The tables below rank law firms and in-house legal teams for the FT Innovative Lawyers Europe awards.

Accessing New Markets and Capital
RankLaw firmDescriptionOriginalityLeadershipImpactTotal
STANDOUTDechertAdvised Sindicatum Renewable Energy on creating an issuance of bond options with three different maturity points, a triple-tranche green bond, to fund construction of solar and wind projects in India and the Philippines. The structure allows for funding in perpetuity over the long-term development of the project and is the first green bond in south-east Asia denominated in Indian rupees and Philippine pesos, repayable in US dollars.88723
STANDOUTEversheds SutherlandAdvised 20|30, a company developing blockchain-based solutions for corporate equity issuances, on the first equity issuance settled on blockchain in Europe. Working with the London Stock Exchange and Nivaura, a UK fintech start-up, the firm developed a structure that enabled the core rights of shareholders to be safely represented and exchanged as equity tokens, and guided 20|30 through the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK securities regulator, sandbox programme that allows fintech start-ups to test out their offerings.87722
STANDOUTPaul HastingsAdvised Bank of New York Mellon subsidiary Alcentra on the creation of a new investment fund structure, Viaduct, which acts both as an investment fund and as an originator and sponsor of collateralised loan obligations within the same vehicle. By structuring the vehicle as a limited partnership in which investors can invest and become partners, it complies with risk-retention requirements and permits Alcentra to market the CLOs to eligible investors in Europe and the US.87722
HIGHLY COMMENDEDDLA PiperCreated the Digital Securities Alliance platform, launched in April 2019. The tool can be used to tokenise or digitise traditional equity or debt capital in compliance with global securities regulations.87621
HIGHLY COMMENDEDLatham & WatkinsAssisted in taking fintech start-up Nivaura through a series of Financial Conduct Authority sandboxes — programmes that allow early-stage fintechs to test their offerings — and regulatory approval processes for its tokenised equity blockchain technology. Successful issuance took place in February 2019, becoming the first ever tokenisation of real equity in a UK company.77721
HIGHLY COMMENDEDWilliam FryThe firm advised on the establishment of a new Irish fund investing in leading Asian companies that actively tackle pollution and climate change. The fund is structured such that some of the normal investment fees that are typically lost in most funding structures are funnelled to a party that will use them in environmental projects, maximising impact more than an individual contribution could.78621
COMMENDEDAequoAssisted bank lenders KfW and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and borrower OTP Leasing, a leading Ukrainian leasing company, in introducing subordinated and synthetic loans to the Ukraine market. The financial solutions enabled OTPL to expand its leasing portfolio without taking foreign currency risks to develop the country’s agribusiness sector through making funding affordable for Ukraine’s smaller companies.77620
COMMENDEDCuatrecasasStructured US private equity group Advent International’s project bonds issuance on the alternative stock market in Singapore, the first by a Spanish company. The bonds were used to refinance the Ocensa oil pipeline in Colombia. As European market abuse regulations do not apply, investors are not subject to restrictive rules on the placement of notes or additional withholding taxes on returns.67720
COMMENDEDDechertHelped the client list five leading cryptocurrencies with an algorithm that weights the moving-average prices on Zurich’s SIX Swiss Exchange in November 2018. Dechert took an exchange-traded product structure and adapted it to a basket of crypto-assets. Commended: Monica Gogna.77620
COMMENDEDFreshfields Bruckhaus DeringerAdvised private equity group TPG’s credit investment platform Sixth Street Partners on the establishment of pensions consolidator Clara-Pensions. Lawyers resolved several regulatory issues, including protecting investors against liability should any of the schemes collapse.77620
COMMENDEDLatham & WatkinsThe firm created a legal framework for Room2Run, a $1bn synthetic securitisation on a portfolio of pan-African loans that was developed by the African Development Bank and Mariner Investment Group. As the market is unregulated, the firm created a new path for multinational development banks to access this form of investment.67720
COMMENDEDLatham & WatkinsSupported Henkel, the German consumer goods group, in creating Germany’s first green loan, a financing structure that reduces the interest rate the more environmentally beneficial a project, borrower or company is deemed to be.77620
COMMENDEDNautaDutilhAdvised ABN Amro Clearing Bank on establishing a distributed ledger platform designed to hold the client money of organisations that do not hold a banking licence, such as brokers, exchanges, pensions funds and other asset managers. Every individual client of a non-bank organisation gets a bank account with AACB via blockchain. This avoids the administrative costs of setting up escrow accounts, while ensuring that non-banking organisations can still comply with asset-segregation requirements.77620
COMMENDEDIntegritesSecured new funding for a wind farm in southern Ukraine, the first non-recourse financing project in alternative energy in Ukraine. The lawyers created the first energy performance certificate in Ukraine for a construction company with licences.57719
COMMENDEDNautaDutilhWorked with Dutch start-up Jungo to create the first online mortgage financing platform in the Netherlands. The site aims to attract ordinary consumers with a combination of tax deductions, assurances on risk, and backing from trusted institutions.67619
Accessing New Markets and Capital (In-house)
RankIn-house legal teamDescriptionOriginalityLeadershipImpactTotal
STANDOUTEuropean Investment FundThe legal team created a structure that combines traditional and synthetic securitisation goals, enabling regional Spanish bank Grupo Cajamar to access €1bn in funding from public and private investors to finance small and medium-sized enterprises. The transaction enables 15,000 companies to access loans on favourable terms and is a blueprint for other regional banks to follow.88824
HIGHLY COMMENDEDErste Group BankEstablished a platform to issue Europe’s first loan via blockchain. The issuance had no need for a parallel paper process, with the subscription and agreement processes managed entirely on the platform, approved by at least two people to ensure transparency.78722
HIGHLY COMMENDEDEuropean Investment FundIn order to fill a funding gap for the agricultural sector in Italy, the team developed a platform through which the EIF and European Investment Bank provide portfolio guarantees to Italian banks. This allows the banks to lend to the sector with 50 per cent of the funds protected by the guarantees.77721
HIGHLY COMMENDEDFunding CircleWith Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the legal team navigated conflicting viewpoints of employee shareholders and institutional option holders to complete the platform’s successful initial public offering. The IPO was complicated by new listing rules.77721
COMMENDEDAccionaDeveloped arrangements with litigation funders to progress two disputes with potential damages on each totalling more than €1bn. By selling their rights to claims and a share of damages for each dispute, the team cut the risk for the company and enabled the cases to progress without hurting its bottom line.67619
COMMENDEDGoldman SachsPlayed a leading role in the launch of Marcus, a consumer online bank. Addressing the high volume of queries from retail customers — compared with institutions — required the team to cut contract terms and conditions down to five sentences, focusing on the bank’s relationship with the customer.57719
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