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Drawing from a deep pool of financial services regulatory experts, the team at Hogan Lovells International LLP acts for start-ups from a wide range of fintech areas, including insurtech, robo-advice, payments, blockchain and peer-to-peer lending. Rachel Kent, who heads the group, assisted fintech industry body Innovate Finance with the development of its "regulatory accelerator" tool; the initiative has the aim of assisting fintech companies with securing FCA authorisation and reducing the barriers to their entry to market. Retail and commercial banking regulatory expert Jonathan Chertkow advised digital mortgage broker Habito on strategic, commercial and regulatory matters, including its successful application for FCA authorisation. Emily Reid, who specialises in fintech, acted for peer-to-peer platforms Landbay and Zopa on product design, customer documentation and regulatory compliance. Roger Tym acted for the operator of a cryptocurrency dependent on blockchain infrastructure on the currency’s development and application. Fintech specialist John Salmon, who is particularly active in advising financial institutions on technology and digital projects, joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in August 2016. He advised Open Banking – the entity set up as a result of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s order to create open APIs in the UK retail banking industry – on various strategic, regulatory and contractual matters. PayPal and Paysafe are additional fintech clients.

Technology boutique Kemp Little LLP began advising financial institutions on regulatory matters in earnest in 2014. Its fintech practice counts payments, cryptocurrencies, data, regtech and trading platforms as strengths; it is also active in biometrics and acts for high-profile banks and technology companies ranging from start-ups to established global payments providers. Senior associate and fintech specialist Sophie van Wingerden is dual qualified in the UK and the US; she acted alongside technology and outsourcing expert Andrew Joint for WorldRemit on regulatory and compliance matters. On the corporate and investment side, M&A expert Andy Moseby acted for digital banking platform Monese on its $10m Series A fundraising, and acted alongside fintech practice head Chris Hill for paperless payments start-up Flux Systems on fundraising and its participation in the Techstars accelerator programme. In the e-wallets sector, Hill assisted Momentum International with SkiPass+, an app that allows customers to buy passes for numerous ski resorts using a card that doubles as a multi-currency payments card; specifically, Hill advised it on cross-border agreements with multiple parties, including payment providers, foreign exchange providers and the app developers themselves, and on revenue-sharing agreements with ski resorts. Other clients include Credit Benchmark, SmartCharts and AxeTrading. Financial regulatory expert Ralph Lovesy counts financial institutions and fintech start-ups among his client roster.

Linklaters LLP fields a sophisticated financial regulatory practice and an excellent technology group; accordingly, its fintech practice benefits from impressive strength-in-depth. Blockchain, payments work and data matters for exchanges have been keeping the team particularly busy: financial regulatory expert Harry Eddis and structured securities and derivatives specialist Paul Lewis acted for Clearmatics Technology Solutions and UBS, the leader of a bank consortium, on the development of a mechanism to access central bank reserves and transfer funds using a blockchain-supported Utility Settlement Coin (USC). This involved both regulatory advice and assistance with the commercial agreements governing the design and build of the blockchain platform. More generally in the regulatory space, the team advises financial institutions on the implications of Payment Services Directive II and MiFID II, and how to most advantageously work with technology companies around these regulations. On the corporate side, Savi Hebbur and Hugo Stolkin advised Emerging Markets Investment Fund 1A on its €326m sale of Indian fintech company Hermes I-Tickets Private to Wirecard Sales International. Banking and technology expert Julian Cunningham-Day, who has experience in advising banks on digitisation and financial data, heads the firm’s global fintech practice jointly with Eddis and Lewis.

Simmons & Simmons fields a ‘very knowledgeable’ department that is ‘amazing on all fronts’; it provides ‘great partner service’, is ‘available 24/7’ and ‘genuinely adds value’. Since the firm counts financial institutions, asset management, investment funds and technology as key sector focuses, the strength of its fintech practice is unsurprising. It handles significant work for noteworthy clients in all fintech’s major areas: peer-to-peer lending, robo-advice, payments, crowdfunding, regtech, digital currencies and blockchain. The group also handles a wide range of other fintech-related matters, including securitisation, investment, technological development, regulatory advice, commercial contracts and data protection. The ‘incredible’ Angus McLean is a ‘key member of the fintech community’; he is noted for his ‘remarkable commitment to the fintech scene’ and demonstrates ‘a passion that can move mountains’. He was instructed by the government-owned British Business Bank, a development bank created to assist struggling SMEs, on assessing the suitability of certain finance platforms. Banking and finance partners Michael Lorraine and James Bresslaw advised Funding Circle on a £129m Deutsche Bank-arranged securitisation backed by loans originated through its online lending platform. The department’s other clients include MarketInvoice, Worldpay, Osper, Suade, Hargreaves Lansdown and, on the investment side, Augmentum Capital. ‘Commercial, responsive’ financial services regulatory partner Penny Millerreally knows her stuff’. TMT-focused managing associate George Morris has ‘excellent outsourcing capabilities’, and ‘reliable, practical and very commercial’ banking expert Alistair Hill ‘gets things done promptly’. Bristol-based financial services regulatory partner Mahrie Webb is also recommended.

The ‘really supportive, knowledgeable’ team at Slaughter and May provides ‘superb service’ with ‘very quick response times’, and is ‘willing and able to involve lawyers from other practice areas to address matters holistically’. Particular areas of activity are blockchain, payments and data analytics; the team also has experience advising on "deep learning" artificial intelligence technology. Its clients include major banks, well-established fintech companies and start-ups. Ben Kingsley has a ‘huge depth of experience in financial services matters’ and is a ‘very safe pair of hands’; he jointly heads the department with technology, outsourcing and data expert Rob Sumroy. Kingsley advised Euroclear on the potential implementation of blockchain technology in the settlement and clearing industry, including Euroclear’s avoidance of disintermediation by the new technology. The team also acts for fintech start-ups: Kingsley and Sumroy advised DPactum on its partnership with several major London-based financial institutions to develop a blockchain-dependent derivatives clearing and collateral management platform. This involved advice on investment, technology licences, IP and contracts. Enforcd instructed Kingsley, Sumroy and ‘unflappable, straightforward and humorous’ corporate partner Sally Wokes on its corporate capital and management structure, the protection of its fintech IP, and agreements with customers. The team also handles complex corporate work: Kingsley, Sumroy and data protection and privacy specialist Rebecca Cousin advised VocaLink on its divestment of the LINK Scheme – the network that connects the UK’s cash machines – and the renegotiation of its processing contract with the LINK Scheme. Other clients include Stripe, Standard Chartered, Tide and, in the insurtech space, Open GI.

The ‘strong team of lawyers’ at Bird & Bird LLP, a firm well known for its technology expertise, provides ‘commercial, pragmatic’ advice, particularly to established financial institutions and challenger banks. Commercial partner Christian Bartsch jointly heads the group with Trystan Tether, who has strong experience in e-banking, electronic cash and payment mechanisms. Technology and EU procurement specialist Roger Bickerstaff is also prominent in the space. On the regulatory side, the team advises authorised institutions with their regulatory obligations in relation to new fintech products, and assists nascent financial institutions with obtaining Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation. It also acts for financial service providers on negotiating contracts with commercial partners that support the provision of fintech services. Financial services clients include Wirecard and Fidelity. On the corporate side, the practice acts for investors and investees; clients have included Smedvig Capital and Crowdcube. Payment and crowdfunding platforms also feature prominently among the firm’s client roster, as do financial institutions in need of cybersecurity assistance. Privacy and data protection expert Guadalupe Sampedro joined in January 2017 from in-house at PayPal in Luxembourg; she is primarily based in London, but also handles work out of the Madrid office. Jonathan Emmanuel and Ali Ramadan made partner in May 2016; Emmanuel is a commercial partner with significant expertise in outsourcing and IT contracts, while Ramadan is a corporate expert with cross-border experience and a focus on digital business. Commercial partners Graeme Maguire, Ian Edwards and Simon Shooter are also recommended, especially for their outsourcing capabilities.

IT and outsourcing expert Anthony Day heads DLA Piper’s practice jointly with structured finance and capital markets specialist Martin Bartlam. In addition to its work for financial institutions and funds looking to invest in fintech companies, the team handles technology implementation and outsourcing for established financial players, also advising these clients on compliance and regulatory matters. Day acted for Lloyds Banking Group on its £100m digital transformation project with McKinsey and Sapient Nitro, involving the wholesale redesign of its online offerings to customers, and the development of online products and apps to enhance customer experience. In an illustration of its work for fintech companies, Bartlam assisted Luther Systems with ongoing financing for its capital requirements. He also acted for Finnish financial services provider Euroloan Group on the €60m financing of its fintech consumer finance business, based on receivables sourced through its cloud-based consumer lending engine. On the regulatory side, Bartlam advised Future Finance Loan, which uses loan origination technology to help students obtain loans, on various regulatory matters, including whether or not the company could use receivables originated on the platform as security for its funding model. On the corporate and investment side, Luca Gori advised Aviva Ventures on its financial services partnership with digital accelerator Founders Factory. Other clients instructing the practice on in-depth fintech work include RBS and AinFin.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s practice is noted for its strength in depth and its broad range of expertise. As well as its prominent M&A, private equity and large-scale IT outsourcing workload, the team assists fintech start-ups and challenger banks with navigating fundraising, growth and regulations. Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, financial data and payments are particular areas of expertise. The ‘excellent, reliable’ Alex Kay, who is a financial institutions M&A expert, is ‘great to deal with’; he heads the group jointly with TMT M&A specialist Nicholas Moore and Nick Pantlin, a technology and outsourcing expert with a fintech sector focus. Pantlin, financial services regulatory specialist Andrew Procter and corporate partners Greg Mulley and Caroline Rae acted for ClearBank on its establishment, on regulatory matters and on the drafting of commercial agreements with parties including financial institutions; ClearBank is the UK’s first clearing bank in over two and a half centuries. Pantlin also advised TSB Bank and Banco de Sabadell on TSB’s migration from its existing IT services platform to the one provided by Sabadell’s in-house IT services company Sabadell Information Systems. IP and cybersecurity expert Andrew Moir acted for Cyber Defence Alliance, a joint venture between several high-profile international banks, on numerous issues, including IP, data protection, competition and governance. The practice was joined by of counsel Aaron White, who specialises in corporate technology and telecoms transactions, from Ashurst in March 2017. TMT and outsourcing expert David Coulling was promoted to partner in May 2017.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s practice is noted for its experience acting for fintech start-ups, investors in fintech and high-profile financial institutions such as HSBC. Blockchain, insurtech, cryptocurrencies, e-wallets and assisting banks with their cloud migration projects are particular strengths. IP specialist and group head Mark Prinsley is strong in IT projects and outsourcing; he advised one bank on the renegotiation of £25m-worth of its worldwide arrangements with a major software and cloud provider, and acted for a large European bank on its software licensing and support arrangement with a financial software provider. In the insurtech space, Prinsley advised AllLife on its collaboration with a UK insurance company to deliver a technological insurance product for diabetics. Asset-based lending expert Alex Dell advised a fintech start-up on its development of an invoice finance platform. He also acted for a major European investment manager on its joint venture with a fintech company to create an online platform for providing businesses with short-term working capital. IP and IT expert Oliver Yaros, who made partner in January 2017, is strong in IT outsourcing and systems procurement, e-commerce, data protection and data privacy. Regulatory partner Guy Wilkes, who joined in April 2016 from in-house at the FCA, is recommended for contentious matters.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘detail-oriented’ department attracts praise for its ‘very quick feedback and rapid turnarounds’, and benefits from the firm’s strong cross-border capabilities. Although it is active in a wide range of fintech areas – including peer-to-peer lending, robo-advice and financial services outsourcing – it is particularly singled out for its expertise in distributed ledgers, including blockchain. In keeping with the firm’s longstanding expertise in insurance, insurtech is also an area of notable activity. Clients range from emergent and well-established fintech players to high-profile banks and insurers. The practice is headed jointly by corporate partner Sean Murphy and fintech regulatory experts Imogen Garner and Hannah Meakin. Victoria Birch, who has recently promoted to the partnership, is noted for her experience in smart contracts and distributed ledger technology. Fintech procurement expert James Russell and ‘highly experienced’ structured finance specialist David Shearer are also recommended. Private equity and venture capital expert David Marshall joined from RPC in October 2016.

Payments and IT outsourcing are the fintech areas Osborne Clarke LLP’s ‘well-resourced’ practice is best known for, though peer-to-peer lending and cloud services are also areas of experience. The ‘experienced, creative’ team is commended for its ‘deep industry knowledge’. Payments and consumer finance specialist Kate Johnson acted for Wirecard on its launch of Supercard, a pre-paid card whereby domestic bank accounts are loaded onto the Supercard app enabling the app to be used for all foreign transactions. Wirecard also instructed Johnson on the transfer of its merchant acquiring business from Germany to the UK. On the corporate side, Johnson advised iZettle on its acquisition of intelligentpos. Johnson also acted alongside Bristol-based corporate partner Mark Wesker for digital banking service provider Advanced Payment Solutions on obtaining a settlement account with the Bank of England, with a bond issuance and with obtaining £20m-worth of loans from Shawbrook Bank. Other clients include Tech Mahindra Fintech Holdings, J.P. Morgan, Terra Payments Services and, in the insurtech space, Admiral Group. The ‘adaptable and considerably knowledgeable’ Paul Anning is an expert in payments; commercial and outsourcing specialist Mark Taylor is also recommended. The team was joined in Bristol by commercial partner Will Robertson, an expert in technology and privacy, from Bond Dickinson LLP in May 2016; and in London by financial regulatory specialist Nikki Worden from Addleshaw Goddard in June 2017.

Counting several major UK clearing banks among its client roster, Addleshaw Goddard’s practice is particularly strong in payments-related fintech work. As well as assisting these banks with implementing new technological payments systems, the team provides them with strategic advice, including procurement and contractual matters; it is commended for its ‘high-quality drafting skills’. ‘Experienced, very well-informed’ corporate and commercial partner William James, who heads the firm’s payments practice and ‘keeps level-headed in high-pressure situations’, acted for one high street bank on a multi-jurisdictional peer-to-peer payments matter. Nationwide Building Society is another financial institutions client. Fintech start-ups also comprise much of the department’s client list: regulatory expert Amanda Hulme advised one on launching its account information services in the UK. Hulme also assisted Bill Hub, a technology platform that intermediates between shared householders and utility providers, with structuring its business model, including the use of a third-party payments service provider. Other fintech clients include Swiss mobile banking company Centralway Numbrs. Practice head Fiona Ghosh, who has been instrumental in bringing such payment solutions as ApplePay and Android Pay to market, acted for Card Processing Advisory Services on the procurement aspects of its provision of fintech services to county councils and local authorities. The team also handles corporate work: James advised GVC Holdings on the £29m sale of its payments business Kalixa Group to Senjo Group, and Nathan Pearce acted for Pollen Street Capital on its acquisition, through subsidiary company Cashflows, of online payment solutions provider iCheque Network. In January 2017, financial regulatory expert and legal director Richard Evetts joined from in-house at American Express.

CMS’s practice, which already had excellent financial regulatory capabilities, was strengthened by its absorption of Olswang LLP’s ‘brilliant’ team of technology and finance experts, in which ‘innovative’ TMT finance specialist Charles Kerrigan was a key player. Particular areas of expertise for Kerrigan include digital money, payments and blockchain; he has advised both financial institutions and regulators on these matters. Most of the department’s clients are large-scale financial institutions, though it also acts for a number of fintech start-ups. Technology outsourcing expert Dominic Dryden advised Nationwide on the implementation of a new technology platform involving two technology vendors: Murex and Deloitte. Kerrigan, IP partner Joel Vertes and structured finance expert Ruth Marken acted for Big Innovation Centre, a London hub for up-and-coming entities that include fintech start-ups, on various commercial and IP matters. Marken also advised Telit Communications, an AIM-listed "Internet of Things" player and machine-to-machine wireless technology provider, on obtaining $40m-worth of a total of $75m of cross-border financing with HSBC. ClearScore is another client. For corporate work, M&A expert Louis Glass, who has particular experience in technology, internet and e-commerce transactions, is recommended. Elle Todd is the key contact for data protection matters.

The team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is involved in a wide range of fintech areas, including but not limited to blockchain, crowdfunding, robo-investment, peer-to-peer lending and financial data control. Though it is particularly active on the regulatory side, the practice often assists fintech start-ups with commercial and fundraising matters. The ‘thoughtful, personable and holisticWilliam Garner, who heads the department jointly with technology expert Mark Bailey, has ‘deep commercial experience’; his longstanding expertise in broking and trading makes him a reliable adviser to technology companies active in these areas. SETL Development, which uses blockchain for payments and for clearing and settling financial transactions, instructed Garner on all its legal matters, including regulatory advice and its application to use the FCA’s regulatory sandbox. Garner is also increasingly active in advising clients on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a form of private fundraising by entities using token issuances. Financial services regulatory expert Kate Troup, who is noted for her experience in banking and investment management, acted for OneRagtime Platform on establishing a crowdfunding investment platform that would allow angel investors to invest in technology start-ups. Troup also advised a high-profile European bank on its robo-investment advice platform for UK clients. Bailey assisted SourceCards, a payments system for the socially disadvantaged, with assorted regulatory advice. Duco and Conferma are additional clients on the regulatory and commercial side.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s practice benefits from the firm’s excellent technology capabilities. Its clients mostly comprise fintech companies and investors, particularly on the venture capital side; the team also has experience advising financial institutions on outsourcing and technology procurement. Practice head Chris Coulter is a technology and IP partner with significant commercial expertise in fintech; along with managing partner and corporate expert Justin Stock, Coulter acted for Receipt Bank on its £7m Series A financing by Kennet Partners IV. Investor clients include Omidyar Network, which instructed technology M&A specialist and senior associate Aaron Archer on a £10m Series B investment in Tandem Bank; and Allianz Digital Corporate Ventures, which instructed Archer on a $7m Series B investment in digital wealth-management platform MoneyFarm and a £500,000 Series A investment in QuanTemplate Technologies. Coulter also assisted the National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society with various outsourcing, licensing and technology procurement contracts, and advised the same client on its cyber-risk programme. Other clients include MoneyFarm, ShieldPay and Mastercard. M&A expert David Bresnick and financing specialist John Clark are recommended for their technology focus; Mark Deem is recommended for commercial litigation and arbitration in the sector.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘deeply experienced, flexible’ department provides ‘first-class advice’, ‘always on time and on budget’. Commended for its ‘industry expertise’, it has a strong line in acting for fintech start-ups on regulatory and commercial matters, though it also advises high-profile financial institutions on fintech-related matters. Practice head Matthew Gough, who counts Confused.com as a longstanding client, is based in Cardiff; he leads a team that includes London-based individuals Andrew Henderson, a financial services regulatory expert, and funds specialist Ronald Paterson, who advised Nivaura, the developer of a platform that uses automation and blockchain for the issuance and management of private placement securities, on its regulatory authorisation and entry into the FCA sandbox. Along with financial services expert Julian Brown, Henderson and Paterson acted for WealthKernel, a robo-advice company, on its application for FCA authorisation, and advised it on its regulatory obligations and commercial strategy. On the bank side, banking and finance partner Jonathan Master assisted HSBC with its trial in the FCA sandbox of a fintech app that uses scraps of customers’ account information to hone automated money-saving algorithms. The department also handles investment in fintech: M&A expert Paul Pugh advised Castle Trust on its £26m acquisition of Omni Capital Retail Finance, and acted for Finance Wales on its investment in fintech player Vizolution.

The team at Fieldfisher, which benefits from the firm’s technology sector focus, has experience in a range of fintech areas; peer-to-peer platforms, crowdfunding, blockchain and payments have been areas of particular activity in the last several years. The team, which is praised by clients for its ‘innovative solutions, very fast response times, personable service’ and bench strength, has expanded significantly in the last couple of years: recent hires include director Marsili Hale, a specialist in loan origination, securitisation and alternative finance, who joined from LCN Legal in October 2016; technology and outsourcing expert James Walsh, who arrived from King & Wood Mallesons in January 2017; and financial services specialist Stephen Moller, who joined in June 2017 from K&L Gates LLP. Hale and structured finance expert Alex Campbell acted for UK Bond Network on corporate bond issuances executed through its online auction process. Simon Briskman advised Deutsche Bank on its use of a software platform to calculate bankers’ bonuses across the bank’s retail network, and on its in-house implementation of SmartStream’s fintech solutions. On the corporate side, David Wilkinson and Tim Bird acted for Currencies Direct on the corporate and regulatory aspects of the £200m sale of its foreign exchange payments business to Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital. The practice also handles contentious work: litigator Tony Lewis defended Paysafe Group against claims brought by an affiliate regarding unpaid commissions due on digital wallet payments.

Particularly strong on the regulatory side, Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s department also handles joint ventures, outsourcing and other commercial arrangements. Although it handles crowdfunding and peer-to-peer work, its core strength is in payments; many of its clients are payments institutions and e-money issuers. Corporate and financial regulatory expert Guy Norfolk heads the team jointly with financial services director Ian Benson; Benson advised consumer credit app PayItSimple (now called Splitit) on various strategic and regulatory matters. He also acted for challenger bank Private & Commercial Finance Group on regulatory and commercial matters, including drafting its payment and savings account terms and conditions for customers. In the virtual cloud sector, Benson assisted Currency Cloud with preparing and negotiating various distribution, partnership and white-label agreements with high-profile banks and financial institutions. Arex European Clearing, which helps buyers and sellers with assuring the settlement of cash payments between them, instructed Benson on various regulatory matters, especially with regard to payment services and safeguarding and administering investments. Other clients of the practice include Euronet and FreeAgent Holdings.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘excellent’, ‘refreshingly commercial’ department has a very strong line in advising high-profile technology companies on the financial endeavours in which they are increasingly involved. This is usually regulatory advice, though it often has commercial and contractual aspects, and tends to be payments-related. ‘Amazingly skilful’ financial services expert Ben Regnard-Weinrabe (who is ‘very knowledgeable’) is especially experienced in payments; recent highlights include advising Facebook on its plans to roll out various financial services across Europe. He also assists financial institutions, including Lloyds Banking Group, with technology matters, and acts for fintech companies including Paysafe Group, Hyperwallet and Moneygram. Regnard-Weinrabe and senior associate Nikki Johnstone advised UK-based bitcoin exchange Coinfloor on regulatory matters and on the launch of several fintech products. Other highlights for the team included acting for for Edenred and PrePay Solutions, providers of retail gift cards and pan-Europe e-money programmes, on regulatory matters and on joint venture arrangements with a US fintech company with a view to launching payments processing services in Europe. Payments expert Ronan O’Sullivan is also recommended. Ashley Winton joined McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice benefits from the firm’s strong technology practice, and accordingly advises several high-profile technology companies on financial matters. It also has excellent bank-side capabilities, advising several major financial institutions on their technological products, payments services and IT outsourcing as well as on regulatory issues. Group head Yvonne Dunn, who is a fintech specialist, advised Otonomos (UK), which uses distributed ledger technology to simplify corporate governance, on its successful application to the FCA sandbox. She also assisted digital voucher network i-Movo with various regulatory matters regarding a proposed cryptocurrency payments system. In the lender space, technology expert Angus McFadyen, who specialises in data assets and emerging technology, acted for ING Bank on the development of its consumer money management app, Yolt. Dunn advised Tesco Bank on the development of its digital wallet project, and on an associated joint venture with MasterCard. She also acted for Allied Irish Banks on the procurement of new software for its business banking platform from Dutch software supplier Backbase. TMT M&A expert Andrew McMillan joined from Simmons & Simmons in May 2016. Legal director Luke Scanlon is also active in the space.

Commended for its ‘personalised service’ and ‘sensible, commercial advice’, the ‘partner-led’ practice at Travers Smith LLPknows the payments area inside-out, including regulatory standards’. Other areas of fintech experience include insurtech, e-commerce, blockchain and technology outsourcing. Louisa Chambers, who made partner in July 2016, specialises in IT and data protection; along with consultant Alistair Wilson, she advised the Association of British Insurers on prototype software, being developed by 17 insurers including Aon and Aviva, to enable savers to see all their pension savings in one online place. This involved agreements with each insurer regarding their contribution, as well as the design, build and implementation of the prototype system by six fintech companies. ‘Excellent’ IP and technology senior associate James Longster advised Caffè Nero on its development of a new e-wallet app in conjunction with Yoyo Wallet. Corporate finance expert Richard Spedding and private equity specialist Lucie Cawood acted for Ebury Partners, a fintech start-up that works with small businesses that have international trade networks, on an $83m investment by Vitruvian Partners. The team also acts on the other side of investments: private equity partner Paul Dolman assisted TA Associates with its purchase of a 33% stake in Czech payments start-up W.A.G. payment solutions. New client Brooks Macdonald instructed IT expert and fintech group head Dan Reavill on an agreement with JHC, an outsourced provider of cloud-based fintech services, for Brooks Macdonald’s front and back office systems. Payments expert Mark Evans is ‘extremely helpful’.

Counting global payments services and high-profile banks among its client roster, the practice at Baker McKenzie assists clients with robotic automation work, outsourcing payments agreements and regulatory and commercial disputes; it also advises on data privacy matters and establishing supply chain finance platforms. Litigator Jonathan Peddie, who is especially active in the financial services regulatory space, represented global payments and foreign exchange service provider AFEX in proceedings brought against Newstar Garments regarding an unpaid debt that arose from a margin call agreement. Google is another client of the practice. Steve Holmes and group head Harry Small are IT experts active in financial services; Holmes has advised a large UK broadcaster on its financial technology transformation programme. Arun Srivastava is a non-contentious regulatory expert in the financial services space.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s department acts for high-profile financial institutions, listed challenger banks and retailers offering financial services; it is also active in the insurtech sector. Investment, commercial contracts, outsourcing and regulatory compliance are particular strengths: corporate partner Ben Butler advised Atom Bank, the UK’s first mobile app-based bank, on an £85m fundraising, including a £45m investment by Spanish bank BBVA for a 30% stake. Sainsbury’s Bank instructed Andrew Barber on the review of its financial promotions and products, and on ongoing financial services regulatory compliance. IP specialist Patrick Cantrill and commercial expert Joanna Riley acted for £500m venture capital fund Cocoon Networks on the launch of its multimillion-pound tech incubator in London. Claire Coleman, who has experience in cloud computing, digital media, data analytics and telematics, heads the team jointly with Bristol-based technology specialist Alastair Mitton; Coleman and Bristol-based corporate partner Tom Fitzpatrick advised Mogo Holdings, developer of the MOGObankconnect app, on its restructuring and capital raise, on its arrangements with Callcredit, and on licensing agreements regarding its app’s patented technology. Barber assisted the same client with financial regulatory compliance. The firm’s transatlantic capabilities were strengthened by its merger with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in October 2017.

Burges Salmon LLP’s practice attracts praise for its ‘good value for money’. It is active in several fintech areas, especially insurtech, payments and consumer credit, and acts for challenger banks as well as smaller fintech start-ups. The team also assists high-profile clients with fintech matters: insurance expert Kari McCormick and transport specialist Chris Jackson advised AXA on the development of a legal and insurance liability scheme for connected and driverless vehicles. ‘Knowledgeable’ senior associate Adrian Shedden, who is commended for his ‘fast turnarounds and strong sense of perspective’, heads the group; an asset management regulation expert, he also has experience in consumer credit, payments, crowdfunding and bitcoin. On the regtech side, Snedden advised the Financial Conduct Authority on setting up its Call for Input, a regtech roundtable intended to help shape the development of the regtech sector throughout 2016 and 2017. The team is also acting for R3CEV, which leads a worldwide consortium of financial institutions, on the development of smart contract templates using blockchain. Nationwide and AppDynamics have also featured on the firm’s client roster for fintech work. TMT and outsourcing expert Andrew Dunlop, IP specialist Jeremy Dickerson and data protection senior associate Lucy Pegler are also recommended.

Fox Williams LLP’s department is ‘well versed in market developments’ and provides ‘very good regulatory and commercial advice’ to fintech start-ups. ‘Astute, commercial’ and ‘extremely effective’ practice head Jonathan Segal is a ‘fintech guru’ who is ‘always a pleasure to work with’, and has an ‘in-depth understanding of the peer-to-peer lending sector’. He advised Match the Cash, trading as guarantormyloan, on various structuring and regulatory matters, including complying with FCA peer-to-peer and outsourcing regulations. He also acted for Scalable Capital on investment management regulatory advice. The ‘pragmaticNigel Brahams has ‘deep commercial experience’, especially in e-trading and blockchain; he and technology expert Nigel Miller acted for Clearmatics Technologies on its agreement with a consortium of high-profile lenders, including Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon and Santander, concerning its development of the Utility Settlement Coin (USC), an asset-back digital cash instrument. The team also advises clients on the regulatory implications of corporate transactions, as well as handling corporate transactions directly: Peter Wright advised Balderton Capital on the regulatory aspects of its $7m investment in Revolut, and Segal and Andrew Woolf acted for Cymba Technologies on its sale to Factset. Plexhub and Neyber are additional clients on the regulatory and commercial side.

Best known for its work for venture capital funds, Gowling WLG’s practice also acts for fintech start-ups. Private equity specialist Ian Piggin acted for Neyber, a fintech company that operates a consumer lending platform, on its Series A fundraise and on various loan note subscriptions. Director and regulatory expert Penny Sanders advised the same client on the structuring and regulatory aspects of the peer-to-peer platform it operates as a lender of record. She and Birmingham-based corporate partner Baljit Chohan advised Spinhood on the launch of its app of the same name, a platform where users win in-game credits for use in selected restaurants; this also included regulatory advice. Additionally on the regulatory side, senior associate Richard Ellis supported Birmingham-based asset finance expert Greg Standing in advising peer-to-peer platform Lending Works on its operation and the drafting of its template documents. Venture capital and private equity clients include Route 66 Ventures; Crowdcube, Radius Payment Solutions and TransferGo are additional fintech clients. Capital markets expert David Brennan heads the group.

K&L Gates LLP’s practice acts for a wide range of clients, including start-ups, established technology companies, financial institutions and investors; payments, crowdfunding and risk analytics are particular areas of activity. The team, which has excellent cross-border capabilities, is especially strong on the regulatory side, where the ‘adaptable and considerably knowledgeable’ Jacob Ghanty is the name to note; his clients include Wells Fargo. ‘Empathetic, strategic and reassuring’ corporate finance expert Tom Wallace, who counts financial services and technology as sector focuses, acted for Tax Systems on its £108m reverse takeover of Tax Computer Systems. On the regulatory side, Wallace advised Swedish payment service provider Billhop on its proposed UK bill payment business. He and Ghanty also assisted Drover, an app that puts drivers together with cars they can hire and drive as Uber taxis, with the regulatory aspects of the vehicle hire process. UP Investments, a consolidator platform connecting investors to various crowdfunding marketplaces, instructed Wallace and Ghanty on all its legal issues, including formation, financing, operation and FCA authorisation. Judith Rinearson, who specialises in fintech and has experience in payments, virtual and cryptocurrencies, ACH and cheque processing, joined from Bryan Cave LLP in the summer of 2016; she is based across New York and London, and co-heads the firm’s global fintech practice. IP senior associate Andrew Gilchrist is noted for his focus on digital mandates.

The ‘highly competent’ team at Mills & Reeve LLP provides ‘exceptionally good service, making every effort to keep clients abreast of progress, and warning of likely costs well in advance’. Primarily Cambridge-based, the practice is led by senior associate Simon Warburton, who specialises in fintech. Corporate, commercial and investment matters are the team’s calling cards. Corporate finance expert Stephen Hamilton, who is an equity capital markets expert, has numerous well-established fintech clients: he acted for AIM-listed secure payment-products provider Eckoh on its £8m purchase of Klick2Contact EU, and assisted mobile payments company Bango with its $4m acquisition of BilltoMobile. ‘Indefatigable, unflappable and very reliable’ Norwich-based partner James Hunter is also recommended for corporate matters. IT and data protection expert Peter Wainman advised innovation foundation Nesta on its administration of a bank consortium-supported prize process to encourage the development of a technological solution for SMEs to compare banking products. He also acted for commodity-trading software business Brady on customer contracts and reseller arrangements. The FCA continues to instruct Wainman on IT matters; in 2016 he advised the body on the procurement of a contract to develop and implement a system for processing financial market data. Scorpeo and Crowdsurfer are additional fintech clients. Norwich-based Zak Virgin’s corporate banking capabilities are ‘very good’.

Although its chief strengths are corporate and investment work for investors and business owners, Squire Patton Boggs’ department also husbands start-ups through their establishment, development, financing and regulatory compliance, and provides high-profile clients with technological regulatory advice. Corporate expert Robert Bray assisted Citibank with its investment in FX post-trade processing network Cobalt, which is heavily involved in blockchain technology. Corporate partner Paul Lewis advised Broadridge Financial Solutions on its purchase of 4sight Financial Software. Private equity specialist Tim Hewens acted for Jamie Waller, CEO of Hito, on the sale of his stake in the company to Outsourcing Inc. Bray advised Wonga Group on the €61m sale of its German business BillPay to Swedish payments company Klarna. The practice also acts for high-profile financial institutions on technological innovations: Bray and Leeds-based financial services regulatory expert Paul Anderson acted for a consortium of banks, including BBVA, Barclays, Santander and Société Générale, on its formation of Neptune Networks, a fixed income pre-trade data information network. This included drafting contracts with third-party IT providers and Neptune Networks’ terms of use for customers. Together with competition expert Francesco Liberatore, who joined from Jones Day in August 2016, Anderson advised data portability company TrueLayer, a player in the open banking space, on its establishment and its $1m seed financing, as well as on regulatory matters.

The ‘outstanding’, ‘holistic’ team at Browne Jacobson LLPexceeds even high expectations’ with its ‘clear, sound advice’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘particularly fast responses’. It is especially active in providing a full service to start-ups that are active across a range of fintech areas, most notably e-payments, insurtech, robo-advice and virtual currencies. ‘Fantastic’ practice head Declan Cushley lead the team, which advised Monizo, developers of an app that helps freelancers manage their bank accounts, on e-payments regulations, contracting out its payment services, drafting customer-facing documents, handling trade mark infringement and obtaining early-stage funding. He also led assistance to Insure A Thing with its application to use the FCA sandbox and with company formation and investment. Other start-up clients include Telleroo (which provides APIs for bank transfers), Clever Adviser Technology (a robo-advice investment service), Sweatco (the developers of virtual currency Sweatcoin) and Chip In (which uses gamification and peer-to-peer savings targets to help consumers reach their personal savings goals). Financial institution-facing fintech client WiseCrowd, a platform that assists institutions with meeting their risk, compliance and governance obligations, instructed a team led by Cushley on corporate, commercial and regulatory matters. Corporate finance and M&A expert Jon Snade is ‘highly recommended’; he joined in March 2017 from Irwin Mitchell, and has a focus on technology and digital business. ‘Extremely helpful, understanding’ consultant David Henderson is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Clifford Chance fields five partners that focus the majority of their time on fintech matters, and can call on a further a further seven partners with expertise in this area. The practice largely acts for high-profile financial institutions, multinational corporations and major start-ups. It has experience in a range of fintech areas, especially blockchain and payments, and is most active in handling corporate, finance, competition and IP work in the fintech sector. Jonathan Kewley, who made partner in May 2017, is the key contact: he is a data privacy and cybersecurity expert with a strong line in complex financial technology projects. On the corporate side, technology and outsourcing specialist André Duminy was part of the team advising BBVA on its £45m purchase of a 30% stake in Atom Bank, the UK’s first mobile app-based bank. Duminy, Kewley and corporate partner Steven Fox advised ICAP on the £1.4bn merger of its global hybrid voice-broking and information business with Tullett Prebon. Alongside competition partner Greg Olsen, Duminy acted for Mastercard on the competition aspects of its £700m purchase of VocaLink, a company that provided necessary infrastructure to Bacs, Faster Payments and LINK, three crucial UK payments systems. Other key partners include financial regulatory experts Caroline Meinertz, Simon Crown and Simon Gleeson. Financial regulatory senior associate Peter Chapman is also recommended.

In addition to its strong cross-border capabilities, Latham & Watkins’ department has longstanding experience in financial regulatory matters, financial products and fintech market infrastructure. Core strengths include providing strategic advice to investors; regulatory, commercial and investment work for technology companies; and assistance to bank consortiums forming utility platforms. On the cross-border investment side, private equity expert Kem Ihenacho acted for TA Associates on its investment in Nigerian fintech business Interswitch; in capital markets, Olof Clausson advised Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley & Co and Nordea as underwriters on the $2.4bn IPO of Nets, Scandinavia’s largest payments processor. Group head Andrew Moyle acted for a major natural resources company on its global paying services contract with a major bank, involving software that allows the client’s suppliers to interface with the bank rather than with the client for invoices and payments. Moyle and Gail Crawford advised two high-profile banks on their migration to the cloud. The practice expanded significantly in 2016, with financial regulatory experts Rob Moulton and Nicola Higgs arriving from Ashurst. Senior associates Fiona Maclean, Christian McDermott and Stuart Davis are also recommended.

The ‘responsive, knowledgeable’ team at Macfarlanes LLP has ‘sound commercial judgement’, and ‘extensive experience in fintech outsourcing’. It also handles capital markets and (primarily investor-side) M&A in the fintech space, and advises financial institutions on technology matters. The ‘pragmaticRupert Casey is ‘always a pleasure to deal with’, and ‘knows technology outsourcing inside-out’; he advised WH Ireland on the outsourcing of its core wealth management and associated technology services to SEI Investments. He also acted for 10x Future Technologies on its agreement with Virgin Money to develop a digital banking platform. Commercial partner Jeremy Courtenay-Stamp acted for Tilney Bestinvest on its fintech partnership with IRESS, involving a transition to the latter’s wealth management platform. On the corporate side, Luke Powell acted for J.C. Flowers & Co on its £60m purchase of a majority stake in online trading and investment platform Interactive Investor, and on financing its own purchase of TD Wealth Holdings UK and TD Bank International from Toronto Dominion Bank. Alex Edmondson assisted Schroders with its purchase of a two-thirds stake in technology and advisory business Benchmark Capital, and advised Ivaldi Capital on its investment in a UK challenger bank. The team also acts for fintech start-ups: Robert Boyle acted for lease-finance provider ThinkSmart on its introduction to the AIM. On the blockchain side, Casey advised Sucden Financial on the trial of messaging and risk-management software using blockchain technology developed by Cobalt.

Known partly for its strength in technology and IP, Wiggin LLP’s department acts mostly for technology companies, advising start-ups on all aspects of their development and acting for well-established, high-profile technology players on regulatory, strategic and technological matters. It is active in various areas of fintech, including cryptocurrencies, financial data, payments and insurtech. Technology expert David Naylor, who arrived from Fieldfisher in March 2016, heads the practice jointly with Shaun Lowde, who specialises in commercial transactions in the technology space; Naylor assisted insurtech company and new client RightIndem with all its legal requirements, including global commercial contracts, privacy and data protection, and financing. Gurminder Panesar advised iPipeline, another insurtech player, on its deal with Royal London Mutual for the provision of integrated online services to replace the insurer’s manual paper-based processes. He also advised the client on IP protection. Thomson Online Benefits, a software provider for automated employee benefits administration and tools for financial education and money management, instructed Lowde on technology licensing, service agreements with customers, data protection and strategic joint ventures with the likes of US payroll company ADP. Parity Technologies, iGo4 and Worldpay are all clients. Ciaran Hickey is recommended for corporate and investment matters.

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