Banking and finance in Wales

Capital Law Limited

Capital Law Limited's 'highly responsive' three-partner team has 'solid and practical experience in the sector', enbling it to provide 'pragmatic advice' to lenders and borrowers on financing matters throughout the capital structure. Christopher Agius is the relationship partner for many of the firm's most active creditor-side clients, including Julian Hodge Bank and the Development Bank of Wales, which he regularly advises on real estate finance matters. The 'incredibly hardworking and technical' Reshma Jogia has flourished since joining the team from Blake Morgan LLP in May 2020 and her recent promotion to partner was reflective of her role, alongside senior associate Christopher Lewis, in strengthening the team's corporate finance credentials  - including increasing visibility on the funding side for the firm's private equity sponsor client base. The team is rounded out at a partner level by the 'commercial and pragmaticRachel Hillier, who leads the firm's financial services offering and is a vital resource to both traditional banking clients as well as fintech-related entities across their regulatory requirements.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Agius (real estate finance head); Reshma Jogia (corporate banking head); Rachel Hillier (financial services head)

Other key lawyers:

Huw Thomas; Christopher Lewis

Testimonials

‘Skilled team, very available – they help us to meet deadlines.’

‘Solid, practical experience in the sector leading to pragmatic advice aimed at achieving the best outcome for the client.’

‘The team provides a highly responsive, personal service with excellent client relationships coupled with strong industry knowledge and advice which provides their clients with high levels of assurance that the needs are met and their interests are protected.’

‘Reshma Jogia has superb technical knowledge, strong attention to detail, is always available to discuss matters and works incredibly hard to get the job done. She is excellent at building strong client relationships.’

Rachel Hillier is one of the best financial regulatory lawyers I’ve ever worked with. Rachel knows the technical detail inside out, but, more importantly, she always puts it into practice through a fiercely commercial lens. Her advice is always clear and pragmatic.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank

Julian Hodge Bank

Ascona Group Holdings Ltd

Development Bank of Wales

Ospreys Rugby Limited

WRU Gwent Rugby Limited

Scarlets Regional Limited

Cardiff Blues Limited

WestBridge Fund Managers Limited

Santander UK

Wales Council for Voluntary Action

The Royal Mint Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Hodge Bank on a range of banking and finance matters including drafting their Covid-19 related variation letters, general commercial lending and on their buy-to-let and development finance products.
  • Advising the Ascona Group in connection with its funding arrangements to acquire 50 sites as part of its ambitious growth strategy making it one of the leaders in the automotive fuel and retail market within the UK.
  • Advised four Welsh rugby regions on their loan agreements from the WRU, to assist the regions with their working capital requirements due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Led by the very well-respected Joanne Canning from Cardiff and also able to draw from the firm's wider UK-based resources, if necessary, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a particular strong reputation advising on complex real estate finance mandates for a lender-focused client base, including numerous clearing banks. Associate Melissa Hellio has gained an excellent lender-side perspective as a result of several bank secondments during her time at the firm, experiences which she deploys to good effect in relation to both real estate and corporate lending transactions.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Canning

Other key lawyers:

Melissa Hellio

Geldards LLP

Geldards LLP advises lenders and borrowers across a range of secured and unsecured financing transactions in both the private and public sectors. As well as his restructuring/insolvency expertise, team head Karl Baranski is also particularly well-versed at handling development financing matters and funding for renewable energy-related projects.

Practice head(s):

Karl Baranski

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Morris; Mike Jeffs; Adam Thomas; Harriet Morgan; Ewelina Wagiel

Testimonials

‘The team have been fantastic during the pandemic and always there to help where needed.’

‘They have all been very transparent and helpful during the time I have worked with them.’

Key clients

Sofa Brands International

Celsa Steel UK Group

Warrington Borough Council

Arts Council of Wales

Julian Hodge Bank Limited

Development Bank of Wales

Lloyds Bank Plc

Santander

Handelsbanken

Principality Building Society

Work highlights

  • Advised Celsa Steel in relation to an emergency Covid funding of £30m+.
  • Advised Julian Hodge Bank Limited in relation to a £1.9m refinancing.
  • Advising Warrington Borough Council in relation to its multimillion-pound funding of a solar photovoltaic plant and battery storage facility.

Hugh James

Hugh James' three-partner team provides 'commercially pragmatic advice and proactive guidance' to lenders and borrowers across a range of financing transactions, including as it relates to facilities for corporate, acquisition and real estate purposes. 'Highly experienced' team head Dominic Marshall takes the lead on much of the work for clearing and challenger banks, including in relation to the government-backed CBILS scheme for companies adversely affected by Covid-19.  Robert Morgan has also advised on many of these Covid-related loans, although his overall focus remains more aligned to borrower work, including his continued advice to the Welsh Rugby Union and niche expertise advising Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) on their debt finance requirements. Rowena Downie is also a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Marshall

Other key lawyers:

Rowena Downie; Robert Morgan; Sarah Rice

Testimonials

‘The team offers clear, commercially pragmatic advice and proactive guidance.’

‘Dominic Marshall is highly experienced and is very clear in his advice.’

Key clients

Metro Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

The Welsh Government

Development Bank for Wales

HSBC Bank Plc

Lloyds Banking Group

NatWest Plc

Welsh Rugby Union

Hodge Bank

Celtic Manor Resort Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a commercial lender on an original £85m revolving credit facility.
  • Advised longstanding client, The Welsh Rugby Union Limited, on finance matters throughout 2020.
  • Advised numerous banks on CLBILS and CBILS loans and other covid-related funding streams.

Acuity Law

Led by the 'thoughtful' Beverley Jones, Acuity Law has knowledge across a range of financing products, enabling it to effectively structure debt facilities  for borrowers from many sectors, including healthcare, a particular strength of the team. Leveraging the firm's market-leading commercial real estate offering, property finance work also continues to be a driver of the practice for a range of stakeholders, including developers and specialist lenders.

Practice head(s):

Beverley Jones

Other key lawyers:

Steven Morris; Jonathan Geen; James Kilgour; Damien Cann; Charlotte Whitehead

Key clients

Bluestone Resorts Wales

Hartford Care Group Limited

IQE Plc

LifeCare Residences Limited

Principality Building Society

Warwick Capital Partners

Hodge Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Hartford Care Group in relation to a new facility with NatWest Bank. The facility will enable the group to implement its plans for growth and expansion through acquisitions and developments.
  • Acted for Bluestone Resorts in the amendment and restatement of its facility with Barclays Bank prompted by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Advised Principality Building Society, in connection with its involvement in funding the development of The Mill, Cardiff, an ambitious £100m residential led urban regeneration project on the site of an old paper mill.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP remains very active in the regional market for clearing/challenger banks and borrowers, including corporates and not-for-profits. 'User-friendly and solution-oriented' team head Paul Duggan provides a versatile service, which encompasses bilateral as well as syndicated facilities and is particularly recognised for his debt finance work within the healthcare, hospitality and leisure sectors. As well as handling a considerable volume of work for HSBC, including as it relates to Covid-related funding, Duggan recently advised Zip World on a £4.4m development finance facility to support its expansion into south Wales.

Practice head(s):

Paul Duggan

Testimonials

‘The banking team is always available and approachable and works hard to get the job done. ’

‘Paul Duggan is a rare thing among banking lawyers – a thorough professional combined with a user-friendly lawyer, who is experienced enough to find solutions which are both watertight and commercial. We always look forward to working with Paul as he really knows his stuff. ’

Key clients

Zip World

Julian Hodge Bank

HSBC UK Bank

Santander

Metro Bank

Meridiam

Work highlights

  • Advising Zip World in connection with their development finance facility from Cardiff Capital Region to support the expansion of the Zip World business into Rhondda Cynon Taf in south Wales.
  • Advised HSBC in relation to a number of high-profile matters arising from their Wales Corporate Business Centre, including Celtic Holiday Parks Limited and our ongoing role in relation to HSBCs funding and support of the Orbis Group.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Under the leadership of the 'well-respectedFraser MacRaeClarke Willmott LLP's 'user-friendly and knowledgeable' four-partner team has developed a particular sweet-spot advising lenders and borrowers on real estate finance matters. A substantial amount of this work occurs within the social housing space, with instructions being generated from core funders in the sector, including Tridos Bank and Handelsbanken, as well as from housing associations, which the team advises on both their bank debt and debt capital markets mandates. Bethan Evans displays a 'practical approach to overcoming potential hurdles' and as well as her property finance expertise, she is also well-versed across corporate banking and education finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Fraser MacRae

Other key lawyers:

Bethan Evans; Vicky Kells; Clare Gregory

Testimonials

‘The team is user-friendly, available and knowledgeable.’

‘We’ve been working with the team for a number of years and have found them to be proactive and keen to deliver on sometimes challenging timescales to conclude transactions. In the last year, they have embraced developments in the banking market in relation to supporting us on a number of SONIA-based lending transactions, being new ground for us both.’

‘Fraser MacRae really knows his area and is well respected in the market. We really value his opinion and use him as a sounding board, not just on the pure legal aspects but also giving a wider market view.’

Bethan Evans has a practical approach to overcoming potential hurdles.

Key clients

Triodos Bank UK Limited

Santander UK plc

Yeovil College

Secure Trust Bank plc

Principality Building Society

Handelsbanken plc

Cardiff Community Housing Association Limited

Taff Housing Association Limited

Rhondda Housing Association Limited

Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Limited

Melin Homes Limited

Lloyds Bank plc

Hafod Housing Association Limited

Julian Hodge Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Triodos Bank on the provision of development and operating finance to Birtenshaw Schools.
  • Advised Tridos Bank on the provision of development finance, property due diligence and construction security, in relation to the provision of a new activity village (Newark & Sherwood Community and Activity Village), to Nottinghamshire YMCA.
  • Advised Santander Bank on the provision of a revolving credit facility to the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Morgan LaRoche

Morgan LaRoche handles a considerable volume of finance-related work under the umbrella of the firm's broader business services group, which is headed by William Barletta. Real estate financing is a major driver for the practice, an area that the firm is particularly well-positioned to advise on, in part by dint of its ability to draw upon the strength of its overarching property and projects offering.

Practice head(s):

William Barletta