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Banks & Alternative Lenders

Banks & Alternative Lenders

We’ve more than two decades of experience advising the financial services sector. We work nationally and internationally with some of the industry’s biggest names, from the main clearing banks, through to leading alternative lenders, innovative start-ups and fintech.

Our approach is to work collaboratively with all parties to ensure transactions are completed successfully and efficiently but at the same time using our experience and expertise to make sure a lender’s position is properly protected.

We understand banks’ requirements

Our extensive experience acting for the main UK clearing banks mean we understand the issues which are important to banks (commercial, legal and policy driven) and our flexible and open approach means we’re very good at solving those issues. 

We act for most of the main UK clearing banks in all areas of finance.  We’ve particular expertise in corporate banking, leveraged finance, real estate finance (both development and investment facilities) and asset backed lending.  In each of those areas we act regularly for UK clearing banks and have strong relationships with the client and transactional management teams at those banks.

During the past 12 months we’ve acted on transactions worth half a £billion but also much smaller transactions where banks are providing general debt facilities to SME borrowers.  We’ve the expertise in the team to handle the very biggest transactions but also the flexibility and structure to provide competitive pricing on much smaller (but no less important) debt facilities.

Our strong borrower practice means our lawyers know both sides of the issues which banks face when structuring and carrying out finance transactions and this knowledge and experience means we’re able to quickly reach solutions for these issues.  We understand the key relationship for a clearing bank is with its borrower and we frame the way we transact within this context.

We’ve a real focus on advising alternative lenders

Alternative lenders face specific challenges, and often have the same flexible, entrepreneurial spirit that we do. What our clients in this sector are trying to achieve – and the way they’re going about it – is often different from lender to lender. We know this, and we do what we do in the best way for each client, whether that’s expert advice from a partner, creating teams of paralegals to deliver something quickly, or finding the best use of technology.

We’ve advised a wide range of lenders and investors, including Ares Management, Atalaya Capital Investment, Pollen Street Capital, Quilam Capital and Shawbrook Bank. We’re one of the largest law firms outside London active in this market, and we’re proud to give our clients access to top-level advice without London overheads.

Read more about our research into what businesses really want from Alternative Lenders here.

Debt portfolio sales and legal due diligence on debt portfolios

We advise on the sales and purchases of consumer and SME debt portfolios with values of £500m+, with extensive due diligence undertaken by our Regulatory team when all or part of a debt book comprises FCA regulated mortgage and unsecured lending.

Alongside our practice advising consumer and SME finance businesses, we also advise on the full range of lending transactions, acting on both syndicated and bilateral, and secured and unsecured loans in the fields of asset finance, asset-based lending, and trade, acquisition, leveraged, real state and project finance. In recent years, we have advised local, national and international clients on financing transactions ranging from £1m to £500m within the UK and beyond.

Financial services regulation

With eight expert financial services regulatory lawyers, our Team acts for a wide variety of national and international consumer finance providers across all sectors including prime and sub-prime, first and second charge mortgage lending, personal loans and credit cards, guarantor loans, high-cost short term credit and home collected credit. It’s led by Jeanette Burgess, who is recognised by Chambers as a national expert in financial services regulation. She was formerly in-house counsel with Provident plc and is on the Board of the Consumer Credit Trade Association.

Non-contentious regulatory advice

We work hard to not only help clients meet compliance rules but also work with those bodies, trade associations and politicians who help shape the future of regulation for this important sector. Retail finance providers must comply with complex legal obligations and FCA rules governing the form and content of lending and post-contractual documents and business standards to deliver the fair treatment of consumers, including those for assessing affordability, debt collection and identifying and dealing with vulnerable customers. We work with a range of lenders, brokers and debt administration businesses in all aspects of consumer finance to deliver compliant documents policies and procedures. We also advise on anti-money laundering and data protection compliance to deliver holistic compliance solutions.

Due diligence

One of our key strengths is undertaking due diligence exercises for investors in regulated consumer finance businesses. Our extensive experience and knowledge of the sector and the FCA’s approach ensures we can deliver deals swiftly and deliver wider commercial insight, benchmarking a specific providers approach in light of our wider sector experience. We provide a clear ‘traffic light’ risk analysis of regulatory breaches and a focussed recommendations for improvement/remediation where required.

Commercial agreements

Drafting and negotiating commercial agreements, for example between lenders and brokers, is a key area of our practice. This extends to joint ventures including the delivery of ‘white label’ financial products and complex outsourcing and back-office arrangements.

Contentious regulatory advice

Operating in such a highly-regulated market carries risks and if you face an investigation or become embroiled in a dispute, you can turn to us for expert support and advice. Our Team includes former FCA and SFO investigators who are highly-skilled in managing regulatory investigations and disputes.

We advise businesses on disputes before the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the courts and have a wealth of experience in matters ranging from defending firms and individuals in FCA disciplinary proceedings and criminal proceedings. This includes allegations of fraud, unauthorised trading and market abuse.

Insights

“(An) excellent legal firm with top quality professionals.”

Legal 500

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Philip
Scott

Partner

Banking & Finance

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+44 (0)113 283 4454

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Mark
Byrne

Partner

Real Estate

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+44 (0)113 283 2662

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James
Crellin

Partner

Banking & Finance, Restructuring & Insolvency

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+44 (0)113 399 1724

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Owen
Ormond

Director

Banking & Finance, Restructuring & Insolvency

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'+44 (0)113 283 4546

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