Lenz & Staehelin's Geneva-office has established itself comfortably at the top of the market with an impressive client portfolio that includes a number of international and Swiss banks. Under the lead of the highly regarded Shelby du Pasquier, the team regularly acts on transactions, project finance matters, regulatory proceedings and restructurings in the financial sector. François Rayroux is also a key contact for securities dealers. Other experts include Olivier Stahler, Fedor Poskriakov, David Ledermann and counsel Laurence Vogt Scholler. Valérie Menoud made partner in January 2021.
Firms in the Spotlight Banking and finance: Geneva
Banking and finance: Geneva in Switzerland
Shelby du Pasquier
Other key lawyers:
François Rayroux; Olivier Stahler; Fedor Poskriakov; David Ledermann; Laurence Vogt Scholler; Valérie Menoud
‘Shelby du Pasquier and his team are very experienced and responsive. Undaunted by steep challenges their focus on client service drives them to innovative and practical solutions which have been decisive in achieving success in very difficult files.’
‘Shelby du Pasquier has a wealth of experience which simply sets him apart from the competition. When focusing on the big picture he is forward looking, solution orientated and practical and in the day-to-day handling of the files; decisive, swift and steady. Shelby’s advice is particularly valuable in the management of complex regulatory files.’
‘Very reactive. Very knowledgeable and experienced in their field of competence. Proactive. Excellent partners and individual associates. Very professional. Deliver in time work of great quality. Reliable.’
‘Skilled; pragmatic approach; available upon short notice.’
‘François Rayroux is regarded as being one of the most experienced lawyers in the OTC and listed derivatives business as well as for clearing issues. He is extremely team-oriented and cooperative in responding to questions on regulatory and derivatives trading issues.’
‘Comprehensive full coverage of all legal aspects with an array of top notch specialists ’
‘Olivier Stahler – Pragmatic approach, detailed knowledge of the regulations and laws but practical guidance on the various aspects’
‘The most respected team of banking lawyers in the Swiss market, and for good reason. Highly knowledgeable and top quality advisers. This is the A-team of Swiss banking lawyers.’
‘Shelby du Pasquier is not only incredibly well informed about the legal shape of the Swiss market but is also plugged in to the business side and has a great network of contacts.’
Aviva Investors Global Services
Neuberger Berman Europe Limited
- Acted as counsel to Barclays Bank (Suisse) SA and Barclays Bank PLC on the issuance by Barclays (Suisse) SA of contingent convertible notes qualifying as additional tier 1 capital for Barclays’ capital requirements purposes.
- Advised Aviva Investors Global Services on the registration of its UCITS in Switzerland and its Swiss licensed distributor.
- Advised Allfunds Group on the acquisition of Credit Suisse InvestLab, an open architecture investment fund platform, from Credit Suisse.
The 'extraordinary' practice at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd has considerable experience in the full gamut of regulatory, transactional and contentious banking and finance matters. The team covers banking M&A restructurings, investment and asset management, syndicated lending, and advises on fintech and blockchain technology topics. The client portfolio is similarly broad, with Swiss and international banks, investments firms, insurers and funds among them. Grégoire Wuest has niche expertise in financial transactions in the shipping and business aviation sectors. He leads the practice jointly with Tarek Houdrouge, whose skillset also includes expertise in corporate and commercial law. Caroline Clemetson is noted for her knowledge in the investment and insurance space. Grégoire Tribolet made partner in January 2021.
Tarek Houdrouge; Grégoire Wuest
Other key lawyers:
Caroline Clemetson; Grégoire Tribolet
‘Caroline Clemetson is appreciated for her direct contact and the straight-to-the-point attitude. Her solution oriented thinking compared with her FINMA background is a valuable combination rarely seen somewhere else in Switzerland.’
‘Skilled, pragmatic approach and available upon short notice.’
‘The Banking & Finance team in Geneva have unique lawyers. They are a great team, lot of knowledge, i.e. legal and practical. When providing their legal advice they understand the practical issues (e.g. implementation of regulation etc.).’
‘The members are always flexible and very helpful at any time. With respect to other firms, SW has great personalities, and legal discussions with them always lead to interesting topics.’
‘Tarek Houdrouge is a very good lawyer, he understands the practice and has good ideas to solve problems.’
‘The team has real knowledge of how our business works and thus could add significant value to our company. Not many of the Swiss law firms have individuals capable of navigating through niche markets like impact investing. ’
‘The team has always been great. It is reactive, flexible, supportive, kind and always delivers the promised work on time. Top class.’
‘With Tarek Houdrouge you always feel in good hands; he demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the various legal aspects and he is able to anticipate future requests and manage proactively the various complex issues. Tarek Houdrouge has wonderful values and he’s always 100% dedicated. He’s also an excellent communicator and he has a brilliant strategic vision.’
‘Tarek Houdrouge is the best all-round lawyer with whom I had the chance to work with: excellent in-depth legal knowledge in all the specific banking topics with always practical oriented advices and he’s also an outstanding communicator.’
‘The firm has great politics with respect to the equality of the genders.’
‘The quality of the service we received from Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd has been extraordinary.’
‘Tarek Houdrouge:, his key strength is that he demonstrates both a very strong in-depth legal knowledge in each specific banking topic, and very good communication / strategy skills. It makes it extremely efficient and pleasant working with him.’
‘The banking and finance team of Schellenberg Wittmer with Caroline Clemetson is highly competent to deal with complex cases. Questions are answered in a pragmatic and goal-focused manner. She is an absolute specialist in this field, clearly the lawyer you want to have on your side for all questions about banking and finance. She has a huge network, high negotiation skills and always proposes solutions.’
Crypto Fund AG
Nord Anglia Education
Eny Finance AG
Bank Julius Baer
Swiss Bankers Association
Reuss Private Group Ag
Bank Itau (Suisse) SA
Deutsche Bank SA
Diamond Capital Management (Switzerland) Ltd
HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)
Mirabaud & Cie SA
Landolt Investment SICAV
e-GTSA S. A
- Advised a client on the creation and organisation of an affiliate dedicated to the offering of asset and wealth management services to very specific clients in other jurisdictions.
- Assisted Banco Santander International SA with the implementation of the Financial Services Act.
- Advising Credit Suisse Funds on setting up various funds for different clients including funds for alternative investments, funds for traditional investments and investing in new asset classes, FINMA requests, investment management agreements and transfer of assets, among others.
The Geneva team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. covers a wide range of banking and finance work including internal investigations and white-collar criminal law mandates, debt financings, structured derivates transactions and regulatory assistance. The group has noted an uptick in instructions to act for Swiss and international financial institutions in enforcement proceedings, as well as advising on compliance and the implementation of new regulations. Cédric Chapuis and transaction specialist Frédéric Bétrisey jointly lead the practice which also includes Martin Anderson and Andrew Garbarski.
Cédric Chapuis; Frédéric Bétrisey
Other key lawyers:
Martin Anderson; Andrew Garbarski
‘Very fast and reliable; always pragmatic; capable of handling complex and time consuming transactions.’
‘Frédéric Betrisey – precise, pragmatic and calm.’
‘Martin Anderson is well organised and very friendly.’
Banque Cantonale de Genève
Republic and Canton of Geneva
- Advised Libra Association on all Swiss legal aspects pertaining to the implementation a new DLT-based payment system and financial infrastructure, in particular regarding regulatory licensing requirements, financing, corporate, tax and privacy laws.
- Advised the Canton of Geneva on the issuance of bonds according to the Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association and the listing of such bonds on the SIX Swiss Exchange for an aggregate amount of CHF660m.
- Advised as transaction counsel Banque Cantonale de Genève and the other joint lead managers on the placement by Banque Cantonale de Genève of CHF135m perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds.
BianchiSchwald LLC's team is a go-to address for international commercial and national private banks. The offering includes representation in disputes, financing and comprehensive financing support. It has considerable expertise in the regulatory space, be it advising institutions on the implementation of new laws or on cryptocurrencies and blockchain topics; practice head Thomas Goossens is a key name in this space. Lausanne-based Thierry Amy is experienced in acting for clients before the FINMA and SIX Swiss Exchange.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very reactive and efficient.’
‘Very good knowledge of the client’s structure and same partner as from the beginning.’
Banque Profil de Gestion SA
HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA
Hinduja Bank (Switzerland) SA
Barclays Bank SA
Macquarie Bank Limited
BNP Paribas 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
- Acting for HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA in several judicial disputes.
- Advising Banque Profil de Gestion SA on all its regulatory, litigation, corporate finance, capital markets, and labour law matters.
A core focus of FBT Attorneys-at-Law's team is banking and finance regulations, which includes advice on matters relating to securities dealers, collective investment schemes and money laundering. It is further active for a variety of clients in enforcement, civil and criminal proceedings. Frédérique Bensahel leads the team. Marco Villa, who also well versed in contract law, has recently shifted his focus more to the banking and finance space.
Other key lawyers:
Marco Villa; Jean-Marie Kiener
‘Competent, rapid, accessible, honest approach when doing a job for us – not “over-selling” work and time.’
‘Their approach is very professional and straight forward with clear answers to the questions. They are to the point and helpful from a practical/implementation point of view.’
‘Very professional and yet accessible and always open to receive small questions here and then.’
‘Very experienced and knowledgeable. Great availability. Very pragmatic and innovative. Trusted advisers. Fine lawyers.’
‘Frédérique Bensahel: Amazing availability, great knowledge in particular about competitors’ practice.’
‘Skilled and pragmatic approach; available upon short notice.’
‘Professional and intelligent solutions given by the partner.’
‘Very flexible, dynamic, efficient and pragmatic; always there to help; fast and efficient.’
‘Frédérique Bensahel – very friendly and efficient lawyer. Pragmatic and willing to help.’
‘Technically very good and also pragmatic team. Service minded and always available.’
- Advised a Swiss bank on a €100m secured loan.
- Accompanied a Swiss major insurance group seeking a FINMA licence for its asset manager for insurance and pension funds assets.
- Representing a Swiss bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over $250m.
One of Pestalozzi's key strengths is representing clients in banking and finance disputes. The team is well known for handling civil claims for banks, as well as matters relating to asset tracing and recovery, white-collar criminal law and regulatory proceedings, all areas of strength for practice co-head Christophe Emonet. The group is further active in banking M&A and finance transactions, which is fellow co-head Sébastien Roy's speciality. Other names to note are Ludivine Boisard and Nicolas Herren.
Sébastien Roy; Christophe Emonet
Other key lawyers:
Ludivine Boisard; Nicolas Herren; Christophe Berclaz
‘Christophe Emonet is by far the most outstanding professional we’ve had the pleasure of working with. His decisiveness and insight has garnered faith and reverence from all parties, including the opposing counsel. His leadership and effectiveness have drawn intelligent and driven associates to his team, Nicolas Herren and Christophe Berclaz.’
‘Pestalozzi has an exceptionally strong legal team. It is very experienced in all types of finance transactions and has a deep knowledge of the market.’
‘I usually work with Ludivine Boisard on various finance transactions. She is a real professional. Ludivine is responsive, client- and deal- oriented and has a deep knowledge of market. ’
Bank of America
Banque Cantonale de Genève
First International Bank of Israel
Union Bank of Israel
- Acting for the former CEO of the Pension Fund of Kuwait in the defending a significant banking secret commission claim (£950m) filed in 2019 before the Commercial Court of London.
- Successfully represented First International Bank of Israel, Union Bank of Israel & Filstel Diamonds Ltd in Receivership and Liquidation in the bank’s CHF60m loan recovery and avoidance claim against Eurostar Diamond Traders NV and Stelman International Diamond Dealers.
- Represented Vitaly Malkin, a Russian oligarch, against One Swiss Bank SA, a Swiss private bank, following the loss of approximately CHF50m from the client’s account.
Gillioz Dorsaz & Associés' key contacts are Géraldine Badel Poitras, Damien Cand and Christian Valentini. Under their lead, the team advises on obtaining licenses, regulatory and compliance issues, as well as handling civil and administrative proceedings. Its client portfolio includes banks, independent asset managers, trusts and family offices. The group is also able to draw on the wider firm to assist with data protection and employment law matters with a nexus to banking.
Géraldine Badel Poitras; Damien Cand; Christian Valentini
HFW is 'a one-stop shop for many commodity finance matters'. The team has core knowledge in the banking and commodities space and advises on revolving trade facilities, documentary credits and pre-export financings. Practice head Olivier Bazin has longstanding experience in the field, and he is regularly approached by international companies and commodities banks. Anne-Marie Pearce provides additional support at associate level.
Other key lawyers:
´‘The team consists of bright well-trained associates managed by experienced partner Olivier Bazin. What is very efficient is that they have English and Swiss qualified lawyers under one roof in Geneva, making it a one-stop shop for many commodity finance matters.’
‘Olivier Bazin brings a lot of experience to the table and is always available personally to discuss and exchange views.’
‘HFW always has a pragmatic approach and understands the business requirements. This allows them to build a true partnership with in-house counsel.’
‘Olivier Bazin is customer focused, always available and has a deep understanding of business requirements.’
‘The team collaboration is excellent. Very pragmatic, hands on, open, swift, clear interaction.’
‘Olivier Bazin and Anne-Marie Pearce – both stand out for clear communication, expertise, agile understanding of asks and customers needs.’
MUFG Bank Ltd
- Advised MUFG on a $250m limited recourse term loan facility being made available by MUFG, Citibank and Societe Generale to Trafigura as borrower.
- Advised Sucafina on the two-year extension of its debut borrowing base facility.
The team at LALIVE has a particular niche acting for corporate investors and private clients pursuing actions against banks and other financial institutions. The team, which is headed up by Alexander Troller, Marc Henzelin and Sandrine Giroud, also assists with regulatory matters, as well as investigations and compliance. The group also handles a stream of work relating to bank insolvencies. Matthias Gstoehl and counsel Nicolas Ollivier are also noted.
Alexander Troller; Marc Henzelin; Sandrine Giroud
Other key lawyers:
Matthias Gstoehl; Nicolas Ollivier
‘A top class approach to all of its clients and its reputation is outstanding.’
‘Lalive’s key capabilities are its excellent track record and results for its clients, its good reputation at numerous courts and prosecutors which is effective in getting the best results, its international approach and network to handle the most complicated international legal affairs. Being so efficient on the forefront of innovative solutions has mainly to do with its exceptional selection of lawyers that are active in different fields.’
‘The individuals were more than competent, with a hands-on approach, totally honest and reliable, pragmatic, focusing on results, not wasting unnecessary time in mails, phone calls or meetings, and not afraid to tackle the most difficult and complicated problems. Their creativity was huge. The individuals all speak fluently several languages, and they are always accessible.’
‘Nicolas Ollivier has demonstrated quite valuable skills. Fast, efficient, calm, transparent, giving always a clear.’
‘Ability to combine an in-house professional strength with the out-side expert and academica knowledge.’
‘Matthias Gstoehl: creativity, breadth of grasp.’
‘Alexander Troller impresses with strict professionalism, responsiveness and attention to details.’
‘The team works very efficiently, top analysis of the case and precedents, capable of processing large volumes of data and of making viable proposals and elaborating a winning strategy.’
‘The entire team is very efficient, would like to particularly mention Marc Henzelin, Sandrine Giroud, and Nicolas Ollivier for their high level of professionalism and excellent performance.’
- 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 a matter valued at over $1bn.
- Representing a company active in the commodities trading market in a $470m dispute regarding the financing of a related company using international sales of goods and letters of credit.
- Acting as counsel to the liquidators of Lithuanian Bankas Snoras which went into bankruptcy after the main shareholders diverted over €400m in assets owned by the bank.
Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC is instructed by banks and financial institutions for anti-money laundering issues, dealings with FINMA, collective asset management and financial transactions. The team also has experience in security token offerings and other cryptocurrency-related projects. The key names are practice head Fabien Aepli, Ramon Rodriguez and new arrival counsel Lukas van Dobben, who joined in April 2020 from Borel & Barbey.
Other key lawyers:
Ramon Rodriguez; Lukas van Dobben
‘The MANGEAT Attorneys at law’s strength comes from a pragmatic and sophisticated approach enabled by its founders and partners’ spirit. The capabilities are increasing by the month since new members are joining the firm on a constant and regular basis.’
‘It’s a very available team, with a great experience in the field of finance.’
‘The whole team is very knowledgeable and highly professional. However what really makes the difference is the extra step and personal touch.’
‘Be it the partners, associates or other staff they all work closely together as a team. The extra mile they are ready to run with their personal touch, their understanding of the clients’ personalities and needs, their willingness to help wherever possible make the whole firm a special pearl when compared to its peers.’
‘Fabien Aepli has in depth knowledge of the regulatory requirements which non-Swiss financial services firms need to comply in order to establish a presence in Geneva. He understands the requirements and limitations of small to medium size firms during the initial stages of setting up in Geneva and tailored his advice accordingly.’
C-Quadrat (Suisse) SA
Swiss Crypto Advisors SA
MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd‘s Geneva-practice handles regulatory matters, banking litigation and private banking mandates, among other work. The team has a strong client portfolio comprising of financial institutions, funds, investors and high-net-worth individuals. Private banking specialist Bernard Lachenal and criminal law expert Alain Le Fort jointly lead the practice. Léonard Stoyanov is also well versed in dispute resolution. Jean-Luc Herbez and Dmitry Pentsov, who were previously with legacy firm Froriep, are also noted.
Bernard Lachenal; Alain Le Fort
Other key lawyers:
Léonard Stoyanov; Jean-Luc Herbez; Dmitry Pentsov
‘The extremely high quality of the work performed is to be highlighted. All details and aspects are very well analysed.’
‘The professionals provide detailed insight and expertise in a broad range of specialised areas of law, including Banking and Finance. Froriep has a unique international presence and perspective, which helps to deal with complicated cases. The team is efficient and dynamic, culturally diverse, and have the highest standards of professional excellence. ’
‘The partners and associates are very intelligent and talented, they know exactly where the solution is. There are no visible difference between partners and associates, expect experience. They make a lot of effort to help each client solve his/her unique situation.’
While the firm has a considerable background in tax matters, the team at OBERSON ABELS SA also assists clients with regulatory aspects and dealings with the relevant authorities. The team is active for managers of collective investments schemes as well as securities dealers. Antoine Amiguet and Philipp Fischer have experience in financial but also data protection regulations; together, they lead the practice.
Antoine Amiguet; Philipp Fischer
‘Great knowledge, amazing availability and solution oriented; know the market practice.’
‘Antoine Amiguet: amazing knowledge, solution oriented and easily available for discussions over the phone.’
Led by the experienced Nicolas de Gottrau and Jean-Yves Rebord, the team at Python covers a variety of matters in the banking and finance sector. The skillset of the practice in particular includes related transactions, banking litigation, authorisation proceedings and compliance matters. It is active for Swiss and foreign banks, funds and asset managers.
Nicolas de Gottrau; Jean-Yves Rebord
The group at Walder Wyss Ltd. is regularly instructed by domestic and international banks, brokers and other financial institutions. The team, which is led by Patrick Vogel, covers transactional and regulatory mandates, and is also active in the private equity and venture capital space. The group is regularly instructed by national and international banks, brokers and other financial institutions. Hubertus Hillerström also advises on structured finance.
Other key lawyers:
‘Our work with them was very collaborative and we found it easy to differentiate with them the international vs. local concerns and how they should be resolved.’
Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG
Bank Vontobel AG
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise
Edenred Capital Partners
Swisscom Ventures AG