Sidley’s Derivatives practice is a recognized global market leader. Featuring more than 70 lawyers across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, our team is known for its exceptional representation of clients across all segments of the derivatives market. In particular, clients seek us out for our collaborative, team-focused approach that draws upon our collective experience and market depth. We work together across Sidley’s global offices to provide legal, business, and practical insights to help clients navigate complex transactional and regulatory issues inherent in the structuring, offering, documenting, and trading of derivatives.
“Sidley Austin has a deep bench with tremendous commercial awareness.”
– Chambers USA 2023, Nationwide: Derivatives
Our diverse client base spans multiple industries, including domestic and international banks, insurance companies, financial institutions, investment advisers, commodity pools, introducing brokers, futures commission merchants, trading platforms, clearinghouses, and a wide spectrum of end users. We are highly attuned to the needs of such sophisticated market participants, and regularly engage with leading alternative asset management groups to help our clients stay ahead of key market developments and new regulations affecting the derivatives industry.
We bring value to our clients in the following ways:
Extensive financial product experience: Our work in the global derivatives markets spans both over-the-counter (OTC) and exchange-traded derivative products. We assist with structuring and documenting transactions involving derivatives and related trading and financing techniques, including swaps, futures, options, forwards, and collars. We advise on all manner of trading agreements, including International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) Master Agreements, clearing, securities loan, repurchase, futures customer, prime brokerage, master give-up, and master netting agreements. Our broad product experience ranges from the traditional interest rate, currency, commodity, credit, equity, and inflation markets to the bespoke catastrophe, longevity/mortality, and other evolving markets.
Structured products work: We are at the forefront in representing swap counterparties in securitization, structured finance, and financing transactions. These transactions require comprehensive knowledge of a varied set of issues ranging from cross-collateralization, inter-creditor, and bankruptcy issues to the application of new derivatives regulatory schemes, as well as rating agency criteria in rated transactions. We also have experience negotiating derivatives in finance transactions involving municipal and other governmental entities, which present additional issues relating to capacity, authority, and sovereign immunity.
“Strong team with a comprehensive global practice which integrates its transactional, regulatory compliance and regulatory enforcement operations into a broad single-service derivatives offering, advising clients on both the buy and sell sides.”
– Chambers USA 2023, Nationwide: Derivatives
Regulatory agency insight: Our regulatory and enforcement experience dates back several decades. We are well-versed in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) in the United States, the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) and Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) in the European Union, as well as regulatory discrepancies between the UK and the EU post-Brexit, and Asia Pacific derivatives regulatory regimes.
Our team is in close contact with regulators in the U.S. and around the world. We frequently work with agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the National Futures Association (NFA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), futures exchanges, clearinghouses, and swap execution facilities, among others. In addition to being active participants in derivatives industry associations, we engage with leading industry associations such as ISDA, SIFMA, MFA, and FIA on various derivatives regulatory matters.
Integrated service offering: One of the key strengths of our Derivatives practice is the multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional approach we bring to our clients. We leverage the resources of a full-service global law firm, and the combined strength of our derivatives transactional, SEC, CFTC, and NFA regulatory practitioners, who bring decades of industry- and product-specific experience. Our team works seamlessly with colleagues across a variety of practice areas to understand and address all aspects of derivatives matters. This includes matters involving insurance, investment funds, energy, bankruptcy/restructuring, litigation, ERISA, tax, securities enforcement and regulatory, fintech, and blockchain. Our global and cross-practice network enables us to offer clients efficient service in nearly every jurisdiction and substantive area of derivatives law.
First-Tier National Ranking in Derivatives and Futures LawRecognition for our practice
– 2024 Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Survey
Strong work on behalf of our clients — many of which have been with us for more than a decade — has repeatedly earned us acknowledgment from numerous industry publications, including Chambers USA and Global, and the Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Survey. Members of our team are participants in various committees of ISDA; frequent speakers on regulatory and market developments; and authors of derivatives-focused articles that have been featured in such prestigious publications as The Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Law Review.