Financial Markets Litigation

Our Practice

Simmons & Simmons’ international financial markets litigation group focuses exclusively on contentious work for financial institutions. Members of the group work alongside our non-contentious and transactional financial markets lawyers and have constant exposure to the business of financial institutions. As a result, they are not only first class contentious lawyers but have a real understanding of the financial markets and the needs of financial institutions.

Our practice reflects the firm’s non-contentious financial markets practice. We therefore work mainly on high value, complex matters for investment banks, clearing banks, investment and fund managers, securities houses, commodities and futures brokers and dealers, and other financial institutions operating in the international financial markets.

International expertise and service

The group is an international team across EMEA and Asia and is experienced in managing complex, cross-border matters for our clients.

You can choose how you access our thinking and experience

We put our knowledge and experience at our clients’ disposal wherever we can. elexica, the firm’s award winning online legal resource, provides access to the group’s articles, commentary, client bulletins and microsites focused on this area, including a timeline which is designed to allow clients to track major finance litigation throughout Europe and Asia. The group regularly provides bespoke training for clients in their own offices.

Integrated corporate crime capability

We were the first large city firm to integrate a specialist corporate crime capability into our litigation practice which provides “sharp end” guidance and representation in relation to FCA, SFO and European criminal and regulatory prosecutions or investigations.

Value without compromising on quality

We adopt a genuinely flexible approach to matter management and charging and offer a wide range of options designed to ensure that we offer real value to our clients at every step of the litigation process.


Our experience includes advising on the following (for reasons of client confidentiality we are unable to disclose the names of a number of our clients):

Leading investment banks

  • advising in relation to issues surrounding the eligibility of assets included in a CDO reference portfolio, including liaison with the FSA.
  • acting in English High Court proceedings to determine the Noteholder’s rights to terminate credit default swaps following a rating downgrade of the swap counterparty.

Hedge funds

  • advising a hedge fund appointed as the representative respondent for a class of client money creditors in the first representative directions application issued in the Special Administration of MF Global UK Limited.
  • advising a hedge fund before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in its successful defence of a Court of Appeal judgment in relation to the status of client monies in the Lehman administration.
  • advising a hedge fund in relation to a winding-up petition in Cayman and securing the withdrawal of the petition.
  • advising a hedge fund in relation to the defence of a derivative action in Guernsey.

Law Debenture

  • multiple disputes and court reported decisions relating to a €510m Eurobond (primarily in UK, Poland, Holland and US) and, most recently, in the Court of Appeal.

Lehman Brothers litigation

  • acting for representative hedge fund respondents in leading directions applications within the UK administration of LBIE including, most recently, in the Supreme Court.

Barclays Bank PLC

  • advising Barclays who, together with others, were defendants in litigation with the OFT, designed to test a number of legal issues relating to the legality of current account overdraft charging. The Supreme Court issued a landmark judgment allowing the banking community’s appeal.


  • the claim involved competing proceedings in England and New York in relation to a multiple tranche synthetic CDO, and issues of misselling, breach of duty and the obligations of arrangers and swap counterparties in the management of credit reference assets.

Company Director

  • the largest insider dealing case ever brought by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Advising a member of the executive committee of EADS who, together with other EADS executives, were charged by the AMF with insider dealing further to the exercise of stock-options.

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF)

  • advising the Luxemburg financial regulator in relation to a claim brought by an individual before the Paris Civil Court, seeking compensation for financial losses in relation to the Madoff fraud.

President of Deutsche Equities

  • advising the President of Deutsche Equities who is charged, with other members of Vivendi Universal senior management, with market manipulation in relation to a Vivendi buy-back programme. A judgment is expected in the Autumn.

UniCredit Corporate Banking

  • advising in relation to proceedings brought by a major Italian tour operator in  connection with the alleged breach of a loan agreement.

Commerzbank AG

  • advising in proceedings brought by Banca Popolare Italiana for damages of up to Euro 1.8bn arising out of the alleged wilful misconduct of the former directors in connection with the take over bid for a leading Italian bank.

American Express Bank Ltd

  • advising in Italy regarding the breach of a syndicated loan agreement for the construction of Tanzania’s international airport.

Société Générale Bank & Trust

  • advising the Hong Kong Branch in its defence of a claim commenced by a tycoon, who alleges misrepresentation by a member of the bank’s staff who sold securities to him.

Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) Limited

  • advising in its defence of a claim involving the alleged misselling of warrant products to a Japanese investor.
  • acted against an Indian pharmaceutical company, who had defaulted on payments after making substantial losses in ISDA governed derivative transactions. This multijurisdictional case involved the team in Hong Kong and London, as well as foreign counsel from our established network of Indian, Swiss and Irish counsel.

Specialist Expertise

Our practice reflects the firm's non-contentious financial markets practice and is complemented by our market leading global asset management and investment sector expertise. We are recognised for our work on high value, complex matters for investment banks, clearing banks, investment and fund managers, securities houses, commodities and futures brokers and dealers, general insurance and life assurance companies and other financial institutions operating in the international financial markets.

We focus on the following core areas:

Asset management

  • we act for various global institutions, investment funds and fund managers in disputes involving enforcement and default issues in the financial markets (including commodity, structured products and derivatives disputes), alleged breaches of duty, defamation and reputation management, and risk management.

Contentious regulatory advice

  • including the conduct of disciplinary proceedings.


  • we regularly act for financial institutions, both on the conduct of internal investigations where we report on suspected irregularities and on regulatory investigations where we advise and assist clients on response strategies.

Risk management advice

  • we have an established range of products designed to assist financial institutions identify and mitigate legal risk. Our financial markets litigation lawyers work closely with our financial markets practice which enables us to design and deliver tailor-made risk management products very effectively.

Wholesale and retail dispute management

  • including litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation.