US Securitization Awards 2023: ABS Law Firm of the Year – Mayer Brown
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US Securitization Awards 2023: ABS Law Firm of the Year – Mayer Brown

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Mayer Brown has been a leading law firm in the asset-backed securities space since the market’s inception in the 1980s. Mayer Brown’s decades of experience have allowed it to build a practice with unrivalled expertise, making it the counsel of choice for issuers, underwriters and investors across numerous asset classes. Always at the cutting edge of regulatory developments and market evolution, Mayer Brown is once again GlobalCapital’s ABS Law Firm of the Year.

Years of growth have seen Mayer Brown’s securitization practice expand to over 150 structured finance lawyers dealing with transactions across 11 offices worldwide. The depth of their practice allows the firm to provide peerless support covering almost every asset class, product type and deal aspect, including global tax and regulatory advice. In part because of the strength of their regulatory practice, Mayer Brown has developed a preeminent practice across all of the consumer asset classes, with particular dominance in auto and credit card securitizations. In the league tables for counsel on ABS deals, Mayer Brown consistently finishes in the top three, and topped the 2022 league tables for issuer’s counsel.

“Having such a large platform with a significant portion of that platform dedicated to securitization is one of our great strengths,” says Ger O'Donnell, partner and co-head of the structured finance practice. “That allows us to provide legal analysis on the most complex structures. Our clients really value being able to access a full team of experts for whatever area they need on a particular transaction.”

The securitization market’s evolution often involves the intersection of different markets and the creation of new deal structures. Recent examples include the rise of fintech loan issuers, insurance premium finance and home equity forward purchase arrangements. Mayer Brown has excelled in such areas, where its aptitude with intricate regulation and broad knowledge base are paramount.

Nowhere has the firm's prowess been more evident than in the credit-risk transfer space. A contraction in available funding has prompted banks to ramp up their use of capital relief trades on loan portfolios through both funded and synthetic securitizations. Mayer Brown has worked on CRT deals across a wide range of portfolios including auto loans, subscription loans and other commercial loans, mortgage loans and credit card receivables. These deals require in-depth knowledge across multiple different areas including insurance, derivatives, bank regulation, tax and securities laws, and a knowledge of the market for financing the types of underlying assets subject to CRT transactions.

“CRT really showcases one of Mayer Brown’s strengths, which is our ability to combine expertise across a lot of different areas,” says Julie Gillespie, partner co-head of the structured finance practice. “That has allowed us to capitalize on the rise in activity we’ve seen in that product over the last couple of years.” In particular, we have seen increased interest in CRT involving subscription loans and we have been working closely with our market-leading funds finance practice to structure and execute capital relief transactions for these types of assets.”

The firm also stands out for its work on the regulatory and policy front, leading many of the industry’s engagement initiatives on the SEC’s proposed conflicts of interest rule. Mayer Brown is representing the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in connection with its comment letter on the proposed rule, as well as its related engagement with the SEC. Mayer Brown is also playing a major role in the advocacy efforts of the Structured Finance Association and the American Bar Association. with respect to the proposed rule.

“Regulatory policy is an area where we’ve been spending a lot of our time helping industry efforts,” says Gillespie. “We have recently added to our securities regulatory team with the hiring of Michelle Stasney, who came to Mayer Brown with over a decade’s experience with the SEC’s Office of Structured Finance.”

Ultimately, what links Mayer Brown’s accomplishments across the multi-faceted securitization market is the scope of its expertise and how well the firm’s different components work together to satisfy their clients’ objectives. “What's critical to our success is teamwork,” says O’Donnell. “Our ability to get the right people involved – whether that’s experts on tax, insurance,bankruptcy, cross-border or regulatory matters – and have them work seamlessly together is crucial.” This success is why Mayer Brown was again chosen as GlobalCapital’s ABS Law Firm of the Year.

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