Freshfields tax drama back in spotlight as Germany’s finance minister throws future mandates into doubt

Freshfields tax drama back in spotlight as Germany’s finance minister throws future mandates into doubt

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been dragged into the spotlight yet again for its role in the cum-ex tax scandal, with Germany’s finance minister suggesting that the firm should no longer be handed government contracts for its involvement.

Finance minister Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrat Party made the remark on Wednesday (9 September) at the German Bundestag during questioning around what has widely been dubbed the biggest tax fraud in the country’s history. Continue reading “Freshfields tax drama back in spotlight as Germany’s finance minister throws future mandates into doubt”

The Client Profile: Sonya Rogerson, Bank of China

The Client Profile: Sonya Rogerson, Bank of China

Born in Hong Kong to an English father and a Chinese mother but raised in Australia, Sonya Rogerson’s passion for different cultures and foreign travel is no surprise. ‘Do I miss home?’ she asks herself. ‘Well, home is where I make it.’

Now based in London, she is two years into her role as UK general counsel (GC) and head of legal and compliance of the fourth-largest bank in the world, Beijing-headquartered and state-owned Bank of China (BoC). She says she was headhunted to run a legal and compliance team of 47 staff not only because of her lengthy résumé of handling transactional legal work in the Asia-Pacific region but also her experience of working with the Chinese. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Sonya Rogerson, Bank of China”

Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance

Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance

Forbearance is something of a dirty word in UK financial regulation, at least with regulators themselves. It describes a situation where watchdogs voluntarily exercise their discretion not to enforce rules or other requirements on the regulated. And that’s why they don’t like it – no regulator has ever prospered by giving its industry a free pass. Long-term pain for the regulator will outweigh any short-term gain to the industry as a whole.

Even so, you’d be forgiven for thinking the coronavirus crisis presents an ideal breeding ground for regulatory forbearance: a world-wide pandemic with seismic economic effects, stock markets tumbling, staff working remotely, and huge potential consumer detriment lurking around every corner. Continue reading “Guest comment: Covid-19 and City regulators – The limits of forbearance”

‘There are Formula 1 drivers and other drivers’ – who’s winning the race for London’s lev fin work?

‘There are Formula 1 drivers and other drivers’ – who’s winning the race for London’s lev fin work?

Georgina Stanley and Ben Wheway cast an eye over one of the City’s most contested practice lines

‘Leveraged finance is an industry that thinks in American,’ notes one former veteran of the Magic Circle, now with a US outfit, reflecting on the much-changed dynamics of Europe’s credit markets. Continue reading “‘There are Formula 1 drivers and other drivers’ – who’s winning the race for London’s lev fin work?”

Linklaters turns to Asia for new banking head as Bugg steps down after three years

Linklaters turns to Asia for new banking head as Bugg steps down after three years

Linklaters’ Hong Kong based finance partner Davide Mencacci has replaced Tony Bugg to become the firm’s first non-London based banking head.

Linklaters announced today (11 February) the election of the former Allen & Overy partner to the role for four years, while Bugg stepped down three years into his term to go back to full time fee-earning. Continue reading “Linklaters turns to Asia for new banking head as Bugg steps down after three years”

Banking and finance focus: Back to the future

Banking and finance focus: Back to the future

‘The truth is no-one’s got the faintest idea what finance practices will look like in the future,’ shrugs Tony Bugg, Linklaters’ head of banking, when asked to describe a top City finance practice in 2030. Of the dozens of London finance chiefs and partners to whom Legal Business posed the question, Bugg’s take is at least one of the more candid.

If the last decade is any guide, the finance world will be girding itself for more wrenching change. The post-banking crisis environment has seen a dramatic increase in regulation and oversight of banks and helped encourage the growth of institutions filling the void as senior lenders retrench. Continue reading “Banking and finance focus: Back to the future”

‘No blueprint’: Looking back at Lehman’s wind-up

‘No blueprint’: Looking back at Lehman’s wind-up

Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (LBIE)’s 5,500 employees left the London office at 25 Bank Street on Friday 12 September 2008 expecting to return on Monday morning to their weekly routine. As did their colleagues in the rest of the world.

Not that life had been easy up to that point. Global financial turmoil had been going for around a year and Lehman had just posted a $3.9bn third-quarter loss amid the subprime mortgage crisis. Yet, the sense was that the bank founded in 1850 would be bought out by either Barclays or Bank of America, despite the US government’s resistance to bailing it out. Continue reading “‘No blueprint’: Looking back at Lehman’s wind-up”

Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head

Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head

Marco Cillario sizes up the pros and cons for legal advisers of the current ICO boom

‘We are in an odd position: we feel we need to be closely involved in this, but there is a reputational risk because there is a lot of fraud.’ Understandably, the partner expressing this view does not want himself or his firm identified. But such words still sum up many securities lawyers’ feelings on the hottest topic in their field for years. Continue reading “Focus: Wild West or new frontier? Securities counsel divided as the cryptocurrency ‘float’ rears its blockchained head”