Banking and finance in Philippines

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano's 'objective is to get the deal done, without sacrificing their clients' best interests'. Banking and finance forms a core area of practice at the full-service firm; particular areas of strength include project financing for energy and power projects, debt restructuring, regulatory compliance and credit enforcement. In a recent highlight, the team advised United Overseas Bank on its grant of banking facilities to P-H-O-E-N-I-X Petroleum Philippines (a publicly listed company in the downstream petroleum industry) and its trading subsidiary in Singapore. The department also stands out for its experience in debt capital markets transactions. The experienced team is led by Mark Vergara and Rosalia Bartolome-Alejo and includes senior partner Elmer Serrano, who draws on over 20 years of experience in the banking industry. Erika Paulino is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rosalia Bartolome-Alejo; Mark Vergara

Other key lawyers:

Elmer Serrano; Erika Paulino; Mia Jazmin Ormita; Gino Paulo Uy

Testimonials

The firm is quick and proactive in providing solutions to issues or concerns that may arise‘.

Mark Vergara is recommended; he and his team will get things done‘.

Key clients

BDO Unibank

Citibank

Asia United Bank

United Overseas Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as Philippine counsel to Bank of China (Hong Kong), Bank of China (Manila Branch), MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (Singapore Branch) in the $300m term loan facility by SM Land (China), a subsidiary of SM Prime Holdings, guaranteed by SM Prime.
  • Acted as Philippine counsel to United Overseas Bank Limited in relation to its grant of banking facilities in favor of P-H-O-E-N-I-X Petroleum Philippines.
  • Represented BDO Unibank in the amendment of the PHP2.5bn loan facility granted to 20-34 Property Holdings.
  • Advised Wealth Development Bank Corporation in relation to its intended purchase of an affiliate’s loan portfolio assets, and the sale of Wealth Bank’s automobile loan portfolio to a third party.
  • Acted as counsel to BDO Unibank in raising PHP35bn through a bond issuance in February 2019.

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan's banking group expanded at the partner level with the promotions of Leah Abutan, Bhong Paulo Macasaet and Joan Mae To-Conejos to the partnership in January 2019. The department has experience acting for local and international financial institutions as well as borrowers, and it stands out for its ability to handle innovative transactions and analyse new financial products. Sector specialisms include TMT, energy, infrastructure and aviation, where the team is often called on to advise on financing projects. In a cross-border matter, the team acted for Citigroup Global Markets, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank in the €260m facility loan to ICTSI Middle East DMCC, which secured a 20-year contract to operate, manage and develop a port in Sudan. Vicente Gerochi is the practice head.

Practice head(s):

Vicente Gerochi

Other key lawyers:

Marievic Ramos-Añonuevo; Simeon Ken Ferrer; Melyjane Bertillo-Ancheta; Philbert Varona; Jose Florante Pamfilo; Aaron Roi Riturban; Jan Celine Abaño-Ranada; John Paul de Leon; Leah Abutan; Bhong Paulo Macasaet; Joan Mae To-Conejos

Key clients

BDO Capital & Investment Corporation/BDO Unibank

PNB Capital & Investment Corporation/Philippine National Bank

BPI Capital & Investment Corporation/Bank of the Philippine Islands

Standard Chartered Bank

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

San Miguel Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted as Philippine counsel to the arrangers and lenders in respect of a €260m facility loan to ICTSI Middle East DMCC.
  • Acted as counsel for the lead arrangers and lenders in SMC Global Power’s Malita power plant project.
  • Represented BDO Capital & Investment Corporation as lead arranger and sole bookrunner for a syndicate of Philippine lenders in the PBP40bn loan facility for the Vertis North Solaire Hotel and Resorts Project.

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw) has a significant banking, finance and dept capital markets offering. With a diverse client base, the team has experience advising lenders and borrowers in a range of loan and security transactions. On the borrower side, highlights included acting as counsel for manufacturing company Asia Pacific Aluminum Extrusion in connection with its proposed loan with the Bank of the Philippine Islands. In recent team developments, Everlene Lee (whose broad expertise spans securities and capital markets, contracts, banking and finance and M&A) was promoted to partner, while of counsel Tadeo Hilado retired from practice. Senior partner Judy Hao is the practice head.

Practice head(s):

Judy Hao

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Patricia Reyes-Rodolfo; Everlene Lee; Joselito Bautista; Elaine Patricia Reyes-Rodolfo; Melissa Angela Velarde

Key clients

Asia Pacific Aluminum Extrusion

Philippine National Bank

Bank of China (Luxembourg Branch)

Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corporation

BPI Capital Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Asia Pacific Aluminum Extrusion on a proposed loan with the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
  • Acted as domestic counsel to Philippine National Bank in connection with the establishment and initial drawdown of a Medium Term Note Programme.
  • Advised Bank of China (Luxembourg Branch) as lender in a US$600m term loan facility.
  • Acted as counsel for the initial noteholders and joint lead arrangers and bookrunners in connection with the PHP5bn notes facility extended to Cebu Landmasters.

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

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) is well versed in structuring and documenting lending, security and other financial transactions, and counts major banks among its clients. In contentious matters, the team is also equipped to assist its banking-sector clients in litigation concerning their lending operations. The firm's expertise in corporate and M&A transactions means it is also called upon to assist in acquisitions of banks. Recent work highlights include Jaime Renato Gatmaytan's advice to DBS Bank, Mizuho, MUFG and Standard Chartered Bank on a facility agreement to AEV International; the loan financed the acquisition - by a wholly owned subsidiary of the borrower - of Gold Coin Management, an agribusiness venture active in Southeast Asia.

Practice head(s):

Jaime Renato Gatmaytan; Norma Patacsil

Other key lawyers:

Annalisa Carlota; Camille Maria Castolo; Ben Dominic Yap; Jesus Paolo Protacio

Key clients

DBS Bank

Mizuho Bank

MUFG Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

United Overseas Bank Limited

Visa Worldwide Singapore

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

HSBC

Work highlights

  • Acted as  Philippine counsel to DBS Bank, Mizuho, MUFG and Standard Chartered Bank in documenting and finalising a facility agreement to AEV International (as borrower) and Aboitiz Equity Ventures (as guarantor).
  • Assisted the lenders in the structuring and documentation of a $300m facility to Aboitiz Power Corporation to finance the latter’s acquisition of an interest in AA Thermal.
  • Assisted United Overseas Bank in extending a loan facility to a Singapore property company, supported by a suretyship agreement issued by a Philippine affiliate of the borrower.

Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices

Ramil Bugayong heads the banking, finance and capital markets practice at Puyat Jacinto & Santos Law Offices. Pearl Cabali, who has broad expertise in banking, tax and real estate, is another key advisor. The team represents banks and non-traditional finance companies in a range of finance and corporate transactions, with recent highlights including its advice to a mobile technology and data science company on regulatory and legal matters affecting the microfinance sector.

Practice head(s):

Ramil Bugayong

Other key lawyers:

Pearl Cabali; Elaine Marie Laceda; Maria Raquel Chavez; Amapolo Española

Work highlights

  • Advised a mobile technology and data science company on regulatory and legal matters affecting the banking industry, particularly those affecting micro-financing businesses.
  • Assisted a financial institution in setting up a Manila Branch.
  • Advised a client on a PHP1bn corporate term loan facility.

Quisumbing Torres

A member firm of Baker McKenzie, Quisumbing Torres benefits from a broad international office platform; this allows the Philippines team to access global expertise in new and novel areas. The firm has a dedicated financial institution industry group in addition to a banking and finance practice group, and it also maintains a fintech focus group. Its client base comprises local and multinational financial institutions, which turn to the team for assistance in a range of financing, corporate and capital markets transactions and regulatory advice. TJ Mendoza heads the practice, which includes insurance expert Dennis Quintero and Alain Charles Veloso, whose practice spans capital markets, banking and finance and M&A. Lourdes de Leon retired from the firm in 2019.

Practice head(s):

TJ Mendoza

Key clients

Energy Development Corporation

Consensys

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

Jose Salvador Mirasol heads the banking and finance group at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles which focuses on regulatory and transactional work.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Under the leadership of Sylvette Tankiang and Franchette Acosta, Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)'s banking and finance team assists clients in all stages of a financing transaction, from initial negotiations to closing to compliance with regulatory requirements. In recent team changes, capital markets, banking and securities law expert Paul Rodulfo Imperial was promoted to junior partner in 2019. Among the firm's varied workload was its advice to Snapcash Lending on its entrance to the financing and lending market of the Philippines by the incorporation of a Philippine lending company; the team also provided guidance on the minimum capitalisation requirements and applicable regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Sylvette Tankiang; Franchette Acosta

Other key lawyers:

Raoul Angangco; Leonardo Singson; Kristin Charisse Siao; Maria Concepcion Simundac; Paul Rodulfo Imperial

Key clients

Swiss Re

Stripe, Inc.

Bank of Singapore

Gloriosa Finance Corporation

Alternergy Mini Hydro Holdings Corporation

Snapcash Lending

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

BDO Unibank

Work highlights

  • Assisted Snapcash Lending in its entrance into the Philippines market through the incorporation of a Philippine lending company.
  • Provided legal advice to Swiss Re regarding the overview of reinsurance regulations in the Philippines as well as compliance with the Data Privacy Act.
  • Provides regular corporate secretarial advice to a finance company in relation to the activities of the company, in compliance with the Financing Company Act.

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula regularly advises banks on regular and syndicated loans and is particularly active in project financing transactions. The firm has maintained an alliance with WongPartnership LLP in Singapore since 2017, making it the sole affiliated Philippine member of the WPG Law Network; member law firms collaborate to advise clients in the ASEAN region, China and the Middle East. Jorge Alfonso Melo was appointed General Counsel (GC) of a publicly listed commercial bank; he takes on GC responsibilities in addition to his active practice with the firm. Managing partner Lily Gruba is another key practitioner, and her clients include borrowers and lenders.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Alfonso Melo; Lily Gruba; Antero Caganda

Other key lawyers:

Angelo Advincula

Key clients

Asia United Bank Corporation

Philippine Bank of Communications

Bank of Philippine Islands

Work highlights

  • Acts on a retainer basis to prepare, review and finalise documentation for the regular loan operations of Asia United Bank Corporation.

Disini & Disini Law Office

Drawing on its vast experience and reputation in the tech sector, Disini & Disini Law Office has carved out a niche for itself in the areas of fintech, virtual currencies and digitalisation. It is often sought out by financial services companies to advise on digital transformation initiatives and fintech partnerships. The firm also advises banks, payment companies and fintech companies on compliance projects including Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations. Managing partner JJ Disini, senior partner Rowena Disini and junior partner Mark Parcia are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

JJ Disini; Rowena Disini

Other key lawyers:

Mark Parcia; Aiken Larisa Serzo; Marian Salanguit

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos

Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos acts for leading Philippine and international banks, alongside lending institutions and export credit agencies. The team handles syndicated loans and corporate bonds acting for issuers and borrowers.

Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso

The banking and finance group at Quiason Makalintal Barot Torres Ibarra Sison & Damaso has multidisciplinary expertise in finance, tax, corporate and insurance, and acts for borrowers and lenders in financing transactions. Ruel Soriano is the managing partner. Key contacts at the junior partner level include Eileen Pangalangan-Pardo, who advises on securities and bond offerings, corporate finance and project finance; while senior associate Christine Aberin is well versed in securities law, insurance law and fintech regulations.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Quiason; Ruel Soriano

Key clients

Energy Development Corporation

BDO Capital & Investments

Transnational Diversified Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented Energy Development Corporation in various loan facilities, including a $90m loan facility from IFC and various loans from BDO Unibank.

Key clients

Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako fields a specialised practice that predominantly deals with banking litigation, alongside syndicated loans and restructuring. The firm advised the Banker’s Association of the Philippines on policy issues. Partners Rommel U Mercado and Jocelyn R. Esguerra-Dee are the key contacts.

Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim

Ocampo Manalo Valdez & Lim has acted for finance sector clients including Grepa Mutual Fund, Chailease International Financial Services and MAA Mutualife on a range of regulatory matters.