Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

At Insights Philippines Legal Advisors (IPLA), Member Firm of ZICO Law Network - Felix Ty, former head of this practice group at Quisumbing Torres  has acts for a range of clients from across Asia.
Name partners Cornelio Abuda and Jeremiah Asis of Abuda Asis & Associates  are active in a range of finance work, with a focus on project finance.

Banking and finance in Philippines

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)’s team advises banking industry clients on regulatory requirements and compliance. In addition, its expertise extends to the preparation of loan agreements, the issuance of notes and other debt instruments, as well as security agreements on either the borrower/lender side. Judy Hao leads the practice while Andre Navato is another important contact.

Practice head(s):

Judy Hao

Other key lawyers:

Andre Navato

Key clients

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

Standard Chartered Bank

BDO Capital & Investment Corporation


Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

International Finance Corporation

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano advises a number of local and foreign banks in the Philippines. Experts in regulatory compliance, it also has a strong reputation for its work in credit enforcement, security arrangements, refinancings and debt capital market transactions. Increasingly active in renewable energy projects, the team handles a substantive number of related loan syndications and is also regularly sought out for high-value domestic bond issuances. Co-leads Mark Vergara  and Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo are respective specialists in project finance and M&A while Elmer Serrano and Erika Paulino are other key members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Vergara; Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo

Other key lawyers:

Elmer Serrano; Erika Paulino


The team provides sound legal advice to its clients and delivers swiftly on their commitments.’

The team members are able to think out of the box and are able to deliver legal solutions through recommending structures that ensure clients are protected.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc.

P.A. Alvarez Properties and Development Corporation

Asia United Bank

Union Bank of the Philippines

Development Bank of the Philippines

Land Bank of the Philippines

Farallon Capital

Security Bank Corporation

Century Pacific Group, Inc.

Century Pacific Food, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised BDO Unibank on the recovery of a loan while simultaneously planning for its exit in 2GO in order to avoid the further impact of losses to its subsidiary.
  • Advised Farallon Capital on the grant of $140 million and $70 million mezzanine facilities to the Udenna Corporation group.

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Led by Vicente Gerochi , SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan acts for foreign and local banks as well as key financial institutions. Increasingly active in the issuance of hybrid securities, it also has extensive experience handling shares, notes, bonds, hybrid securities and derivatives. Working closely with law firms in North America, Europe and Asia, its recent capital markets transactions cover the food and beverage, real estate and port operations industries. Bhong Paulo Macasaet  and Jan Celine Abaño-Ranada  are additional names to note.

Practice head(s):

Vicente Gerochi

Other key lawyers:

Bhong Paulo Macasaet; Jan Celine Abaño-Ranada


The team was very responsive and made sure all legal items were covered.’

The team is very professional and accessible to the client. They are knowledgeable of the subject matter and are able to identify the key issues that the client needs to know. We also trust them to represent us well in negotiations.’

As a client, it is important for us to be able to communicate well with our counsels, and this is what the individual partners or associates of SyCip provide us. They are responsive in terms of the quality of the advice and the timeliness of the replies.’

Key clients

BDO Unibank, Inc./BDO Capital & Investment Corporation

Philippine National Bank/PNB Capital & Investment Corporation

Bank of the Philippine Islands/BPI Capital Corporation

Standard Chartered Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited




Mizuho Bank

Deutsche Bank

San Miguel Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised BDO Capital & Investment Corporation on a PHP40bn, 10-year syndicated Term Loan Facility to Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc. and Sureste Properties Inc.

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)

Advising a client base of domestic and international lenders, the banking team at Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) advises on financial structuring, documentation, closing lending and securities. In addition, it assists with IPOs, private placements, capital building exercises and advisory work in relation to both market entry and regulatory compliance.  Team lead Jaime Renato B. Gatmaytan  is an expert in equity investments while Annalisa J. Carlota advises on regional public sector infrastructure projects.

Other key lawyers:

Annalisa J. Carlota

Key clients

SN Aboitiz Power – Benguet, Inc.

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

Lendable SPC/Lendable Asset Management LLC

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised SN Aboitiz Power – Benguet, Inc. on a PHP18bn notes facility.
  • Advised Mizuho Bank Ltd. on a $130m term loan facility to Metro Pacific Investments Corporation for the acquisition of Philippine Tank Storage International Holdings, Inc.
  • Advised Lendable SPC and Lendable Asset Management LLC on a $15m term loan facility to Uploan Asia Pte. Ltd.
  • Represented Standard Chartered Bank in its PHP1.12 billion claim against Philippine Guarantee Corporation, a government owned and controlled corporation, formerly known as Trade and Investment Development Corporation and Philippine Export-Import Credit Agency.

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

The team at Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices has a strong reputation in banking and finance matters including the securitisation of bonds and M&A transactions. The practice is led by Pearl Grace Cabali, Ramil Bugayong, and Elaine Marie Laceda, respective specialists in capital markets, infrastructure and commercial law.

Practice head(s):

Ramil Bugayong; Pearl Grace Cabali; Elaine Marie Laceda

Work highlights

  • Advised a petrol manufacturer on its PHP4bn Omnibus Loan and Security Agreement with BDO Unibank, Inc.
  • Advised a syndicate of lenders on the acquisition financing by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management Pte Ltd. of 100% equity of Philippine Tank Storage International Holdings, Inc.

Quisumbing Torres

Quisumbing Torres is known for advising clients on the financing of major projects and providing them with key regulatory advice. Particularly noted for its work in the energy sector, the firm is especially active in fintech, where it draws on its membership of the Baker McKenzie LLP network, and handles joint ventures, shareholder arrangements and the establishment of operations. Co-led by Christina Acaban-Macasaet and Dennis Quintero, respective experts in foreign investment and cross-border acquisitions, the team also features fintech specialist Alain Charles Veloso .

Practice head(s):

Dennis Quintero; Maria Christina Macasaet-Acaban

Other key lawyers:

Alain Charles Veloso


The team has extensive experience and provides great legal advice in the aspects of capital raising given their experience in capital raising transactions, and their exposure in the energy industry and the regulatory environment.’

It is critical that we get clear guidance with respect to decisions that we make that may have legal implications in the banking space. Given the availability of expertise on Banking at QMBTI, it provided us with the necessary legal advise to ensure that critical decisions and directions taken by the bank were in compliance with Philippine laws, as well as banking regulations set forth by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.’

QMBTI Law Firm is equipped with lawyers with expertise in different fields (ex. Taxation, Data Privacy, Legal Counsel) that can assist banks and other financial institutions with their corporate and legal issues.’

They are professionally competent, excellent in communication and negotiations and provide excellent legal advice. We value their integrity and authenticity. They turn around documents efficiently and make themselves available for consultation whenever needed, be it in the evenings or weekends.’

The lawyers that QMBTI assigned have been very responsive and have assisted us in ensuring that that all corporate documents of the bank are compliant with Philippine laws.’

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Led by Raoul Angangco, Sylvette Tankiang, and Franchette Acosta, the team at Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) is widely recognised for its expertise in project financing accounts. In addition, its expertise extends to regulatory advice for financial services products requiring compliance with both the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Notably, the practice also helps foreign businesses set up financial services companies and is increasingly active on matters related to the Philippines’ Data Privacy Law.

Practice head(s):

Raoul Angangco; Sylvette Tankiang; Franchette Acosta

Key clients

DITO Telecommunity Corporation

China Telecommunications Corporation

Kiangan Mini Hydro Corporation and its Affiliates

Alternergy Holdings Corporation and its Affiliates

Stripe, Inc. (operations in America and Europe)

Ninja Express Tech Philippines, Inc.

J&T Express

SEA Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a financial services company on its planned entry as an online merchant acquirer in the Philippines in light of recently enacted laws that put merchant acquirers under the regulatory authority of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula

Recognised for its expertise in tax matters, Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula is equally adept on issues linked to capital markets, foreign investment and dispute resolution. In particular, it covers the documentation of regular and syndicated loans, the formulation of collateral packages and assisting with legal clearances for loan release. Rendering services to companies in infrastructure, power generation and manufacturing, its client base extends to restaurants, educational institutions, cooperatives and trade associations. Five leads oversee the offering: Lily Gruba , Antero Jose Caganda , Angelo Patrick Advincula , Jorge Alfonso Melo  and Michael Stephen Lao.

Practice head(s):

Lily Gruba; Antero Jose Caganda; Angelo Patrick Advincula; Jorge Alfonso Melo; Michael Stephen Lao


The firm is thorough in conducting due diligence and documenting commercial transactions for our Bank in terms of methodology, scope of coverage, and turn around time.’

I closely work with the senior partner, Lily Gruba, who always thinks outside of the box. Ms. Gruba is a lawyer who has business acumen aligned to the business objectives of the bank.’


Key clients

Asia United Bank Corporation

Philippine Bank of Communications

Bank of the Philippine Islands – Capital Corporation

BDO Unibank, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Asia United Bank Corporation on the preparation, review, and finalization of the documentation of its regular loan operations.
  • Advised Philippine Bank of Communications on all major business transactions and in the development of policies, in compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Advised the Bank of the Philippines Islands – Capital Corporation on the negotiation and documentation of a loan agreement.

Disini & Disini Law Office

Co-led by JJ Disini and Lars Serzo, Disini & Disini Law Office provides legal services for digital banking and financial technology companies. In particular, the firm regularly advises clients on contractual and regulatory matters relating to the organisation of their businesses, the structure of their operations and the launch and design of consumer products. Notably, the firm recently advised an international development bank on its the digital transformation process. 

Practice head(s):

JJ Disini; Lars Serzo

Other key lawyers:

Aiken Serzo


‘We’ve worked with many law firms; hands down Disini Law has been the best firm for us. What sets the team apart is its deep knowledge of the technology sector. They’re equipped to advise even on areas that other firms would find too specialized. Moreover, I found that the team was committed to gaining a better understanding of their client’s broader business objectives, which puts them in a position to be novel, creative and always giving valuable advice.’

‘Aiken Serzo and JJ Disini-Both of them are very committed, creative and demonstrate such an understanding of our company and industry that it never felt like we were working with external counsels. JJ’s deep experience in the technology sector is readily apparent, making him a stand-out in the legal community.


Key clients

Unionbank of the Philippines

ING Philippines

Eastern Securities and Development Corporation

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation




PJ Lhuillier Group



Insights Philippines Legal Advisors (IPLA), Member Firm of ZICO Law Network

Insights Philippines Legal Advisors (IPLA), Member Firm of ZICO Law Network

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso

Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso's practice is led by Enrique Quiason and Ruelito Soriano; Eileen Pangalangan-Pardo is also a key team member. The practice covers the full range of banking and finance and related regulatory matters in connection with fintech work.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Quiason; Ruelito Soriano

Other key lawyers:

Eileen Pangalangan-Pardo; Christine Aberin


‘QMBTI Law Firm is equipped with lawyers with expertise in different fields (ex. Taxation, Data Privacy, Legal Counsel) that can assist Banks and other financial institutions in their corporate and legal issues.’

‘Ruel Soriano and Christine Aberin have been helpful in reviewing contracts and addressing different bank related legal concerns.’

They are professionally competent, excellent in communication and negotiations, and provide excellent legal advice.’