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Leading lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has an excellent track record advising a wide range of financial services clients, including commercial and investment banks, insurance companies and funds. The firm is also noted for its expertise in the structuring of securitization vehicles, having previously advised the Treasury and IRS on developing the taxation regime for asset-backed securities. Linda Swartz heads the highly regarded five-partner team from New York. Gary Silverstein, also in New York, recently represented PennyMac Financial Services in a transaction to finance its Ginnie Mae mortgage servicing rights through a $400m private notes issuance. Mark Howe in Washington DC also advised Olden Lane on the launch of its first series of unit investment trusts. Washington DC-based special counsel Jason Schwartz is also highly recommended.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has a hugely versatile practice that handles capital markets and liability management transactions on both the debt and equity side. The firm also has a strong niche advising sovereigns on bond issuances; recent examples include assisting Iraq and Argentina with the complex tax structuring of their respective recent bond offerings worth $2bn and $15bn. The firm advised the underwriters, including Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Nomura, on 265 REMIC transactions totaling over $99.7bn for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae. The team also advised on 70 CLO transactions worth over $35bn. Key partners include Erika Nijenhuis, James Peaslee (‘as good as it gets’), and William McRae. Counsel Doug Borisky and senior attorney Derek Wallace have also made good names for themselves. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Clifford Chance’s practice is noted for its expertise in structuring CLO and CDO products. The lawyers are also experienced in derivatives, funds, insurance and bonds-related tax advice. Recent highlights include the firm’s work for Fannie Mae, where a team led from Washington DC advised on a potential new structure for its benchmark Connecticut Avenue Securities (CAS) credit risk transfer program, which should help expand the investor base for CAS securities due to existing tax constraints that exist for REITs and foreign investors. The firm also advised Petroperu, as issuer, on US tax matters linked to its $2bn inaugural international bond offering, one of the largest Latin American bond offerings in recent years. New York-based Richard Catalano leads the highly rated team, which also includes Philip Wagman, Avrohom Gelber, David Moldenhauer (‘an oracle of expertise’) and Michael Seaton. In June 2018, Will Cejudo moved to Dechert LLP.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has a strong track record in capital markets and financial products related matters. The firm advises clients on complex Up-C IPOs, as well as hedging and over-the-counter transactions, including equity monetization strategies, tax-efficient share repurchase programs and cross-border hybrid transactions. Morgan Stanley is a major client and over the course of the year used the firm in over $40bn in SEC-registered global note offerings. The firm also advised a major bank on $2.5bn-worth of structured product offerings linked to various assets, including commodities, currencies, rates and equities. The firm has a deep bench of talent that includes Po Sit, Michael Farber and Lucy Farr, all based in New York.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is a top choice for a range of major financial institutions, including Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, UBS and Barclays. The firm’s standing in the financial products arena is reflected in its role as counsel to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA). A major highlight in the past year was in the firm’s representation of the estate of Andrew J. McKelvey, the founder of, in which Washington DC-based partners Kristen Garry and Robert Rudnick led the client to a major victory at the Tax Court in a $41.3m dispute concerning two variable prepaid forward contracts. On the capital markets side, team head Michael Shulman advised Viacom on two $650m fixed-to-floating rate junior subordinated debenture issuances. The up-and-coming Nathan Tasso was promoted to partner in January, 2018.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a well-stocked New York-based team of tax partners, highly experienced in structuring capital markets and related financial products. Pamela Lawrence Endreny has a strong market reputation and recently advised Stanley Black & Decker on its $3bn commercial paper note programs and a $675m equity offering. On the underwriter side, Victor Hollender led the team advising Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank Securities and Itau BBA USA Securities as global co-ordinators in Azul’s $645m equity offering on the New York and Sao Paulo stock exchanges, the first such dual listing by a Brazilian company since 2011. Kirk Wallace is also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s financial products team is led by the extremely well-regarded Ronald Creamer, who divides his time between the firm’s New York and London offices. Recent work for the team includes advising Bayer on the tax aspects of bond issuances linked to the financing of its $66bn takeover of Monsanto. Another highlight was advising Vornado Realty Trust on the tax-free spin-off of its Washington DC real estate business, in which Vornado shareholders will own a 74% stake. David Hariton comes highly recommended and recently advised Ascent Resources Subsidiaries on the tax aspects of its $1.5bn high-yield bond offering.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a strong two-partner practice jointly led by Robert Scarborough in New York and Claude Stansbury in Washington DC. The group represents a variety of clients, including leading underwriters such as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Securities, UBS and RBC Capital Markets. Recent highlights include representing a special committee of the board of directors of Two Harbors Investment in a $1.4bn spin-off of assets into the newly formed REIT Granite Trust, which will do an IPO. On the underwriter front it advised Citigroup Global Markets on 10 new CLO transactions worth $10bn. In New York, recently promoted counsel Dennis Caracristi and Reed Carey also have good reputations.

Mayer Brown provides an ‘excellent service in terms of time, cost and quality of response’ and the highly rated Mark Leeds is a ‘global leader in the tax aspects of financial products and an excellent source of tax information’. The team works across offices in New York, Chicago and Charlotte for a broad range of clients, including CarVal Investors, Societe Generale and Macquarie Group. Recently the team advised NationStar Mortgage on the tax aspects of the $400m securitization of a pool of non-performing reverse mortgages. Another highlight was advising Ally Bank on an offshore Irish issuing vehicle for a $535m securitization of US receivables to access foreign markets. Key partners include Chicago-based George Craven and Steven Garden, Jeffrey Cantrell in Charlotte, and New York’s Michael Marion. The firm’s ambitions in this area were demonstrated by the recruitment of two extremely well-regarded partners from Morrison & Foerster LLP, leading lawyer Thomas Humphreys in New York, and Remmelt Reigersman in Palo Alto.

The ‘outstanding’ team at McDermott Will & Emery LLP is praised by clients for its ‘exceptional technical expertise, responsiveness and practicality’. The team includes the ‘exceptional’ William Pomierski and Andrea Kramer in Chicago and Peter Faber, John Lutz, Arthur Rosen and David Taub in New York. Aside from advising on capital markets, derivatives and structured finance transactions, the firm has a strong niche in the tax and derivatives aspects of municipal insolvencies and has a notable showing in related state and local tax issues. The firm represents an array of major financial institutions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Barclays and Citibank. Mark Yopp and Alan Schwartz are also names to note.

Dentons has a good reputation for tax advice linked to swaps and other financial products as well as domestic and international capital markets transactions. The firm also has strong expertise in insurance-linked securities, prepaid forward contracts and structures including investment funds and REITs. Recent highlights include advising Xerium Technologies on the tax structuring of a $480m senior secured note offering. It also advised Mizuho Trust & Banking on a $500m cross-border securities loan involving the US, UK and Belgium. Timothy Santoli is well regarded, although the firm will miss Jeffrey Koppele, who joined Ashurst LLP’s New York office.

The team at Linklaters LLP is praised for its ‘willingness to really explore issues in depth and provide clear and consistent advice’. The firm advises on a variety of capital markets transactions, including SEC-registered, public international issuances and private placements of debt and equity. Recently the firm advised the Bank of Communications as issuer on the establishment of its $5bn euro commercial paper and certificate of deposit programme. New York-based counsel Shane Milam is ‘an excellent adviser with a very solid grasp of global tax concepts, which informs his analyses’.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP has plenty of experience in REITs, RICs, securitizations and insurance company products. The firm is a popular choice with major financial institutions and investment managers, and recently advised JP Morgan Asset Management on the complex structuring and establishment of a $1.2bn fund-of-one for a sovereign wealth fund and the simultaneous co-investment by the fund-of-one with a US ERISA fund for the acquisition of US real estate. New York-based Jeffrey Uffner heads the team, which also includes Michelle Jewett and Micah Bloomfield.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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  • Korean Financial Regulators Advance Legislation to Introduce Regulatory Sandbox to Spark FinTech

    The 2018 year in review in Korea was notable for the sluggish overall economy, uncertainty surrounding the geo-politics and impact on Korea due to the global trade wars, on-going concerns related to the lack of jobs and unemployment, increased taxes and burdens for businesses and families, and no meaningful improvement or clarity in the current situation for 2019. In response, the Korean National Assembly passed a legislation called the Financial Innovation Support Act (the “FinISA”) on December 7, 2018 to spark the financial services industry in conjunction with FinTech products and services. The FinISA, which will soon take effect in March 2019, is intended to lay the legal foundation to introduce a regulatory sandbox for innovative financial services, where FinTech firms test their new products and services without certain regulatory oversight pursuant to exemptions for a limited period of time (“Sandbox”). As the FinISA exempts or defers application of existing finance-related regulations for new financial technology, products or services with the purpose of fostering the creation of innovative and new financial products and services, it will also support the stabilization of such services in the financial services market at the end of the testing period and is expected that the FinISA will support a revitalization of the FinTech industry which experienced sluggish growth in recent times. In particular, as companies and investors become more interested in security tokens and Security Token Offerings (“STO”) which are regulated by the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act (the “FSCMA”), there have been on-going discussions and debates as to whether the FinISA could lead to a breakthrough in the crypto-asset industry based on blockchain technology. Crypto assets encompasses those assets which utilize blockchain technology where the asset is digitalized by utilization of cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and a public ledger of verified transactions resulting in a ‘units’ of such a crypto asset without any involvement by middle-persons or brokers (e.g., cryptocurrency.

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  • Stricter supervision in relation to the Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors in Cyprus by Exceptio

    Recently there were a lot of publications within the European Union expressing concerns about the allegedly very high number of Cypriot passports being given to foreign investors the last few years. The Council of Ministers has decided on 9th January 2018 with the decision with number 84.069, to impose a stricter supervision of all the parties involved in the Scheme for the naturalisation of non-Cypriot investors in Cyprus by exception.
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Press Releases worldwide

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