The global financial crisis continues to put financial institutions and their clients under the spotlight and there has been a dramatic increase in disputes as businesses struggle to protect and defend their rights and ensure continued viability.
Recent times have seen the international financial services industry face phenomenal challenges. Initial market turmoil from the US sub-prime mortgage fall-out and the reversal of the housing boom quickly evolved into an international financial crisis. Large financial institutions have collapsed or been bought out. Governments have taken dramatic measures to try and rescue their financial systems. As the credit crisis continues, many financial services firms are fighting to ensure business survival.
In Ireland, we have seen a dramatic increase in banks and other corporates needing assistance with a range of counterparty, solvency and legal security issues.
We act for major domestic and international financial institutions, brokers, fund managers, insurers, investment funds and their service providers. We offer a full range of services from pre-dispute advice to representation before courts at every level in Ireland, drawing on the extensive expertise of our litigation lawyers together with the specialist industry knowledge of our financial services team.
In addition to advising on non-contentious aspects of financial services law and regulation, we also act in national and international disputes including arbitrations and mediations. Examples of our expertise includes the following.
Insolvency and Restructuring
We have extensive experience in advising clients on their rights and obligations to creditors and investors in light of current market conditions. Our restructuring expertise means we can advise distressed businesses and their creditors on all available options available to them, including fund raisings, debt for equity swaps, contingency planning and re-organisation of corporate structures.
We have acted on behalf of clients seeking High Court protection from creditors whilst an independent court appointed examiner considers their options for survival. We acted for a major German financial institution over a ten year period in implementing a complex asset recovery programme and successfully defended our client from various challenges brought against it in respect of the recoveries made.
We acted on behalf of Nomura International plc, a major creditor of Structured Credit Company (SCC), during SCC's examinership, and assisted Nomura in relation to the close-out mechanics of a portfolio of collateralised credit default swaps. We have advised clients on enforcement of close-out mechanics and collateral arrangements regarding stock-loans, interest rate and currency swaps and on the operation of legal set-off. We also represented several major creditors of ISTC during its examinership.
Investment Fund Disputes
We have represented several investment funds in proceedings against their investment manager and other service providers involving alleged breaches of investment restrictions. We have in turn advised investment managers and service providers of fraud exposed investment funds on their obligations of disclosure to regulatory authorities and on their potential liabilities arising from their relationships with the fund. We have also represented shareholders in disputes against investment funds involving non payment of redemption proceeds.
We also regularly advise promoters and investment managers, investment fund directors, custodians and administrators and other service providers on their respective roles, obligations and potential liabilities in relation to the operation of investment fund structures.
We represent both wealth managers and investors in disputes over the alleged mis-selling of investment products. We regularly advise wealth managers on their obligations and responsibilities under the Irish and European legislative framework which governs the provision of investment services. In addition, we advise clients on alternatives to litigation, such as the service offered by the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau for complaints against financial service providers.
We have acted for large financial institutions advising on cases of alleged fraud, including dealing with the proceeds of crime and misappropriation of funds, often involving detailed forensic investigation and asset tracing.
Pensions Claims and Investigations
We advise trustees, employers, investment managers and custodians on all pensions issues including regulatory compliance. We have acted in a Commercial Court case relating to a disputed transfer payment valued at circa €5m. We have advised in connection with a whistle blow to the Regulator relating to a possible material misappropriation of pension scheme assets. We have also represented clients in High Court and Pensions Ombudsman cases relating to disputes over pension entitlements on early retirements. We regularly provide advice in relation to a range of regulatory issues including the impact of the Pensions Act 1990 on clients' pension schemes and how to address regulatory breaches.
Regulatory Enforcement and Disputes
We regularly advise clients on their interaction with the Financial Regulator including compliance with financial services legislation and regulatory rules. We have represented clients who have become subject to the Financial Regulator's administrative sanctions procedure. Revenue enforcement and disputes We advise financial institutions, companies and individuals on their mandatory obligations of disclosure to the Revenue Commissioners. We represent clients whose tax affairs are being investigated by the Revenue Commissioners. We have acted in proceedings related to alleged breaches of tax law and company law, including the largest tax prosecution that has been brought in the history of the state.