Expertise

Ben is a Corporate Partner based in our London office with a particular focus on advising clients in the financial services sector.  

Ben's experience includes advising on a wide range of corporate and strategic transactions including UK and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (including acquisitions under the UK Banking Act 2009), disposals, joint ventures, intra-group restructurings and advising the boards of companies, building societies, co-operatives and other entities on directors' duties and a variety of constitutional, corporate governance, strategic and regulatory driven matters and projects.  

Clients that Ben has advised include banks, building societies, mutuals, asset managers and stock exchanges, amongst others.

During 2014, Ben spent 3 months on secondment to Nationwide Building Society serving as Acting Deputy Group General Counsel.

Ben closely monitors regulatory developments and advises clients on compliance and the strategic importance of regulatory change.  

Experience

Some highlights of Ben's transactional experience include advising:

  • Virgin Money on the establishment of its strategic investment and pensions joint venture with Standard Life Aberdeen in respect of Virgin Money Unit Trust Managers Limited 
  • a commodities exchange on the disposal of its stake in a UK clearing house
  • a European bank on the wind down and closure of its London corporate banking branch
  • on various director/shareholder disputes and governance related projects in relation to regulated firms
  • various UK savings and mortgage providers on disposals of mortgage portfolios and the entry into forward flow arrangements
  • a major banking group on various intragroup restructurings of its UK wealth and investment management business (including, amongst other things, in relation to its stockbroking, share dealing and pensions and investment businesses) 
  • a major bank on the intragroup hive up of the banking and wealth and investment management businesses of its off shore bank subsidiary, involving court approved banking business transfer schemes in Jersey and the Isle of Man and a transfer of its Guernsey branch business
  • Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on its £1.388bn recommended cash offer to acquire The London Metal Exchange 
  • on the establishment of Reclaim Fund Ltd and the creation of the UK unclaimed assets scheme for banks and building societies and on the subsequent launch of the alternative scheme for smaller banks and building societies
  • the UK retail banks on the creation of, and their investment, in Big Society Capital Limited 
  • Bank of Montreal on its acquisition of UK-based institutional asset manager Pyrford International

In addition, Ben heads our market leading Building Societies and Mutuals team and is recognised for his particular expertise in the field (including serving on a variety of industry working groups).  

Ben's significant experience advising building societies and other mutuals includes acting on numerous strategic transactions, building society mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, governance and constitutional matters (including AGMs) and on a wide range of innovative developments in the sector, including advising: 

  • Nationwide on its mergers with Portman, Derbyshire and Cheshire building societies, as well as its partial acquisition of Dunfermline Building Society under the UK Banking Act 2009 and its subsequent social housing book acquisition from the Bank of England's wholly owned subsidiary DBS Bridge Bank Limited 
  • Nationwide on the establishment of Nationwide UK Ireland (and subsequent closure many years later) and on the closure of its branch in the Isle of Man
  • Yorkshire Building Society on its mergers with Barnsley and Norwich & Peterborough building societies
  • Skipton Building Society on its mergers with Scarborough and Chesham building societies
  • Holmesdale Building Society on its merger with Skipton Building Society
  • Portman Building Society on its merger with Lambeth Building Society
  • Britannia Building Society on its merger with Co-operative Financial Services; the first merger between two different types of mutual organisation under new enabling legislation
Testimonials

"keen to work alongside clients to ensure that work is delivered most efficiently"
Legal 500 – M&A

"'well-equipped to untangle the most complex regulatory issues' - particularly as they pertain to strategic and regulatory driven transactions within the building society and mutuals sectors"
Legal 500 – Financial Services

"singled-out for [his] particular experience of advising building societies and mutuals".
Legal 500 – Corporate Governance

"great experience in the building society sector"
Legal 500 – Corporate Governance

Publications

Governance Expectations of the board, Building Societies Association (2018)

Chapter on Director's Duties of Sweet & Maxwell's "A Practitioner's Guide to Directors' Duties and Responsibilities" (6th Edition) (2019)

Education
  • Admitted as a solicitor, England & Wales: 2001
  • The College of Law, London (now The University of Law) – Legal Practice Course (1998)
  • University of Sheffield - LLB (Hons) (First Class) (1994-1997)