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Financial services solutions at a global scale

Leading financial services players anticipate market changes, business trends, and new technologies on a cross-border basis. We help global and emerging clients and their investors prepare for change and evolve wherever they do business. 

You’re facing changing regulatory frameworks and tightening scrutiny, cyber risk, and pressure to increase profits, lower costs, and invest in technology and tools. And this is all happening while you are anticipating and meeting new environmental, social, and governance benchmarks. 

We understand your challenges and help you navigate the intersection of financial services, technology, and regulation across jurisdictions. Our 700+ financial services lawyers assist from major financial markets and regulatory hubs around the world. 

Our multidisciplinary team handles large financial and commercial transactions and complex, cross-border, first-of-a-kind deals. We advise on data protection, crypto regulation and the growing fintech sector. We represent banks and financial institutions in litigation before courts and tribunals around the world.

We advise on emerging growth and venture capital matters and regulatory, public policy, and enforcement issues. This experience informs our thought leadership, which spotlights how geopolitical forces and economic headwinds affect your business.  

“We understand your challenges and help you navigate the intersection of financial services, technology, and regulation across jurisdictions.”

In emerging growth and venture capital matters. And on regulatory, public policy, and enforcement issues. This experience informs our thought leadership, which spotlights how geopolitical forces and economic headwinds affect your business.  

ESG and Financial Services

ESG issues have come sharply into focus among financial institutions and regulatory bodies. Today, the need to transition to a more sustainable global economy seems more urgent than ever. As governments work to shape the long-term response to COVID-19, we are seeing ever-greater concern with ESG initiatives, such as placing the green economy at the heart of the post-pandemic recovery. Financial institutions are critical in the delivery of the capital necessary for these initiatives. Moreover, given the rapidly changing legal backdrop, in which compliance with the highest standards is key, financial institutions today increasingly understand the importance of ESG compliance.

Our ESG team within the Financial Services sector is positioned at the forefront of these issues, working with our subject matter experts to apply a sector lens and advise our international financial services clients on navigating this rapidly evolving landscape.

 

Regulation

We are witnessing a dramatic shift in regulation and standards-setting with regard to ESG and financial institutions. Climate change is increasingly understood to be a risk to financial stability and is growing in prominence on the regulatory agenda. Mere "greenwashing" is no longer enough. Prudent financial institutions recognize that climate change needs to be factored in to their risk management and stress testing frameworks. At the same time we are seeing a parallel change in legal systems, as regulators introduce frameworks to help investors determine which economic activities and investments can be deemed environmentally sustainable.

 

Litigation

With more people working remotely and a marked rise in demand for digital financial services in response to COVID-19, financial institutions have needed to enhance their technology capabilities significantly. At the same time, this greater reliance on the Internet brings with it greater vulnerability to cyberattacks and data breaches. Both represent significant litigation risks for financial institutions – risks which their boards and senior managers have to manage. We regard it as essential for financial institutions to take a proactive approach to mitigating these litigation risks by reviewing their cyber governance structures and risk management frameworks.

 

Technology and tools

There is growing demand from institutional investors, regulators and ratings agencies for ESG data and reporting. However, this data is often difficult to verify and lacks comparability across firms. There is also an increasing need for methodologically robust and reliable ESG benchmarks which encompass the entire ESG spectrum. We can expect to see further focus – and spend – on technology solutions, such as data benchmarking and modelling, as the demand for consistent, robust ESG reporting intensifies. We are also likely to see further growth in FinTech firms developing artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions which enable asset managers to integrate ESG datasets into portfolio construction and analysis.

 

Sustainable finance

Sustainable finance and sustainable investments are a core segment of the overall ESG landscape: they are ethically aligned with modern corporate principles and risk management while being economically motivational in terms of value creation. Today we are seeing international initiatives designed to screen and manage responsible corporate financing activity generally, plus an increasing number of businesses implementing substantial internal policy requirements for sustainable finance and investments.

A wide range of sustainable financial products and instruments with positive environmental and/or social impacts is available, such as sustainability-linked bonds, sustainability-linked loans, green loans, social bonds and green bonds. Indeed, 2019 was a record year for sustainable debt issuance, with volumes increasing by almost 80 percent on the previous year.*

*Bloomberg New Energy Finance

 

Sustainability and funds

Increasing numbers of fund managers are committing to ESG principles and we are seeing a marked uptick in flows into sustainable funds. We are also seeing increased prominence of ESG in the fundraising process, with fund managers needing to ensure their funds come from ethical sources. At the same time, fund managers are increasingly expected to demonstrate to institutional investors, such as pension funds, that their money is being invested wisely, ethically and responsibly.

To discuss the implications of these issues for your business, please contact our ESG leaders.

Awards and recognition

Experience

Our experience includes advising: 

  • Silicon Valley Bank, as mandated lead arranger, and a club of international banks as lenders, on financing for Wise, and the largest ever direct listing on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the business at c. GBP9 billion  
  • A pool of lender banks on the granting of an ESG-linked revolving credit facility for EUR500 million in favor of Italy's biggest regional utility, active in the energy, electricity, gas, water supply and waste management sectors  

  • An international bank on the creation and deployment of its data sovereignty compliance program, involving advice on data sharing and cross-border data transfers across different data sets in 50+ jurisdictions  

  • One of the largest financial services group in Africa on its acquisition of a leading air travel business for R250 million  

  • An Indian bank on the issue of USD denominated AT1 bond pursuant to Regulation S  

  • On a multi-million Rand LIBOR replacement project for one of the four largest banks in South Africa  

  • A national banking institution in the Middle East in a AED1.1 billion dispute with a borrower over its facilities  

  • On two projects accepted into cohort 6 of the UK FCA regulatory sandbox, including Project Pyctor, a blockchain project led by ING Bank in collaboration with several international banks  

  • An international bank on the mass litigation (which started in 2009) in relation to the Madoff funds where the bank served as prospectus controller  

  • A large Japanese institution on a USD1 billion united loan to a national Indian bank; the loan was co-financed with a range of international banks across APAC  

  • An international bank on the operation of Australian Anti-Money Laundering laws  

  • An international bank on aspects of its data privacy compliance program in Asia Pacific 

  • Two Indian public sector retail banks on aspects of a merger ordered by the Government of India  

  • An international bank on its planned entrance to the Dutch residential mortgage market  

  • An international bank on piloting a project regarding decarbonization of supply chains to the bank  

  • A global payments company on the regulatory implications of international referrals  

  • A major UK bank in continental Europe, executing its Brexit plans, including opening new branches in a new legal entity and closing a range of branches that were passporting into continental Europe from the UK  

  • Citigroup Global Markets Singapore, Standard Chartered Bank and another global financial institution on the update of the USD5 billion GMTN programme of Axis Bank and the drawdown of USD500 million 3% notes due August 2022; this was the first 144A deal by an Indian Bank in 2017 and also the tightest pricing received by an Indian Bank issue since the global financial crisis.  

  • First Data Group on the coordination of the regulatory workstream for the highly complex intra-group re-organization through which it sought to place its non-US subsidiaries under a new global holding company; we also provided ongoing regulatory support and input across eight jurisdictions to assist in structuring the transaction, identifying the filing requirements, collating the information from various parts of the group and obtaining relevant regulatory approvals  

  • Link Administration Holdings on its acquisition of Capita Asset Services from Capita plc; this was a complex, game-changing acquisition for Link, as this Australian-listed company entered Europe for the first time by acquiring one of the key providers of corporate and regulated financial services located in a dozen jurisdictions – mostly in Europe; we provided UK and EU regulatory advice and led all regulatory filings in all jurisdictions, including obtaining change in control approvals and providing regulatory advice on all aspects of the transaction  

  • 10 of the top 12 financial institutions in the US on digital transformation initiatives for mortgage, commercial lending, insurance, student lending, and securities offerings 

  • On the development, regulatory compliance, and contract terms for a new blockchain-based eVault for the recording and transfer of crypto-assets, including transferable records, electronic chattel paper, and securities 

  • Goldman Sachs, Ares Management, BlackRock, Sound Point, Shenkman Capital, SocGen and Irradiant Partners; in 2021 we closed 90 CLOs totaling over USD40 billion for these clients  

  • Hercules Capital on its USD200 million term loan facility for Phathom Pharmaceuticals and USD80 debt facility for Lucira Health  

  • Twin Point Capital, a growth middle market private equity firm, on its acquisition of a controlling interest in Alliance Corporation Durable Capital Partners as an investor in USD800mm PIPE in connection with combination of Cazoo Holdings Limited by the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) AJAX I  

  • Katapult, an e-commerce focused financial technology company, on its USD1 billion going-public merger with FinServ Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: FSRV), a special purpose acquisition company 

  • Shell Oil Company; we obtained dismissal of a putative class action challenging split-pricing for consumer fuel purchases based on charging the credit price rather than the cash price for debit card transactions  

  • Cadence Bank, conducting a fair lending risk assessment; and Cadence as the independent consultant under a Department of Justice Consent Order 

We’ve also represented: 

  • A global financial services organization, including investment advisors, broker dealers and their associated persons in an SEC investigation related to use of quantitative models and related disclosures; we obtained a favorable settlement and successful WKSI waiver application  

  • The underwriter defendants in a class action asserting Securities Act claims based on the registration statement for the initial public offering of Inovalon Holdings, a healthcare technology company; after the conclusion of fact and expert discovery, the matter settled favorably with no contribution from our clients  

  • US national lenders and service providers in negotiations with Federal Reserve Banks and Federal Home Loan Banks concerning their programs and processes for acceptance of electronic assets as collateral, including determining asset eligibility and criteria for evaluation and procedures for perfection of security interests  

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