Global Restructuring Review - Cross-border restructuring and insolvency legal news, features and events

GRR 100 - 1st Edition

Schellenberg Wittmer

22 June 2017

The Swiss financial regulator’s law firm of choice for liquidations, it was recently hired to wind down insurance group Zenith Vie

Global heads of restructuring and insolvency Vincent Jeanneret
Partners in restructuring team 5
Restructuring lawyers in Who’s Who Legal 1

History of the practice

Restructuring has been a core practice at Schellenberg Wittmer since the firm was founded in 2000 through the merger of Schellenberg & Haissly in Zurich and Brunschwig Wittmer in Geneva. Today the firm has one of the pre-eminent insolvency teams in Switzerland with expertise in complex cross-border work.

The practice leader, Vincent Jeanneret, is a qualified insolvency administrator and has been involved in most of the major Swiss insolvency proceedings of the past 15 years. He is often the counsel of choice for the Swiss government and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Network

The firm is focused on French-speaking Switzerland, with the restructuring team split between Geneva and Zurich.

Who uses it?

As the firm includes registered administrators, it is often retained by the Swiss market regulator to liquidate struggling companies. It is also used by major corporates and overseas insolvency professionals to advise on matters of Swiss law in international restructurings.

Historic track record

The first FINMA case that Schellenberg Wittmer dealt with was related to the global insolvency of the Icelandic banking group Kaupthing, which saw parallel insolvency proceedings open in Switzerland and Luxembourg. The firm was appointed liquidator of the Swiss branch of Kaupthing Bank Luxembourg when it entered bankruptcy following preventive measures imposed by FINMA.

It was also called in by the government to act as administrator of private health insurance company Asssura, which had the legal status of a foundation.

Recent events

Schellenberg Wittmer continues to be retained by FINMA, including as liquidator of insurance group Zenith Vie, an entity that is ultimately owned by international group Swiss Life, and Supra Assurance.

The firm has also appeared in court for investment manager Hypotheka, in long-running litigation regarding alleged misrepresentation of investments and a related bankruptcy.

In February 2016, the Geneva restructuring team acquired partner Louis Burrus from the London office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.