Switzerland

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Swiss Bar Association

Principal cantonal bar associations: Geneva Bar AssociationZurich Bar AssociationVaud Bar AssociationBern Bar Association

Competition authority: Competition Commission

Financial regulator: Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporate (published October) - Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

As with most of Western Europe, Switzerland has a civil law legal system. However, the jurisdiction is divided into 26 cantons, each of which has a separate constitution, government and court system. Swiss federal law does take precedence over cantonal law, but each canton has its own bar association, and its own set of laws. Switzerland also has three official languages, German, French and Italian, which are used concurrently across the country, subject to region. 

This language disparity and variety in cantonal law has resulted in the Swiss legal market developing in a very fragmented way. This means that relatively few, for a jurisdiction of Switzerland’s prominence, nationwide firms are active, and most firms tend to operate only in either the French or German speaking areas, with a minority working in the Italian speaking regions.

In general, most of the country's private banking and finance work is done out of French speaking Geneva, while most corporate and commercial law is handled from German speaking Zurich.

Swiss legislation allows for any qualified lawyer of the EU or the EFTA to practice in the jurisdiction, and the decision to allow international firms to open in Switzerland is not governed by federal law, allowing for free trade in legal services. However the market is historically very stable and sees very few lateral moves, which could to some extent explain the limited numbers of international players attempting to enter the market. One exception to this is Baker & McKenzie, who have been present in Geneva and Zurich for more than 50 years.  

There have been recent efforts to simplify the Swiss legal system, including development of the Swiss code of civil procedure 2011, which has allowed lawyers more freedom to practice between cantons, and the establishment of the Swiss Bar Association. 

John Crabb - Journalist - EMEA

Financial and corporate
Bär & Karrer

Bär & Karrer is one of the leading firms in Switzerland with a strong presence across all areas of financial and corporate work.

In banking and finance, the firm has been focused on acquisition finance advising on the borrower side. Its financing transaction also combines with the element of capital markets work. For instance, it advised Syngenta on refinancing part of its acquisition transaction via the issuance of senior bonds. 

In equity market, the firm has been acting on rights offerings, IPOs, and capital increase transactions acting for sellers and joint bookrunners including Deutsche Bank. In the debt markets, the firm has been engaged in the placement of senior convertible bonds and notes issues primarily advising the issuers. It also advised Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse in financing CELSE’s thermoelectric plant project via the issuance of bonds.

In M&A, the firm has been active on the buy side advising across several sectors including healthcare, financial services, retail and technology. Key mandates saw the firm advise Porterhouse Group on the acquisition of Paracelsus and Deutsche Börse on the acquisition of Swisscanto. It also advised on joint venture and spin off transactions advising the likes of Credit Suisse and UBS among others on the implementation of digital ID. On the sell side the firm acted on the sale of AWK Group and Humabs Biomed.

The restructuring and insolvency team has been busy advising on several pre-insolvency mandates in the retail and financial services sector advising the restructuring company. Elsewhere, it is acting on the liquidation of Banque Privée Espírito Santo and Standard Chartered Bank, advising the creditors on the former and the bank itself on the latter.

Finance and corporate lawyer Till Spillman is a recent departure for the firm while Chirstoph Suter joins the restructuring and insolvency team.

Client feedback

"Bär & Karrer is highly competent and experienced in the Swiss market. The lawyers are commercial, deal-oriented and 100% responsive and reliable. The firm's culture and work-style are very compatible with international investment banks and PE firms." – Capital markets, M&A

"Bär & Karrer provides pragmatic and effective legal advice. It is a top Swiss firm that works well with other international firms. The firm is particularly strong in M&A, finance and regulatory." – Capital markets, M&A, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency

"It is clearly among the top 3 law firms - highly professional team, extremely experienced, and provides top-notch advice." – Banking, capital markets

"Top tier law firm with some very user-friendly and knowledgeable lawyers in the financial regulatory and fintech space." – Regulatory

Bratschi

Bratschi is a full-service firm notably active in the mid-market. 

In banking and finance, the firm has been engaged in a mix of regulatory work and financing transactions, primarily governed by Swiss law. In financing, the firm’s focus has been on the lending side with a clear highlight being the refinancing for Landis+Gyr. In regulatory matters, one notable mandate saw the firm advise BX Swiss in relation to the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act.

In capital markets the firm acted as Swiss counsel to guarantors on the update and issue of notes under EMTN programme.

In M&A the firm has been active on both the buy and sell side, working on the Swiss aspects of transactions. Highlights include advising Etihad Airways on the sale of Darwin Airlines and advising Raiffeisen Switzerland on the sale of its 10% stake in Avaloq.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has acted on several high value insolvencies of global and domestic companies across the banking, retail and industrial sectors. In noteworthy mandates, the firm acted for the liquidators on the American Apparel’s insolvency and advised creditor Raiffeisen Bank on the ERB Group’s bankruptcy.

Key clients include Ethiad Airways, Raiffeisen bank, Adecco Group and BX Swiss.

Client feedback

"Very responsive, high work standard and outstanding industry knowledge, particularly when it comes to corporate finance." – Banking, project finance, regulatory

CMS von Erlach Poncet

CMS von Erlach Poncet is active across corporate work and is the strongest in M&A transactions where it advises clients across several sectors including transport, infrastructure and technology in cross border transactions. During the research period, the firm advised Rieter on acquisition of SSM textile Machinery and INEOS on the acquisition of FC Lausanne-Sport. On the sell side, it advised Sunrise on the sale of its Swiss Towers.

In capital markets, the firm’s equity work comprises advising listed companies on friendly and unfriendly public tender offers and 7-Industries investment in Sensirion’s IPO. On the debt side, the firm advised the Province on Ontario on its bond issues. 

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm is mostly active on the creditor’s side advising on enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings. It has also acted for the liquidator in the administration of Unister Holding.

Key clients include Swiss bank, LifeWatch and CIC Capital. 

FBT Attorneys-at-law

FBT Attorneys-at-law is known for its banking and finance practice and has expertise in regulatory work. Much of team’s work is focused on the banking and funds sectors. 

One financing highlight saw the firm advise a Swiss borrower on its renegotiation of a syndicated loan. Elsewhere, the firm’s regulatory work has involved advising a mix of private banks and asset managers on the implementation of MiFid II, GDPR, Financial Market Infrastructure Act and collective investment schemes. 

In the funds space the firm has advised Swiss banks on the structuring of funds for investments in US real estate, and obtaining licenses to act as fund managers.

Client feedback

"The team is efficient, fast and solution-oriented and has strong technical skills coupled with a practical approach." – Investment funds, regulatory

"Very reactive, excellent knowledge of the legal topics we are interested in, excellent strategic thinking, and has a good newsletter." – M&A

Froriep

With over five decades of service, Froriep has a strong Swiss law practice. The firm is active in the banking and finance, M&A, and restructuring and insolvency areas.

In banking and finance the firm primarily advised lenders on facility agreements but also acted for borrower Hogg Robinson on refinancing of its credit facility, and the arranger on a facility granted to MET Holding.

In M&A the firm has acted as lead counsel for the shareholders of companies such as Adent Cliniques Dentaires and Secura Industriebeteiligu on the sale of shares. On the buy side, the firm was lead counsel to Palmarium on the acquisition of Lebara.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency works is confidential but it can be said that the team has represented its clients – a mix of creditors and debtors – in in-court and out of court restructuring proceedings. It also acted for the liquidators on the insolvency proceedings of a Swiss commodity trader.

During the research period the firm hired Laetitia Meier Droz as a banking and finance partner

JSC VTB bank, BNP Paribas, ING Bank and Credit Suisse are some of the firm’s notable clients.

Client feedback

"Very proactive and knowledgeable, and good to drive the process through." – Banking, capital markets

"It is very knowledgeable and quick in its response." – Banking, capital markets, restructuring and insolvency

"Very personal and friendly approach. Commercially oriented lawyers who are nice to deal with." – Banking 

"Very responsive." – Banking

GHR

GHR is a boutique firm that operates from its Bern and Zurich offices advising on banking and finance, capital markets and M&A mandates.

In banking and finance the firm acted as Swiss legal counsel on several financing and loan facility agreements advising a mix of borrowers such as Cemex on its new syndicated facility agreement, and arrangers including Goldman Sachs on the refinancing of Tronox Group. The firm also advised Eurasian Resources on the amendment and restatement of its loan facility with Sberbank. 

In M&A the firm represented the buyers as lead counsel on the acquisition and transfer of business in the window construction and energy sectors.

The firm’s capital markets work saw the firm advise multination issuers on the Swiss aspect of its global issuance of high value senior secured notes on the Global Exchange Market.

During the research period financial and corporate lawyer Michael Walther left the firm to start his own. Moving the opposite way, M&A lawyer Ludovic Duarte joined the firm from Noble & Hug.

Goldman Sachs and Cemex are two of firm’s key clients.

Client feedback

"Solutions-oriented team, practical approach, very dedicated and substantial expertise." – Banking, capital markets

"Top service and high responsiveness. No weaknesses." – M&A

Goldblum and Partners

Goldblum and Partners is an independent Swiss firm with a focus on M&A.

During the research period the firm acted on cross border transactions advising the likes of Skyforge Digital and Hermes Capital Investment on the acquisition of foreign companies and real estate assets respectively. It also provided due diligence service to Cadogan Swiss Trust on its acquisition by American investors.

Homburger

Homburger is one of the strongest firm in Switzerland and is highly ranked across all practice areas.

In banking and finance, the firm’s main source of work has been from acquisition finance where it primarily advises the borrowers and the likes of Swissport and Apollo Global Management. On the lender’s side it acted for the Singaporean branch of Credit Suisse in the refinancing of HNA Aviation Air Catering. Elsewhere, it has also acted on structured finance advising Amag Leasing on its new funding structure involving syndicated credit facilities.

The M&A team has acted on cross border mergers and public and private acquisitions advising both the sellers and buyers. Its client base includes a mix of private equity firms and holding companies the likes of Warburg Pincus and Fairfax Financial. It is active across several sectors including retail, agrochemical, pharmaceutical and automotive industry. Notable highlight saw the firm advise Johnson & Johnson on the acquisition of Actelion.

In capital markets, the equity team has acted for issuers and underwriters on IPO listings for the likes of Zur Rose and Dufry. It also advised the joint book-running managers on the subsequent public offering of CRISPR Therapeutics. In the debt markets, the firm has acted for the issuers such as UBS and Credit Sussie on debt instrument transactions. It also advised Bühler Holding’s on its entry into the capital markets by advising on its dual tranche bond issues.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has been advising an Icelandic bank on its insolvency proceedings in relation to Swiss law. It has also picked up regulatory mandates advising the likes of Credit Sussie and ISDA on the development of Swiss legislation concerning bail-in procedures and ISDA Resolution Stay Jurisdictional Modular Protocol. Elsewhere, it has acted for the creditors and debtors in several other insolvency proceedings.

Key clients include UBS, Credit Sussie, Apollo Global Investment and Gamut Capital Management.

Client feedback

"Did an excellent job." – Banking, capital markets, M&A

"Excellent team. Very knowledgeable, quick turnaround times and very user-friendly setup. Dieter Gericke is my go-to guy for any Swiss corporate law issues." – Banking, M&A

"Highly professional lawyers, excellent quality of deliverables, high responsiveness and commitment, and a strong business sense in addition to legal knowledge." – M&A, regulatory

"Homburger is, across the board, one of the best firms I've had the pleasure of working with. Daniel Daeniker has a well-earned reputation as being the most experienced and competent M&A lawyer on the continent, and his expertise were invaluable to us on the largest Swiss acquisition we did last year." – M&A

"Leading law firm in Swiss banking regulation, contingent capital, and FIDLEG. Forward-thinking, innovative, and client-focused." – Capital markets, regulatory

"Unique and leading-edge legal advice on all new financial technologies due to the firm's outstanding regulatory know-how, as opposed to other law firms in Switzerland." – Regulatory

"Very strong." – Banking, M&A

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin is one of the elite law firms in Switzerland with a strong corporate and banking practice.

In banking and finance, the firm has acted for the lenders, sponsors and borrowers on debt and acquisition finance transactions. The highlight deal being the firm’s advisory role to Sika in financing the acquisition of its own share rebuffing the hostile takeover bid from Saint-Gobain. It also acted for the custodian on the first securities lending transaction in the blockchain sector.

In capital markets, the firm has seen work in both debt and equity market. In the latter, the firm has advised on the likes of IPOs, private placements, buyback programme and rights offerings, where it has acted for the shareholders and joint bookrunners. In the debt markets, the firm advised the guarantor on Richemont International Holdings’ bond issues.

The corporate team has been involved two significant unsolicited public takeover mandates of SIX listed companies where it acted for the target Sika and the potential acquirer Aevis separately. Active mainly on the buy side, the firm has been active across technology, chemical and travel sectors during the research period.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has been active in the retail sector, advising the likes of Agrokor on the Swiss aspects of the restructuring mandates. It has also picked up mandates in several insolvency proceedings where it represents the creditors and security agent.

Key clients include Sika, Geberit, Aevis, Credit Sussie and JPMorgan.

Client feedback

"Extremely professional, approachable, always providing commercial and practical advice, solutions-orientated and excellent client care." – M&A

"Quick, always available, and technically skilled." – M&A

Loyens & Loeff

The newly established Swiss office of the Dutch firm Loyens & Loeff is active in banking and financial and corporate area. 

In banking and finance the firm acted as co-counsel for borrowers Toys R Us, Trinseo and Specialized on the refinancing of credit facilities. It is also active on regulatory matters advising on the establishment of an investment management company, and the establishment of a holding company in the Fintech sector.

In M&A the firm’s clear highlight work saw was advising Bacardi on the Swiss aspects of its acquisition of Patrón Spirits. It is also active in advising private equity firms such as AAC Capital Partners on disposal and acquisitions in the wine and retail sectors.

In the research period Andrea Huber joined the firm as partner in the banking and finance department from Niederer Kraft & Frey.

Notable clients include, Toys R Us, Bacardi, Wells Fargo Bank and Apex Asset Management.

Client feedback

"The firm has very experienced people that we have worked with before and has a proven track record." – Regulatory

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal has a strong reputation for its capital markets work and has been impressing with its banking and finance advice too. The firm is also active in M&A and restructuring and insolvency

In banking and finance, the firm has been active on a mix of regulatory and refinancing transactions with a good share of it in fintech area with Creditworld counting as one of its key clients. Elsewhere, its highlight deal saw the firm represent Gearbulk on the renegotiation of one syndicated loan and seven bilateral loan agreements.

In capital markets work the firm has expertise in both equity and debt capital markets. The firm’s equity work comprises the IPO of X-Fab Silicon Foundries, Talkpool and Poenina where it represented the shareholders and manager. In the debt capital markets the firm acted for issuers on the listing of bonds on the stock exchange and represented borrowers on the restructuring of bonds. 

In M&A the firm represented a mix of private equity clients and corporates on cross border transactions. For example, it advised Equity Capital Management on a share purchase agreement in relation to its acquisition of Pear Investment, and acted for Meyer Burger Technology on the sale of its business to Thermocompact Group.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency work is confidential but it can be said that the firm is active in representing a mix of creditors and debtors in the Swiss aspects of multinational restructurings. It is also advising receiver in a dispute with a bankrupt company in the energy sector.

During the research period the firm saw an influx of lawyers across all practice areas. New recruitments include commercial partner Lukas Bühlmann, who joins the firm following its merger with Bühlmann Rechtsanwälte. Former Lenz & Staehelin lawyer Mona Stephenson is another partner addition to the corporate team. It also hired two counsels in Stephanie Comtesse and Markus Huber from Bär & Karrer and Ernst & Young respectively.

Key clients include Meyer Burger Technology, Ayondo and Calida.

Client feedback

"Even though we had not worked with Meyerlustenberger Lachenal before, the firm proved to be very pragmatic and efficient. The lawyers involved always had a very short response time, and the overall level of service was very good." – Banking

"Excellent Law firm; many highly qualified lawyers, very professional and acts fast." – Banking, capital markets, M&A

"Fast perception, pragmatic solution approaches, very good lawyers, in particular, Andrea Sieber." – Banking, M&A, regulatory

"Straightforward approach and solution-oriented." – Banking, M&A, restructuring and insolvency

"The capital markets team has significant experience in IPOs, Rights Offerings, Public Takeovers and Bond Issues. The two partners (Wolfgang Müller and Christoph Heiz) that we mainly worked with are both very experienced and have great knowledge of capital markets and corporate law." – Banking, capital markets, restructuring and insolvency

"Top combination of long-term financial background and the Block chain/ICO work." – Banking, regulatory

"Very good quality in all the relevant areas for our company." – Banking, capital markets, investment funds, restructuring and insolvency

"Very professional and proactive." – M&A

"We have worked with MLL for more than a decade, mainly on complex cross-border financing transactions, complex asset-backed loan facilities, involving up to five different jurisdictions per transaction and multiple parties as well as Islamic banking. The MLL team has impressively broad knowledge relating to banking issues and is very experienced and technically strong, in particular regarding secured and Islamic finance transactions. The team's advice is hands-on and to the point. It can deal with very tight deadlines and does not shy away from overnight or weekend work. The team members have solid legal knowledge, are fast thinkers with a good commercial understanding and have the ability to find practical solutions to complex legal issues in structured financing transactions. The team offers a reliable, high-quality service for very reasonable fees." – Banking, capital markets

Niederer Kraft Frey

Niederer Kraft Frey is one of the strongest firm in Switzerland and ranks highly across all practice areas.

In banking and finance, the firm acts for both the lenders and borrowers on various domestic and cross border transactions including acquisition finance, secured credit facilities and real estate finance. It also advised Hypothekenbank on its disposal of loan portfolios.

In capital markets, the firm advised the Landis+GYR on an exit by way of private placement and IPO. It also acted as counsel for underwriters for Credit Suisse and JPMorgan in Sensirion’s IPO. Elsewhere it has advised shareholders on accelerated bookbuildings and public tender offers. In the debt space, the firm acted for arrangers, bookrunners and managers in auto lease securitisation transactions in relation to asset backed notes. It also acted for the issuers in the issuance of hybrid and convertible bonds.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has been acting across several bankruptcy proceedings acting for the distressed companies. In debt restructuring, it acted for creditors and arrangers in cross border mandates. 

Finance and corporate lawyer Till Spill joined the firm from Bär & Karrer.

Key clients include Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, CLS Group Holdings and Actelion.

Client feedback

"High-end and high-quality legal firm which shows in the level of services rendered and the price tag. Mr Werder, lead corporate counsel, was available day and night as our key lawyer on all our Swiss transactions. While I know he worked with other clients at the same time, we always felt like we were his key priority. He was a hard negotiator, taking the hits for us, and fighting hard for reasonably risky concepts. Mrs Schmucki (tax, structuring) has repeatedly outperformed our expectations, with the right level of pragmatism, simple advice (i.e. straightforward, quick recommendations without long structuring papers) and technical knowledge and focus on details. We also used the debt team (von Salis) for various (re-)financings and kept coming back to them, as the banks accepted them on the other side for us, while at the same time feeling they were really getting the best terms for us on the legal side as well. While hourly rates are high, a proactive discussion of expectations and scopes have kept overall project budgets reasonable, as actual hours spend seem to have been accounted for fairly." – Banking, capital markets, M&A

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi has a notable presence in finance, M&A and capital markets work.

In the banking area the firm has advised domestic and international banks such as Leonteq and VTB bank on acquisition, commodities trade and regulatory finance matters. The firm’s financing mandates have been on the lenders’ side.

The firm’s capital markets team is largely active in debt area advising arrangers and sponsors on securitisation of real estate assets and issuance of ETFs, and high yield bonds. It also advised the first bond Greek issuer on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange. In the equity market, it advised the underwriters on the public offering of Auris Medica. 

In M&A the firm has acted for international funds and companies on several notable acquisition mandates. One highlight saw the firm advise Schroders on the acquisition of Adveq, one of the leading asset managers. In the insurance sector, the firm advised AIG on the acquisition of Validus Holdings. 

The firm has been active in cross border restructuring and insolvency mandates expanding towards the Middle East acting for foreign liquidators and creditors. It also advised Israeli banks in the receivership and liquidation process against Regent Diamond Group.

Key clients include Swiss Life, Dow Chemical, VTB and AIG.

Client feedback

"Always extremely accurate and professional." – Banking, capital markets, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency

"Client-oriented, highly qualified experts and ready to provide timely assistance. Accurate billing - billed time corresponds to the work done, no overcharging." – Banking

"Excellent know-how and industry sector knowledge, specialists for every business case, outcome-oriented solutions and one contact person." – M&A

"I am extremely happy with the services provided by Pestalozzi’s banking department. Oliver Widmer is the most competent banking lawyer ever with whom I have worked. He delivers extremely good quality work in a short time frame. I can only recommend Pestalozzi as the best law firm in Zurich, if not in Switzerland. The Litigation Department also has the best lawyers." – Banking, capital markets, investment funds, project development, project finance, restructuring and insolvency

"Pestalozzi assisted us in a time-pressured refinancing for our IPO. Throughout the process, the firm kept us updated on progress and produced commercial solutions for challenges presented by the bank lawyers. They met the deadlines, and the final costs were reflective of the original quote with fully justifiable overruns for out of scope time. Overall, I have been very impressed with the work performed by Pestalozzi and look forward to working with the firm again in the future." – Banking 

"Good expertise, comprehensive advice and swift responses." – Regulatory

"We have worked with Sébastien Roy and Severin Roelli at Pestalozzi. What makes them stand out from other foreign counsels that I have interacted with over the years are their ability to translate Swiss concepts into US law concepts and their responsiveness. They effortlessly held their own against their Swiss counterparts, who represented the borrower in the subject transaction. After my experience with the firm, I have recommended Pestalozzi to other partners in my group who have used them and have been satisfied." – Banking, M&A

"Wide experiences, precise and straight to the point advice and support, efficient, fast, and good value for money." – Banking, capital markets

Prager Dreifuss

Prager Dreifuss is known for its banking and finance and restructuring and insolvency work in Switzerland.

The firm’s banking and finance team has been active on a mix of lease financing, and credit facility and senior facility agreements, primarily advising borrowers. It also advised a Chinese bank in its capacity as an arranger, agent and security agent in financing the acquisition of an agribusiness, and acted for energy companies as investors in project finance work.

In M&A the firm has acted for a mix of sellers and buyers across technology, health and retail sectors. It has worked on due diligence, share purchase agreement and the transfer of business, acting as both local and lead transaction counsel.

The firm’s highlight restructuring work includes advising bondholders in claims against insolvent Petroplus, and representing claimants in a litigation proceeding against Lehman Brothers Finance in relation to the Swiss law.

Staffing changes include the departure of Counsel Christina Meyer and the recruitment of Counsel Jvo Grundler from Ernst and Young.

Publishable clients include Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas and Attestor Value Master Fund.

Client feedback

"Quick and independent assessment of legal issues, reliable in time fulfillment of tasks, and strong in tax advice on connected matters." – Banking, capital markets

Schellenberg Wittmer

Schellenberg Wittmer is generally strong across all practice areas.

In banking and finance, it advised Nord Anglia Education as debtors on refinancing transaction.

In capital markets work, the firm has been advising joint lead managers on the issuance of bonds by Argentina and Novartis. In equity work, the firm advised InRoll on a capital increase via private placement.

In M&A, the firm has been active on public and private acquisitions, acting for companies and private equity firms primarily on the buy side. It has been active across various sectors including technology, energy and health care advising the likes of Skullcandy, Bouygues Construction and Cardinal Health.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has been appointed to restructure distressed companies and represent them in court proceedings. The firm also acted as administrator in Petroplus Refining Cressier’s proceedings.

Key clients include Raiffeisen Switzerland Cooperative, Veraison Capital, BNP Paribas and Bouygues Construction.

Client feedback

"Excellent substantive knowledge, very responsive and forward thinking on anticipating issues and suggesting solutions. The firm's advice was very sophisticated, and I would absolutely work with them again." – M&A, regulatory

"Extremely good in understanding the client's needs coupled with very good business acumen." – M&A, regulatory

"Outstanding work: a good mix of technical competencies, relationship management, and cost consciousness (e.g., when a legal question could be simply answered, the firm advised to ask our internal department instead to avoid unnecessary billing). Tarek Houdrouge managed the relationship with great client leadership - it was a pleasure working with him." – Banking, regulatory, restructuring

"Responsive with great attention to detail. Really appreciated the relationship that we were able to create with our partner. Felt that we get great value for money and a first-rate service, felt that he offered insights and great suggestions. Very competent and reassuring service offering, really flexible, arranged translation services on top of everything else, seamless delivery, and always available (even working overnight when in Singapore to be on all client calls)." – Banking, capital markets, project finance, regulatory

"Schellenberg Wittmer (Tarek Houdrouge and his team) has provided us with a wide range of services relating to banking and finance, capital market matters and corporate matters. The firm has been very responsive, pragmatic and has always understood our needs and constraints." – Banking, capital markets

"Solid quality service provided in all areas of expertise; dedicated to delivering." – Banking, M&A

"The firm has profound knowledge and provides useful advice. The lawyers are helpful and very good at explaining areas of law that we are not familiar with." – Capital markets, project development, regulatory

"We work with the team of Caroline Clemetson. They provide a high quality and fast service. The solutions are always business driven and pragmatic. Within Switzerland, Caroline has a great network with the authorities and other shareholders, which helps a lot to do business. She is highly motivated for difficult cases and always finds solutions. Caroline is highly competent in all sorts of asset management and regulatory. In our opinion, she is one of the best when it comes to the creation of new products." – Capital markets, Investment funds, M&A, restructuring, regulatory

"The firm was recommended by one of our investors who had a good experience with it. We were most impressed by the quality of their work, which was so good that it gave us advantage over the counter party. Martin Weber was our point of contact and the lawyer working on the case. Highly professional, never lost sight and paid attention to the details. Mr Weber is very creative in finding solutions and is always looking for ways which work for the business/our shareholders without compromising on risks and liabilities." – M&A

Vischer

Vischer is most notable for its work in banking and finance and restructuring. It also has a notable presence in M&A.

In banking and finance the firm has advised on acquisition finance mandates for a borrower and a mandated arranger on two separate transactions. On the lender’s side, it advised Export Development Canada in debt financing the acquisition of CEBO Injections. 

The firm’s capital markets work comprises listings of shares and IPOs, where it acted for the issuer and has also acted as the listing agent. 

In M&A, the firm has advised publicly listed companies on several tender offers and acquisitions mandates. For instance, it advised Symetis on its acquisition by Boston scientific and also acted as counsel for Baloise group on its public tender offer to acquire Pax Anlage. It also advised a Tokyo listed company on the acquisition of a Swiss life science company.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has been acting on dispute and administration mandates. It acts as liquidator as appointed by FINMA in the bankruptcy proceedings of Gold professionell. It is also acting in Lehman Brothers Finance court proceedings where it advises the liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Key clients include Syngenta, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Client feedback

"Customer-oriented, thoroughly clarifies starting questions, punctual, and has a high level of negotiation skills." – Investment funds

"The firm provided us with pro bono service. They held a workshop to understand our needs and then drafted a paper, which we were able to publish. As we are a non-profit organisation, we are very grateful to have Vischer as a pro bono partner. They are very knowledgeable, friendly, precise, and have a good understanding that lobbying is very political and that the legal aspects are not always the most important." – Banking

"On a project finance transaction with strong links to highly complex aspects of domestic energy law, we received excellent legal support from Vischer AG and, most of all, appreciated the close and efficient co-operation among the firm's specialists in corporate finance and energy law." – Banking, project finance

"Strong, professional team, easy to work with and committed in best advisory work." – Banking, M&A

"Very responsive insolvency department, internationally minded, but still hands-on in its daily practice and provides quick and useful advice." – Insolvency

Walder Wyss

Walder Wyss is a strong Swiss firm with reputable presence in capital markets.

In banking and finance, the firm is active in advising the arranger, lenders and security agents such as Goldman Sachs and UBS on acquisition finance mandates. It also advised Cembra on refinancing loan portfolios of crowd lending platforms.

In the capital markets, the firm is predominantly active in the debt area. It worked on several bond issues including hybrid bonds by Baloise and covered bond by Valiant bank, where it acted as the transaction counsel. It also has expertise in securitisation transactions where it acted on the issuance of two separate auto leases asset-backed notes advising the issuer and joint bookrunners. On the equity side, the firm advised the underwriters on the IPO of Medartis Holdings. 

In M&A, the firm has advised a mix of public and private companies. Notable transactions include advising Metall Zug on the acquisition of Haag-Streit Holding, and acting as counsel to Tamedia on its public tender offer to acquire Goldbach.

Key clients include UBS, OneHolding and Swiss Life.

Client feedback

"Agility, business mind-set, high technical levels, practical solutions, and easy to work with." – M&A, regulatory

"The lawyers are highly responsive, act quick and not too academic; that is useful in practice." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, insolvency

"Highly professional service delivered by lead engagement partner, Mr Patrick Vogel. Very commercial approach to contract negotiation, great availability and creative problem solving. Would highly recommend Walder Wyss, and Mr Vogel's services in particular." – M&A, regulatory

"Outstanding, fast, excellent know-how, extremely committed, and very reliable." – Banking, capital markets

"Highly professional, excellent subject matter expertise, very responsive and client-focused." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, restructuring

"Very professional, pragmatic and prompt support." – M&A, regulatory, restructuring

Wenger & Vieli

Wenger & Vieli is recognised for its strong banking and finance practice with expertise in fintech. It is also reputable for its work in M&A and restructuring and insolvency.

In banking and finance the team has been a regular presence in the fintech area, advising companies on the establishment of e-payment services and digital lending platform. 

In M&A, highlights on the buy side include advising a prominent fintech company on its acquisition of a foreign IT entity in the banking sector. On the sell side, it acted for a Swiss company in the consumer goods sector on its sale to a global private equity house. One publishable mandate saw the firm advise potential investors on the acquisition of Alpiq’s portfolio of hydropower plants.

The firm’s capital markets work included advising issuers and stock listed companies on regulatory matters and an IPO in the secondary market. It also advised Lykke Corp on setting up an organised trading facility for block chain technology.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm’s highlight work included representing former board members of Swiss air on the group’s insolvency mandates, and acting as administrator and liquidator in the Helvetia Wealth insolvency proceedings.

Swiss Property, Lykke Group and Helvetia Insurances are some of the firm’s publishable clients.

Client feedback

"Wenger & Vieli is a very professional and dedicated law firm. Its Banking & Finance team is highly regarded for their sound knowledge of the financial markets and related regulatory matters. The lawyers are extremely responsive. The size of the law firm is small compared to its main competitors. Still, they provide excellent quality by going the extra mile even with a smaller team." – Regulatory

"Efficient, timely and very popular." – Banking, capital markets

"Highly skilled and knowledgeable lawyers, highly accessible and responsive, high level of business acumen, strong negotiation skills, eye for detail, and thinking outside of the box." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, regulatory  

"Very reliable and accurate, fast responding, pragmatic solutions and execution." – Capital markets, M&A, restructuring and insolvency