Our market leading, international commodity trading and finance practice consists of experienced specialist lawyers from a multi-disciplined base who advise on a broad range of issues. We advise investment banks, brokers, dealers, trading houses, hedge funds, producers, suppliers and users, as well as exchanges and trade associations. This includes advice relating to trading commodity and energy derivatives, both on exchange and OTC, and the structuring and regulation of international trading businesses; the regulation of market conduct and market abuse; the structuring of financial instruments relating to commodities; physical marketing, trading and supply and energy regulations; trade and commodity finance (including Islamic finance); and dispute resolution, regulatory investigations and enforcement.
Through our network of offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and the strong relationships that we have formed with law firms within Africa, we are able to advise in jurisdictions throughout the world, drawing on the skills of our commodities, regulatory, tax, insurance, environmental, dispute resolution and restructuring and insolvency specialists. Our team includes practitioners with in house experience at regulators and within the industry.
The focus of our practice is on the following key areas:
- Financial Markets Regulation
Our financial markets regulatory practice advises on all aspects of the regulation of commodity and energy derivatives markets and trading. This extends to the creation and licensing of broking/dealing/trading business, conduct of business, systems and controls environment and the structuring and operation of international businesses, as well as regulatory perimeter issues.
We have also undertaken broader policies and procedures reviews for a number of entities, including such areas as anti-money laundering and anti-corruption legislation.
- Market Conduct - Commodities
We regularly advise clients on matters relating to the application of the market conduct and the market abuse regime as well as relevant exchange and regulatory rules, and other considerations impacting on market behaviour.
Our derivatives practice undertakes complex work relating to the structuring and documentation of transactions, including the negotiation of bespoke structured contracts as well as master agreements and related confirmations used for trading.
We enjoy excellent market coverage in the derivatives sector resulting from our unique position amongst the market’s premier law firms as both adviser to the investment banking community as well as acting for a wide range of buy-side and end-user participants.
- Regulatory investigations, enforcement and disciplinary proceedings
Our core areas of practice include investigations, both on the conduct of internal investigations and on regulatory investigations where we advise and assist clients on response strategies; litigation and all other forms of dispute resolution.
Our team includes lawyers who have previously been members of, or who have been on secondment at, the FCA’s Enforcement Division (or predecessors).
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Our international financial markets litigation practice handles a range of issues including arbitration, mediation and negotiation and contentious regulatory advice. The areas of practice also cover risk management advice, including on an established range of products designed to assist clients identify and mitigate legal risk.
We advise on the whole range of trade & commodity finance products including commodity financing, such as prepayment financing, warehouse/inventory financing and monetisation, commodity transit financing, borrowing base financing and commodity repo transactions; receivables financing, such as pre-export financing, invoice discounting and supply chain finance programmes; export credit agency-backed financings; and trade finance instruments.
Our financial markets practice has extensive experience in advising on Islamic finance. Our lawyers have advised both Islamic and conventional financial institutions, as well as corporate and governmental bodies, on a wide range of structures.
We have advised extensively on the development of Shariah-compliant liquidity management structures involving trades in commodities, as well as the structuring and transacting of a wide variety of Islamic structured products as synthetic funds and hedging structures.
- Energy Regulation and Competition
We have extensive experience of the application of the whole range of competition law, including, merger control, behavioural issues, regulatory investigations and litigation, as well as issues of economic regulation with particular reference to the energy sector.
We have advised clients involved in investigations by the EU Commission and by national regulators, including Competition Act investigations by Ofgem. We have also advised clients, including those involved in trading activities, on compliance programmes and business continuity issues in the face of ‘dawn raids’ and regulatory investigations.
- Carbon and Emissions Trading
We have advised on all aspects of emission reduction and renewable energy projects that create carbon and other emission related tradable commodities. We have helped clients participate in emissions trading systems including th e UK ETS, the EU ETS and the unregulated markets trading VERs and VCU’s. This has included the tax and accounting treatment of such carbon assets and liabilities.
Our wider cleantech and environmental finance practice supports clients with their corporate responses to climate change, regulatory compliance advice, carbon finance, project development support and occasionally climate change related litigation.
- Commodity Structured Securities
We advise on a range of structured products involving commodity derivatives including notes, warrants and certificates linked to various commodities and commodity indices and strategies providing synthetic commodity exposure. These securities have been listed on the major European exchanges and in certain cases offered to retail investors. In the area of asset backed securities, we have advised on repackagings of physical metals and physically backed exchange traded commodity securities.
- Physical Supply and Storage Contracts
We also advise on sale, transportation and storage agreements for commodities including natural gas, crude oil and refined liquids from and to refineries, processing plants and storage facilities and to service stations, as well as long term supply contracts relating to various commodities.