Firms in the Spotlight Banking and finance: Geneva

lecocqassociate

In 2007, lecocqassociate was established as a law firm in Geneva, however, the foundations of the firm originated in the late 1990s with the legal education and experience of its founder, Dominique R Lecocq.

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Banking and finance: Geneva in Switzerland

Lenz & Staehelin

The Geneva banking and finance team of Lenz & Staehelin, headed by Shelby du Pasquier, offers the full array of legal services to its domestic and international clients, ranging from traditional market participants such as established international banks to non-traditional players, such as alternative lenders. Recently the unit, which includes key lawyers François Rayroux, Olivier Stahler, David Ledermann, Fedor Poskriakov, Laurence Vogt Scholler and Valérie Menoud, has seen increased activity in leveraged finance, project finance, regulatory proceedings and regulatory advice. Clients appreciate that ‘partners and associates alike are deeply committed to providing the best to their clients‘.

Practice head(s):

Shelby du Pasquier 

Testimonials

‘Top law firm.’

‘The team demonstrates a broad array of expertise across the Swiss financial sector, including in the DLT and its deployment in the financial sector. Although a big firm by Swiss standards, L&S manages to keep a boutique quality of service. They are very familiar with our firm’s business model and processes and successfully and consistently integrate this element in their advice, which provides precious added value.’

‘In addition to expertise in numerous fields, partners and associates alike are deeply committed to providing the best to their clients. Their commitment and dedication have brought us to rely on L&S as our pillar firm.’

‘Pragmatic approach, efficient, very much skilled, available upon short notice.’

‘They are very strong allrounders with top expertise in all the legal domains.’

‘They combine top rate legal knowledge and skills with a pragmatic business-focused approach.’

‘François Rayroux is the leading investment fund lawyer in Switzerland. Very proficient, diligent and knowledgeable.’

‘Olivier Stahler consistently combines extremely high technical knowledge with strong business acumen. He is particularly responsive in the day to day and visionary when dealing with more strategic issues. He also demonstrates a strong capability to assess risks effectively. I value Lenz & Staehelin as an independent law firm with strong ties with high-ranking international peers. Lenz & Staehelin has a clear and transparent billing structure that also adapts to the specific cases.’

‘Lenz is well known practice and dominates in banking and finance in Switzerland. They provide good practical advice and are very responsive.’

‘Olivier Stahler has been a great help. He gives good practical advice and is my go-to person for any Swiss legal issues. His experience, knowledge and common sense approach as well as his thoughtfulness in terms of how advice can be applied in practice has been invaluable. Moreover, he always considers the best interest of the client, the implications of taking or not taking certain actions.’

‘Lenz & Staehelin is unique for many reasons, in particular the excellent legal knowledge of all members of the firm, the capacity to understand the client’s needs and their commitment to be there for us at any time. We are big fans of Lenz & Staehelin. They always deliver beyond our expectations, while our expectations are high and (logically) only increasing.’

‘Pragmatical, solution-oriented and client-focused.’

Key clients

Aviva Investors Global Services

Banque Pictet & Cie SA

Barclays Bank

Citibank Group

Crédit Agricole

HSBC

Itau Group

J.P. Morgan

Lombard Odier

ODDO BHF

Pictet Group

Reyl & Cie

STRATEO

Pensionskasse SBB

Swissquote Bank SA

UBS

Unigestion SA

VTB Group

Work highlights

  • Corporate and regulatory advice to ODDO BHF in relation to the acquisition of the entire share capital in Landolt & Cie from its existing shareholders. The deal required securing and additional license from the Swiss regulator as a result of the transfer of ownership of a Swiss bank to a foreign entity.
  • Assistance to the client in the sale of one of the leading Swiss independent asset management firms. The assistance included legal, tax and contractual advice.
  • Assisted various Swiss banks, among which Citibank, HSBC, Banco Itau and Reyl & Cie, with the implementation of the new financial services regulations under the Financial Services Act, namely as regards governance, suitability, client disclosure obligations, transparency processes, etc.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd‘s Geneva office covers the full range of banking and finance matters, including regulatory matters, complex debt capital market transactions and the issuance of new hybrid bonds programmes. The team, co-headed by the ‘extremely efficient and pleasantTarek Houdrouge and Grégoire Wuest, ‘has a complete grasp on the relevant topics, is always informed on the best path forward‘ and ‘can anticipate client’s needs‘ which is what ‘separates the lawyers of Schellenberg Wittmer from the rest‘. Caroline Clemetson  specialises in investment management and investment products. ‘Most exceptional lawyerGrégoire Tribolet has additional expertise in internal investigations.

Testimonials

‘The comprehensive understanding of the law separates the lawyers of Schellenberg Wittmer from the rest. The firm has a complete grasp on the relevant topics, and is always informed on the best path forward.’

‘The level of knowledge and competence has allowed Grégoire Tribolet to differentiate himself from the rest. Grégoire has a full understanding of his area of law. He is clear, informed, and hard-working – which all leads to excellent results. Grégoire Tribolet is the most exceptional lawyer that I have worked with.’

‘Very professional, efficient, solution-oriented. Quick returns. Experienced.’

‘The banking team is always very up to date with relevant regulations, applicability, questions, legal advices. They have an excellent practical approach and can anticipate client’s needs.’

‘Tarek Houdrouge is always very helpful and has a very good knowledge and understands client’s needs. He anticipates a lot of regulatory questions and he always has good ideas for implementing new regulations.’

‘What makes Schellenberg Wittmer unique is the truly extraordinary people that work there. Not only are they deeply experienced in their respective practices, they are also very ethically driven, which in my experience with law firms, makes them unique.’

‘Tarek Houdrouge could anticipate the key challenges we would face so that we could manage them proactively. He demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the legal aspect of our work, but also a good understanding of the cultural specificities of our structure. We were extremely happy with the experience.’

‘For me, Tarek Houdrouge’s key strength is that he demonstrates both a very strong in-depth legal knowledge in each specific banking topic I addressed with him, and very good communication/strategy skills. It makes it extremely efficient and pleasant to work with him.’

Key clients

UBS

BNP Paribas

Credit Suisse

Emeram

Eny Finance AG

Bank Julius Baer

Swiss Bankers Association

Reuss Private Group Ag

Bank Itau (Suisse) SA

Banco Santander

Bank Vontobel

Deutsche Bank SA

Diamond Capital Management (Switzerland) Ltd

EFG Bank

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)

Mirabaud & Cie SA

UBP

CACEIS

Landolt Investment SICAV

Procimmo SA

e-GTSA S. A

Standard Chartered

Computershare / Equatex

Work highlights

  • Acted as Swiss counsel to Swiss private investors on a major transaction in July 2020, namely a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of the Swiss operations of furniture and electronics retailer Conforama in a landmark deal in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advised Alpian on the preparation of a banking license application.
  • Advised a major international banking group with a strong presence in Switzerland with its first ever shariah-compliant yacht financing for a prominent Middle-Eastern client.

BianchiSchwald LLC

BianchiSchwald LLC has a strong track record of advising banks, national and international universal, commercial and private banks, on complex regulatory banking matters, financing, all types of investment funds work as well as on arbitration and litigation. Headed by Thomas Goossens, the ‘professional, reliable and experienced‘ team is further adept at handling all capital markets, corporate, contractual, employment and tax law aspects of transactions. The ‘responsive and thoroughThierry Amy has particular experience in representing high-ranking individuals from the banking and finance sector in contentious matters, among others in post-bankruptcy white-collar crime cases.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Goossens 

Other key lawyers:

Thierry Amy 

Testimonials

‘Law firm with a good banking and financial expertise. Personalised service.’

‘Professional, reliable and experienced.’

‘Attentive.’

‘Good receivables finance practice.’

‘Thomas Goosens is good for sports receivables finance work.’

‘Thierry Amy is responsive and thorough.’

Key clients

One swiss bank SA

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA

Grupo BBVA

Hinduja Bank (Switzerland) SA

Barclays Bank SA

Macquarie Bank Limited

BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA

BNC Change (Suisse) SA, Geneva

Banque Piguet Galland & Cie Geneva (HQ)

Gadd Wealth Management SA

Task Wealth Management SA

Primis Investment (Suisse) SA

Berauk Capital AG

Work highlights

  • Advised One swiss bank (formerly Banque Profil de Gestion SA) on all aspects relating to the purchase of 100% of the shares of another reputable Geneva private bank and the consequential change of its present majority shareholder.
  • Assisted HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA with several complex judicial disputes.
  • Advised Primis Investment (Suisse) SA on regulatory matters.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. advises Swiss banks, the Swiss affiliates of foreign banks and a variety of other financial institutions on all types of contractual, regulatory and compliance matters as well as on civil, criminal and enforcement proceedings. The practice is well-known for its acquisition finance strength, in particular for private equity borrowers, and has further experience in complex structured derivatives transactions and fintech projects. The ‘super responsive‘ team is headed by the ‘highly knowledgeableCédric Chapuis and and includes other key members Martin Anderson and Andrew Garbarski.

Testimonials

‘Frédéric Bétrisey fully understood our needs.’

‘Frédéric Bétrisey is very professional. He listened to our needs and covered every aspect of them.’

‘The team is super responsive and always available to help. They are really dedicated to supporting their clients. There are no surprises with billing, and everything runs smoothly.’

‘Frédéric Bétrisey is always up to date with the latest and trickiest laws and regulations, including when it comes to the regulator’s point of view. He has a broad market perspective, which allows him to be pragmatic and always on point. He is highly knowledgeable and understands the most complex regulatory and contractual aspects. He remains calm at all times and offers concrete solutions for every situation.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the functioning of the banking world and its regulations.’

‘Incredible know-how from Frédéric Bétrisey in derivatives legal matters.’

Key clients

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Libra Association

Republic and Canton of Geneva

Crédit Agricole next bank (Suisse) SA

Work highlights

  • Advised private panking Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, on a long-term strategic partnership with REYL & Cie SA, under which Fideuram will acquire a 69% interest in REYL and assign its Swiss subsidiary Intesa Sanpaolo Private Bank (Suisse) Morval SA to REYL.
  • Acted as counsel to Crédit Agricole next bank (Suisse) in connection with its first Covered Bond Programme, in a maximum aggregate principal amount of CHF2bn, guaranteed as to payments of interest and principal by CAnb (Suisse) Hypothèques SA.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

Excellent firmFBT Attorneys-at-Law specialises in banking and finance regulation, including collective investment schemes, derivatives and market infrastructure as well as asset management and anti-money laundering. The practice is headed by ‘excellent lawyerFrédérique Bensahel, a specialist for financing issues who is ‘extremely well versed in investment funds‘, and includes Marco Villa who specialises in banking contract law and mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions. A particular area of expertise of the firm is the fund sector where members of the team are active in working groups and as lecturers.

Practice head(s):

Frédérique Bensahel

Other key lawyers:

Marco Villa

Testimonials

‘Excellent firm with personalised services. The firm has a human size that favors exchanges and enables a quick access to the relevant partners.’

‘The attorneys are genuine experts in their fields and have a very good knowledge of industry’s need. They are accessible and deliver with efficiency.’

‘Deep knowledge of banking and financial law, both from a regulatory and contractual perspective, which allows them to come up with pragmatic results-driven solutions.’

‘Frédérique Bensahel is extremely well versed in investment funds and her deep understanding of the practical issues met in the banking sector makes her advice very relevant.’

‘Excellent professionals and very good cooperation with the law firm.’

‘Frédérique Bensahel is an excellent lawyer who is always reliable and very cooperative with the bank.’

‘Immediate response to any enquires and request and more than helpful partners.’

‘Michel Abt has always been more then helpful. You may always rely on him which I appreciate highly.’

Work highlights

  • Advised two Swiss private banks on the implementation of the Financial Services Act (FinSA), including the review of the entire bank’s internal documentation and drafting new internal directives on all new topics not yet been covered by the internal documentation.
  • Successfully accompanied a major Swiss insurance group seeking a FINMA licence for its asset management company managing over 6 billion of insurance and pension funds assets, securing issuance of the licence, one of the first licences under the new Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) for an asset manager of Swiss pension schemes.
  • Represent a Swiss bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over $350m.

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi advises a broad array of national and international banks and financial institutions, including securities firms, exchanges and asset managers, on the full range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Specialisms of the ‘superb team‘ team, headed by the ‘highly experiencedChristophe Emonet and Sébastien Roy, are finance matters, including commodities trade financings, mezzanine financings, project finance agreements and syndicated loans, as well as digital regulatory matters, financial restructurings, investigations and regulatory enforcement. Nicolas Herren, Ludivine Boisard and Christophe Berclaz round off the team with expertise in contractual and regulatory banking disputes, financing transactions and white-collar crime disputes.

Testimonials

‘Ludivine Boisard and Oliver Widmer are outstanding professionals who provide concise and very helpful advice.’

‘Christophe Emonet leads a superb team at Pestalozzi. They are excellent lawyers, extremely responsive and practical.’

‘Christophe Emonet is superb. Christophe Berclaz also stands out.’

‘A hard-working, diligent and knowledgeable team. They live and breathe cases for their clients.’

‘Christophe Emonet is a highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. He is a hands-on partner, who is invested in his clients’ cases. Christophe Berclaz is similarly a very knowledgeable lawyer.’

Key clients

AGCO International GmbH/AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO)

Bank of America

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Canton of Aargau

CH Media

Cott Beverages

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Fahad Al-Rajaan

First International Bank of Israel

Glencore

Rusal

Trafigura

Vitol

General Electrics

Goldman Sachs

Hauck & Aufhäuser

Instimatch

National Oil Corporation of Libya

River Rock

Saxo Bank (Schweiz) AG

UBP

Union Bank of Israel

Work highlights

  • Advised the former CEO of the pension fund of Kuwait and coordinated his defense in the context of one of the biggest ever banking secret commission claims (£950m) filed in 2019 before the Commercial Court of London.
  • Advised a group of global financial institutions on the Swiss aspects of the comprehensive financial restructuring of Swissport group.

Gillioz Dorsaz & Associés

The team at Gillioz Dorsaz & Associés is instructed by banks, asset managers, fund distributors, family offices, and trust services companies to assist with their banking and finance matters. Areas of expertise include representation in civil and administrative proceedings, obtaining licences, regulatory advice as well as compliance matters. The key practitioners are Géraldine Badel Poitras, Damien Cand and Christian Valentini.

Practice head(s):

Géraldine Badel Poitras; Damien Cand; Christian Valentini

Work highlights

  • Advised Cronos Finance SA on financial strategy regulation as an independent member of the board.

HFW

HFW adds value with a ‘pragmatic and business-oriented approach.‘ The group is the key address in Geneva for trade finance matters, acting  for producers, financiers, traders, transporters and end users on a regular basis. Practice head Olivier Bazin specialises in financings, revolving trade facilities, advanced payment facilities and export credit insurance. Sustainable finance is another area of strength. The team works well as part of the firm’s international network.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Bazin

Other key lawyers:

Anne-Marie Pearce

Testimonials

‘Great team that always pulls the best subject matter experts for a case. The pragmatic and business-oriented approach is very valuable for in-house teams.’

‘Oliver Bazin: excellent understanding of finance and trade matters; very good negotiator.’

‘Well organised, very knowledgeable, down to earth, hands-on approach.’

‘Good communication, pragmatic, experts.’

Key clients

Sucafina

MUFG Bank Ltd

ADM

ING Bank N.V. Lancy/ Geneva Branch

Promsvyazbank

Gazprombank

Rabobank London

Puma Energy

UBS Switzerland AG

Amsterdam Trade Bank NV

BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA

Gunvor SA

Mauritius Commercial Bank

UniCredit Bank AG

Trafigura

Reuben Brothers

Hogan Lovells CIS

Allen & Overy Moscow

Integrites LLP

Sucden

Tüpras

Massoel Shipping

Work highlights

  • Advised Sucafina on the refinancing of its sustainability-linked senior secured borrowing base facility, under which a syndicate of 16 banks, led by ING Bank N.V., are making available up to $500m to the client.

LALIVE

LALIVE is noted for its know-how in acting for corporate investors and private clients in matters such as fraud, mismanagement of assets, improper execution and fraudulent orders and disputes related to structured and derivative products. Under the lead of Alexander Troller, Sandrine Giroud and Marc Henzelin, the group also covers regulatory, compliance and investigations mandates. Nicolas Ollivier made partner in early 2021.

Other key lawyers:

Nicolas Ollivier

Testimonials

‘We find the team we work with efficient and highly professional.’

‘We find the following persons most efficient, highly professional and doing an excellent job: – Marc Henzelin, Sandrine Giroud and Nicolas Ollivier.’

Key clients

Banka Snoras

Work highlights

  • Representing fifty former clients and counterparts including institutional and high net worth individuals in complex proceedings against Banque Privée Espirito Santo (Suisse) S.A., in liquidation, and its auditors, KPMG.
  • Representing a company active in the commodities trading market in a dispute regarding the financing of a related company using international sales of goods and letters of credit, which were in turn allegedly used by third parties to defraud the bank guaranteeing the transactions.
  • Acting as counsel to the liquidators of Lithuanian Banka Snoras which went into bankruptcy after the main shareholders diverted over €400m in assets owned by the bank.

Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC

The banking and finance team at Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC can offer advice on individual and collective asset management and anti-money laundering issues, and the handling of authorisations and enquiries with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. Further specialisations include fintech matters, financing, loans, guarantees, investments and other transactional matters. Practice head Fabien Aepli  covers corporate, regulatory and transactional queries. Grégoire Mangeat  is the key contact in disputes and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Fabien Aepli

Other key lawyers:

Lukas van Dobben; Grégoire Mangeat

Testimonials

‘MANGEAT Attorneys at law is a new generation law firm with dedicated and seasoned team members. MANGEAT will always try to be at the forefront of innovation and optimal practice.’

‘Fabien Aepli first listens, masters your problematics and answers in a methodological way. Fabien is technical and accurate in his approach and answers. Grégoire Mangeat is extremely knowledgeable and has always been a great help and support in the various matters which we discussed. Gregoire takes the time to understand your questions and provides you with well-thought through answers and solutions.’

‘Very good and flexible team, they always find the best solutions.’

‘Solution-driven, pragmatic, fair and reasonable on fees.’

‘Fabien Aepli helps up to connect the dots between business and regulations; is both professional and committed; is very knowledgeable about the finance sector in general and about FinTech in particular.’

‘The team is made of young, very skilled lawyers who work in close conjunction in order to find the best approach to your case.’

‘Each member of the staff is not only highly skilled, but also brings a very welcoming, personal touch making the client feel special and valued.’

‘We value MANGEAT’s team-oriented approach of each file that contributes to providing innovative and creative approaches with a really client-focused and dedicated mind.’

Key clients

C-Quadrat (Suisse) SA

Swiss Crypto Advisors SA

Alphemy Capital Ltd

Athenee Investment SA

MLL Legal

MLL Legal‘s client portfolio includes financial institutions, funds, investors, and individuals. On the regulatory side, the firm handles licence requests for banks and issues involving the recognition of specific financial products in Switzerland. It further covers asset lending, corporate lending, real estate financing and acquisition financing as well as banking litigation. Dmitry Pentsov is a key contact especially for the latter; he leads the practice together with transaction specialist Mona Stephenson.

Testimonials

‘The team has great expertise and is very professional.’

Key clients

Banque Privée BCP (Suisse) SA

EuroChem Group AG

Geremant SA

Global Keys SA

ING Bank, N.V. London Branch

Longbow Finance SA

OTP Bank PLC, Hungary

PJSC ‘Credit Agricole Bank’

Sberbank of Russia

Swiss Bridge Capital

Unicredit Bank AO

Work highlights

  • Advising EuroChem Group AG on the Swiss law aspects of its cross-border financial transactions.
  • Advised ING Bank, N.V. London Branch on the Swiss law aspects of a multicurrency revolving credit facility agreement, concluded between, amongst others, MET Holding AG and ING Bank N.V.
  • Advised OTP Bank Plc on the Swiss law aspects of a revolving credit facility agreement concluded between, amongst others, MET Holding AG and OTP Bank Plc.

OBERSON ABELS SA

OBERSON ABELS SA ‘delivers sharp legal advice tailored to clients’ business.‘ Specifically, the team advises institutions on obtaining the required licences from Swiss financial regulator FINMA; foreign financial institutions on getting subsidiaries or branches as well as their financial products licenced; as well as (non-Swiss) investors on getting the relevant authorisations to acquire stakes in Switzerland. The ‘always availableAntoine Amiguet  and the ‘solution-orientedPhilipp Fischer  lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Antoine Amiguet; Philipp Fischer

Testimonials

‘Pragmatic and experienced lawyers who understand the needs and issues of a company. Excellent communicators and leaders in their expertise.’

‘Personalised contact, quick, efficient and always available.’

‘Very knowledgeable and pragmatic in the approach.’

‘Great know-how and involvement.’

‘The Oberson Abels team is client-focused, very responsive and delivers sharp legal advice tailored to clients’ business.’

‘Antoine Amiguet is always available for clients and knows how to deliver clear and thorough legal advice that is adapted to the business.’

‘Philipp Fischer is very knowledgeable and experienced in his field of competence. He is solution-oriented, pragmatic and efficient. He has a very good understanding of the banking business and of the operational challenges that the implementation of the banking legislation may cause, which enables him to provide practical advice.’

Python

The banking and finance group of Python covers a wide range of related matters. The offering includes assistance to Swiss and foreign banks, asset managers, securities dealers and other financial institutions in setting up and licencing Swiss banks and subsidiaries, in structuring collective investment vehicles, and the licencing of investment funds in Switzerland. Led by Nicolas de Gottrau and Jean-Yves Rebord, the group also covers anti-money laundering and compliance engagements.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas de Gottrau; Jean-Yves Rebord

Testimonials

‘Jean-Yves Rebord: very open to collaboration and listening to the other professionals to comply with requested topics.’

‘Jean-Yves Rebord has a great capacity to summarise the key points and has a pragmatic approach.’

Key clients

StoneEdge SICAV

TrustStone SICAV

GMG Asset Management SA

Iteram Capital SA

Mountain Resorts Real Estate Fund SICAV

PMCH SA

Walder Wyss Ltd.

Walder Wyss Ltd.‘s Geneva office has several Swiss and foreign banks, securities firms, financial institutions and fintech enterprises on its client roster. It regularly advises them on transactional as well as regulatory matters. Practice head Patrick Vogel also advises on private equity and venture capital transactions. Hubertus Hillerström is a key contact for financings and structured finance, while Adriano Antonietti specialises in regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Vogel

Testimonials

‘The team is friendly, well organised and helpful.’

‘The partners and associates have extensive knowledge in their expertise and are open-minded.’

‘Very efficient resource allocation, extremely knowledgeable, commercially-minded and solution-oriented.’

‘Patrick Vogel: Very efficient resource allocation, extremely knowledgeable, commercially-minded and solution-oriented, very nice to work with.’

Key clients

Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG

Bank Vontobel AG

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

ING Bank

Société Générale

Swisscom Ventures AG

KomGo SA