Hogan Lovells advises banks on Eurogrid green bonds placement

Led by Frankfurt partner Jochen Seitz, the international law firm Hogan Lovells advised the joint lead managers consisting of UniCredit Bank (technical lead), BNP Paribas and Rabobank on the placement of Eurogrid GmbH’s first green bonds with an issue volume of EUR 750 million.

The corporate bond with a term of 12 years and an interest rate of 1.113 percent was successfully placed on 15 May 2020 and admitted to the regulated market in Luxembourg. Hogan Lovells had previously advised the dealers on the update of the debt issuance programme with Commerzbank as arranger.

With its first Green Bond, Eurogrid GmbH, parent company of the transmission system operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, secures the financing of investments in a portfolio of selected projects and facilities of 50Hertz Transmission GmbH and its subsidiary 50Hertz Offshore GmbH within its Green Bond Framework. These serve in particular to integrate offshore wind energy into the transmission grid on land and thus to expand the grid necessary for the energy turnaround. Examples of projects currently selected under the Green Bond Framework are the offshore projects Ostwind 1 and Ostwind 2, which involve the construction of grid connections for several offshore wind farms northeast of Rügen.

Hogan Lovells team for the bank consortium:

  • Dr. Jochen Seitz (Partner), Dr. Stefan Schrewe, Frank Salzgeber (Associates) (all Capital Markets);
  • Dr. Jörg Herwig (Partner), Simon Theis (Senior Associate) (both Corporate).

Jochen Seitz and his team have been advising the banks on the programme and issuances since its launch in 2015.

Norton Rose advises consortium of banks on $500m bond issuance

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a US$500 million bond issuance by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC.

The notes are due February 2025 and were issued off Emirates NBD Bank PJSC’s $12,500,000,000 Euro Medium Term Note Programme, which was updated in July 2019 and on which Norton Rose Fulbright also advised.

The Dubai-based Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by head of debt capital markets for the Middle East, Gregory Man, with assistance from senior associate, Ganna Vlasenko.

Gregory Man commented: “We are proud to have been involved in this transaction. This deal builds on Norton Rose Fulbright’s track record of advising on notable bond transactions in the region and once again provided us with the opportunity to represent many of our leading financial institutions clients.”

About Norton Rose Fulbright

We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3,700 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognised for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through our global risk advisory group, we leverage our industry experience with our knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide our clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg.

Global brochure

Specialised banking license in Lithuania by Yuliya Barabash

Lithuania and mainly its capital Vilnius became a new flagship of European banking services centres. Favourable regulatory and tax environment, excellent infrastructure, fast Internet, cheap office space and the ability to select high-quality budget personnel make Vilnius attractive for both large international banking institutions and FinTech startups.

Moreover, in 2018, the Central Bank of Lithuania won the Central Banking FinTech RegTech Global Awards for its comprehensive approach to regulating the provision of financial services, namely in creating a favourable environment for the development of financial technologies and openness for financial service providers. Are there any other arguments for choosing this jurisdiction for the Fintech project?

In this article we will talk about a unique offer – a specialised banking license in Lithuania with reduced requirements for authorised capital – what is it about? How to get such a banking license? What functionality does this type of license cover?

What is a specialised bank?

Specialised banking license is a concept introduced in Lithuanian legislation from January 1, 2017 as a type of universal banking license. The main difference of this type of license is the requirement for the size of the authorised capital. The standard size of the authorised capital for the European Bank is 5 million Euros, while the Specialised banking license in Lithuania is issued for a company with the authorised company only 1 million Euros. It significantly simplifies the creation of your bank, isn’t it?

Functional authority

The terms of reference that this license gives its owners are very extensive – a company with a specialised banking license has the right to provide the following services: receiving deposits and other repayable funds; lending (including mortgage lending); financial leasing; payment services; issuance and management of travellers checks, bank checks and other means of payment; providing financial guarantees; financial inter-mediation (agent activity); money management; credit rating services; safe rental; currency exchange (cash); issue of electronic money.

The only functional difference between a specialised and a universal banking license is the presence of restrictions on providing investment services, management of investment and pension funds, and other similar activities. However, in practice for these purposes an alternative company is registered with the subsequent receipt of a permit for investment activity and asset management of third parties.

Conditions for obtaining a banking license

The times for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania is another incredible advantage of this type of service. With such broad powers, a company licensing takes from 6 to 12 months after providing all of the necessary documentation. Capital requirement, as mentioned above, is only 1 million Euros.

Also, to obtain such a banking license, you will need to confirm the economic presence of your company in Lithuania: you need a real local office, the minimum number of bank management staff must be 10 people, but at least one of them must be a resident of Lithuania and speak Lithuanian.

Brexit and Lithuanian specialised banking license

Brexit made adjustments even to the functioning of well-known FinTech startups – the “certification” of companies’ activities became an issue. What does it mean?

International financial companies licensed in the UK are looking for the possibility of licensing their services in one of the EEA countries to provide services to residents of the entire zone. For these purposes a specialised bank in Lithuania is suitable like no other – a wide range of powers, comfortable licensing terms, minimal authorised capital. Who would you think in the forefront received a specialised banking license, rather than the famous financial institution Revolut? It’s worth to consider.

Our team is happy to offer you not only a full package of services for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania, but also assistance in opening corporate and segregated accounts, obtaining membership in SEPA and SWIFT, connecting to Visa/Mastercard, as well as other legal support issues of your project. Get an advice on establishing your Specialised bank in Lithuania today. SBSB International Law Company – your business, our concerns.

PRIVATE BANKING

Advisory Excellence for a Swiss Private Bank

In light of increasing standards within private banking, a clear definition of the services delivered to clients is necessary. An efficient delivery of these services requires an optimisation of the processes and organisational adaptations as well as state-of-the-art IT systems.

The world of private banking is changing. Increasing expectations of clients, changing regulatory requirements in applicable jurisdictions, as well as innovation among competitors all force private banks to precisely specify their market positioning.

A clear definition of client services is an essential first element in providing advisory services of consistently good quality. Well-organised and standardised advisory processes come next, followed by a well-thought-out delivery model for the monitoring of client portfolios.

The project scope included analysis of client needs and specification of new service packages in the area of non-discretionary mandates. To enable an efficient delivery of client services, the processes within mid- and front-office were optimised and supporting IT systems engaged (e.g. daily monitoring of client portfolios). These measures took active account of both global and local regulatory requirements, thereby promoting excellence not only on the client side but also on the legal and regulatory side.

Our Contribution:

  • Program management (deputy)
  • Management and specification of all requirements to improve the processes and IT-systems
  • Program-Management-Office (PMO)
  • Creation of the rollout-, training- and communication concepts
  • Support of front staff during transition phase into the new service packages
Paul PHOTO

TSB chief Paul Pester to forfeit £2m bonus in wake of IT meltdown

The CEO of TSB will forfeit a £2m bonus payment in the light of an IT failure that left thousands of customers locked out of their accounts, as MPs accused the bank boss of being “extraordinarily complacent”.

During a bruising evidence session before the Treasury select committee, TSB chief executive Paul Pester and the bank’s chairman, Richard Meddings, said they had received 40,000 complaints about the outage but did not know exactly how many of the bank’s 1.9 million online customers had been affected.

Meddings told MPs that Pester had volunteered to give up a £2m bonus associated with the migration to a new IT system, hinting that other executives could also have their bonuses slashed. But Pester could still receive up to £1.3m in other bonuses for 2018, on top of a further £1.3m in basic pay, benefits and pension contributions.

Pester declined to predict when the problems, which have been affecting customers for 10 days, would be fixed. The committee chair, Nicky Morgan, accused Pester of being “extraordinarily complacent” after he said the bank’s move to a new IT system, which triggered the problems, had mostly run smoothly.

“What we are hearing this afternoon is the most staggering example of a chief executive who seems unwilling to realise the scale of the problem that is being faced,” she said.

Pester insisted that 95% of customers were now able to log in to the bank’s mobile app and website without problems.

However, MPs on the committee read out a series of emails and tweets from customers that indicated ongoing chaos. One customer said they had spent 14 hours on the phone to customer services, while another said they had been left unable to pay their gas and electricity bills and a third said they risked a house purchase falling through because they could not access bank statements.

Morgan questioned the notion that the IT problems were mostly fixed, saying customers had been put in an “impossible financial situation”.

Simon Clarke MP said Pester’s belief that most customers were now banking without problems could not be true unless there was a “mass conspiracy by members of the public”.

Morgan added that two Treasury committee staff members had found they could not log in during the evidence session, drawing an unexpected reply from Pester.

“It’s nice to know we have so many customers in the room,” he said. “Thank you very much for using TSB.”

He said he was “disappointed” that some customers, who he admitted were being made to wait 30 minutes for their phone calls to be answered, were hanging up in frustration.

TSB has marketed itself in large part on its ability to provide better customer service than larger high street lending rivals.

However, customers began experiencing problems with their accounts on Monday 23 April after the bank – now owned by Spanish lender Sabadell – migrated from an IT system inherited from the previous owner, Lloyds Banking Group.

Sabadell had hoped to make more than £100m in annual savings by using the new system, known as Proteo in apparent reference to Proteus, a Greek god of the sea often associated with change.

Pester insisted the switch to the new system had been rigorously tested beforehand and was “running smoothly” for the most part but that it was struggling to deal with high levels of demand.

“It’s the equivalent of having a shop that’s too small to let the number of customers in,” he said.

He said around 50% of customers had experienced problems with their accounts on the first day of using the new system, with 40,000 complaining, compared to an average of around 3,000 during a typical 10-day period. Pester said around 22,500 have had their problem “acknowledged” by the banks so far.

Morgan referred to a comment made by the bank’s chief information officer in December 2017, who said the switch to Proteo would make TSB “a digital business that just happens to be a bank”. She said TSB “is neither a digital business, nor a bank. In fact it’s a broken bank.”

Pester and Meddings said customers would receive compensation from TSB, not only for any financial loss but also for emotional distress and inconvenience, adding that no customer would be left “out of pocket”.

“We apologise profusely for the issues we’ve caused our customers,” Pester said, adding that it had been a “terrible decision” to go ahead with the switch to a new IT platform.

But he said that TSB was needed to challenge the so-called Big Five high street banks and provide greater competition.

The accountancy firm Deloitte is advising on the bank’s compensation strategy, while TSB has recruited IBM to fix the IT problem and the City law firm Slaughter and May to investigate the cause.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.tsb.co.uk/

RBS reports strong earnings and first annual profit since 2007

Royal Bank of Scotland beat analyst forecasts by posting £871m in operating profit for the third quarter of its financial year, helped by cost-cutting measures and not having to pay any additional conduct charges.

The bank, which is still state-owned after having been bailed out for £45.5bn during the 2008 financial crisis, has now recorded a profit for each quarter of 2017, putting it on track to record its first annual profit since 2007.

On Friday it said that its common equity Tier 1 ratio, an important measure of a bank’s financial resilience, had also risen by more than expected during the three month period – to 15.5 per cent. At the end of June, the ratio had stood at 14.8 per cent, up from 13.4 per cent in December last year.

“Our core bank continues to generate strong profits and we remain on track to hit our financial targets,” chief executive Ross McEwan said.

Separately on Friday, RBS also said that it had agreed to pay $35m and enter into a non-prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice to settle a probe of traders accused of defrauding customers on bond prices.

On Friday RBS said that the settlement had been announced on Thursday by an Attorney for the District of Connecticut.