The Client Profile: Sonya Branch, Bank of England

The Client Profile: Sonya Branch, Bank of England

Bank of England (BoE) general counsel (GC) Sonya Branch puffs her cheeks as she ponders how much work Brexit has created for her team. ‘It has been absolutely vast,’ she says.

About 65% of the UK central bank’s legal team, which has grown from 90 to more than 150 since she joined four years ago, has been involved since the mid-2016 referendum in reviewing about 10,000 pages of legislation and tracking 39 statutory instruments, to which it has contributed drafting. ‘The total count was 6,000 pages of binding technical standards, 6,000 rules that had to be changed, as well as 4,000 pages of secondary legislation,’ she comments. ‘That’s just having a regulatory framework for the UK financial services sector that’s fit for purpose on the point of exit.’ Continue reading “The Client Profile: Sonya Branch, Bank of England”

‘Necessary bandwidth’: Addleshaws lures deal finance veteran from McDermott

‘Necessary bandwidth’: Addleshaws lures deal finance veteran from McDermott

Amid a quiet month for the lateral recruitment market in London, Addleshaw Goddard made the most significant play, bolstering its City banking practice with the hire of leveraged finance partner Peter Crichton from US firm McDermott Will & Emery. Well known in the deal community, Crichton joins Addleshaws’ active mid-market practice led by Alex Dumphy.

Crichton’s career as an acquisition finance lawyer saw him act for AIB, HSBC, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander on Caledonia’s acquisition of the drinks business Liberation Group in 2016 and AIB, HSBC and Santander on the refinancing of the Jockey Club. He has spent around 16 years advising on the debtor side of the loan markets and specialising in leveraged finance, becoming partner at DLA Piper and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang before joining McDermott before the three-way merger took effect in 2017. Continue reading “‘Necessary bandwidth’: Addleshaws lures deal finance veteran from McDermott”

Sponsored briefing: The end of Libor in Switzerland

Sponsored briefing: The end of Libor in Switzerland

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on 27 July 2017 it would no longer require that banks that are members of the Libor panel be obliged to communicate a daily rate after 2021.

2021 is perhaps not tomorrow, but it is definitely very soon after tomorrow. Financial institutions should now review their Libor-based contracts and products to quantify their exposure to the discontinuation of such a rate. While the effort is obviously larger for financial institutions, other enterprises, and even retail investors and borrowers, should assess their risk and determine what measures to take. We provide below an overview of the contracts that may be affected and possible remedies. Continue reading “Sponsored briefing: The end of Libor in Switzerland”

Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong

Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong

‘You have to, to serve these markets, re-imagine how money can be managed and moved, because there’s going to be more change in the next five years in financial services than happened in the past 30.’

Dan Schulman, chief executive, PayPal


Global investment in fintech companies hit an all-time high of US$27.4bn in 2017, an increase of 18% year on year, with the market showing no sign of slowing. Led by China, the fintech revolution has spread across the rest of Asia, while simultaneously gaining traction in the UK, US and Europe. Continue reading “Special territory: Fintech in Hong Kong”

Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal

Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal

Within days of this issue hitting desks, it will be ten years since Lehman Brothers’ collapse marked what swiftly became the great financial crisis. That event was only the clearest symptom of a disease that had been infecting the banking system for more than a year before Lehman filed for bankruptcy on 15 September 2008.

Yet the process unquestionably signalled changes that have reverberated through economies, politics, business and, yes, the legal profession ever since. By the summer of 2009 the UK profession had for the first time engaged in industrial-scale job cuts, axing more than 5,000 roles at top 100 UK firms alone. Through the lens of the LB100, the profession starkly divides into performance patterns pre and post-Lehman. During the long boom, London’s elite was utterly untouchable. Within the Circle they could falter and scrap for fleeting inter-club advantage. But as far as the rest of the industry was concerned, they were in a world of their own. The initial advances of major US law firms had by the mid-2000s been comprehensively repelled – what chance did mid-tier rivals have? Continue reading “Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal”