GRR 100 2017

Schellenberg Wittmer

Schellenberg Wittmer

Professional notice

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 insolvencyVincent Jeanneret
Partners in restructuring team5
Restructuring lawyers in Who’s Who Legal1

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).


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.

Schellenberg Wittmer is one of the leading business law firms in Switzerland. Over 140 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva and Singapore advise domestic and international clients on all aspects of business law. The firm's areas of expertise include: banking and finance, competition and antitrust, construction, dispute resolution and international arbitration, intellectual property/information technology, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, private clients and estates, real estate, restructuring and insolvency, taxation, white-collar crime and compliance.

Schellenberg Wittmer’s Restructuring and Insolvency Group features specialists highly practiced at providing the highest level of representation and advice in all national and cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters. We have the know-how and experience in taking on the most complex insolvency matters, including those with an international dimension, such as the enforcement of foreign insolvency proceedings in Switzerland.

Our Restructuring and Insolvency Group offers advice and assistance to our clients inter alia in the following areas:

  • Debt enforcement, bankruptcy and insolvency law;
  • Corporate restructuring and turnaround;
  • Acquisition of a distressed business;
  • Representation of creditors during moratorium, composition and bankruptcy proceedings, including preparation, filing and enforcement of creditor’s claims;
  • Monitoring and administration of a company under moratorium or in composition proceedings;
  • Monitoring, administration and liquidation of insolvent banks and securities dealers;
  • Freezing orders and other provisional measures, and enforcement of such foreign decisions;
  • Recognition of foreign insolvency decrees and representation of foreign bankruptcy trustees and receivers in Switzerland; enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards;
  • Realization of pledged and seized assets;
  • Special administration of the estate of a bankrupt company;
  • Debt collection.

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