Financial Services Lawyers
We are a specialist financial services law firm based in London. We share the depth and breadth of decades of experience working with the full range of financial services firms from the largest banks and asset managers to smaller fintechs, payments, and crypto firms.
As financial services is all we do, it is important that we do it very well. All work is undertaken by a senior specialist lawyer – ensuring excellence, efficiency and responsiveness.
Firms We Work With
We have experience of providing legal and regulatory services to a wide range of firms in the financial services sector.
Digital Financial Services
We are passionate about innovation in financial services and support many firms from household name trail blazers in payments, to smaller fintech start-ups.
Fund & Asset Management
We have extensive experience of advising on fund structuring and marketing; and compliance with AIF / CIS regimes. We act for a range of asset managers on regulatory compliance.
Banks & Building Societies
We work with many UK & overseas banks & building societies on treasury (incl. reg capital); transactional (incl. client and business transfers) and regulatory compliance matters.
We work with a diverse range of investment firms including equity / CFD brokers; wealth managers; IFAs; and commodity traders. We have a deep understanding of related regulation, in particular, MiFID2 and MIFIDPRU.
We have a range of experience in the insurance sector, including analysis as to whether arrangements constitute a contract of insurance; and product design and distribution arrangements.
Why Choose Our Law Firm?
As lawyers specialising solely in financial services, we provide:
We draw on over 80 years of combined experience working with a wide range of financial services firms. This experience means that we can share practical solutions that we have seen work before as well as develop new legal approaches.
As financial services is all we do, it is important that we do it very well. We closely follow regulatory developments, sit on industry working groups, and are involved in responding to the FCA and the PRA on key regulatory consultation papers.
We invest time to understand our clients' businesses, build lasting relationships and become trusted advisors.
It is also important to our clients that we are accessible – always available at the end of the phone - and that work is done by a specialist senior lawyer, not handed down to junior associates.
Unlike many law firms, we don’t just charge by the hour.
We provide you with a firm estimate of costs before work starts so there are no surprises.
Our clients tell us that we provide City law firm quality at the right price point.
Expert Financial Services Lawyers
Brian is recognised for providing practical advice to a wide range of financial services firms. He has over 20 years of experience, 12 years as a city law firm partner most recently as head of Financial Markets at Addleshaw Goddard.
Brian is recognised for providing practical advice to a wide range of financial services firms. He has over 20 years of experience, 12 years as a City law firm partner most recently as head of Financial Markets at Addleshaw Goddard. He is ranked by Chambers as a leading individual (Financial Services: Non-contentious Regulatory).
He has in-depth industry knowledge, and has spent time as regulatory counsel at the London Stock Exchange and on secondment to Bank of America Merrill Lynch as the lawyer responsible for supporting MiFID implementation.
Brian sits on the City of London Law Society Regulatory Law Committee; and the Lexis Financial Services Consulting Editorial Board. He is the UK legal advisor to the Association of International Life Offices and is the author of Thomson Reuter’s A Practitioner’s Guide to Inside Information (2nd edition).
David has over 20 years of experience providing legal services to financial services firms. He has in-depth industry knowledge having worked for a period in-house (at Citigroup and Legg Mason) with a particular focus on asset management.
David has over 20 years of experience providing legal services to financial services firms – 8 years as a partner at Addleshaw Goddard.
He has in-depth industry knowledge having worked for a period in-house (at Citigroup and Legg Mason) with a particular focus on asset management.
He is especially expert on regulatory capital, client money and derivative matters. David also has experience with documenting a wide range of financial services arrangements such as outsourcing; broker agreements; administration agreements; ISDAs and custody agreements.
Richard (unrelated to David Ellis) is an experienced financial services lawyer with a wide-ranging regulatory practice. Before McDonnell Ellis, he worked in the Financial Services Regulation & Funds practice of Charles Russell Speechlys having trained at Hogan Lovells.
Richard is an experienced financial services lawyer with a wide-ranging regulatory practice. Before McDonnell Ellis, he worked in the Financial Services Regulation & Funds practice of Charles Russell Speechlys having trained at Hogan Lovells.
He acts for exchanges, multilateral trading facilities, organised trading facilities, proprietary trading firms and investment managers. His FinTech experience is wide and deep including acting for payment services firms, crowdfunding platforms and cryptoasset businesses.
Richard has a particular interest in insurance. He has worked on secondment to the legal team of a leading insurance firm and in the claims team of a Lloyds of London insurer. His legal advice is informed by his practical experience of the insurance industry.
Paul is a financial services regulatory lawyer with over 20 years’ experience. He has a wealth of experience, combining a deep understanding and technical knowledge with a practical approach. He worked as a regulator at the Financial Services Authority and one of its predecessors, the Personal Investment Authority.
Simon is a highly experienced financial services regulatory and commercial lawyer specialising in the insurance sector, with over 25 years experience. He was previously General Counsel for a major insurance firm and before that a Chambers ranked City law firm partner. Simon is a business-focused lawyer with a proven track record of solving complex issues.
"He is very practical and gets to the solution very quickly.""
'He has very good technical knowledge across the full regulatory spectrum.'"
Sources say: 'He is very strong on the FCA rule book, and when issues arise he provides succinct and sensible answers.'"
Brian McDonnell ‘understands how the advice impacts business’"
"He consistently provides clear, robust commercial advice"
"Brian's analytical skills bring about the provision of practical advice with a commercial focus and an in-depth business understanding of the financial services sector."
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Financial Services Lawyers FAQS
Listed below are some common questions and answers about our firm.
If you cannot find an answer to your question, then book a free consultation today.
We specialise in legal and regulatory services to financial services businesses, including:
- Banks / Building societies
- Fund & Asset managers
- Wealth managers
- Investment firms
- Pension providers
- Crypto providers
We advise on the full range of regulatory and commercial legal matters affecting financial services businesses. For example, our work includes:
- how to interpret and apply FCA and PRA regulation;
- how to implement new law and regulation affecting financial services businesses;
- advising on new business models including crypto projects;
- advising payments / e-money firms;
- designing and drafting regulatory capital instruments;
- fund structuring and drafting fund documentation;
- drafting agreements for financial services businesses including: customer Ts&Cs; outsourcing agreements; investment management agreements; and AIFM agreements; and
- due diligence of financial services businesses.
We also provide wider regulatory services including FCA / PRA authorisation applications; crypto-exchange registrations; drafting compliance documents / manuals; and regulatory consulting.
Yes, we work with many businesses who seek advice on whether they require authorisation by the FCA or the PRA. We can often help firms identify exemptions from the need for authorisation or provide advice on how they can change their business model to avoid the need for authorisation. We also advise on whether arrangements may constitute a Collective Investment Scheme which would require an FCA authorised operator.
Yes, we can help you apply for FCA or PRA authorisation and/or to register your crypto-exchange with the FCA.
As the UK’s only specialist financial services regulatory law firm, we collaborate with many law firms which don’t have our specialist regulatory capability (or don’t have sufficient capability). We help such law firms provide legal services to their clients or support on the regulatory elements of corporate / funds transactions.
McDonnell Ellis LLP was established in May 2020 by two experienced financial services partners who left City law firm Addleshaw Goddard LLP. It now has four partners, all specialists in financial services law and regulation.
Unlike many law firms, we don’t just charge by the hour. We provide you with a firm estimate of costs before work starts so there are no surprises. Our clients tell us that we provide City law firm quality at the right price point.
We are based in London, United Kingdom – 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE.
No, but we have an international network of the some of the best financial services lawyers and regulatory specialists. Unlike international firms which are restricted to using their local office, we can choose to work with the best lawyer / specialist in a foreign jurisdiction.
Yes, we are registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You can view our registration profile here.