19 Jun 2000
Simmons & Simmons restructures Financial Markets Practice to meet client demand
Simmons & Simmons has created a new Financial Markets Department. This move reflects the changing needs of the international financial markets and sends a strong message to Simmons & Simmons' clients about the strength and depth of the firm's practice. In recognition of the complex and fast-moving nature of the world in which financial institutions work, the new grouping reflects a sector and client based specialisation rather than the traditional ‘skills based' approach.
The new Financial Markets Department will comprise a strong, externally focused group of lawyers with capability in all the key services required by the large financial institutions. The Department will provide multi-disciplinary teams surrounding core financial clients. These teams will have a strong understanding of the sector, a broad skills base and a greater appreciation of their clients' business as a whole.
The constant development of new financial products increases the need for lawyers with a broader and more adaptable range of skills. The new Department includes Simmons & Simmons' banking, capital markets, funds/regulatory, private capital, corporate recovery, financial litigation and insurance practices. The drawing together of these different skills reflects the growing synergies within the financial markets and the convergence of the insurance and banking sectors. It is also particularly timely in light of the passing of the Financial Services and Markets Act last week.
Bill Knight, Senior Partner, said:
"Like many City law firms, Simmons & Simmons' financial markets specialists have been dispersed throughout the firm. The market place now demands a much more cohesive service from law firms in a sector which is evolving rapidly and dealing with ever more complex products. Drawing our financial markets lawyers together will allow them to work more effectively for the client and to anticipate and react more quickly to this increasingly complex market place."
Mark Dawkins, head of the Financial Markets Department commented:
"The Financial Markets Department will bring together over 100 lawyers in London, servicing financial institutions. Our move to CityPoint at the end of this year will allow us to base the new department in London on one floor which will in turn promote the synergies and integrated approach which will be the root of our success. This new approach is good for our clients as they will get a better service from better lawyers."
Notes for editors:
1. Simmons & Simmons is worldclass law firm with offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Lisbon, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and New York with over 1,400 staff worldwide. For further information on Simmons & Simmons please visit our website at www.simmons-simmons.com.
The Financial Markets Department
comprises over 100 lawyers in London, including 25 partners. It provides the full range of services to financial markets clients, including:
Banking and capital markets
Simmons & Simmons advises on capital markets, securitisation, structured financing, corporate treasury, corporate trustee and banking work. Over the last 2 years, it has advised on the establishment of 26 repackaging programmes and over 550 issues under those programmes in London. It has advised on securitisations worth over £3 billion over the last two years, including acting for Principal Healthcare Finance Limited on its second securitisation of care home leases valued at £122 million in March 1999 and for J.P. Morgan Securities in relation to two securitisations involving a portfolio of performing and non-performing residential mortgages in the United Kingdom originated by Paragon Mortgages Limited valued at £370 million.
Simmons & Simmons has a leading asset management practice and advises major participants in the investment management sector on investment trusts, unit trusts, open ended investment companies and offshore funds. It is pre-eminent in hedge funds and has acted on the launch of in excess of 20 new hedge funds in the last year. It has a dedicated financial services regulatory team advising on contentious and non-contentious regulatory work relating to securities regulation, derivatives, stock exchanges and settlement systems. Simmons & Simmons advised the Shadow Front Bench Treasury Team on the Financial Services and Markets Act during its passage through Parliament.
Simmons and Simmons is unusual in the City in having a leading Private Capital Group, which advises international and domestic high net worth clients and the institutions which advise them. In particular, it advises on cross border succession, tax and estate planning and international trusts and estates. Its clients include some of the worlds wealthiest families and many of the leading private banks.
Simmons & Simmons has advised on a number of complex matters including the turnaround cases of Booker plc and Telecel, the African telecommunications conglomerate. Workouts have included advising The Brent Walker Group PLC on its realisation and exit strategy and rescues include advising the directors of Portsmouth Football Club. Receivership experience includes the receiverships of some of the de Savary companies, Tring (the listed CD and video manufacturer and distributor), HandMade Films and Colorvision plc. The Group also advised in relation to the restructuring of Heron (acting for Law Debenture, the trustees to the bond holders), the administrations of Team Lotus (acting for Robson Rhodes as administrators) and the Travers Morgan group of companies (acting for Arthur Andersen).
Financial litigation and insurance
Simmons & Simmons provides advice on contentious and non-contentious insurance, reinsurance and life assurance matters. Significant work includes (among others) acting for Lloyd=s of London in relation to its amendments to Names= Premiums Trust Deeds and its successful Court of Appeal decision in July 1996; advising a special purpose vehicle in connection with a securitised reinsurance product providing reinsurance capacity for St Paul Re (believed to be the first of its kind); and advising Johnson & Higgins, a leading worldwide broker, on its programme of acquisitions.
Other recent major transactions involving Simmons & Simmons' financial markets practice include:
Acting in relation to the first securitisation of airport revenues in Europe. The ground breaking deal, raised £100 million for London City Airport ("LCA"). £100 million 7.886% Secured Notes Due 2021 of City Aviation Finance Limited, LCA's holding company, have been placed with institutional investors. The Notes were
placed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter as lead manager and have been listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Acting in relation to the £1.54 billion issue of debt supported by cashflows from the Broadgate Estate, which is the largest ever UK property securitisation to date.
Acting in relation to offer by Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited ("PCCW"), a Hong Kong listed internet company with a market capitalisation of approximately US$29 billion on its offer to acquire Cable and Wireless HKT Limited ("HKT"), an integrated communications company, for US$35.9 billion.
Acting in relation to the proposed alliance between Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited ("PCCW") and Telstra Corporation Limited ("Telstra"). PCCW and Telstra, Australia's most significant communications carrier, announced on 12 April 2000 that they had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to form a global IP backbone business and to provide wireless voice and data services. The proposed alliance is conditional, amongst other things, on the completion of PCCW's merger with Cable & Wireless HKT Limited. The Memorandum of Understanding provides for the issue to Telstra by PCCW of a US$1.5 billion convertible note and a cash contribution from Telstra of approximately US$1.5 billion. In addition, the parties have agreed to the merger of some of the businesses (valued at several billion US$) of HKT, PCCW and Telstra into two separate entities; one, a global IP backbone joint venture company and the second, a regional mobile joint venture company. The parties will also co-venture in various business services, and use of content for broadband services.
For further information, please contact:
Mark Dawkins, Head of Financial Markets Department
Louise Resnick, Media Relations Manager