Who’s Who Legal brings together Ulrike Naumann of Bowman Gilfillan, Phillip Cornwell of Allens and Hamish Masson of Harney Westwood & Riegels to discuss issues facing banking lawyers and their clients in the sector today.
Nuncio D’Angelo of Norton Rose Fulbright takes an in-depth look at the Murray Inquiry, which will establish a future for Australia's financial systems.
"The release of the final report will be of great significance for the financial sector as its recommendations have the potential to significantly affect how business is done in and by Australia, as well as the cost of doing business."
Capella Capital acts as a financial sponsor, developer and manager of infrastructure projects and assets throughout Australia and New Zealand. The company prefers to be a long-term equity investor in the projects and assets that it sponsors, and provides leading strategic, financial and implementation advice to high-profile clients. Who’s Who Legal spoke to Chris Oliver, associate director, about his role within the company, recent projects the Australian team has undertaken and the banking law issues encountered on a regular basis.
The latest edition of Who’s Who Legal: Banking comprises 782 listings, including 629 finance and 153 regulatory experts, from 287 firms across 64 jurisdictions.
For traditional banking clients and their legal counsel, 2016 has been a challenging year. As political uncertainty, a continually evolving regulatory environment, poor growth and low interest rates continue to place strain on financial institutions still looking to regain their balance sheets, the preponderance of alternative capital lenders has ensured that power remains firmly in the hands of borrowers. A push towards American-style loan documentation has seen leveraged lending move towards the high-yield bond market and law firms with strong teams in this area have found themselves increasingly busy. The trend towards covenant-lite or covenant-loose terms has played into the hands of US firms and, as such, magic circle firms – who continue to dominate our research given their strength in the European market – have found themselves on the back foot in the market.
The financial industry is beginning to emerge from the biggest shake-up in its history. According to the Financial Times, “a decade from now, financiers may look back and conclude that June 2015… marked a turning point for the banking industry and how it is perceived by society”. In London, Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Mansion House speech he would begin selling off the government’s 80 per cent stake in RBS and that “ratcheting up ever-larger fines” is not a “long-term answer”. After eight years of heightened regulatory scrutiny and large penalties to punish and deter wrongdoing, it appears that bankers might return to a normalised operating environment.
Who's Who Legal: Banking 2015 features a total of 494 practitioners, from 238 firms across 71 countries, who are considered leaders in this field of law.
A number of firms stand out for their international reputation. Clifford Chance is the pre-eminent force in the market, earning listings in key financial centres throughout Europe and Asia. Allen & Overy also boasts a number of stars from its expansive global network. White & Case is well positioned, in both developed and emerging markets, Sullivan & Cromwell has the strongest contingent of pan-US lawyers, and Davis Polk & Wardwell earns recognition for its outstanding New York office. Meanwhile, Blake Cassels & Graydon achieves unsurpassed recognition in Canada, while King & Wood Mallesons and Ashurst are strong across the Asia-Pacific region.
We also select the five most highly regarded individuals in North America, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and EMEA.
The general mood is one of optimism, as lawyers worldwide note an increase in M&A activity and the consequent effect on the banking world. Both the regulatory and the transactional branches have seen increased action in the past year, as the corporate market picks up and businesses acclimatise themselves to a changing regulatory landscape. It is not just the regulatory specialists who expect to maintain an active practice: banking and finance practitioners from across the spectrum look forward to the wealth of potential work ahead.
In this edition Who's Who Legal selects 511 practitioners from 240 firms across 70 different countries who are considered leaders in the field of banking law. Several firms stood out in our research due to the high number of listings they receive, with Clifford Chance garnering more than any other firm this year. The firm has 23 of its lawyers singled out, with its London office being especially well represented with 11 inclusions. Following closely behind is Allen & Overy, which fields 19 practitioners recognised across 10 of its offices, demonstrating the firm's impressive geographical reach. Sullivan & Cromwell and Linklaters both perform extremely well, achieving 10 listings each.
We also identify the 10 most highly regarded individuals in the world, with Randall Guynn of Davis Polk & Wardwell achieving more nominations than any other practitioners in this year's research.
As the global economy begins to drag itself out of its slump, the aftershocks are still being felt acutely across the banking industry that played a large part in precipitating it. Financial institutions are squarely in the sights of regulators around the world, and are relying ever more heavily on the expertise of their outside counsel to guide, protect and advise them in the face of aggressive enforcement. The financing work that was so plentiful before the crash is showing signs of reigniting in certain parts of the world, and law firms and lawyers are refining their practices to meet this demand and to position themselves for potential work ahead.
With the benefit of over 10 years research and thousands of votes from clients and private practitioners, Who’s Who Legal takes a closer look at developing trends in the banking legal marketplace worldwide. This year we identify the shifts in activity relating to restructuring and refinancing, the decline of bank lending and the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III provisions.
In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide. Allen & Overy LLP features heavily for its international expertise in this field, as do Clifford Chance LLP. Linklaters LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP also perform exceptionally well this year.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.