Dechert is a leading adviser to financial services firms, asset managers and investment funds, representing clients ranging from small start-up and boutique operations to some of the largest financial institutions in the world. Our international team advises on regulatory and compliance matters, investigations by regulatory authorities, litigation and the formation and management of open- and closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, insurance products, offshore funds and hedge funds. We serve as transactional counsel and handle regulatory issues in mergers and acquisitions of financial services companies and funds. We also advise on the operational integration of diversified financial institutions, tax, ERISA, executive compensation and employee benefits matters.
With approximately 180 financial services lawyers working throughout 17 offices firmwide, Dechert is consistently recognized as a top law firm for investment funds by a number of U.S., European and Asian publications, including Chambers, The Legal 500 and Best Lawyers.
Our lawyers represent some of the largest fund complexes in the United States, as well as small- and mid-size complexes. We counsel funds, their advisers, fund boards, independent directors and audit committees. Currently, we represent approximately 50 mutual fund groups, amounting to hundreds of separate mutual funds and dozens of boards of directors/trustees.
Dechert has a team that focuses on European-domiciled fund clients and European-domiciled promoters, investment advisers, distributors and other service providers to funds established in various European and non-European jurisdictions. Our International Funds practice is world class and continues to grow in depth and strength.
The firm has established offices in Hong Kong and Beijing staffed by an interdisciplinary team comprised of both U.S.-qualified and locally qualified lawyers. Our clients in Asia include both U.S. and European financial services companies of global breadth, as well as Asian financial services companies of all sizes. We advise them on a wide variety of fund formation and financial services regulatory issues.
Lawyers in our leading Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) practice have expertise in ETF fund formation and regularly counsel ETF fund sponsors in the United States, Europe and Asia on the development of new products, as well as advise on related regulatory matters. We also have extensive experience drafting and negotiating operational documents for ETFs.
Recognized internationally as a leading adviser for the hedge fund industry, Dechert is the firm of choice for many of the world’s largest hedge fund and emerging fund managers seeking comprehensive, cross-border service. Our lawyers help clients launch funds, raise capital, achieve tax efficiency and meet regulatory requirements. We advise hedge and alternative asset/strategy funds that engage in private equity/activist strategies through the use of tailored fund structures.
Dechert lawyers have long been recognized as thought leaders on the legal and regulatory issues affecting investment advisers. Our investment adviser clients represent the full spectrum of advisory firms, from small boutiques to family offices to the world’s largest financial institutions. These clients include investment banks, bank-related and insurance company-related advisers and dually registered investment adviser/broker-dealers offering a broad range of investment advisory products and services. Moreover, we regularly assist clients worldwide in dealing with both home-country issues and cross-border matters.
Broker-Dealers and Markets
Our broker-dealer lawyers have decades of experience working with financial intermediaries and markets. Dechert lawyers have served with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We advise a broad range of clients with broker-dealer issues, including global investment banks and asset managers, national and regional retail firms, advisers, distributors and underwriters for registered investment companies, private funds, variable insurance products, boutique investment banks and introducing and clearing firms.
Banking and Financial Institutions
Dechert represents banks, bank holding companies, thrifts, trust companies and other financial institutions on a wide range of state and federal bank regulatory issues. We practice before all federal agencies with authority over the activities of financial institutions operating in the United States. We also advise our clients with respect to the application of laws and regulations administered by numerous state banking departments.
Variable Insurance Products
Dechert regularly assists insurance clients in the development of securities-based products, including variable annuity and variable life insurance contracts. We have been instrumental in creating innovative investment products for insurance companies and have been effective in solving regulatory problems and in crafting relationships among product participants. We have also handled regulatory issues associated with the acquisition of variable product issuers and the managers of underlying funds.
Commodities and Derivatives
Dechert’s commodities and derivatives team advises on the law, regulation and practice of commodities and related cash, derivative and structured transactions and products and we assist in their execution. Our diverse international client base provides us with a unique perspective on the business and legal issues of primary importance to all market participants and our expertise and experience covers all commodities and asset classes. Dechert lawyers advise in particular on issues arising under the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act and other applicable U.S., state, and non-U.S. laws and regulations.
We regularly counsel investment companies, investment advisers, distributors and other service providers on compliance issues, examinations and inspections, both in the course of more general representations and as special counsel to investment companies or fund service providers on sensitive and/or significant compliance matters. In addition, we have drafted and/or assisted firms in preparing or revising their compliance manuals, policies and procedures.
Asset Management Mergers and Acquisitions
Dechert is a leader in mergers and acquisitions for financial services companies. We handle all types of transactions, including joint ventures, share and asset-based transactions and corporate restructurings, for investment companies, investment advisers, investment funds, insurance companies, banks, broker-dealers and other investment company service providers. Our lawyers advise on corporate governance, regulatory compliance and due diligence issues as well as the effect of government enforcement and related litigation matters. We have served as both transactional counsel and regulatory counsel on numerous mergers and acquisitions.
Global Fund Distribution
We provide a comprehensive range of tailored solutions supporting the cross-border distribution of collective investment schemes, including European undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS), U.S. mutual funds, closed-end investment funds, private equity funds, exchange-traded funds and structured notes. We are skilled at achieving our clients’ business objectives in cross-border and third-party distribution while maintaining regulatory compliance. Through our non-U.S. offices and our global network of correspondent firms, we provide or coordinate advice on the global marketing and sale of investment funds in more than 80 jurisdictions.
Custodians, Administrators, Transfer Agents
We represent our fund clients with respect to their service provider arrangements, including arrangements with custodians, administrators and transfer agents. We also advise such service providers with respect to the regulatory requirements applicable to their fund service business.
Investment Company Status
It is crucial to determine the Investment Company Act (ICA) status of commingled or corporate vehicles that invest in securities. Those defined as investment companies under the Act will be subject to its regulations, which prohibit an unregistered investment company from engaging in any business in interstate commerce and makes its contracts voidable. We assist issuers in determining and managing their investment company status. Working with representatives of the issuer, we analyze the company’s structure, ownership, balance sheet and other relevant information in order to determine whether an issuer is an “investment company” required to register under the ICA.
Dechert’s ERISA lawyers work extensively with clients in the financial services industry on ERISA fiduciary and other issues that arise in plan asset management and additional business transactions. Our lawyers have significant experience dealing with tax issues for investment companies, advisers and distributors of investment companies and financial instruments acquired by investment companies.