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COVID-19 represents one of the greatest ever shocks to our economies and, in consequence, to the business models of financial institutions and the way they do business. While many changes to business processes and operations were already taking place prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 has given many added impetus and urgency. Decision-makers must choose between adapting a wait-and-see approach or implementing more proactive strategies to safeguard and, if possible, grow their businesses.

In recent months many lawyers, consultants, academics and commentators have spoken and advised on the immediate impact of lockdown and business interruption, and a great deal of time has been spent by several organizations telling businesses what they already know about current circumstances. Not enough time or thought has been committed to other compelling questions.

Finding Balance: The Post-COVID Landscape for Financial Institutions seeks to map the post-pandemic environment that financial institutions need to navigate as we move to the new normal. We look at how different industry sectors are experiencing profoundly distinct impacts on their balance sheets and markets, with very different timescales and pinch points. We also consider how the global economy will be impacted directly and indirectly in the years ahead. Drawing on analysis and resources from beyond the legal sector — media commentary, economic analysis, consultancy, political insight — and reflecting our clients’ own views on what’s happening to their businesses in various jurisdictions and areas of business, Baker McKenzie’s legal experts consider the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for financial institutions.

Over the coming weeks, in this series of briefings, our experts will discuss their expectations for each of four industry subsectors: (1) banking, (2) insurance, (3) financial sponsors: asset management, private equity and sovereign wealth funds and (4) financial market infrastructure. We also take a look at five of the industry’s most compelling trends — (1) rising global indebtedness, (2) shadow banking, (3) increasing regulatory scrutiny, (4) impact of new technology and (5) sustainable financial institutions — and analyze how COVID-19 is impacting them.

Read our introductory briefing setting out the scene.



Setting the Scene

Financial institutions must now navigate not only an economy in recession, but one where COVID-19 is disrupting business models and accelerating existing trends such as digitalization and the importance of environmental, social and governance factors.

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Read our introductory publication and listen to the accompanying podcast featuring Jonathan Peddie, Global Chair of the Financial Institutions Industry Group, being interviewed by Ying Yi Liew, a local partner and an expert in our financial services practice from the Singapore office. They talk about our findings and address some tough questions businesses need to ask and consider in planning their renewal strategies.



Jiro Toyokawa is a member of the firm's Corporate/M&A Group in Tokyo and he has 20 years of experience in legal practice. He has been listed as a leading individual in Japan for Corporate/M&A in Chambers Asia-Pacific for a decade (2010-2019). Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, he was a partner at Linklaters.


Sue McLean is a partner in the IT/Commercial Practice Group in Baker McKenzie's London office. Sue advises clients on technology, sourcing and digital media business models and deals, as well as the legal issues relating to the implementation of new technologies. Sue has been included in the Women In FinTech Power List for three successive years. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital Banking and is a member of the techUK working group on DLT/blockchain. Sue is an active member of Baker Women and leads Baker Women in Tech, an initiative to encourage the development and promotion of women in the tech sector. In 2017, Sue won the Rising Star Award at the Variety Catherine Awards.


Christoph Kurth heads the Compliance & Investigations practice of the Zurich office. Before joining the Firm, Christoph was global head of Litigation & Investigations and general counsel in Asia for a world-leading Swiss bank. For over 10 years, he has led high stakes litigation as well as complex regulatory and criminal investigations across the US, Europe and Asia, and has advised on transformational regulatory developments and wealth management products and services across Switzerland and Asia. In his roles, Christoph has worked closely with business leaders, government authorities and the media, navigating businesses through regulatory and other challenges. Prior to this, Christoph was a litigator in leading practices in Switzerland and the US.


Juan Carlos de los Heros focuses mainly in the areas of banking and finance, and infrastructure. He has been listed in International Who's Who of Professionals, Chambers & Partners Latin America and Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in project finance. Prior to joining the Firm, Juan Carlos was an international lawyer in the global project finance group of an American law firm.


Michael Fieweger represents private equity and venture capital funds, institutions, family offices and hedge funds and strategic acquirers in their formation and global acquisition and investment activities. Michael has a background in corporate finance, having previously served as a commercial lending officer with a division of JP Morgan Chase in Chicago. He is the chairman of the Firm's Global Private Equity Practice Group.


Amy serves as the Co-chair of Baker McKenzie’s North American Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice, which provides our clients with a full range of regulatory advice and enforcement counseling. Previously, Amy has served as chief litigation counsel at the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Philadelphia regional office and managed a team of lawyers overseeing a wide variety of enforcement matters and investigations.