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European Law Firm of the Year — Transactions: Mayer Brown

Few firms possess the breadth of derivatives product expertise that Mayer Brown has, and it stands out for its global reach and leading practices on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The firm’s market leading practice includes advising buy-side firms and major investment banks on structured notes; helping firms with benchmark rate transition; assisting issuers with structures, such as call spreads executed in connection with convertible note offerings and accelerated share repurchases; and acting in initial margin projects and synthetic securitizations, which are often structured as derivatives. 

Mayer Brown has equal strength in both the US and Europe, which has helped it build a leading global derivatives practice. “Wherever clients are in the world, the key governing laws for their derivatives documents are New York law and English law,” says Ed Parker, global head of the derivatives and structured products practice at Mayer Brown in London.

“We are one of the firms [the total number of which] you can count on the fingers of one hand that can offer top notch representation for both.”

The firm’s transactions offering is underpinned by its global strength in regulation, which provides a strong foundation for the complex business it handles. 

This was evident in its work advising one of the leading global custodian banks on its Ibor transition programme.

“An entity like our client, that has a large trustee and agency business, made this one of the most complicated transition assignments,” says Parker. “We have to amend every transaction with an Ibor rate either through ISDA protocols or bespoke amendments. It is a massive project.”

The firm also asserted its credentials in synthetic securitization transactions as clients looked to satisfy US and European regulations.

In 2019, Parker and his team helped Banco Santander Mexico on a $1.6bn synthetic securitization of SME loans, in what was the first synthetic transaction to be executed in Mexico.

A recognised thought leader, the firm combines deep regulatory knowledge with strong execution on transactions. For example, Mayer Brown has completed pioneering work on initial margin, drafting advice for ISDA and the broader market, representing leading custodians and market participants.