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The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) is ramping up its worldwide legal capabilities in response to the rapid growth of the global derivatives market.
As part of its expansion strategy the ISDA aims to double its number of lawyers across the globe, adding two in London, one in New York and creating a new general counsel role in Asia.
At present, the legal team consists of one general counsel in each of Europe, New York and Washington DC.
ISDA global general counsel David Geen told The Lawyer: "The derivatives market's growing and the complexity of derivatives instruments is increasing. The ISDA's always been at the heart of the market and more is being expected of us. For example, the recent credit event has played a big part in our work and has kept us very busy."
Geen added that a legal presence on the ground in Asia is now necessary because the continent has experienced significant growth in the derivatives market.
The ISDA legal function has changed dramatically in recent years. In 2006 The Lawyer reported (14 November) on Geen moving from Goldman Sachs to become the ISDA's first-ever European general counsel before being promoted to global general counsel in September last year.
More recently, New York-based assistant general counsel Katherine Tew Darras was promoted to general counsel Americas, head of equity, FX and interest rate legal.
Geen said: "Our coverage is by product as well as geographic. Katherine's remit incorporates global equity derivatives and other products as well as the Americas."
At present the three-strong legal team covers operations in 55 countries spread over six continents. The association works closely with governments, businesses and financial institutions representing the global derivatives market.