding has an in-depth knowledge of ISDAs and we feel in safe hands with him. He can answer any questions we throw at him and explain complex matters in simple terms. Jason is friendly and has a good sense of humour – it is always a pleasure to speak with him. We very much appreciate the add-ons he gives to us and feel like we are a valued client.’
‘A high level of technical expertise combined with pragmatic advice, and individuals are able to straggle both legal and regulatory issues which is not always the case in other firms. Particular expertise in derivatives and structuring and drafting of index strategies.’
J.P Morgan Securities plc (and LLC in NY, (Asia Pacific) in Hong Kong and Tokyo)
Standard Bank of South Africa
Rand Merchant Bank
Pension Insurance Corporation
- Advising numerous banks on retail structured product issuances, including hybrid and credit linked securities.
- Advised numerous banks on their synthetic (“prop”) index business including Benchmark Regulation compliance and third party management arrangements.
- Advised numerous investment managers on the implementation of EMIR including margining, clearing and reporting requirements.
'The derivatives team is engaged and very responsive, always available to help and able to offer alternative solutions', says a client of Fieldfisher. Particularly strong in the asset management sector and the UK prime brokerage market, the firm has in-depth knowledge of repos, securities lending and structured derivatives transactions. Lead partner Guy Usher has 'extensive experience and his credibility stands out, and he is always available to client'. He leads of a team of highly specialised finance partners, among them Edward Miller, who is a key adviser on netting and collateral issues in derivatives transactions, and Emma Spiers, who assists clients in the financial services sector with trading documentation, structured trades and regulatory issues. Jenny Warren has more than ten years' experience advising both sell-side and buy-side clients on derivatives, securities financing and regulatory matters. With Usher, she recently advised Jefferies Group LLC on its requirements under EU, UK and US regulations to exchange initial margin with its derivatives counterparties.
Other key lawyers:
Edward Miller; Emma Spiers; Jenny Warren
‘Guy Usher with extensive experience and credibility stands out, always available to client, professionally moderating complex, multilateral negotiations to successful end while quietly handling administration.’
‘The derivatives team is engaged and very responsive, always available to help and able to offer alternative solutions.’
‘Guy Usher is superb, he understands the commercial drivers.’
Bank of America
Cantor Fitzgerald Europe
Deutsche Bank AG
ICBC Standard Bank Plc
Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A
Jefferies International Limited
Nomura International plc
Rokos Capital Management LLP
Hogan Lovells International LLP is 'notably versatile, with derivatives lawyers able to apply loan and DCM drafting and techniques in hybrid and structured transactions'. Whether in transactional or regulatory matters, the firm is heavily involved in high-value, cross-border work and its expertise spans the full spectrum of derivatives transactions, though it is particularly strong in structured finance and structured finance-related derivatives, having established and updated many securitisation and repackaging programmes containing swaps and repos. Practice head James Doyle is 'well experienced, familiar with market practice and very client-focused and responsive' and clients note that 'his commercial sixth sense has been proven correct time after time'. He recently advised BNP Paribas on the annual update of its groundbreaking programme for secured structured products through a Luxembourg securitisation company. The 'extremely organised and efficient' Jennifer O’Connell is currently assisting an African DFI with IBOR remediation across their derivatives, debt issuances and lending activity. Kit Johnson specialises in corporate trustee matters.
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer O’Connell; Kit Johnson
‘As regards the London office of Hogan Lovells, James Doyle is a standout partner to be mentioned in respect of all derivatives and structured products – he is well experienced and familiar with market practice and very client-focused and responsive.’
‘Hogan Lovells is an excellent firm for French banks, since they have great lawyers who are dual qualified. You do not need to engage a separate English and French lawyer, since they always have somebody excellent who is dual-qualified.’
‘James Doyle is a highly technical English lawyer with great experience.’
‘The Hogan Lovells London team is notably versatile, with derivatives lawyers able to apply loan and DCM drafting and techniques in hybrid and structured transactions. Their approach to keeping associates out of narrow product silos is clearly paying off. Separately I would also call out HL’s new billing tracker tool for clients on larger projects, which is informative and intuitive.’
‘We routinely work with James Doyle and he runs a fantastic team.’
‘Hogan Lovells is our long-standing adviser – over 12 years – on derivatives, debt capital markets and structured products. We particularly value the seamless integration of other teams into this team’s work – be that the aviation finance, project finance, Islamic finance, US regulatory or litigation practices. This is a well-resourced team both per se and in terms of firm-wide support and the international network of offices. The entire team demonstrably values its long-term relationship with us a client, even though we are far from their biggest client. This is a familiar, friendly and engaged team and we particularly enjoy instructing them.’
‘Jennifer O’Connell is extremely organised and efficient and very involved in the matters with her team. She is proactive in providing excellent advice and being very responsive to client needs.’
‘James Doyle is the standout partner. Quite simply, the commercial teams will not accept any other partner being instructed on their transactions. Highly intelligent, yet accessible and approachable. Equally capable as an homme d’affaires to our senior leadership team or providing training to junior staff. Excellent track-record on nascent or unprecedented structures, James’s commercial sixth sense has been proven correct time after time. A courteous yet tough negotiator with an inherent understanding of our relationships with counterparties, customers and stakeholders. Universally regarded as a safe pair of hands – James’s involvement/name adds weight to credit committee submissions!’
African-Export Import Bank
RiverRock European Capital Partners
Jaguar Land Rover
Bank of New York Mellon
- Advising an African DFI on IBOR remediation across their derivatives, debt issuances and lending activity.
- Advising BNP Paribas on the annual update of their ground breaking programme for secured structured products through a Luxembourg securitisation company, SecurAsset S.A., and in relation to numerous structured product drawdowns under the SecurAsset programme.
- Advising Société Générale on repackagings through Codeis SA, a Luxembourg based securitisation vehicle.
Mayer Brown International LLP frequently advises some of the largest users of derivatives in the world on transactional and regulatory matters, as well as handling a range of structured products, not least synthetic securitisation. Global practice head and derivatives expert Edmund “Ed” Parker is ‘absolutely brilliant – for a senior partner he always responds calls immediately and he is pragmatic‘. He recently advised Bank of New York Mellon on LIBOR transition and its effect on the bank’s global portfolio of derivatives. Dual-qualified in English and New York law, Chris Arnold is ‘exemplary for CDS in particular and provides good market colour with quick, accurate and succinct responses‘. Charles Malpass, who joined from Dechert LLP in 2021, adds weight in structured products, as well as real estate, non-performing loan transactions and securitisation. Counsel Nanak Keswani is ‘a very competent lieutenant and also a very safe pair of hands.'
Other key lawyers:
Chris Arnold; Charles Malpass; Nanak Keswani
‘Chris Arnold and his team have a broad range of product coverage and I can confidently instruct them on complex structured deals involving any or all of repos, swaps and notes as well as pizza ordering for long working lunches. Other firms have more niche offerings and struggle to switch as fluidly between different products like this.’
‘Chris Arnold is exemplary for CDS in particular and provides good market colour with quick, accurate and succinct responses on live issues with real execution/trading consequences. Nanak Keswani is a very competent lieutenant and also a very safe pair of hands.’
‘In-depth of knowledge of their areas of expertise and depth of team.’
‘Chris Arnold – experienced, practical and able to explain and deal with complex issues.’
‘Ed Parker is absolutely brilliant – for a senior partner he always responds calls immediately and he is pragmatic.’
‘The team was very swift in picking up what we needed, with a keen eye for striking a balance between theory and how it would play out in practice. Based on the advice we were able to quickly settle a quite contentious matter with a more experienced counterparty on terms very favourable to us. I might not recommend the team to anyone, based on a fear of counterparties snatching them.’
‘Ed Parker seems to always be available to provide great advice. His books on derivatives are a must read!’
Bank of New York Mellon
First Rand Bank
EMEA Credit Derivatives Determinations Committee
Clients of Norton Rose Fulbright report its 'quality and expertise rival that of the Magic Circle, but it offers a better value proposition and better partner availability'. The firm handles a strong flow of transactional derivatives work and structured products transactions, frequently involving innovative products and new markets such as new securities lending pledge documents. It is also has a growing presence in emerging areas such as fintech. Peter Young leads the capital markets group, in which Daniel Franks handles derivatives, repos, stock lending, collateral, set-off, netting, structured products and regulatory capital and funding transactions, and Nigel Dickinson, who is 'the crown jewel standout partner, the best repackaging lawyer in the market', is a key adviser investment banks on cutting-edge derivatives and structured finance transactions. Franks has recently advised multiple global banks on the adoption of new industry documentation for securities lending on a secured basis. Structured finance partner David Shearer, though mainly focused on securitisation, also handles covered bond and structured finance transactions for a broad client base.
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Franks; Nigel Dickinson; David Shearer; Sean Bruns
‘Key strengths are depth of experience in the repackaging market, hedging of structured finance transactions, and other complex derivative structures. Quality and expertise rival that of the Magic Circle, but it offers a better value proposition and better partner availability.’
‘The crown jewel standout partner is the head of the derivatives practice, Nigel Dickinson. Nigel Dickinson is the best repackaging lawyer in the market: his experience of complex structured finance transactions is unrivalled, and he is well-liked by the business as well as in-house lawyers for how quickly he grasps the technical issues and is able to propose innovative solutions. He is ably assisted by up-and-coming partner Daniel Franks.’
‘Strong technical expertise and great value on fees. Always have partner focus on matters.’
‘Daniel Franks is a standout partner to work with – exceptionally technical yet commercial and a brilliant negotiator. He is valued by both in-house legal and business teams.’
‘This team combines technical legal skill with commercial savvy exceptionally well. They have made the effort to truly understand our business and its needs, and we consider them a trusted advisor to our business.’
‘Partner Nigel Dickinson is the star of this team and sets the standard extremely high. He is an active participant in our matters and is always available to us. As a result he understands our business incredibly well and can be trusted as a safe pair of hands. Hi technical expertise is second to none but it’s his commercial nous which truly sets him apart. I first met senior associate Sean Bruns at the start of his career and it was clear to me even then that he was exceedingly gifted. He has a confident grasp of even the most complex of our transactions and we always enjoy working with him.’
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Bank of Ireland
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
- Representing a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm in relation to its intended participation in a DLT-based securities lending platform operated by HQLAx, a Luxembourg startup backed by Deutsche Börse.
- Advised multiple global investment banks in relation to their adoption of new industry documentation for securities lending on a secured or “pledge” basis.
- Acted for MUFG in relation to the derivatives aspects of its transition from IBOR to risk-free rates (RFRs).
Reed Smith LLP
'The team has immense experience in structured products and derivatives and is able to advise on a wide range of complex asset classes in a commercial and user-friendly manner', says a client of Reed Smith LLP. With structured products and derivatives work ranging from advice on transactions to regulatory risk, restructurings, and disputes, as well as a strong niche in commodity derivatives, the firm has a strong cross-border offering. EMEA managing partner Tamara Box leads the structured finance practice, which has a deep bench of talent. Jason Richardson , who joined from Sidley Austin LLP, is a structured finance specialist whose practice spans derivatives trading and clearing agreements, repos, securities lending agreements and securitisation. He joins derivatives market veteran Claude Brown, energy and natural resources risk management partner Prajakt Samant, regulatory expert Chris Borg, commodity derivatives specialist Brett Hillis, and structured finance partner Nick Stainthorpe in a thriving practice. Up-and-coming partner Sarah Caldwell is a key adviser on structured note programmes.
Other key lawyers:
Jason Richardson; Claude Brown; Chris Borg; Prajakt Samant; Brett Hillis; Nick Stainthorpe; Sarah Caldwell
‘They offer speedy practical and clear advice to clients. The advice is specific and can be relied upon by the client and is not unnecessarily couched in language such that a client is left in no doubt what to do.’
‘Approachable, knowledgeable, articulate in a way that client’s understand and experienced. Claude Brown stands out.’
‘The team has immense experience in structured products and derivatives. They are able to advise on a wide range of complex asset classes in a commercial and user friendly manner.’
‘Reed Smith has talented lawyers in a range of jurisdictions, including the key US and UK markets, but also in more exotic emerging markets like Kazakhstan.’
‘Claude Brown is a knowledgeable and practical lawyer. He is an excellent listener, too.’
Shearman & Sterling LLP 'constantly provides high-quality legal analysis for complex transactions'. Best known for its derivatives practice, which has market-leading expertise on equity derivatives, the firm is increasingly involved in complex structured products, particular in the areas of structured equity and margin loans. As well as work on credit default swaps, stock lending and repos, margin lending, clearing documentation, prime brokerage arrangements, debt trading and regulatory advice, the firm also understands clearing issues, and ICE Clear Europe is among its key clients. Patrick Clancy leads the practice and focuses on derivatives transactions and bespoke structured products. He has recently advised numerous clients on the impact of LIBOR reform on derivatives contracts. James Duncan has in-depth knowledge of derivatives and also advises on the structured finance aspects of M&A, asset finance and leveraged finance transactions. He recently assisted Ardagh with a complex multibillion-euro financing structure and hedging arrangements with numerous banks. Counsel Leona McManus and senior associate Sara Couling are also recognised practitioners in this market.
Other key lawyers:
Leona McManus; Sara Couling
‘The Shearman & Sterling team constantly provides high-quality legal analysis for complex transactions. It is a true legal adviser for the company and is always available on short term notice for any requests. The team operates highly professional and has dedicated individuals for the various areas to be covered.’
‘All individuals are highly qualified and able to quickly provide legal summaries or advise for any short term requests or new complex transactions. There is a very close alignment with the company on all legal matters and any issues are proactively communicated. The company has a long term and trustful business relationship with the London office, namely James Duncan, Leona McManus and Patrick Clancy. The team is always able to provide detailed legal feedback under high time pressure and to address any potential legal issues upfront to help the company with their business decisions on new financings.’
‘The team was our external counsel in one of the project financing transactions where we acted as a lender and a hedge provider. the works tirelessly to ensure a smooth process and execution of the transaction on both sides (loan and hedge).’
‘I was in contact with counsel Leona McManus who was outstanding in her work and advise provided to us. She met every deadline sat for deliverables, and always looks out for the client’s interests. Leona and the team have excellent knowledge of the Islamic Finance and hedging sector.’
‘The team worked tireless throughout the transaction to ensure our positions were understood and we had all the protections we required. Having a team to represent the agents only made the team more focused on the concerns we had rather than the lenders. they were always available for calls even with a restructure mid way through. They informed us on the wider transaction and were there to guide when the closing and completion had to take place and the the various steps involved.’
‘Sara Couling and Patrick Clancy knew how structure of the facility and the issues we were facing when comments came back from the borrower. they made good suggestions on how to work around certain issues. They were amazing to work with and explained the consequences on some of the inserts included in the documents.’
‘A very strong derivatives practice, in particular on complex strategic equity derivatives.’
‘James Duncan is a go-to partner for complex strategy equity derivatives transactions. He has consistently delivered outstanding support on our deals, in each phase, from legal structuring to execution.’
ICE Clear Europe
- Advising Mubadala Capital, the financial investment arm of Mubadala Investment Company in connection with the establishment of an evergreen origination platform with Barings, one of the world’s leading financial services firms.
- Advising Ardagh Group’s Treasury team on hedging matters for a number of years. Ardagh has a complex multibillion-Euro financing structure and hedging arrangements have been established with numerous banks.
- Advised Liberty Global with respect to its hedging arrangements in connection with the financing for the merger between Virgin Media and O2 UK Operations. The merger transaction values O2 at £12.7bn and Virgin Media at £18.7bn, both on a total enterprise value basis.
White & Case LLP provides 'excellent, practical and clear derivatives advice' and clients remark that 'attention to detail is first-rate with a thorough understanding of derivatives products and regulatory issues'. The firm handles derivatives transactions for both investment and hedging purposes, as well as synthetic investments and Islamic derivatives. It has a long track record in acting for sovereign, corporate and financial institution clients in developed, emerging and frontier markets. It is also highly regarded for sustainable finance work and advice on financial services regulation. 'Extremely sharp' practice head Ingrid York 'provides sensible, straightforward and good market practice solutions'. Her broad focus encompasses OTC derivatives, structured products, Islamic finance hedging and regulatory capital transactions. Debashis Dey, who works in both the London and Dubai offices, has more than 20 years' experience in advising banks, corporates and governments on structured finance. Newly promoted counsel Nathaniel Crowley, who is active in both London and Hong Kong, and associate Phillan Amin, who is 'a technical and flexible lawyer who provides considered commercial advice on repackagings', play pivotal roles in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Debashis Dey; Nathaniel Crowley; Phillan Amin
‘Excellent, practical and clear derivatives advice. Always responsive and commercial on transaction work.’
‘Ingrid York, Nate Crowley and Phillan Amin provide consistently outstanding legal support. Attention to detail is first-rate with a thorough understanding of derivatives products and regulatory issues as well as always being mindful of client requirements.’
‘The practice has excellent technical knowledge, but what sets it apart are the people and the commercial knowledge of the industry. Partners are available and the quality of associates is outstanding. What is probably the most important, the team is very efficient in delivering legal product and the communication with them is outstanding. The team is always available to provide an explanation, to discuss matters and provides helpful and pragmatic advice.’
‘Ingrid York is always available and up to date on the project and her strategic advice is invaluable. Nathaniel Crowley is extremely knowledgeable, always responsive and very pleasant to work with. In addition to his knowledge of in the area of derivatives documentation and transacting, he has an excellent grasp on the commercial side of derivatives business and has good relationships and an established profile with all major banks, which is very important in the negotiation process. Phillan Amin, is very efficient, knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. I always felt that the project is managed well and in timely manner.’
‘Phillan Amin is a technical and flexible lawyer who provides considered commercial advice on our repackaging queries in particular and helps to manage the update of our repackaging programme in an organised and practical way.’
‘Nate Crowley has very good technical skills and the development of his experience and expertise on the Asian market and Asian jurisdictions has been particularly helpful to us.’
‘Excellent in complex derivatives, synthetic securitisations and sensible market practice solutions. Very reliable core capital markets legal firm providing consistent, responsive and good-value services.’
‘Ingrid York is an excellent complex derivatives lawyer. She provides sensible, straight-forward and good-market practice solutions. She is extremely sharp and straight-forward, and avoids theoretical uncommercial discussions. Phillan Amin – great capital markets associate. Great energy.’
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
European Investment Fund
National Bank of Greece
'The team takes a very practical and commercial approach, and the level of partner involvement is high', say clients of Baker McKenzie. The firm is best-known for its work for buy-side clients, among them sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, ultra-high net worth individuals and multinational corporations, though it is increasingly active on behalf of investment banks, private equity firms and corporates on bespoke structured transactions. Matthew Dening is global chair of banking & finance and head of the derivatives practice, while Simon Porter leads the structured capital markets group and is an expert in corporate trust matters. Dening recently acted as lead counsel to Novator Capital in its investment in variable funding notes totalling $2.5 bn issued by STAR Helios PLC Jeremy Levy and Sarah Porter handle securitisation and other structured finance mandates, including both traditional and synthetic asset classes. Senior associate Iolie Calochristos plays a key role in advising financial institutions, rating agencies, fund managers, central clearing counterparties, clearing members and end-users.
Matthew Dening; Simon Porter
Other key lawyers:
Jeremy Levy; Sarah Porter; Iolie Calochristos
‘The team takes a very practical and commercial approach in all enquiries we ask them. They are always very prompt in their responses, have a good knowledge of what the market/industry standards are and how the market approaches issues and they always advise bearing that in mind and the unique characteristics of our firm.’
‘Senior associate Iolie Calochristos and banking partner Matthew Denning are exceptional at what they do. We have given work to other law firms but they are the only ones that delivery consistently high quality, to the point advice, are always prompt and acknowledge and address all of our requests without having to do the back and forth. This team of two are undoubtedly a team that you can wholeheartedly trust and rely on in always getting a good job done.’
‘The level of partner involvement is high and this means that you quickly get an experienced and sound solution. The firm has offices in numerous jurisdictions which means that you can have one port of call for matters involving complex cross jurisdictional advice.’
‘Matthew Dening is the partner and my primary contact. He must be amongst the highest ranking lawyers in the derivatives market. I have worked with him since 2008 and he is a spectacularly good lawyer. He can always put a value on a point. Iolie Calochristos is the senior associate supporting Matthew. She is a careful, accurate drafter, a knowledgeable resource and her responses are timely and practical.’
‘The team is responsive, agile and knowledgeable. The partners are grounded, easy to deal with and collaborative in their approach.’
‘I have worked considerably with partners Simon Porter and Sarah Porter who are extremely commercial in their approach and have a good understanding of their clients’ needs.’
‘A very experienced team of people with a vast amount of experience across many different types of structure.’
‘Simon Porter, Sarah Porter and Jeremy Levy are always available and happy to informally help even outside of a fee generating environment. Very knowledgeable.’
Allied Irish Banks / AIB
Banco do Brasil
Bank of China (UK) Limited
Bank of Cyprus
Bank One Ltd
DNB Bank ASA
Fifth Third Capital Markets
Gulf International Bank
HSBC Bank plc
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Novator Capital Ltd
The Olayan Group
Standard Chartered Bank
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
- Acted as lead counsel to Novator Capital, a leading capital markets investor, in connection with its investment in various variable funding notes totalling $ 2.5bn issued by STAR Helios PLC (an Irish SPV).
- Acted for the hedging counterparties in relation to the implementation of a new global funding structure by Encore Capital Group, Inc, an international speciality finance company.
- Advised Japan’s Hitachi on certain aspects of complex hedging arrangements relating to the $11bn acquisition of Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd’s power grid business over 100 jurisdictions.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is known for 'great client engagement, quality work and excellent value for money' and clients remark that the firm 'comes to problems with a collaborative approach'. Thought the London team is small, it has a key role in the firm's global practice for both transactional and regulatory work. Tariq Rasheed leads a 'humble, friendly and engaging' practice that 'makes the client feel valued'. Alongside derivatives and structured products, he also handles issues of regulatory reform. He is the key adviser to Goldman Sachs on all of its derivatives mater agreements. Senior associate Iman Roy has extensive experience in advising financial institutions and corporates on derivatives and regulatory matters. He recently assisted Rasheed with Commonwealth Bank of Australia's hedge fund negotiations and the establishment of its repo and stock lending business.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great client engagement, quality work and excellent value for money.’
‘Very humble, friendly and engaging. BCLP very much aim to build solid and long-standing client relationships. They make us as a client feel valued.’
‘I have dealt with a number of Finance and Derivative practices in London over the last 15 years and find BCLP to be at the front of these teams. They stand out as matter experts, have spent time to learn our business so that solutions put forward by them match the issues at hand. Their team is varied in terms of expertise which brings diversity to the table which you don’t always see. They come to problems with a collaborative approach which has strengthened our in-house team so that we can serve our business and clients better. They are flexible in their time and their approach which has allowed us to develop a strong and solid working relationship despite being based in London, to our Sydney location.’
‘I have valued their flexible and versatile approach and their willingness to stand out as matter experts. This as a result has created a strong basis of trust and credibility not only from our in-house legal team but also our business. They have also supported our team as we’ve grown to cover more areas for our business and continue to do so.’
Goldman Sachs (client for 8 years)
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (client for 4 years)
MUFG (client for 3 years)
Bank of Communications (client for 5 years)
Bank of China (client for 5 years)
Total SE (client within last 12 months)
The Norinchukin Bank (client for 4 years)
Bank Hapoalim (client for 12 years)
Union Bank of Israel (client for 8 years)
Equiti Capital (new client within last 12 months)
Sharegain Limited (client for 5 years)
Peninsula Petroleum (client for 2 years)
- BCLP has been assisting GS on a broad range of derivatives matters for over 8 years. In 2020, the Global Markets Division (EMEA and APAC) of GS commenced issuing a request for proposal (“RFP”) to move its entire master agreements to a single legal service provider. BCLP won the RFP and now handles all of GS’ ISDAs (for derivatives), GMRAs (for repos), GMSLAs (for stock loans), Islamic ISDAs, prime brokerage, futures, client clearing and local law agreements.
- Over the years, CBA has become a long-standing client of the practice. CBA regularly instructs BCLP on its most important derivatives and structured products matters. CBA’s previous incumbent counsel was A&O. Key reasons for using BCLP include the firm’s international footprint and its ability to seamlessly combine transactional and regulatory advice.
- Aassisting MUFG on the (i) deal-contingent hedging: MUFG’s deal-contingent hedging deals as sole/preferred counsel (both for M&A and project finance deals). MUFG has earmarked deal-contingent hedging as a key growth area; and (ii) structured repos and repackagings: the firm is assisting MUFG on various structured repos and repackagings over illiquid assets (e.g. carbon futures).
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has ‘a very talented and experienced team that offers not only valuable insights into structuring aspects, but also drives innovation in the market‘, according to clients. Although best known for its work for both managers and arrangers on CLO transactions, the firm also handles a range of structured finance matters, including insurance-linked securities. For example, key partner Robert Cannon acted for Italian insurer UnipolSai Assicurazioni in the issuance of €100m in catastrophe bonds offered to US and non-US investors under Rule 144A. David Quirolo and the ‘hardworking, approachable and helpful‘ Sabah Nawaz are adept in the establishment of high-value structured note programmes. Claire Puddicombe, Nick Shiren and Daniel Tobias are heavily involved in the CLO market, though Shiren is also a recognised expert in credit default swaps, credit-linked notes, total return swaps, and a host of other derivatives transactions.
Robert Cannon; Claire Puddicombe; David Quirolo; Nick Shiren; Daniel Tobias
Other key lawyers:
Sabah Nawaz; Alex Collins
‘The team is very experienced, offering not only valuable insights into structuring aspects, but also drives innovation in the market. Given the size of the team and the number of deals that Cadwalader work on, they are an invaluable source of recent developments in the sector and always stay on top current market trends.’
‘Cadwalader’s team is always dedicated, hard working and maintain high standards. David Quirolo, Dan Tobias and Claire Puddicombe are the pre-eminent experts in the field. Other team members, including Sabah Nawaz, are a pleasure to work with, offering helpful advice at every step and maintain the highest standards of professionalism.’
‘CWT is a highly relevant law firm in the CLO market through their participation on both the manager and arranger side. Furthermore, their active role in raising industry awareness and standards, and engagement with the regulators, make them an invaluable partner to our firm.’
‘Work ethic, thoroughness and availability make CWT a highly sought after partner. They are able to balance clients needs with legal requirements in a highly pragmatic way. For me, what makes CWT truly stand out is their long term, people based approach. They always seek to please us as their client and value the partnership and relationships over all else.’
‘A very talented and experienced team.’
‘Claire Puddicombe is always doing an excellent job’
UnipolSai Assicurazioni S.p.A.
Achmea Reinsurance Company N.V.
MUFG Securities EMEA plc
- Advised UnipolSai as sponsor and drafting counsel on its Azzurro Re II DAC Series 2020-1 catastrophe bond transaction.
- Advised Achmea Reinsurance Company on its Windmill II Re DAC catastrophe transaction.
- Advised MUFG Securities EMEA plc in its groundbreaking North Westerly VI B.V. (North Westerly VI) European cash flow CLO transaction.
‘They have a genuine team spirit and are helpful to their clients‘, say clients of the team at Dechert LLP. The firm has a pre-eminent funds practice and acts for the vast majority of world’s leading asset managers, giving it a prime role in the CLO market. It also has a strong global derivatives offering, and is involved in innovative structured products transactions, including repo-to-securitisation structures to facilitate the financing of large commercial real estate loans. Gus Black leads the financial services and investment management, in which the key practitioners sit. Securitisation and structured finance partner Sarah Smith and newly promoted derivatives partner Karen Stretch play central roles in the practices, as does John McGrath, who represents funds and other buy-side parties on a wide range of performing and non-performing financial products often involving enforcement or restructuring of derivatives, securitisations and other structured financings. Abigail Bell stands out for her knowledge of derivatives in the hedge fund arena.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Smith; Karen Stretch; John McGrath; Abigail Bell
‘One of the strongest suits of Dechert is that they are a comprehensive provider of services and never work at cross purposes with a client. Whatever issue is being addressed, there is always a question about the impact of other concerns. Those are posed to the client and if accepted are researched and deliverables are coordinated back to the partner. The client is always clear about where they stand at any particular moment. This is critical in the execution of derivative agreements with bank counterparties particularly with the changing nature of regulatory regimes in both Europe and the United States.’
‘Karen Stretch is by far one of the best attorneys I have worked with in my career. Her clarity of purpose and intellect are only surpassed by her ability to execute projects on budget and on time. Her probative questions always yield better knowledge and execution on our behalf. Over the years, Karen has deepened her understanding of us, which has allowed Dechert to broaden the scope of work for the firm. As we continue to grow globally, I look forward to continuing to work with Karen and the Dechert team.’
‘The team is very good at understanding the commercial drivers for the client and tailors its advice accordingly. They are responsive and you are always able to access the partner and senior members of the team. The team give them impression of trying to build long and sustainable work relationships and are receptive to feedback which better enables them to tailor their advice and approach to matters.’
‘Dechert has been our legal counsel for most of our CLOs, we work closely with them for each new transaction and for any requirement we have in between. The team is dedicated, always available, aware of fast-moving industry changes and works to a high standard. They are always proactive, have come up with tailored solutions many times over and have given us insights on recent transactions in the wider market.’
‘I believe in diversity and empowering women in this industry. With the acceleration of the ESG criteria, the institutional investors will need to pay attention to the law firms they will mandate and the team that will help them. It’s going to be a matter of credibility for investors, who can’t present themselves as ESG champions and mandate teams that do not show a gender and ethic diversity. So the strengthen of Dechert teams are its diversity and the ability to adapt to the ever changing regulatory environment. ESG is going to the cornerstone in this industry.’
‘They are very knowledgeable and experienced in this field.’
‘They have a genuine team spirit and are helpful to their clients.’
‘Karen Stretch is a technically gifted and detail orientated lawyer who is able to simply present complex matters in a commercial way while being attentive and client focussed.’
Cheyne Capital Management (UK) LLP
Palmer Square Capital Management
- Advising Fondazione Enasarco on its long running dispute with Lehman Brothers Finance SA (the Swiss iteration of Lehman Brothers) concerning the close out of a derivative transaction within one of the most complex structured products to be considered by the English courts.
Dentons has ‘a well experienced and down to earth team‘ that is best known for its emerging markets structured finance work, which covers the full range of derivatives transactions, as well as structured products and CLOs. The firm is among the market leaders for Islamic derivatives, and is also prominent in repos, securities lending and the emerging area of ESG-related transactions. ‘Standout specialist and well respected practitioner‘ Matthew Sapte leads the derivatives practice and is also a skilled partner for structured debt transactions. Yusuf Battiwala is frequently called up to advise financial institutions, corporates and funds on both conventional and Islamic derivatives and structured finance instruments. He recently advised EBRD on new legislation for the derivatives and repo markets in each of Egypt and Kazakhstan. Luke Whitmore also plays a key role in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Yusuf Battiwala; Luke Whitmore
‘A well experienced and down to earth team.’
‘Mathew Sapte is a standout specialist and well respected practitioner.’
‘The team provides a very professional service and the individuals are very responsive and accessible.’
‘ A dedicated and hardworking team, very efficient and professional.’
‘They are all very dedicated and provides with good input quickly.’
‘The personnel that we have dealt with are very responsive and commercial and link up well with other colleagues in the firm to finesse their advice. Over the last year we have received specialist advice on the latest legal and market operation of certain derivative clauses which greatly assisted our negotiations to close out certain transactions on a sound commercial basis.’
‘Luke Whitmore and Matthew Sapte are our primary contacts. Both are able practitioners. Luke’s expertise across the various product areas provides a one-stop shop for much of the advice we need. Matthew is a skilled banking lawyer with significant experience in managing emerging market legal issues. Both are engaged and available. Also a strength is their focus on providing value for clients. They understand the pressures on clients to manage costs and work hard at delivering cost effective advice – this is a great strength.’
Barings (UK) Limited
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FADB)
Gulf International Bank
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
National Bank of Bahrain
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce / CIBC Capital Markets
Macquarie Bank Limited
Leonteq Securities AG
- Advised Barings (UK) Limited (i) on the jurisdictional switch of eight of their CLOs from The Netherlands to Ireland by replacing the Dutch issuer SPV with an Irish SPV, which were the first ever CLO jurisdictional switches in the market; and (ii) on the origination of new assets for 7 of its CLOs to enable it to qualify as an originator risk retainer.
- Advising EBRD and local regulators in Egypt on new legislation for the derivatives and repo markets.
- Advised an International Bank on LIBOR reform for the Islamic derivatives markets.
DLA Piper provides 'spot-on advice in a cost-efficient manner' and one clients notes that its advice is 'always timely, commercially sensitive and reflecting up-to-date market practice'. The firm advises leading financial institutions, among them Morgan Stanley, on high-value cross-border financing deals. The firm has also been instructed by industry association ISDA to produce an English law draw down opinion for its members in relation to the legal status of Nordic Investment Bank. International head of finance and projects Martin Bartlam and global co-chair of financial services Mark Dwyer oversee the derivatives and structured products practice. Bartlam has more than 30 years' experience in structured deals, securitisation and derivatives, notably structured credit and asset management transactions. Steven Krivinskas has broad experience in structured finance and debt capital markets transactions, acting for both financial institutions and borrowers in connection with note programmes and standalone issuances.
Martin Bartlam; Mark Dwyer
Other key lawyers:
Steven Krivinskas; Marcus Lovatt; James Tighe; Patrick Lightbown
‘DLA Piper provides spot-on advice in a cost-efficient manner.’
‘Steven Krivinskas is a very responsive and innovative partner of the finance law department at DLA Piper. He is one of our key external counsel for our repack business.’
‘The DLA team is outstanding. Their legal advice is always timely, commercially sensitive and reflecting up-to-date market practice. In addition, they are just a wonderful and friendly team to work with.’
‘Our primary contacts are Mark Dwyer, James Tighe and Marcus Lovatt. All three are accessible and very intelligent and capable lawyers. In addition, they comprehensively understand our company group, which means that we can always rely on them to not only deliver strategic advice on the matter at hand, but also to consider with us the wider implications for the corporate group.’
‘Very committed and efficient, trustworthy and most of all competent.’
‘The team covers a broad range of matters in structured products and derivatives, allowing them to bring experience from their relevant fields into each matter demonstrating a broader context for their already well-informed advice. The team also has a great depth of in house secondment experience with clients, meaning that they have a strong focus on clients’ priorities which helps them target their services to what their clients are concerned about. ‘
‘Marcus Lovatt and Patrick Lightbown are able to bring the balance of sound advice to assist in the management of risks with the practical overlay to ensure that transactions are delivered that will work mechanically for all parties involved. They are dedicated in their approach and are highly available, confident yet polite in negotiations as well as creative and pointed in drafting to allow them to implement client wishes and meet transaction deadlines.’
‘Very professional. They also have a highly experienced team in our specific area, where other firms will often use lawyers who are familiar but specialise in a different area of structured finance. They are also often the best value for money when compared to our other panel law firms.’
Morgan Stanley & Co. International PLC
Ares European Loan Management LLP
Accunia Fondsmæglerselskab A/S
Frontera Capital Group Limited
Frontera Capital Group BV
- Advising Ares European Loan Management LLP on the Dutch Tax Administration’s revoking of a long-standing tax ruling following a decision by the European Court of Justice.
- Acted for Morgan Stanley & Co. International PLC as dealer in relation to annual updates to the Alphabeta Access Products Ltd US$50,000,000,000 Certificate Programme and Weser Capital Limited US$50,000,000,000 Certificate Programme.
- Advising ISDA in the production of an English law draw down opinion available to ISDA members in the ISDA Opinions Library on the legal status of Nordic Investment Bank and the applicability of the conclusions in the ISDA International Financial Institutions – English law base memorandum to NIB.
The structured finance practice at Gide Loyrette Nouel LLP is 'very responsive and provides great insight into market'. The firm handles structuring, documentation, collateralisation and regulatory issues relating to derivatives and structured products in a vast range of asset classes, among them equity, credit, fixed income, fund, commodity, energy, inflation and weather, as well as repos and securities lending transactions. Head of derivatives & structured products Karine Imbrosciano and London head of banking & finance Dimitrios Logizidis are the lead partners. Imbrosciano and her team are 'both technically astute and kind people to spend time and work with', remarks a client. She recently advised a consortium of ten banks, among them mBank and BNP Paribas Bank Polska, on the negotiation of the hedging documentation to be entered into with chemical company Ciech S.A.
Karine Imbrosciano; Dimitrios Logizidis
‘Gide have been very responsive and provides great insight into market standard positions.’
‘Karine Imbrosciano and her team are both technically astute and kind people to spend time and work with.’
‘Karine Imbrosciano is a very dynamic and competent lawyer. She is obviously very experienced with the negotiation of derivatives-related agreements.’
‘Karine Imbrosciano is very dynamic and takes it very seriously to understand the needs and objectives of her clients.’
Tikehau Investment Management
Goldman Sachs International
Europcar Mobility Group
KGHM Polska Miedz
- The derivatives team was involved in the high profile restructuring of the financial indebtedness of Europcar Mobility Group.
- Advised a consortium of banks, including PKO BP, BNP Paribas BP, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Europe) Branch in Poland, Bank Pekao, mBank, Bank Millennium, Credit Agricole, Société Générale, Bank Handlowy and Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A. Branch in Poland, as hedging counterparties in the context of the refinancing of a PLN2.115bn facility granted to the Ciech Group.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP focuses on high-end, complex and multi-jurisdictional transactions rather than flow work, and acts for both sell-side and buy-side client, notably in emerging markets deals. It has particular expertise in areas such as strategic equity derivatives, repos, margin loans and repackaging's, though its work covers a wide range of structures and asset classes. Nick May leads the derivatives practice and handles both transactional and regulatory matters. He recently acted for Deutsche Bank in a series of major transactions, among them structured repo deals totalling more than £500m with emerging markets borrowers on illiquid and emerging markets securities, and the distressed restructuring of an emerging markets repo transaction. 'He can distill in-depth legal analysis for clients in a clear, succinct and practical manner', notes a client. Senior associate Nick Rutter frequently advises financial institutions, corporates, funds and energy companies on OTC and exchange-traded commodity, interest rates and foreign exchange derivatives.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have had most exposure to Nick May. He is covering the whole swathe of derivatives and structured finance for them. It is a very broad practice area, usually covered by multiple partners at other such firms, and he is covering it very impressively. He is excellent – focuses on the key issues, delivers, and excellent client care.’
‘Nick May and his team produce a first-class work product at extremely competitive rates. Access to the partner and his senior associate is immediate, seamless and ongoing until completion of the matter. Nick and his team are able to both provide the in-depth legal analysis required but are also able to distill this for clients and business divisions in a clear, succinct and practical manner.’
‘There is no doubt that this team can be relied upon to negotiate complex matters in a considered, measured and pragmatic manner working with the internal legal functions to ensure the best outcome possible. Nick May’s team can be relied upon to help the internal teams to develop alternative solutions and the team are generally very business friendly – with a good understanding of the business imperatives . I would have no hesitation in recommending Nick and his team to anyone who wants a team that is focussed, knowledgable, efficient and cost effective.’
‘Nick May is our go-to partner. He is extremely knowledgeable in the securities financing space and has assisted us on a number of complex negotiations. Without a doubt he is one of the most accessible partners I have worked with. His knowledge extends not only to the minutiae of the legal issues but also to the business and operational practicalities as well which ensures that he and his team can be relied on to help us to develop practicable solutions to complex issues . A very calm negotiator and good partner to have on any deal.’
Deutsche Bank AG
Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc
Bank of Nova Scotia
Renaissance Capital Limited
Man Group Plc
Fidelity International Limited
VTB Capital Plc
The alternative investments group at Milbank is 'very service minded, extremely focused on business and commercial risks, and gives genuine advice not just risk assessments'. CLOs make up 50% of the work of the London structured finance practice, though the practice also handles a range of bespoke funding, regulatory and hedging transactions. James Warbey, who handles both structured finance and securitisation, is a key adviser on European CLOs, with Bain Capital Credit, Cairn Loan Investments and KKR Credit Advisors among his clients. John Goldfinch is a prominent adviser on CLOs, and he recently assisted collateral manager and retention holder Invesco European RR L.P. with the €410.025m issuance of CLO notes. Senior associate Jennifer Ellis advises on complex cross-border structured finance transactions with a particular focus on derivatives and structured credit.
Other key lawyers:
John Goldfinch; Jennifer Ellis
‘Very service-minded, extremely focused on business and commercial risks and gives genuine advice not just risk assessments. Always fair and to the point on pricing.’
‘John Goldfinch – fast, reliable, great advice not only legally but also commercially. Great to work with and delivers.’
Invesco European RR L.P.
Capital Four CLO Management K/S
Cairn Loan Investments II LLP
BlueMountain Fuji Management, LLC
KKR Credit Advisors (Ireland) Unlimited Company
Bain Capital Credit U.S. CLO Manager, LLC
Rockford Tower Capital Management, L.L.C.
Commerzbank AG, London Branch
AXA Investment Managers, Inc.
Investcorp Credit Management EU Limited
Bardin Hill Loan Advisors (UK) LLP
Brigade Capital Europe Management LLP
Piraeus Bank S.A.
Orchard Global Asset Management LLP
- Advised on the migration by PGIM, Cairn and Bardin Hill of their CLO platform from the Netherlands to Ireland, by advising on the substitution of existing Dutch issuer vehicles to Irish CLO vehicles – placing Milbank at the forefront of most Netherlands-to-Ireland CLO migrations, one of the key trends in the 2020 CLO market due to a new Dutch tax.
- Advised on Cairn CLO XIII DAC’s Euro CLO note issuance – the warehouse stage of which utilised a first-of-kind repo and profit participating note structure to allow the transaction to benefit from favourable regulatory capital treatment.
- Advised on Avoca CLO XXI Designated Activity Company’s CLO issuance – one of the first European CLOs in the market to include the ‘Loss Mitigation Obligation’ concept, which helped to set the precedent for future deals, now prevalent across all European new issuance CLOs.
Slaughter and May has a multi-specialist finance practice, in which several partners have expertise in both OTC and exchange-traded derivatives ranging from plain vanilla interest rate and currency derivatives, through commodity and energy derivatives, to equity and credit-linked products and derivatives linked to real estate, insurance and pensions. The firm also handles complex and innovative structured products and regulatory matters for banks and financial institutions, investment funds, insurers, pension funds, sovereign entities and corporates. Oliver Wicker, who recently advised financial institutions on several structured repo transactions, and Guy O’Keefe are the lead partners. Ed Fife frequently handles secured lending and derivatives transactions, including ISDA documentation and equity-related products. He recently advised Treasury Spring Management on a repo transaction and negotiated the terms of the TBMA/ISMA Global Master Repurchase Agreement. 'The team is exceptionally clever and can be trusted 100% with the most complex issues', remarks one client.
Oliver Wicker; Guy O’Keefe
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is exceptionally clever and can be trusted 100% with the most complex issues. Partners are always very involved. They are our go-to firm for our most challenging problems!’
‘Oliver Wicker – probably the cleverest partner we work with, he has a handle on an extremely wide range of complex products. Ed Fife is client centric and will always step in to help solve our most pressing issues.’
United Utilities plc
International Finance Facility for Immunisation Company
- Put in place a repurchase transaction and negotiated the terms of the TBMA/ISMA Global Master Repurchase Agreement for Treasury Spring Management. This transaction is a key step in the development and growth of TreasurySpring’s repo business.
- Advised United Utilities on a range of financing and derivatives matters, including on its entry into new, or amended, derivatives contracts by UU and UUWL and the novation of certain of UUWL’s derivatives contracts to new counterparties; and the adherence by UU and UUWL to the ISDA 2018 U.S. Resolution Stay Protocol and the ISDA 2020 IBOR Fallbacks Protocol.
- Advised the International Finance Facility for Immunisation Company (“IFFIm”) in respect of its hedging arrangements with The Toronto-Dominion Bank, including a one-way credit support mechanism.
Travers Smith LLP has a four-partner practice that is highly regarded for its work in the full range of derivatives, repo and securities lending arrangements and structured products. Practice head Jonathan Gilmour is 'a leading derivatives practitioner with a fantastic conceptual grasp of derivatives matters married to a pragmatic and commercial sense of client objectives'. He recently advised Apax Partners and Ares Management Corp. on UK and EU derivatives regulation , their use of synthetic instruments, and the drafting and maintenance of their regulatory compliance policies. Sebastian Reger focuses on pensions de-risking and longevity transactions, the 'hugely energetic and intelligent' Peter Hughes handles structured finance in the context of restructuring and insolvency, and newly promoted partner Joseph Wren has notable expertise in advising asset managers. Senior counsel Vanessa Kalijnikoff Battaglia is 'very client-oriented and super-professional'.
Other key lawyers:
Sebastian Reger; Peter Hughes; Joseph Wren; Vanessa Kalijnikoff Battaglia
‘The team are very knowledgeable and approachable; they are very client-focused.’
‘We work with TS on complex derivatives regulatory matters and they have always been swift and accurate in their analysis. What I like about TS and, more precisely, Vanessa Battaglia is the ability to expand client relationship, diversify practice by including more CIS matters, collaborating at client events and continuous client support by sharing latest legal developments.’
‘Vanessa Kalijnikoff Battaglia is very client-oriented and super-professional.’
‘Despite a comparatively low profile the team has a derivatives practice that is both wide, deep and well supported by other specialist teams such as financial services and markets, pensions and tax. There are particular strengths in investment management, pension risk transfer and other complex derivatives work to go alongside the more traditional corporate and private equity hedging.’
‘Jonathan Gilmour is a leading derivatives practitioner with a fantastic conceptual grasp of derivatives matters married to a pragmatic and commercial sense of client objectives – his advice is second to none. Peter Hughes is hugely energetic, intelligent and has deep experience of insolvency, restructuring and how these regimes apply in complex financial arrangements.’
‘Joseph Wren has great poise, presence and provides commercial, focused advice whilst being able to think creatively about solutions to new challenges and lines of business. The partners are very well supported by a strong counsel / associate team – Vanessa Kalijnikoff Battaglia stands out as one to watch.’
Nomura International Plc
BAE Systems Pension Scheme
Bridgepoint Advisers Limited
Equistone Partners Europe
Montagu Private Equity
Inflexion Private Equity
Generation Investment Management LLP Aspinall Capital Partners and Portunes Capital Limited
Trustee of the AXA UK Group Pension Scheme
Willis Pension Scheme
Intermediate Capital Group plc
Unilever UK Pension Fund
Trustees of the Centrica Pension Schemes Pay.UK
British Steel Pension Fund Trustee Limited
- Advised Portunes Capital, a private capital fund, on the first capital backed journey plan transaction in the market. This first of a kind transaction sees third party capital being made available to UK DB pension Schemes to underwrite investment losses until the UK DB Pension Scheme can be transferred into the insurance market via buy-out transaction obtained by Portunes Capital as the agreed exit for this arrangement.
- Advised the pension scheme on a longevity swap transaction with reinsurer Munich Re to manage longevity risk in relation to approximately £1bn of pensioner liabilities. The longevity risk was transferred to the reinsurer via a Guernsey based captive insurer wholly owned by the scheme.
- BC Partners is a leading international asset management firm with over €22bn billion of assets under management. As their sole UK and EU derivatives counsel, the firm has advised on the establishment of fund-level FX hedging across their three active fund vintages (Funds IX, X and XI).
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP has a 'technical, commercial and very responsive' structured finance practice that has a dominant position in the CLO market, in which it is the leading adviser on the manager side. Alongside that, the firm handles a range of derivatives transactions, including hedging transactions for issuer SPVs, repos and TRS structure for CLO managers, and infrastructure fund hedging strategies. It is also involved in emerging areas of structured finance, notably the incorporation of ESG issues into CLOs and other structured finance transactions. Jacky Kelly leads the practice and is highly regarded for her work on CLOs and securitisation, while counsel Andrew Lauder, who 'provides practical solutions and is always very responsive', handles a broad range of OTC derivatives and structured capital markets transactions, particularly TRS and repo-linked funding platforms, synthetic securitisations and bespoke repackaging transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Practical solutions and good turnaround times.’
‘Andrew Lauder provides practical solutions and is always very responsive.’
‘The uniqueness of our engagement was that the transaction was extremely time constrained and almost working- around-the-clock type. The lawyers in Weil are competent, responsive and professional.’
‘The type of deals this team gets involved in are usually very demanding in terms of transaction management and require responsiveness beyond the usual parameters. Andrew Lauder is the counsel on the derivatives side and is technical, commercial and very responsive.’
- Advising Advent International on deal contingent FX hedging in respect of an initial public offering (IPO) of InPost on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange. The firm negotiated bespoke deal contingent long form confirmations (to hedge the IPO proceeds in EUR into USD) with Citi and Goldman Sachs.
- Acting for the lenders and hedge counterparties in connection with a debt financing for APG Asset Management in relation to their acquisition of a stake in BRISA, Portugal’s largest toll road operator. Advising Natixis, Mediobanca, BBVA, Banco Comercial Português, Bank of China and Intesa Sanpaolo on intercreditor arrangements, negotiation of transaction documents and execution of interest rate hedging, including novation of deal contingent trades.
- Acting for MUFG, Santander and CA-CIB as mandated lead arrangers in a financing for the acquisition by First Sentier of Wheelabrator (a UK waste-to-energy business). Negotiating hedging documents for interest rate and inflation hedging, arrangements for novation of deal contingent hedging into secured ISDAs, and negotiation of customised IBOR fallbacks wording to tie the ISDA fallbacks into the process envisaged by the senior facilities agreement.
'Aside from their level of knowledge, both practical and technical, the team is very user-friendly', says a client of Addleshaw Goddard. The firm has built up its structured finance capability to cover secured bonds, structured products and derivatives, portfolio sales and purchases and public and private securitisations covering all asset classes. Rachel Kelly, who joined from McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in 2020 along with legal director Kerry Pettigrew, focuses predominantly on securitisation and CLOs, but also handles a range of structured products. Legal director Carl Baker, who joined from Simmons & Simmons, frequently acts for buy-side, sell-side and financial market infrastructure clients on regulatory and transactional matters. Baker is 'an excellent lawyer in the field of OTC Derivatives, very sharp and experienced in negotiating Master Agreements'.
Other key lawyers:
Kerry Pettigrew; Carl Baker
‘The team is particularly strong in the areas of securitisation, and structured finance in general. Also, the wider practice is well versed in property which provides good support to the debt team.’
‘Aside from their level of knowledge, both practical and technical, the team is very user-friendly, which makes is much easier with clients who are new to more structured forms of finance.’
‘Carl Baker is an excellent lawyer in the field of OTC Derivatives. Very sharp and experienced in negotiating Master Agreements (ISDA, GMSLA, GMRA) and drafting complex confirmations. When working with him, his long experience as an in-house lawyer shows. He is very thorough and has in-depth knowledge of derivatives products and regulatory developments. He has quick response times and is very pleasant to work with. I can highly recommend him.’
‘Rachel Kelly is an exceptionally good solicitor. She has the mental agility to grasp challenging subject matter. She is extremely personable and a pleasure to deal with.’
‘I have known Carl Baker for many years. He is an excellent lawyer specialising in the derivatives and structured products areas and providing outstanding advice on the legal documents taking into account operational set ups and market practice as well as showing supreme level of the cross-border regulatory expertise. His advice is very practice-oriented and client-focused. To be highlighted is further his availability and timely advice. His ability to give sound legal advice under pressure is admirable.’
‘A super team of industry-savvy lawyers, who know what they are doing, and are pleasant to work with.’
‘Rachel Kelly is knowledgeable and experienced.’
Sainsbury’s Bank plc
Metro Bank PLC
Barclays Bank PLC
HSBC Bank plc
NatWest Markets plc
Prudential Trustee Company Limited
- Advising Sainsbury’s on its £725m first public Simple Transparent and Standardised (STS) Securitisation, Drury Lane, a consumer loan securitisation, which was also Sainsbury’s Bank’s first ABS transaction.
- Advising a consortium of banks as joint book runners and Prudential Trustee Company Limited as bond trustee and security trustee in respect of a bond issuance by Hyde Housing Association Limited.
- Advising Metro Bank on funding and investment strategies, following the Bank’s acquisition of Ratesetter in 2020.
Alston & Bird LLP has ‘a very approachable team with a rare practical approach to issues which is much appreciated‘. The firm launched its finance practice in 2019, since when it has recruited to expand it into structure finance and securitisation. James Fisher leads the London structured finance group, having joined from Reed Smith LLP. He focuses on advising corporate trust and issuer clients across a broad spectrum of cross-border and domestic transactions, among them CDOs, CLOs, master trust programs, repacks, insurance-linked securities, SIVs, and other structured products.
‘Very approachable team with a rare practical approach to issues which is much appreciated. Approach is to work as an overall team within a transaction which is good to see.’
‘Very approachable and friendly, easy to talk to. Good levels of knowledge but with a strong practical streak which adds value and makes them easier and nicer to work with.’
Consumer Portfolio Services
Hilton Grand Vacations
Regional Management Corp
Based in Bristol and London, Burges Salmon LLP has a busy derivatives practice that 'always provides comprehensive advice with clear guidance on actions to be taken'. The firm is a key adviser to high-profile clients, among them many FTSE 100 corporates and global brands, on derivatives matters. It also handles a growing workload for investment funds, pension funds and pension fund trustees. Practice head Graham Soar has a multi-faceted practice that spans corporate banking, project finance, derivatives, securitisation and debt capital markets. Senior associate Alistair Rattray plays a key role in leveraged finance and derivatives transactions. Together, they acted for a large project company in the interest rate hedging for a multimillion-pound facility agreement in respect of the funding of a 140MW UK solar portfolio.
Other key lawyers:
‘Always provides comprehensive advice with clear guidance on actions to be taken.’
‘Graham Soar has gone out of his way to provide support at short notice, even where he has had a full schedule.’
Octopus Renewable Infrastructure Trust
GCP Infrastructure Investments
- Advising FirstGroup periodically on transactions which include a range of derivatives matters, including negotiation of ISDA master agreements and related credit support arrangements.
- Acted for GCP Infrastructure Investments on a facility-linked ISDA for transactions to hedge interest rate risks in relation to the facility and RPI inflation risks in relation to ROC buyout revenues.
- Acted for Octopus Renewable Infrastructure Trust on three structured derivatives to provide a fixed energy pricing on a long-term, variable price power purchase agreement.
'The team is extremely knowledgeable in this particular field and applies that expertise to clients' specific circumstances rather than purely applying a generic approach', says a client of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. The firm has a strong buy-side focus and frequently advises investment funds and pension schemes on hedging and derivatives trading. Head of financial services Michaela Walker and head of derivatives and financial collateral Jonathan Master oversee the practice, in which Richard Batchelor handles both trading and regulatory matters, while Jamie Dunlop assists clients with trading and collateral documentation. Senior associate Paul Denham is 'clearly an industry leader in the field of derivatives'. He recently advised Black Alpha Capital on its derivatives trading and prime brokerage arrangements.
Michaela Walker; Jonathan Master
Other key lawyers:
Richard Batchelor; Jamie Dunlop; Paul Denham
‘The team is extremely knowledgeable in this particular field, but most importantly apply that expertise to our specific circumstances, complexities and needs rather than purely apply a generic approach when providing services.’
‘Not only do they consider the impact on our firm, but also considers the potential outcome of anything we ask them to help us with on our clients and customers. This provides us with ability to always come up with solutions that serves us well whilst knowing that it will never have a negative impact on our clients and therefore damage our reputation in the long run. They are competitive and realistic in their pricing. Most importantly the team spends a lot of time to research and study new market developments and anticipate potential future development, which means that we always approach our clients with future proof solutions.’
‘We have been working closely with Paul Denham at Eversheds who is clearly an industry leader in the field of derivatives. He is able to combine an extremely high level of professionalism with a very personable approach in a way that makes you feel as he is part of your own team. His approach is practical, solution driven and always considers the wider impact of any work he delivers on the bank (and will advise on mitigants for any potential unforeseen risks). He spends a lot of time to understand the economic and reputational impact of any work he performs as opposed to only consider the legal consequences or impacts. He has a broad and in-depth understanding of complex banking generally and is not only up to date with the latest industry developments, but also has the foresight to identify where future changes and developments could impact the bank.’
‘Excellent engagement by the team, which quickly builds up a full understanding of the firm’s business and its position in the wider industry. Excellent knowledge and contact across jurisdictions.’
‘Paul Denham and Richard Batchelor have been exceptional in their level of support for the business.’
Arthur Daniels Midland Co.
Black Alpha Capital
JB Drax Honoré
Sainsbury’s Pension Scheme
Zurich Pension Scheme Trustee
The futures and derivatives practice at Katten is 'commercially savvy, showing attention to detail and the ability to deliver on time even when given unreasonable deadlines'. The firm has in-depth knowledge of exchange-traded and OTC derivatives regulation. Carolyn Jackson, Nathaniel Lalone and Neil Robson are the lead partners in London. Jackson and Lalone are New York and English law qualified, which sees them advise on cross-border regulatory issues in the derivatives market. Robson is a key adviser to hedge and private equity fund managers, investment advisers, broker-dealers and proprietary traders in the UK and Europe. 'Trusted advisor' David Brennand is a key member of the financial markets regulatory group and he advises on advises on the creation, operation and restructuring of funds, as well as negotiating agreements that govern managed accounts, seed capital arrangements and illiquid portfolio acquisitions and divestments.
Carolyn H. Jackson; Nathaniel Lalone; Neil Robson
Other key lawyers:
David A. Brennand
‘David Brennand and I speak on almost daily basis, and he is very much our most trusted advisor and is very much an extension of our firm.’
‘Commercially savvy, showing attention to detail and the ability to deliver on time even when given unreasonable deadlines.’
'They are very much attuned to the latest industry practices and commercial in their advice which is really helpful for an in-house counsel', says a client of Macfarlanes LLP, which has a prominent buy-side practice. Its work encompasses prime brokerage, derivatives, repos, clearing and debt trading for large and sophisticated funds. The firm recently acted for BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited in relation to its Phase 5 initial margin obligations. 'They continue to impress', says a client of lead partner William Sykes and Richard Fletcher, noting that 'the service you get is quick, smart, sensible and good value'. Christopher Acton, who frequently advises hedge funds, managed account platforms and proprietary trading houses, is 'on top of the legal detail but immensely practical and pragmatic'.
Will Sykes; Richard Fletcher
Other key lawyers:
Chris Acton; Robert Daniell
‘We have used the Macfarlanes team for some years now and they continue to impress. Whether small tasks or large projects, the service you get is quick, smart, sensible and good value. The team have the experience and strength-in-depth to turn around the more commoditised project work quickly and at an acceptable cost. For bespoke and nuanced arrangements and advice, they are sharp and clear-thinking. We are always confident that they fully understand the commercial complexities as well as the legal analysis.’
‘Will Sykes and senior counsel Rob Daniell. Will and Rob both bring a wealth of sell-side experience to bear when batting for the buy-side – and it shows. Both are thoughtful and practical. They will tell you what brokers will accept and set out the risks you might need to take on. If you have a question, you can call them up and you always feel they’ll have the answer.’
‘This team has superior practical experience of derivative transactions. Some of the team have worked in industry previously and therefore know exactly what firms are looking for in terms of deliverables.’
‘Christopher Acton, ex-Slaughter and May, is on top of the legal detail but immensely practical and pragmatic. He understands what we want done and how to do it. Robert Daniell is very technical and understands complex points.’
‘A very high-calibre team, fantastic work product, great client relationships. Highly dependable. One of our go-to firms. Always enjoy working with the Macfarlanes team.’
‘Richard Fletcher is a particular standout. Highly knowledgeable and user friendly (both with the client and other side of a deal). Always produces exceptional work product. Good value for money.’
‘I have worked with Macfarlanes for over 10 years. They are my first choice of derivatives and repurchase transactions counsel. Their turnaround times are exceptional, they are approachable and engaging. They are very competent of the legal and regulatory regime in an ever-changing regulatory or political canvas. They are very much attuned to the latest industry practices and commercial in their advice which is really helpful for an in-house counsel.’
‘William Sykes – an exceptional lawyer. I have been working with Will for over 10 years and highly value his advice. Will’s strengths are in-dept knowledge of law and regulation combined with a commercial approach, promptness and helpfulness. I find Will’s ability to synthesise and drill through the multitude of rules, subsequently applying them to the commercial objective quite unique – his advice certainly makes the work of an in-house counsel easier. He is very well respected by the buy-side (asset management) community and that is the other valuable element of his counsel – he has helpful insight as to how the industry participants are approaching a certain matter.’
BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited in its capacity as Trustee of the Pension Scheme
Venn Partners LLP (trading as ARA Venn)
- Advising BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited in its capacity as Trustee of the Pension Scheme in relation to its Phase 5 initial margin (IM) obligations.
- Acted for Venn Partners LLP on its appointment by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to operate, manage and deliver the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme.
- Assisting Partners Group with their global derivatives requirement and the negotiation of ISDA & IIFM Tahawwut Master Agreement and associated shari-ah-compliant collateral documentation for transactions in Islamic derivatives.
Morrison Foerster is 'very professional always giving precise relevant legal advice in an efficient manner'. The firm is best known for its work on equity derivatives and margin loans, though it also provides cross-border regulatory advice and is active in structured products and CLO warehousing transactions. Lead partner Vladimir Maly is 'always prepared to go the extra mile, thinks outside of the box and is proactive in his thinking'. He recently worked with Jeremy Jennings-Mares, who handles structured securities such as equity-linked, credit-linked and fund-linked securities, OTC derivatives and receivables financings, to advise investment banks on the effects of financial regulatory reform on derivatives trades. Polly Ehrman handles bespoke transaction structures within the context of M&A, emerging markets and margin lending.
Other key lawyers:
Jeremy Jennings-Mares; Polly Ehrman
‘Deep knowledge and insight into ISDA and the ability to structure and value the derivative instrument and reflect it into the documentation. Experience handling complex commercial agreements.’
‘Tenacity, patience, high communication skill, and the team shows creativity and innovation.’
‘Vlad Maly is great at keeping close contact with clients, following up with updates/news that might be relevant to projects that are already closed. His involvement with practices in NY and London make him a universal specialist with immediate knowledge of peculiarities in both jurisdictions, which is valuable both in projects relevant to just one of them and cross-border items.’
‘The Morrison & Foerster team is very professional, always giving precise relevant legal advice in an efficient manner. They have always worked around the clock to ensure deadlines for transactions are never missed. The quality of legal advice is to a high standard and the team are very experienced in the area of corporate equity derivatives and margin loan financing products. The team have been a very valuable partner to us for the growth plan intended for corporate equity derivatives and margin loan business, numerous transactions have already been successfully concluded in a relative short period of time.’
‘Morrison & Foerster partner Vlad Maly has been invaluable to our deal team covering both EMEA and the US, as well as APAC. Vlad is always available at even short notice to provide legal advice on urgent matters and is a subject matter expert, we struggle to find a time when Vlad could not provide us with the right guidance. Vlad distinguishes his firm from the rest of the competitors, as he is always prepared to go the extra mile to assist us, in certain occasions providing detailed term sheets and structuring advice. Vlad provides an excellent customer service, very attentive and regularly checking in on the progress of various files. Vlad has an excellent network and good breadth of the overall market, he is able to provide the latest updates and changes in the regulatory landscape and provided us with in depth views for certain countries such as Russia and on-going sanctions. Morrision & Foerster is the trusted legal partner for ING in the corporate equity derivatives and margin loan business, we look forward to continuing working in close corroboration for the future.’
‘Strong knowledge and commercial acumen.’
‘Vlad Maly is a great guy, knows his stuff, thinks outside of the box, helps clients in a unique way that I haven’t seen from other law firms, engages and is proactive in his thinking.’
- Advised a number of investment banks on derivatives matters relating to financial regulatory reform, including MiFID 2/MiFIR and Basel III.
- Advised various central banks and multilateral agencies in Latin America, as well as various banks, investment firms and corporates on EMIR and MiFID matters.
The energy and infrastructure group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP is predominantly active in the commodity derivatives market, and clients describe 'an easily approachable and available team with a very commercial and practical approach'. Practice head Edward Humphries, who is 'excellent at identifying just what needs to be done, and at doing it efficiently', focuses on trading, structured trading, financing, regulation and M&A in relation to energy and other commodities, while Hannah Roscoe is an expert energy trade through power purchase agreements. They worked together to assist long-standing client ENGIE Global Markets with energy commodity trading agreements, including power, gas, carbon and weather trading matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have worked with Ed Humphries, particularly in relation to commodities/energy and carbon emission allowances. He is excellent at identifying just what needs to be done, and at doing it efficiently.’
‘I have worked with Ed Humphries. Apart from being charming, he is commercial, smart, and efficient. He is not formulaic. As a result, his legal work is just what you need, and not overdone.’
‘Very strong expertise in structured products and derivatives/regulation.’
‘Edward Humphries is a pleasure to work with.’
‘A very commercial and practical approach, an easily approachable and available team. A highly experienced team delivering a high level of work in time.’
Commercial Metals Company (CMC)
Conrad Energy (client for 1 year)
Energiekontor (client for 11 years)
ENGIE Global Markets (client for 14 years)
EP UK Investments Limited
IPM Energy Trading Limited (now ENGIE UK Markets Limited) (client for 17 years)
JP Morgan (client for 7 years)
Mercuria Energy Group (client for 7 years)
MET International AG (client for 1 year)
Mitsui Bussan Commodities Ltd (client for 8 years)
Petroineos Trading Limited
Respira International Limited
SOCAR Trading SA (client for 11 years)
Storengy UK Limited
Trailstone UK Limited (client for 4 years)
- Advising JP Morgan Securities plc on various matters, including the impact of negative oil pricing on existing trading arrangements and future mitigation techniques across JP Morgan’s trading portfolio and, separately, on a complex carbon derivatives total return swap.
- Advising longstanding client ENGIE Global Markets as lead external counsel on the negotiation of all energy commodity trading agreements. This includes recently representing the team in multiple derivative-based synthetic corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) including two with Amazon (backed off by upstream PPAs in France and Italy) and one with Endesa in Spain (backed off by an upstream PPA in Spain).
- Acting as external counsel on the negotiation of gas, LNG, storage and power trading agreements and other commodities-related activities for Petroineos Trading Limited, as well as on the inauguration and roll-out of significant UK and northern Europe gas swap trading activities and gas interconnector capacity and trading agreements.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP has 'a very focused and motivated team - always focused on best execution with client and very commercial approach'. The firm's derivatives and structured products work is firmly focused on CLOs, in which the firm is among the dominant players, though it also handles a broader range of structured finance, securitisation and derivatives matters. Structured credit partner Cameron Saylor 'always available to help with a query/issue and his advice is clear and practical'. He is a market-leading authority on US and EU risk retention rules and, in just the first quarter of 2021, led 33 CLO transactions. The 'calm and measured' Diala Minott handles a range of structured finance transactions, including CLOs and bespoke credit and debt funds.
Other key lawyers:
Cameron Saylor; Diala Minott
‘Team has extensive knowledge of the area (CLOs) and the commercial drivers for various aspects of them.’
‘Cameron Saylor is fantastic. He’s always available to help with a query/issue and his advice is clear and practical.’
‘Very focused and motivated team – always focused on best execution with client and very commercial approach.’
‘Cameron Saylor is an outstanding solicitor, one of the best if not the best I have ever worked with. Always very solution-driven and client focused, he knows how to best represent the interests of its clients and always works towards creative solutions which are win-win. In addition to being a top solicitor, very creative, great leader for his teams and delivering the best service, it is great pleasure to work with him as he is very nice which is a great quality. He has helped us build our CLO platform from scratch and wouldn’t have been able to launch this new business without his help.’
‘Exceptional team, very talented and experienced.’
‘Cameron Saylor is providing an exceptional level of service to the our CLO team and is always looking to go above and beyond. Quality of his work is constantly extremely high whether it’s related to challenging or innovative deals. Cameron has a deep knowledge of complex regulation and new legal requirements. The breadth of his experience is very valuable for us. It’s a pleasure to work with Cameron and he is the best legal adviser for our CLO transactions.’
‘Paul Hastings is THE team to go to for anything CLO-related. They are so knowledgeable of the industry and are great advocates for positive reform.’
‘Diala Minott is a pleasure to deal with, has excellent contacts and technical ability, always calm and measured in her approach, recommending sensible and practical solutions to issues that may arise. She ensures the team is appropriately resourced to deliver the project on time and stays fully involved throughout the process.’
MacKay Shields Europe Investment Management
Ostrum Asset Management
Northwoods European CLO Management (an Angelo Gordon vehicle)
Morgan Stanley & Co.
Sculptor (Och Ziff)
- Dryden 27 Euro CLO 2017 DAC – advised PGIM Loan Originator Manager Limited as collateral manager and PGIM Limited as co-collateral manager in respect of a reset of one of their legacy 2017 deals. The deal was valued at €479.9m.
- Representing Citigroup in connection with Onex 3 reset -2021. This deal represents the first refinancing for Onex in the Eur CLO market. The value of the transaction was €439m.
- Represented Goldman Sachs International in connection with Anchorage CBO Reset. This deal represented the first refinancing of a CBO, a unique type of CLO transaction and was valued at €411m.
Ropes & Gray has a small asset management practice that frequently advises clients on derivatives transactions and regulatory matters. Among those clients are leading asset managers, alternative credit providers, hedge fund managers and PE firms. In the regulatory sphere, the firm is known for its cross-border capabilities, and its technical expertise in areas such as UCITS eligible assets rules, risk retention and other regulatory regimes affecting the use of derivatives and structured products by asset managers. Anna Lawry is the lead partner and has more than 15 years' experience in advising on derivatives in all the major asset classes, whether OTC or on-exchange, and any associated ISDA, collateral, brokerage, clearing and custody arrangements.
- Providing asset management client Western Asset Management with day-to-day advice on derivatives documentation and associated areas of regulation affecting the manager and its funds and accounts.
- Advised BidFair on certain hedging arrangements in context of take private transaction.
- Providing asset management client Grantham, Mayo van Otterloo with advice on derivatives documentation and associated areas of regulation, including in relation to its UCITS funds.