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Who Represents Who

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‚ÄėIndustry knowledge and a full-service offering with good strength in depth‚Äô make¬†Clyde & Co LLP¬†an ‚Äėexceptional firm‚Äô. The skilled team offers ‚Äėexperience in commercial negotiations, as well as practical advice and technical excellence‚Äô. Led by Ravi Masaon, a particular expert in Part VII transfers, the team successfully completed the Part VII transfer of largely US businesses from Markel International Insurance Company to RiverStone Insurance, a significant transfer for key insurance players. It has a reputation for acting in large transfers, often with a cross-jurisdictional dimension and with a sizeable number of policyholders. In addition, the practice is increasingly busy advising clients in connection with Brexit preparations and the use of the Part VII transfer tool to assist their preparations.¬†Andrew Holderness¬†and¬†William Hogarth¬†are also noted.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's restructuring and insolvency practice advises some of the largest and most prominent debtors and lenders, offering restructuring and insolvency expertise, alongside a fully integrated contentious practice. This combined offering is a particular strength of the firm, and demonstrates the ability of the highly skilled and multidisciplinary team. Highlights included advising the Greater Manchester Waste PFI Project on all aspects of its landmark restructuring in the infrastructure sector, and acting for Three Hills Capital Partners on its acquisition of Byron, which was conditional on a successful company voluntary arrangement. Practice head Kevin Pullen, who led the team in the latter of these two matters, has over two decades of experience advising on all forms of debt restructuring and insolvency, acting for debtors, creditors and insolvency practitioners in a wide variety of domestic and international situations. John Whiteoak is also acting as lead disputes counsel to Sea Trucks International and several of its group companies in connection with disputes arising out of a large-scale insolvency; he specialises in insolvency, corporate fraud and recovery, as well as complex banking and commercial disputes.

Mayer Brown International LLP offers a cross-jurisdictional team specialising in advising businesses with regard to their legacy portfolios. Instructed by clients such as Ernst & Young, Beazley, Zurich and Liberty Syndicates, the practice is particularly well known for its experience in long-tail liability issues and those that arise in London underwriting pools, as well as regularly advising financial institution clients, pension trustees and other counterparties on insolvency. Cross-border mandates are another key area where the practice has strength and depth, handling matters in Asia, the US, the UK and Germany. Recent cross-border mandates include advising on the provisional liquidation of ACAL Underwriting, the corporate member of Lloyd's Syndicate 1965. Practice head Devi Shah is leading the team in this ongoing matter, supported by cross-border specialist Alexandra Wood.

The insurance team at Norton Rose Fulbright is best known for its work in financial lines (including directors' and officers' insurance); marine, energy and aviation; cyber and technology; complex claims; class actions; and regulation. Commercially aware and client driven, it has particular expertise in complex transactions, especially cross-border mandates. The team, headed by James Bateson, also includes Bob Haken, who previously spent nine months on secondment to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), where he worked on the implementation of the Solvency II Directive. Recent highlights include Lloyd's market expert David Whear advising Probitas Holdings (Bermuda), the holding company for Lloyd’s turnkey Syndicate 1492, in relation to an investment by Saudi Reinsurance Company and a related group reorganisation. Also noteworthy is the team's continued innovation in areas such as InsurTech, with newly promoted partner Nicholas Berry leading the firm’s InsurTech practice. The growing practice also saw the promotion to partner of Noleen John, a member of the corporate insurance team.

The combination of RPC's legal business with its consulting arm gives it a broad service offering and deep understanding of the insurance market. Between them, Vivien Tyrell and Matthew Griffith, who co-head the practice, have over 50 years' experience advising in this area, while RPC Consulting partner Jonathan Broughton is a PRA-approved independent expert for Part VII transfers, a particular area of expertise for the firm. An example of this kind of work is the team's advice to QBE and Compre on the Part VII transfer of QBE’s share of the Ridgwell Fox & Partners pool legacy reinsurance business. Other key areas of work include loss portfolio transfers; insurance exit mechanisms, particularly in the run-off field; and providing general assistance to insurers which have discontinued business.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP¬†‚Äėhas a fantastic offering with very strong experience and good bench strength‚Äô. ‚ÄėRestructuring is what the team is really good at‚Äô, although it is also known for its specialist insurance-related insolvency capabilities; the leading global restructuring practice has been involved in several high-profile recent matters. With the ‚Äėvery bright, accessible and hugely knowledgeable‚Äô Alexander Wood¬†leading efforts in the insurance restructuring field, the firm offers a comprehensive service. Wood is currently acting for KPMG as judicial manager to British American Insurance Company (Barbados) (BAICO), part of the insolvent Eastern Caribbean BAICO insurance group. In another insolvency highlight,¬†Mark Lawford¬†is advising the directors of the T&N Asbestos Trustee Company.

Specialising in restructuring insurance companies, both insolvent and solvent, Cooley (UK) LLP is often instructed by clients in the financial services sector with regard to fraud or mis-selling of products, which can include regulatory investigations and the involvement of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Practice head Mark Everiss has been director of the Insurance & Reinsurance Legacy Association for ten years and David Kendall is a member of the Insurance Scoping Forum of the Financial Markets Law Committee. Kendall recently advised PwC as provisional liquidator of Lehman Re on the structured reinsurance transactions entered into by Lehman Re. Jonathan Yorke is leading the team advising Rollings Butt, the administrator of Med Re, an insolvent reinsurance company, in relation to all matters arising from the insolvency.

Hogan Lovells International LLP has an extensive track record of advising its international client base on both insurance restructuring and insolvency and general insurance matters. It is increasingly involved at the start of transactions to "insolvency test" or insolvency proof structures before they are put in place. The practice has a reputation for cross-border work, acting for major clients including KPMG, Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group and Scottish Re Group. Practice head Joe Bannister is acting for OIC Run-Off and its subsidiary, which became subject to closure schemes of arrangement, as well as advising on the English law aspects of cases recently filed under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and Bermuda and Cayman liquidation cases for Scottish Re.

The arrival of Hammad Akhtar has given a major boost to the insurance team at Pinsent Masons LLP, and he is currently leading on a number of complex and strategic restructuring transactions for some of the world's leading insurers and reinsurers. The firm's full-service offering means the team is able to advise on both business-as-usual matters and, at the other end of the spectrum, complex strategic corporate, commercial and regulatory matters. It has particular expertise in cross-border restructurings, with a non-contentious insurance team of over 70 lawyers; this strength in depth has also earned the firm a place on some significant insurance client legal panels. Highlights included advising on the demutualisation of Reliance Mutual, whose business is being transferred under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to a new UK-authorised life insurance company. Legal director Matthew Brewer, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP in November 2017, is also a noted member of the team.

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Legal Developments in London for Insurance: insolvency and restructuring

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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