Regulatory & Compliance
Regulatory frameworks are constantly evolving across sectors and around the world. As transparency rises in importance and the costs of non-compliance with laws and regulations increase, businesses everywhere strive to adapt to the growing pressure from regulatory bodies.
With our extensive knowledge of local regulations and our multijurisdictional capabilities, we are well-positioned to help clients around the world deal effectively and creatively with regulatory and compliance issues. As business has globalized and cross-border transactions have become more complex, the ability to provide appropriate counsel across jurisdictions becomes all the more important.
Our clients come to us to understand their responsibilities, manage risk and lessen the impact of complex regulatory regimes on their transactions or day-to-day operations. Our strong relationships with members of oversight agencies give us the basis to counsel clients with a current and fully informed perspective. We commit our global resources to helping them meet regulatory requirements and keep their businesses running smoothly, no matter where they are based.
We have extensive experience in banking and financial services where we advise on all aspects of regulatory compliance and contentious issues involving the banking, capital markets and investment fund sectors. Our objective is to create sophisticated strategies that safeguard our clients’ assets and reputations and enable them to concentrate on pursuing their business objectives with confidence, which is helped by the substantive involvement we have had in the development and implementation of current US, UK and EU legislation and related guidance.
In the power industry in the US we have pioneered strategies to protect market participants from the vagaries of an unstable market design and have helped our clients navigate the resulting market failures. Our Energy Markets and Regulatory Group assists clients with regulatory issues, energy project financings, energy company or asset sales and acquisitions, workout assessments, restructurings or bankruptcies and bet-the-company litigations. We work hard to find goal-orientated solutions to the challenges that our clients face based on our extensive understanding of how energy markets work.
At White & Case across all our practices, the industries we work with and the countries in which we do business, we provide advice on complex regulatory matters including in:
- Consumer protection
- Data protection & privacy
- Environment (including climate change)
- Financial institutions
- Product liability & product safety
- Public procurement
- Telecommunications, media and technology
- Other EU regulatory matters (agricultural, import/export, pharmaceutical and medical devices, sport/gaming, specific product regulation, etc.)
Compliance: need to know
ICBC / Standard Bank business acquisition, ongoing
We are currently advising ICBC, the largest bank in the world by total assets and market capitalization and one of China's so-called "Big Four" state-owned commercial banks, in relation to the acquisition of Standard Bank PLC. This is a significant transaction for ICBC involving the acquisition of the global markets business of South African institution, Standard Bank PLC. Our London and New York-based regulatory teams have provided advice on a number of complex regulatory issues relating to the structure of the deal, including advice on the restructuring of the Standard Bank Group and the extraction of the investment banking business from Standard Bank PLC prior to the acquisition.
Russian financial institution, ongoing
We advise a Russian banking group in connection with its risk mitigation and reporting requirements under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), in particular the procedure for entering ISDA protocols and the impact of the regulations on both the bank in Russia and on its European subsidiaries. We have also been advising on the application of Russian sanctions and their impact on the ability of the bank to access funding through the capital markets.
Occidental Petroleum, 2013
We represented Occidental Petroleum in a case of first impression in which we successfully challenged state protocols and US federal laws to secure the right to sell surplus electricity to the US power grid in California. Careful navigation of the regulatory path led to a solution that avoided pitting state and federal authorities against each other, and ultimately allowed the company to refocus its strategy to increase oil and gas production at its Elk Hills Oil Field while improving efficiency and lowering operating costs. Our work on this matter earned a "Standout" ranking, the highest ranking possible, by the Financial Times in its FT North America Innovative Lawyers 2014 report and Dan Hagan, the Firm's lead lawyer on the matter, was "Commended" for his work.
First Chinese bank acquisition of a US bank
We represented Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited ("ICBC"), the largest bank in the world in terms of total market capitalization, customer deposits and net profit, in the acquisition of an 80 percent interest in The Bank of East Asia (USA) National Association. The transaction, which required Federal Reserve Board approval and marks the first-ever acquisition of a US retail bank by a Chinese bank, was featured as one of the "Most Innovative M&A Transactions in the United States" by The Financial Times (2012). The transaction also received an "M&A Deal of the Year Award" by The M&A Advisor (2012) and Asian-MENA Counsel (2012) and was named "Outbound M&A Deal of the Year" by China Business Law Journal (2012).
Electric reliability investigations, 2011
We represented a public utility client in six concurrent investigations conducted by federal and state regulators into blackouts that occurred in the Southwest United States. The investigations were the first multiagency review of an electric reliability event under the mandatory electric reliability standards that resulted in joint agency findings. Each investigation concluded without a finding of any violation by our client.
We advised an Asian government on the progress of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Phase III legislation through the EU institutions, with a particular focus on linkage of the EU ETS with other Kyoto Protocol systems. Our representation included organizing and accompanying the client on a fact-finding mission to an EEA country to meet officials running the ETS and visits to CCS projects.
A leading tobacco products manufacturer
We advise a leading tobacco products manufacturer on a wide range of environmental and product safety issues at national level and at EU level. We handle all regulatory questions for this client globally throughout our large network of offices. This requires a combined knowledge of environmental legislation, product safety legislation and public health legislation. We assist this client with the launch of products in new markets and advise them on a daily basis on any questions concerning all national or EU requirements applicable to their products.