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According to one client, Allen & Overy LLP has ‘the strongest securitisation practice in the market’; ‘it continues to provide cutting-edge advice in the field of securitisation and its knowledge of the underlying asset classes and the structures used to securitise them is second to none’. Clients also note the ‘great strength in depth’ of the practice, which has a strong track record of precedent-setting transactions in a range of asset classes including residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, consumer loans, corporate loans, CLOs, auto loans and leases, trade receivables, public sector, project finance and infrastructure. The firm is often at the forefront of market developments; in a standout matter, the team advised Royal Bank of Canada as arranger on Virgin Media’s £125m mobile handset-backed securitisation programme. Tim Conduit was the lead partner on that deal. In another innovative instruction, Sally Onions (who is noted for her ‘client-focused approach and real expertise in complex securitisation transactions’) led the team advising Morgan Stanley and the joint lead arrangers on the £6.1bn Towd Point Mortgage Funding 2016 (Granite 1) deal, which involved a portfolio of residential mortgage loans originated by Northern Rock. The ‘consistently excellent’ team is led by Salim Nathoo, who advised Banco Santander as lead manager on the £600m Motor 2016-1 auto loan securitisation. Other standout practitioners include Angela Clist, who covers all asset classes but is a market leader in covered bonds; Christian Lambie, whose work includes whole business securitisation, structured commercial real estate and CMBS financing; and Lucy Oddy, who acted for issuer Austrian bank BAWAG on its £920m debut RMBS transaction backed by Northern Rock mortgages acquired from UK Asset Resolution. Clients also recommend newly promoted partner Tom Constance.

A standout firm in the securitisation market’, Clifford Chance LLP acts for the full range of market participants including sponsors, issuers and originators; arrangers and dealers; trustees, swap providers and servicers; and governments, regulators and rating agencies. Often at the forefront of market developments, its team in London works closely with the firm’s European offices on trade receivables financing, covered bonds and deals based on consumer assets such as credit cards. The firm continued to be involved in a number of market firsts, including its advice to HSBC as arranger on the €648m securitisation of a pool of SME loans originated by the National Bank of Greece, which was the first loan securitisation in Greece since 2007. The firm acted for the same client, in this instance as lender, on the £100m warehousing of NewDay Cards' Amazon and TUI-branded credit card offerings. Kevin Ingram, who is prominent in credit card deals but has a broad securitisation practice, is also recommended, as are Stephen Curtis, who specialises in structured debt financings in the infrastructure, utilities and real estate sectors; Andrew Forryan, who focuses on whole-business, mortgage and real estate securitisation; real estate finance partner Emma Matebalavu, who frequently handles loan portfolio sales, purchases and financings, CMBS and RMBS; receivables financing expert Simeon Radcliff, who focuses on developing markets including Russia and Turkey; head of the China desk Maggie Zhao; and Christopher Walsh, who acts for both arrangers and originators on RMBS, CMBS and covered bond deals. Swaps specialist Jessica Littlewood, who is active in the CLO space, and newly promoted partner Timothy Cleary, who has become a prominent practitioner in synthetic securitisations, also garner praise from clients.

According to clients, Linklaters LLPhas dominated the RMBS market for several years and has real strength across all asset classes’. The firm’s lawyers ‘have seen everything and bring clear, measured, commercial advice’. In an illustration of its RMBS workload, the team acted for Cerberus and FirstKey Mortgage on the securitisation of Northern Rock’s mortgage book in the three deals; of those, the £6.2bn Towd Point Mortgage Funding 2016-Granite 1 plc was the largest single RMBS transaction in the European market since the financial crisis and one of the first securitisations to comply with both US and European Union risk retention rules. Andrew Vickery (‘outstanding in covered bonds and RMBS deals’) heads the team, which includes James Harbach and Adam Fogarty, who are ‘leaders in the field of super-size loan portfolio securitisations’. Julian Davies, who is best known for structured utility bonds and whole-business securitisations, and head of the London structured finance group in London Mark Nuttall are also highly recommended, as are newly promoted partner Alex Shopov and counsel Reza Taylor, who played prominent roles in the Granite transactions, and counsel William Trotman, who joined from Simmons & Simmons and specialises in RMBS, CMBS and covered bonds. Harbach led a team that advised Greene King on a £340m deal that was the first pub securitisation since the financial crisis. Vickery advised TwentyFour Asset Management LLP on the securitisation of UK buy-to-let loans, including a £300m issuance by Malt Hill No.1. Nuttall’s highlights included acting for National Grid on a £13.8bn whole-business securitisation stapled financing relating to the sale of a 61% share in its UK gas distribution business NGGD to a consortium of long-term infrastructure investors.

According to clients, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPhas hired really well over the years; you can feel the quality in the team, especially on highly technical points’. It is viewed as ‘a go-to firm for creative solutions and highly innovative deals, with the ability to lead first-of-their-kind transactions and solve complex problems’. The firm, which leads the market for advising arrangers on CLO transactions, has wide-ranging expertise that has seen it act in a number of market firsts, including the first public securitisation of peer-to-peer loans, the first UK mobile handset receivables securitisation, the first rated Belgian fleet lease securitisation, the first Austrian auto and consumer deal, and the first Danish consumer loan receivables transaction. The five-partner team in London includes ‘excellent securitisation expert’ Stephen Day, who leads on many of the firm’s asset-backed securitisations; US-qualified Jeremiah Wagner, who handles innovative and complex deals, as well as providing advice regulatory matters; CLO specialist David Quirolo, who is ‘everywhere in the CLO market’; Nick Shiren, who focuses on structured finance and CLOs; and newly promoted partner Daniel Tobias, who regularly advises arrangers, collateral managers and warehouse finance providers on European CLO 2.0 transactions and loan warehouse facilities. ‘Rising star’ and special counsel Suzanne Bell is ‘smart, responsive, creative and hardworking’ and is a key member of the firm’s ABS team. Special counsel Claire Puddicombe is also recommended for CLO transactions. Key deals included advising Funding Circle on the $146m securitisation of peer-to-peer loans to SMEs, which represented the first deployment of European Investment Bank funding through a direct lending marketplace to support small businesses. The firm also advised For Emil Frey on a CHF297m auto lease programme. Angus Duncan joined Winston & Strawn London LLP.

Dentonscompares well to its peers and is developing a good team with a deep bench that can cover issues in multiple jurisdictions’. One client remarks that ‘both senior partners and associates have strong engagement and provide excellent value for money’. Residential mortgage finance, including RMBS transactions, covered bonds and warehousing transactions, is a key area of focus for the London team, though it is also a prominent player in the auto loan securitisation market and has raised its profile in the market for CLOs. Edward Hickman, who is a leading practitioner for securitisations involving consumer assets such as auto loan receivables, and ‘industry-leading capital markets expertPeter Voisey, who ‘manages his resources very well and ensures that the service is always very good’, jointly lead the team. CLO specialist Martin Sharkey, who joined from Clifford Chance LLP, ‘is hands-on and available, and is well supported by a good team of associates’. Clients also single out ‘extremely diligent’ associate Moeen Qayum, who ‘can be relied on to deliver under pressure’. Voisey’s standout deals included acting for Skipton Building Society on the £525m securitisation of prime mortgage loans under its Darrowby RMBS programme, and acting for Morgan Stanley as arranger on a €560m public securitisation of prime mortgage loans. In the CLO space, Sharkey advised manager Barings (UK) on English and US law aspects of its partial refinancing of the Babson Euro CLO 2014-1. Hickman advised Teva Pharmaceuticals on its €750m pan-European trade receivables securitisation.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP combines complex securitisation, structured products and commodities expertise within one team – as a result, its partners are able to handle a broad range of deal types and asset classes. In the securitisation market the firm has an established track record in landmark transactions for both corporates and banks, and its regulatory team is also a market leader in assisting clients with the implementation of new market rules such as EMIR and MiFID. Although the team saw the retirement of Ian Falconer and Dougall Molson’s move to Fieldfisher in 2016, it continues to have leading lights in Christopher Barratt, whose securitisation practice focuses largely on infrastructure and real estate assets, and Marcus Mackenzie, who predominantly acts on infrastructure and whole-business deals. Senior associate Helen Jones focuses on debt capital market transactions and has experience advising initial purchasers and collateral managers on collateralised loan obligations. Senior associate Keshini Rajan has experience in financial asset and real estate securitisations, and counsel Jenny McIvor acts on whole-business and bank/bond financing deals. Highlights included acting for Virgin Money on the £1.2bn Gosforth 2016-1 RMBS and the £1bn Gosforth 2016-2 RMBS, which was the first securitisation to comply with both European Union and US risk retention rules. Barratt also advised Grays’ Inn Holdings on the £100m securitisation of ground rents, which involved a complex structure, collateralised against pre-existing structures and secured over an evolving portfolio of properties. Derivatives partner James Grand also handled significant CLO deals including a €413m deal for Investcorp Credit Management EU.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLPprovides high-quality advice at all levels’, according to one client. The firm has an experienced team led by Michael Poulton, ‘one of the most experienced lawyers in the market’, who is ‘a first-class structuring lawyer with long and deep experience across all of the product classes within structured finance transactions and who deploys a sensible and commercial approach; he possesses one of the most impressive technical brains in the business’. Jake Jackaman is the other key partner in the team; his expertise covers cash flow CLOs, synthetic CDOs, credit funds, securitisations and portfolio credit default swaps. Jackaman led advice to Tideway on the financing and development of the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel, which included the £450m issuance of bonds under Tideway’s whole-business securitisation programme. Of counsel Francesca Segurini, senior associate Joy Amis and associate Charlene Kong, who is ‘a thoroughly competent and effective lawyer’, all play significant roles in the practice. Poulton’s highlights included advising arrangers Merrill Lynch International, Citigroup Global Markets and Banco Sabadell on TSB Bank’s second securitisation issuance backed by residential mortgages. The £3bn deal was TSB’s inaugural issuance under Rule 144a and enabled the client to access to the US market. He also acted for Cabot Square Capital on numerous transactions, including the sale of a £120m portfolio of auto hire loans that was funded through a bespoke securitisation-style warehouse structure.

Hogan Lovells International LLPhas a constructive and informed approach that is on a par with the Magic Circle’, and regularly handles some of the largest and most high-profile deals in the market. In a standout matter, David Hudd advised the UK government’s Department for Education on its plan to sell £12bn of student loan debt, which will be the first securitisation in this asset class. Julian Craughan (who is ‘helpful, informed and pragmatic in his approach’) acts for arrangers and originators on asset-backed financings and securitisations in numerous asset classes including automotive receivables, marketplace lending receivables, commercial and residential mortgages, and infrastructure assets. Tauhid Ijaz is a highly experienced securitisation partner who regularly advises on portfolio sales and balance sheet management transactions in the commercial and residential real estate, infrastructure, equipment leasing and insurance sectors. US partner Dennis Dillon focuses predominantly on trade receivables securitisations and commercial paper conduits. Kit Johnson advises corporate trustees on a diverse range of structured products. Sharon Lewis, who ‘provides solid and timely advice tailored to clients’ needs’, is also recommended. Other highlights for the team included advising Rentplus on its affordable housing programme, which included a CPI-linked secured note financing programme. The team also acted for a large US financial institution on the £100m securitisation of automotive hire purchase agreements.

Mayer Brown International LLPhas a great handle on the key issues that fund clients face when looking to securitise assets; it provides real depth of knowledge, great client and counterparty relationship management, and value for money’. The firm has longstanding relationships with securitisation teams at investment banks such as Lloyds Banking Group, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, in addition to having a strong private equity and hedge fund client base. Its recent work for alternative investment managers includes advising Värde Partners on the only agented CMBS to close in 2016; the £203m transaction was secured against UK commercial property assets and the key lawyers were global co-head of finance Dominic Griffiths and David O’Connor, who is ‘a fantastic adviser with great market contacts; he really helps to get deals over the line with top-quality legal advice’. O’Connor also led the advice to Cheyne Capital Management (UK) LLP as arranger and lead manager on a £101m CMBS to finance Brookfield’s acquisition of the CityPoint skyscraper at 1 Ropemaker Street in London, which was the first public CMBS in 2017. He also acted for Natixis and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the £261m RMBS issued by Oncilla Mortgage Funding 2016-1 plc. Also recommended are Kevin Hawken, who advises financial institutions on cross-border securitisation and is a key partner for regulatory matters, and senior associates Neal Handa and Noman Ali. Richard Todd joined Fieldfisher

Norton Rose Fulbrightbuilds a team to suit a client’s deal with appropriate levels of experience and ability to ensure that there is ready access to senior practitioners throughout the process’. In addition to its prominence in the residential mortgage-backed market both in the UK and abroad, the firm is developing a strong presence in SME funding, restructuring and covered bonds. Securitisation and structured bond specialist Sandrine Sauvel is noted for her ‘subject matter expertise and ability to be entrepreneurial in identifying new business opportunities’. Sauvel is co-head of the London securitisation team along with David Shearer, who ‘provides calm and measured support even in particularly sensitive and innovative transactions with very tight deadlines; he has excellent market knowledge, an understanding of commercial drivers and the ability to innovate’. Farmida Bi advises numerous banks including Citibank on securitisations and last year acted for Law Debenture Trust Corporation as trustee on a series of bond issues by Ukraine with a total value of $3bn. Other highlights for the firm included acting for originator Kensington Mortgage Company on a £362m RMBS deal; assisting Eurobank Ergasias on updating its €5bn covered bond programme; and acting for the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) on developing financing structures for the SME sector.

Paul Hastings LLP is well known as one of the leaders in the CMBS market, having worked on issues such as A/B structures, IO strips, servicing advances, NAI amounts, and single servicing agreement structures for multi-jurisdictional CMBS deals. The firm has real strength in depth in the CMBS space thanks to Conor Downey, Charles Roberts and Miles Flynn. Lorenza Talpo and newly promoted partner Jennie Dorsaint further enhance that capability. Other key figures include Paul Severs, who is a respected practitioner in the RMBS market, and Christian Parker, who specialises in non-real estate structured finance including structured bond and fund-linked products. Last year, the practice significantly enhanced its offering with the hire of the hugely respected structured finance team of Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor from Ashurst. Severs recently advised Kensington Mortgage Company on amendments to six of its securitisation transactions to consolidate the holding of the legal title to the underlying loans into one group company. He also advised the same client on the £360m Finsbury Square 2016-1 RMBS. Downey and Parker acted for Deutsche Trustee Company as security trustee and cash manager in regard to the Fairhold single-borrower securitisation of freehold RPI-linked ground rents and transfer fees backed by a portfolio of housing in the UK.

Sidley Austin LLPperforms to a very high standard compared to other firms’, according to one client. The firm continues to handles a wide range of European CLOs, CMBS, international trade receivables, auto loans, RMBS, portfolio sales and more esoteric areas such as peer-to-peer lending deals. Graham Penn is co-leader of the firm’s Global Finance group and is a recognised authority on structured finance and securitisation. Rupert Wall is a standout lawyer for ABS and CLO deals, whom one client describes as ‘a subject matter expert with the ability to get straight to the point’; he ‘has a brain the size of a planet and works very well in high pressure situations’. Nick Brittain handles a broad range of servicing, strategic and enforcement issues for CMBS clients. John McGrath advises on contentious and transactional securitisation matters and is currently handling a large deal in the buy-to-let mortgage space. Jason Richardson is singled out for his ‘significant experience in the structured finance space and strong knowledge; he provides tempered advice and innovative solutions’. Richardson has a strong track record of acting for arrangers of CDOs and collateralised funds obligation transactions, for sponsors of asset-backed commercial paper programmes, and arrangers of UK and European CMBS deals. Wall advised Spire Partners on a €360m CLO, while Richardson advised Globalworth Real Estate Investments Limited on a €180m deal secured by commercial property in Romania.

Simmons & Simmons is ‘very commercial and technically able, with an excellent team that, while partner led, is strong throughout’. Clients also remark upon the team’s ‘good value for money and excellent industry knowledge’. The firm acts for leading investment banks, asset managers and emerging fintech clients, as well as government and supranational clients and trade bodies. It is often involved in first-of-their-kind transactions, including the first European marketplace loan securitisation for Funding Circle; this £129m deal was backed by loans originated through the client’s online lending platform made available to UK SMEs. The team also acted for Greensill Capital on a financing transaction arising from the sale of Alcan Aluminium UK to SIMEC Group, in which Greensill Capital bought the rights to future cash flows arising from receivables. Another notable deal saw the firm advise the European Investment Fund on a complex and bespoke synthetic securitisation involving a tranched portfolio guarantee of UK healthcare loans originated by The Royal Bank of Scotland. ‘Hardworking and solutions-oriented lawyerMichael Lorrainegoes the extra mile for clients and always knows what’s what on any serious legal issue’. James Bresslaw (who worked with Lorraine on the Funding Circle transaction), newly promoted David Toole (who led the transaction for the European Investment Fund), and financial regulatory partner Penny Miller are also recommended. Amer Siddiqui joined from Clifford Chance LLP.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP has a ‘very impressive practice that has moved with the times’ and plays a role in ‘many of the most innovative and complex deals’. The firm is best known for its CLO practice, which accounts for around half of the structured finance team’s workload. It is the leading counsel to asset managers in the European CLO market, and acts for global managers Blackstone/GSO and Carlyle. Co-head of the global structured finance and derivatives practice Jacky Kelly advised those managers on three new CLOs in 2016 and is currently working on eight more. She is also helping to develop a new structure for GSO’s CLO platform, which will be the first to be compliant with new risk retention rules in both the US and Europe. Outside the CLO market Brian Maher is advising Barclays as arranger and Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Lloyds as joint lead managers on the £4bn securitisation of the first sale of student loans by the UK government under its asset disposal plan. Counsel Thomas Falkus acted alongside Kelly for Hertz Europe on its European and Australian rental car securitisation programmes. Financial taxation consultant Andrew Norwood, who advises banks, CLO managers, originators and borrowers on the UK tax treatment of securitisations, acted alongside Kelly for KKR Credit on the structuring of a servicing and credit platform, which will purchase distressed Greek loan portfolios. Maher advised the same client on an agreement to invest in a portfolio of shipping loans to be sold by Nord/LB and the creation of a shipping portfolio management company by KKR and a sovereign wealth fund, which will be structured as a securitisation.

Baker McKenzie provides ‘a high level of service, strong drafting skills, quick turnaround times and competitive prices’. The firm’s securitisation practice covers a wide range of assets and structures, including bespoke and innovative structured deals, but it is best known as a leading adviser on large, cross-border trade receivables deals. Its client base includes international financial institutions, multinational corporates and individual counterparties, and the firm has one of the City’s leading corporate trust practices. Global head of securitisation Jonathan Walsh primarily focuses on complex, cross-border securitisations and structured financing transactions, including supply chain financings and deals funded in the asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) market. Of counsel Simon Schiff is ‘accessible and has a high level of knowledge’. His broad practice includes work on structured finance, securitisation, receivables financing and supply chain financing for arrangers, originators, rating agencies and investment funds. Head of structured capital markets Simon Porter is regarded as a leading adviser to trustees. Senior associates Jeremy Levy and Sarah Porter play key roles in many of the practice’s major deals. In a key deal for 2016, the team advised FirstRand Bank on the £572m issue of auto loan securitisation notes by Turbo Finance 7 PLC, which was the first in the series to include a euro-denominated tranche, and which included for the first time personal contract purchase agreement and hire purchase loans. The team also acted for PrimeRevenue on the establishment of an innovative supply chain finance programme.

At CMS, experienced partners Michael Cavers, Jason Harding and Jason Brooks each bring specific areas of expertise within the structured finance group. Cavers advises corporates, trustees and financial institutions on a range of securitisation transactions, including whole-business deals; Harding acts for leading financial institutions and corporates in all areas of the debt capital markets, including securitisations and CDOs; and Brooks has a diverse derivatives and structured finance practice that sees him act in innovative asset-backed and synthetic credit transactions. Last year, Cavers continued to advise longstanding client Ei Group, which was formerly Enterprise Inns, on its £1bn pub securitisation, which included amendments to documentation in light of new legislation. Harding assisted Northumbrian Water with changes to its existing £248m securitisation of the water resources operating agreement for the Kielder reservoir following the ratings downgrade of the account bank. Highlights for Brooks included acting for UniCredit’s asset backed note programme TransAlp on programme updates for private securitisations and repackagings.

Dechert LLP fields a ‘very experienced, organised and responsive team with deep industry knowledge’. The firm’s finance and real estate team, which operate as a single integrated unit, handle CMBS and RMBS deals, as well as portfolios sales and acquisitions, CLOs, warehouse financing and trade receivables deals. Its broad client base includes Apollo Management International, Capita Group, Orchard Global Asset Management and VTB Capital. Charles Malpass, who leads the finance and real estate team in Europe and is ‘easy to work with and provides trusted advice’, and US-qualified James Waddington are the key partners in the London office. Giles Belsey is also recommended. In a key mandate, the team acted for alternative investment manager Apollo in a private securitisation transaction in Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK, which involved the unwinding of the ALBA 2012-1 PLC RMBS and the sale of underlying loans with a total value exceeding £330m. Another highlight deal for Apollo saw Malpass advise on a £750m residuals repackaging securitisation programme, arranged by Morgan Stanley, which was also the initial investor in the programme. For Eagle Point Credit Company, Waddington assisted with the acquisition of US-focused CLO investment manager American Capital Asset Management, which has approximately $3.4bn in assets under management. The deal involved significant work on UK regulatory and risk retention matters. Jeremy Trinder moved to Latham & Watkins.

The team at Fieldfisheralways makes clients feel like the lawyers are available immediately and at any time’. The firm advises issuers, trustees, originators, swap providers and investors across the whole spectrum of securitisation and structured finance transactions, with a particular focus on bespoke transactions. It has grown it position as an adviser to alternative finance providers and fintech companies. Key figures include Alex Campbell, who is ‘excellent at relationship management and ensures that clients are always kept up-to-date on where a project stands’, and corporate trust partner Gonzalo Fernandez. They are supported by derivatives partners Guy Usher and Edward Miller, as well as Richard Todd, who joined from Mayer Brown International LLP and is a leading practitioner in ABCP conduit-financed securitisations; Dougall Molson, who came over from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and specialises in complex structured finance, commodity finance and derivatives; and Stephen Moller from K&L Gates LLP, who is active in alternative finance for fintech clients, with an emphasis on supply chain finance, marketplace lending and trade receivables transactions. Marsili Hale, who advises on peer-to-peer lending platforms and loan servicing, and regulatory specialist Azad Ali, who joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP are also recommended. The team is advising issuers of 26 RMBS deals with a total value exceeding £10bn on the impact of the S&P rating downgrade of Barclays as account bank, liquidity facility provider and awap provider.

Latham & Watkins has invested in its structured finance team and is benefiting from increasingly prominent roles in large and innovative deals. Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya joined from Slaughter and May as co-chair of the global structured finance and securitisation practice; his work covers a wide range of asset classes and structures including public and private debt, equity-linked and hybrid capital markets issues, securitisations, CMBS, cash and synthetic CLOs, and OTC and exchange-traded derivatives. He advised Deutsche Bank on the £100m sale of a mortgage-backed loan facility, and acted for Grattan Securities on a €186m synthetic securitisation, which was Bank of Ireland’s first deal of that kind. Mark Nicolaides’s highlights included acting for Credit Suisse on Virgin Media’s £350m payables securitisation financing, which uses ING Bank’s trade payables platform. In this first-of-its-kind transaction the firm helped structure the original payables terms, as well as the terms of the ING platform, to create payables with the requisite level of creditworthiness to support a securitisation. Nicolaides also advised on the Punch Taverns restructuring, which was the first whole-business restructuring to include a debt-release clause across the entire capital stack. Other highlights included advising SoftBank Group Corporation on the first-ever securitisation of mobile handset leases and device residual values for Sprint Corporation.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP established its UK securitisation and structured finance team in 2015 with the recruitment of four partners; the practice has since developed a track record in complex deals across a range of asset classes. It has quickly grown its client base to include BlackRock Investment Management, JPMorgan, Barclays, TradeRisks, Citigroup Global Markets and Morgan Stanley. Paul Matthews, Matthew Duncan (who is ‘one of the most experienced lawyers in the London market’) and Theresa Kradjian each have more than 20 years’ experience in the market and Lisa Cargill has an enviable track record of first-of-their-kind transactions, including the first UK securitisation of consumer loans originated through a marketplace lending platform and the first rated auto loan securitisations in Finland and Sweden. The firm’s extensive list of highlights from 2016 included advising BlackRock on the establishment of its first RMBS programme, London Wall Mortgage Capital, and the subsequent issuance of £244m in notes. The team also acted for MW Eaglewood LLP in connection with the securitisation of consumer loans originated through the Zopa peer-to-peer lending marketplace. Kradjian’s standout deals included advising Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on £750m of notes issuances under Clydesdale Bank’s £20bn Lanark Master Issuer plc RMBS programme.

At Reed Smith LLPthe overall level of service is excellent; the firm has solid experience in this area, provides a personalised approach and has a willingness to find solutions for any problem encountered’. Tamara Box leads a flexible group of partners who act across a broad range of structured finance and debt matters. The London team draws on the considerable strength of the firm’s US offices to play a prominent role in transatlantic deals for an extensive list of originators, arrangers, issuers, trustees, servicers, rating agencies and other service providers. Nick Stainthorpe is a key partner in the team and frequently advises originators, conduit sponsors and arrangers on the securitisation of assets such as consumer loans, trade finance instruments, trade receivables and secured corporate loans in developed and emerging markets. Ranajoy Basu’s broad debt practice sees him act on covered bond transactions, standalone RMBS deals, emerging market securitisations, infrastructure financings, segregated asset pool programmes, ABCP conduits and renewable energy securitisations. DCM and securitisation partner Daniel Winterfeldt joined from CMS to add US law capability in DCM and securitisation transactions. James Fisher is a key adviser to trustees and frequently handles the securitisation and restructuring of commercial real estate debt. Counsel Andrzej Janiszewski, newly promoted partner Simon Hugo and associate Sarah Caldwell (who is ‘excellent with documentation and all related advice’) are also recommended. Box and Hugo advised Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse on a CHF214m securitisation of Swiss auto lease receivables originated by Cembra Money Bank.

Slaughter and May has a multi-disciplinary approach that sees partners in the finance practice handle a broad range of deal types and asset classes including RMBS, CMBS, credit cards, trade receivables, auto loans, whole-business deals and CLOs. The team is also prominent in the covered bond market and continues to act for large hedge fund clients. Other areas of expertise include advising originators, arrangers and investors on new issuances and the restructuring of existing transactions. Guy O’Keefe leads the team and acts for borrowers, issuers and lenders on some of the firm’s most complex securitisation matters. Richard Jones’s practice covers securitisations, structured finance and derivatives. Newly promoted partner Oliver Wicker and finance partners Ed Fife and Azadeh Nassiri are also recommended. Jones advised originator Santander Consumer (UK) plc on a £600m UK auto loan ABS, while Wicker acted for Deutsche Bank on the exit of its subsidiary DB UK Bank from the Eurohome UK Mortgages 2007-1 and Eurohome UK Mortgages 2007-2 securitisations. O’Keefe’s highlights included acting for UK Asset Resolution on the sale of NRAM to Cerberus in a deal connected to the sale of £13bn in residential mortgages and unsecured loans that were part of the Granite master trust securitisation. Sanjev Warna-kula-suriya moved to Latham & Watkins.

Clients of White & Case LLP rate the team for its ‘excellent work ethic; from partner to associate it provides excellent service that shows very good attention to detail’. The firm’s broad securitisation expertise covers the full range of transactions including cash and synthetic CMBS, RMBS, leveraged loans, SME loans, auto loans, auto leases, consumer loans, equipment leases, credit cards, short-term commodity financing loans, trade finance and whole-business deals. It also has a strong CLO practice both in London and New York, acting for arrangers, collateral managers and asset swap providers including BNP Paribas Asset Management, Aberdeen Asset Management, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. The firm’s presence in emerging markets and in the covered bond market is also a key strength. Gavin McLean, who is now the firm’s co-general counsel, maintains an active securitisation practice. Highlights included advising Crédit Agricole CIB and Société Générale on the issue of €700m in notes by German auto loans securitisation Cars Alliance Auto Loans Germany V 2016-1. Chris McGarry, who recently joined with a team of three associates from Ropes & Gray LLP, advises sponsors, issuers, arrangers and investors on a wide range of securitisations including European CLOs, consumer ABS, RMBS, trade receivables and esoteric asset classes such as physical commodities and TMT receivables.

The ‘superb, responsive and helpful’ team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is ‘willing to go the extra mile’ and is noted for its ‘calm, measured approach’. The firm is best known for advising on bespoke and complex securitisation transactions, typically new-money issuances privately placed with a single investor or a small syndicate of investors, and for advising investors in CLO equity and new CLO equity fund platforms. The firm also provides guidance on regulatory aspects of securitisation structures. Within this work it has a broad focus on asset classes including RMBS, CMBS, CLOs, covered bonds, auto transactions, whole-business debt structures and synthetic securitisation. Sarah Smith ‘provides thorough, detailed and practical advice even when given very tight deadlines’. Active in the structured finance and securitisation market since the early 1990s, she has ‘strong technical ability, breadth of knowledge across capital markets and an understanding of the regulatory constraints to provide a holistic view of a transaction’; ‘she is an absolute pleasure to work with’.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP has ‘significant market experience and very wide coverage in the structured finance space’. The firm acts for global financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds, pension funds, and insurance companies on a diverse range of deals that includes public and private ABS, RMBS and residential mortgage warehousing, CMBS, CLOs, trade receivables securitisation and whole-business deals. Stuart Axford is a leading light in the market and regularly acts in large and complex securitisation and structured credit transactions across a variety of asset classes. Axford acted for The Mortgage Lender on a £250m warehousing deal that enabled the client to establish a new lending platform that originates mortgages directly into a stock exchange-listed fund managed by TwentyFour Asset Management.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has developed a strong reputation for bespoke deals and has a significant presence in UK RMBS market. Its recent work in the real estate space includes advising originator clients such as Kensington Mortgages and Bluestone Mortgages, and advising the Homes and Communities Agency and the Department for Communities and Local Government on amendments to capital raising documentation related to the Affordable Housing Guarantee programme, which included £500m in new issuances by SPV Affordable Housing Finance. Another key deal saw the team act for LaSer UK as seller, originator and servicer of a £600m securitisation of unsecured personal loans. Prashanth Satyadeva leads the structured debt and capital markets group in London; in addition to advising on the LaSer deal, he also acted for Patron Capital Advisers on the securitisation of 3,500 home reversion equity release assets. Eleanor Hunwicks stands out for advice to servicers such as CBRE and Situs International on CMBS deals. Jayne Black joined the Homes and Communities Agency.

Bryan Cave has successfully grown its presence in the securitisation market as a result of a number of key hires. Rachel Kelly, who leads the group, and associate Kerry Pettigrew ‘have very broad experience; there is not much they have not seen and done before’. ‘It is rare to meet a lawyer so technically competent and commercially aware’, says one client of Kelly, who has specialised in structured finance, including securitisation and CLOs, for 24 years. Pettigrew’s areas of focus are receivables financing, securitisations and CLOs. Helena Nathanson leads the corporate trust team and advises clients structured finance, new issuances, repackagings and restructurings, corporate debt, and ABCP and MTN programmes. The firm’s active clients include US Bank Global Trustees, Wilmington Trust, Crestbridge Corporate Trustees and Deutsche Trustee Company. The team recently advised on the establishment of a new asset manager to act as a multi-originator structure for CLOs.

DLA Piper is best known for advising multinational banks and financial investors in growth securitisation markets, and its recent activity has seen it handle deals in a range of asset classes including mortgages, auto loans, consumer loans, accounts, equipment and lease receivables both in the UK and in high-growth markets such as Poland and Portugal. The firm is also active in US and European arbitrage CLOs, finance platform structuring for new challenger banks, and the transfer of performing and non-performing portfolios. The firm’s key partners include international group head of finance and projects Martin Bartlam, who recently advised Ares Management on the purchase of mezzanine notes forming part of a £130m warehouse facility backed by AvantCredit's online consumer loans; highly respected securitisation veteran and international co-chair of the financial services sector group Vincent Keaveny, who acted for a UK finance partner of several well-known car brands on the £1bn refinancing of a privately-placed auto loan securitisation of an auto-loan book; and London head of finance and markets Mark Dwyer, who is part of a team advising Heineken on the proposed acquisition of Punch Securitisation as part of a £1.15bn takeover Punch Taverns. In the CLO space, the London team acted for Ares European Loan Management LLP as collateral manager on its €417m inaugural European arbitrage CLO.

Gide Loyrette Nouel LLPscores very highly on response times, industry knowledge, appropriateness of advice and value for money’. The firm advises on regulatory and clearing issues relating to structured credit, synthetic securitisation and collateral management, as well as forex and strategic equity trades through closely co-ordinated teams in London, Paris and New York. The London office’s clients include BNP Paribas, Natixis and Société Générale. Dimitrios Logizidis is the key partner and ‘manages a very efficient team of lawyers’. Margaret Boswell and derivatives partner Karine Imbrosciano also play major roles in the team’s most significant deals. In 2016, Logizidis acted for Crédit Industriel et Commercial in its capacity as junior collateral manager and investor in the €411m Euro-Galaxy V CLO, a managed cash flow CLO comprised predominantly of corporate loans to entities in Western Europe. He also advised arrangers including Natixis on the restructuring and extension of the €460m Hertz whole business securitisation, and for BNP Paribas on the €650m international trade receivables securitisation programme put in place for pharmaceutical company Teva.

K&L Gates LLP’s ‘very commercial’ team ‘really understands how to advise capital market trustees’. The firm is best known for its role in new and legacy CMBS transactions and European CLO 2.0 deals, on which it advises financial institutions, boutique arrangers, major corporations, trustees and rating agencies. UK and pan-European real estate finance specialist Andrew Petersen leads the global finance team, in which structured finance expert Sean Crosky is a key partner in London. Crosky’s practice covers debt capital markets, structured products, receivables financings, restructurings and Islamic finance, and he is particularly active in advising trustees, loan agents and corporate service providers. Natalie Boyd, who moved from the Dubai office to London, focuses on work involving the Middle East. Petersen acted for Mount Street as special servicer to the MPC loan in the €330m Titan Europe 2007-2, and advised Mount Street and Capita Asset Services on the workout of loans in legacy CMBS deals. Crosky and Boyd advised US Bank Trustees Limited on numerous legacy CMBS transactions including the €723m Titan Europe 2006-1. Stephen Moller joined Fieldfisher.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘good value for clients who are looking for top-quality lawyers at a lower cost than most City firms’. The firm predominantly advises lenders and has strong relationships with the leading UK clearing banks, focusing predominantly on mid-market deals, although it is moving up the value chain in terms of deal size and complexity. Its workload includes term and conduit, non-recourse and off balance sheet transactions, and SPVs. Edward Sunderland acted for HSBC Bank on the amendment of Capital Bridging Finance No.1 Limited securitisation documents to replace the mezzanine note with variable rate subordinated secured notes. Sunderland is assisted by consultant Sharon Smith in the Birmingham office who has more than 20 years’ experience in debt capital markets and securitisation transactions. London-based derivatives partner Stephen Woods recently worked on vehicle leasing and loan receivables securitisations, and the restructuring of RMBS deals. Head of international tax Eloise Walker focuses on corporation tax issues in the context of structured finance and asset-backed funding and has particular expertise in securitisations. Senior associate Grace Hui advises trustees, issuers, paying agents and corporate services providers on a range of structured finance and capital markets transactions, including complex CMBS and RMBS securitisations. Wilmington Trust is among her key clients.

Ropes & Gray LLP has developed strong relationships with global asset managers seeking to invest in securitisation. Blackstone, Virgin Media and Altice are among the key clients of a practice that has a strong buy-side emphasis. CLO specialist Chris McGarry joined White & Case LLP but the experienced Partha Pal has a strong track record in cross-border structured finance deals. Counsel and experienced derivatives lawyer Anna Lawry plays a key role in the practice, as does senior associate Richard Hanson, who is currently on secondment to PIMCO Europe. Pal’s highlights included advising an asset manager on the restructuring of the £123m Mapeley Gamma Loan, which had been securitised in the DECO 11 – UK Conduit 3 plc CMBS. Hanson’s highlights included acting for Blackstone Mortgage Trust as investor on a €400m private pan-European CMBS.

Squire Patton Boggs acts for borrowers, issuers, note investors, funders, arrangers, trustees, paying agents and special servicers predominantly based in the UK and Europe. Among those clients are Shawbrook Bank Limited, M&G Investment Management Limited and SME Capital Finance Limited. Practice head Mark Thomas acted for OneSavings Bank in numerous financings for specialist non-financial institution lenders using highly innovative, quasi-securitisation, risk-weighted capital efficient structures. He also assisted M&G with private placement note issuance transactions, including a securitisation for Irish unsecured business lender Capital on Tap. Thomas and asset-based lending expert Paula Laird advised a leading European bank on the development of a pan-European securitisation structure for trade receivables. Jeremy Ladyman is recommended for derivatives, structured finance and securitisation transactions.

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