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Andersen Legal has nabbed a massive capital markets instruction for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from under the nose of Norton Rose.
The bank has appointed the accountancy-tied law firm to a role as special counsel advising on its capital markets activities. The EBRD has an active European medium-term note (EMTN) programme and a large derivatives portfolio, which will occupy the firm. Norton Rose held the role previously, but was pushed out by Andersen Legal following a tender process. A magic circle firm was the third bidder. Leading the team for Andersen Legal will be head of capital markets Gilles Thieffry, who until a year ago had the same role at Norton Rose. He joined Andersen Legal in April, after six months gardening leave. He will work alongside partner Julie Lynch Bridson. Deputy general counsel at the EBRD Norbert Seiler said: "First of all, we'd known Gilles Thieffry from the time when he was at Norton Rose and there were a few other people in Andersen Legal who we'd also known from Norton Rose.
"This instruction shows that the firm is ready to take up the challenge of meeting the City's respected top-tier law firms head on" Andersen Legal
"Then, when we were looking to appoint outside counsel to assist us on our capital markets operation, we were asking a number of law firms to provide us with quotes for the work. Gilles and Andersen Legal provided a very competitive quote and their rates are quite attractive to the bank." It is the first time that the EBRD has appointed an accountancy-tied firm, but Seiler made it known that the link to Andersen was not influential. "It didn't have any particular appeal to us," he said. "This particular link didn't fit into our consideration whether or not to appoint them. We're looking to them to provide legal services and not accounting." Andersen Legal has also won its first new instruction from BNP Paribas, another former client of Thieffry's at Norton Rose. The firm advised the bank on a complex structured note deal for g480m (£296.35m). Norton Rose continues to advise BNP Paribas. The firm declined to comment on the EBRD work. Seiler said the bank would be doing an average of 20 or 30 issues a year from its g20bn (£12.35bn) EMTN programme. Andersen Legal will work with the office of the general counsel at EBRD in the context of advising on the treasury activities. Andersen Legal said the instruction "shows that it's ready to take up the challenge of meeting the City's respected top-tier law firms head-on".