Sidley’s Linklaters capture pays off with MBNA work

Sidley Austin Brown & Wood’s hire of Linklaters structured finance star Richard Hughes has already paid dividends, with the firm winning the mandate to advise on MBNA’s latest note issue.

The US firm scored the role advising Barclays Capital (BarCap) on MBNA’s issue of £250m in notes under the delinked CARDS trust. It is MBNA’s first notes issue under the programme since Hughes joined Sidley in August this year.

Hughes has a longstanding relationship with MBNA. While at Linklaters, he advised BarCap on the design and establishment
of the US bank’s £10bn delinked note programme and on the first issuances under that programme.

The loss of the work is a blow to Linklaters, since MBNA is the primary securitiser of credit card receivables in the UK and its programmes are regarded as prestigious and at the cutting edge of the market.

Hughes, unlike other recent defectors, has not been held to Linklaters’ restrictive covenants. Under the coven-ants, departing partners can be held to six months gardening leave and a year of being prohibited from advising clients they acted for in the two years prior to their exit.

“Having now acted for BarCap and MBNA’s other UK banks on the MBNA UK programme since 1996, there are strong relationships
and we work together very effectively,” said Hughes.

A Linklaters spokesperson said: “Clients come and go and we hope Richard is doing well in his new firm.”

Clifford Chance advises MBNA on UK notes issues.