Misson accomplished: The discontinuance of LIBOR | Fieldfisher
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Press Release

Misson accomplished: The discontinuance of LIBOR



United Kingdom

Fieldfisher has successfully completed the restructuring of over 40 securitisations with a total aggregate value of approximately £20 billion.

Following the discontinuance of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in December 2021, Fieldfisher was appointed to advise on the transition arrangements for multiple structured finance transactions from the LIBOR benchmark to a suitable alternative risk free rate.  Fieldfisher completed all the restructurings by the deadline of 31 March 2024, when the final tenure of synthetic LIBOR was discontinued.

Alex Campbell, Partner, who has recently been appointed as Vice President of The Association of Corporate Trustees, said " The financial services industry has undergone huge upheaval in recent years. Unprecedented market conditions, waves of new financial regulation, and technological advancements continually change the shape of the industry. The discontinuance of LIBOR was a landmark milestone and heralded a series of transformative changes that impacted financial institutions. The markets were in need of counsel and sought expert advice to navigate the many challenges that it threw up. Fieldfisher's Structured Finance team collaborated effectively with its bond issuer, loan servicing, derivatives and regulatory specialists to provide clients with a one-stop shop service for all aspects of their LIBOR transition work.  Fieldfisher Capital and Condor Alternative Legal Services also provided invaluable support on the project.  We are delighted that all the restructurings were completed within the required deadlines."   

The loan servicing team, led by Partner Marsili Hale, advised various legal title holders, servicers and lenders on the transition arrangements for their regulated mortgage contract loan portfolios.   The loans were transitioned from LIBOR to the Sterling Overnight Average (SONIA) rate, in light of the FCA's requirements and deadlines.  The loans Marsili advised on were generally held in securitisation structures. 

The issuer team, led by Alex Campbell, advised the bond issuers on the restructuring of those securitisations to SONIA or the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) benchmark, enabling Fieldfisher to offer a complete solution for LIBOR transition work.  The restructuring work involved amending the terms of the bond instruments, the liquidity facilities and the account bank arrangements.  The derivatives team, led by Partner Edward Miller, advised on the updating of the related hedging arrangements.

As well as providing legal expertise, Fieldfisher collaborated with the financial adviser business, Fieldfisher Capital, led by Haseeb Haque and Ashwani Roy, to provide analysis to clients on the impact of benchmark transitions on transaction cash flows.

The securitisations were generally "tough legacy transactions" originated in the 1990s and 2000s and particularly complex to restructure, as the legal documents did not contain features that are commonplace in more modern structures.  Due to the material amendments being undertaken, each restructuring required the consent of bondholders at bondholder meetings. The firm utilised a team of over 20 people from Fieldfisher and Condor Alternative Legal Services (Fieldfisher's legal consultancy business) to draft over a thousand documents to implement the restructurings and hold over 450 separate bondholder meetings.