Commentary: Ashurst's US launch - the importance of commitment
Structured finance has entered weird territory. On one level the market is nowhere and yet it is everywhere. Nowhere, in that the primary market that was driving law firms until the summer of 2007 has all but dried up; yet everywhere, in that clearing up the mess caused by the credit crunch means it's hard to find an area of business in which structured finance skills aren't being called upon.Unwind work for structured investment vehicles (SIVs) and bank failures, advising on products that have suffered credit down-grades and dealing with counter-party risk is now what keeps advisers busy - meaning the practice area in Europe hasn't yet suffered the total wipe-out some were expecting. And, as Clifford Chance's Kevin Ingram points out, accessing government-backed liquidity schemes, which typically require structuring and packaging for the assets which can be used as collateral, is "basically structured finance".Adds Ingram "You can't find a good derivatives lawyer in the City for love nor money."
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