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Latin-America Guide

Banking & Finance — Panama


Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Outstanding firm continuing to garner recognition for its leading position in the banking and finance sphere. Noted for its strong lender-side practice, routinely advising an array of major multinational investment banks, as well as private banking groups. Adept at handling both local and cross-border project and corporate finance, including syndicated loans and debt restructuring. Offers additional capabilities counselling on regulatory banking matters.

Strengths Clients commend the firm's specialised expertise, enthusing: "They are involved in unique deals that touch on non-standard areas of Panamanian law. We think they are very good and would definitely retain them again in future."

Work highlight Advised Merrill Lynch Commodities on a financing and commodities framework agreement with Kamca Trading, which was guaranteed by a hydrocarbons mortgage, naval mortgages and pledges on shares. The matter was valued at USD8 million.

Notable practitioners

Founder Carlos Cordero is a respected figure among peers, who deem him a well-known name in the banking and finance arena. He is recognised for his capabilities advising clients on banking and project finance matters.

Interviewees are full of praise for "excellent" head of department Arturo Gerbaud de la Guardia, deeming him "one of the best in Panama in this area." A client values his "very good service," noting that "his knowledge of different areas is really good and he has great availability." He frequently represents top financial institutions in high-value corporate and project finance matters.

Associate Rita de la Guardia enters the ranking after receiving strong endorsements from clients. They say: "She is very hard-working and efficient, and has a bright future ahead of her." Others regard her as "dynamic and detail-oriented."

About the Team (content provided by Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee)

Alcogal advises many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated financial institutions on a full-range of banking, securities and related regulatory matters in the Republic of Panama. Alcogal is an acknowledged industry leader in in the banking and finance sectors, and has been involved in Panama’s largest and most complex financial transactions.

We represent many of the local and global leading financial institutions in both international and domestic bank financing, as well as in other forms of acquisition and project financings, including but not limited to public tender offers, asset purchase financing, and mezzanine financings. Our lawyers advise our clients in regards to their ongoing regulatory and disclosure obligations with all the relevant local and foreign authorities, and ensure they are up to date concerning all legislative developments. In addition, we regularly represent financial institutions and/or intermediaries in the process of obtaining government-issued licenses to operate in Panama, in accordance with all banking and securities laws.

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Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 1

第一等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Market-leading practice boasting particular prowess in handling cross-border transactions for prominent financial institutions. Fields a specialised team possessing strong expertise in handling syndicated lending, including as part of structured finance operations. Frequently counsels clients on the financing of infrastructure development, such as power generation, transmission and distribution assets. Provides additional involvement in asset finance mandates, including those involving the aviation industry.

Strengths Sources praise the firm's high standards, reporting: "They are excellent lawyers; they're responsive, their work product is of a high quality and they can take the lead and handle matters on a timely basis. We enjoy working with them and would always go back to them."

Notable practitioners

Leading name Estif Aparicio receives effusive praise from interviewees, who declare: "He's absolutely excellent; he has all the technical knowledge we need. He has tremendous capabilities and he's very hard-working. There's no doubt that he is someone at the highest level in Panama." He is involved in advising banks on syndicated lending, as well as structured finance deals.

Well-known partner Ricardo Arango is held in high esteem by market sources. They enthuse: "He knows a lot about complex transactions including capital markets, banking and finance and M&A deals. He's one of the most knowledgeable people for this sort of work." Another commentator further calls him "a point of reference." He offers vast expertise in banking and finance mandates, including syndicated loans and structured finance deals.

About the Team (content provided by Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega)

Representing foreign financial institutions making cross-border loans to borrowers in Panama

With continuous years of healthy economic growth and an extremely well regulated banking centre, Panama has become a real regional player in Central America, the Caribbean and perhaps the northern of South America, and a great place for Latin American banks to set up their regional headquarters, producing a lot of work in the areas in which we have significant expertise and market share like bank financing, both in the public and private sectors.

ARIFA lawyers frequently participate in government and industry committees set up to draft or revise banking laws and regulations or attend to issues pertaining to the industry.

We have represented diverse international Banks that have entered into credit facilities with Panamanian banks.

Recent work highlights:

  • Initial purchasers JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, in Banistmo’s US$500 million debut international bond offering.
  • Brazilian Banco Safra S.A., acting through its Cayman Islands Branch, in Banco Aliado S.A. US$37.5 million 4.50% Senior Notes offering and US$ 25 million 4.30% Senior Notes offering.
  • Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. (BLADEX) in a US$193 million four-year syndicated loan.
  • Global Bank Corporation, as borrower, in a US$163 million syndicated credit facility, with Citigroup Global Markets Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Mizuho Bank, Ltd. acting as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners.

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Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 2

第二等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Esteemed practice regularly acting as counsel to both borrowers and lenders. Provides both regulatory and transactional advice, with a noted emphasis on high-value multilateral lending cases, including on-lending deals, secured and unsecured loans, and project financing. Client roster features an array of well-known local and multinational financial institutions.

Strengths Clients praise the firm's performance and approach, noting: "We've developed a good relationship with them and they understand our business and our needs as a client. They have a comprehensive range of advisory services regarding business development. They adapt to any type of work, maintaining a high level of quality but without unnecessarily complicating things."

Work highlight Advised Inter-American Investment Corporation on matters relating to a secured loan for on-lending to agricultural projects in Latin America. The matter was valued at USD45 million.

Notable practitioners

Partner Roberto Harrington Arango earns plaudits from impressed clients and peers in the sphere, with one asserting: "He is eminently reasonable and working with him is really easy." Others go on to describe him as "an effective transactional lawyer" and "supremely committed."

Head of department Alfredo Ramírez Jr is admired by clients for his ''extensive experience and knowledge." Another goes on to characterise him as "very reliable, hard-working and knowledgeable." He remains active counselling domestic and international clients on a variety of transactional mandates.

About the Team (content provided by Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez )

Department profile not yet provided by Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez . Please see their firm profile.

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Galindo, Arias & López - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 2

第二等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Reputed firm offering broad coverage of this sector. Has a solid track record advising on debt restructuring and refinancing, as well as project and asset finance. Also frequently advises on regulatory banking and compliance mandates. Clientele spans local and international banks, as well as corporations from the agriculture, real estate and aviation spaces.

Strengths The team elicits praise from clients, who say: "They are extremely responsive and highly proactive in giving advice; they understand the transaction and what the parties need. It's a joy working with them."

Work highlight Counselled Copa Holdings and its subsidiaries on the financing, leasing and registration of four Boeing aircraft for USD240 million.

Notable practitioners

"Important" partner Diego Herrera Dutari is an admired practitioner in the finance arena, recognised by peers for his long-standing involvement and impressive expertise. He often advises top banks and corporations on syndicated loans and project finance matters. He is also highly regarded in the corporate space.

Roberto De Araujo López receives praise from clients, who observe: "He is a diligent professional, with great experience and a good reputation." He is frequently called upon to advise prominent financial clients on regulatory compliance matters.

Partner Cristina Lewis elicits glowing praise from clients, who explain: "She is very able and has an enormous capacity for hard work." Sources additionally describe her as "a lawyer that provides a quick and efficient service."

About the Team (content provided by Galindo, Arias & López)

Galindo, Arias & López is a top choice for clients with banking & finance needs in Panama.

Our banking & finance practice group, renown for being a hands-on and accessible team, focuses primarily on advising and taking the lead on:

  • Development and implementation of complex syndicated loans, credit facilities, and credit risk enhancements tools.
  • Financing in mergers and acquisitions
  • General project and assets finance
  • Development and execution of guarantees
  • Debts restructuring
  • Formation, licensing and operation of financial institutions of all types
  • Regulatory compliance and supervisory matters
  • Due diligence in financial transactions
  • Financial restructuring and insolvencies
  • Structured, leverage and assets finance transactions
  • Negotiation and drafting of all types of banking contracts

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Morgan & Morgan - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 2

第二等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Respected practice fielding a team of experienced practitioners to advise on trusts, financial leasing operations and syndicated lending for the financing of infrastructure projects. Offers additional expertise in regulatory banking matters. Extensive client list composed of top local and multinational financial institutions. Multibank is among the firm's new client wins this year.

Strengths A client enthuses: "Judging by the results that the firm achieves, I can say that their advice is effective and arrives in a timely manner. I would highlight their availability and technical competence."

Work highlight Advised MB Créditos with obtaining an approximately USD17 million loan from a syndicate of local banks.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Inocencio Galindo continues to gain recognition from peers for his strong grasp of financial and banking matters. Market commentators say that "he has a good reputation" and laud him as "an excellent lawyer" and "supremely competent." He is highly sought after by significant clients for regulatory and project finance advice.

Key partner Francisco Arias is deemed "a key name" in this area, offering a wealth of experience and ample sector-specific expertise. He is also a well-regarded figure in M&A, capital markets and energy matters.

Department co-head Ramón Varela receives accolades from clients and peers alike, one of whom highlights that "he has a lot of experience in regulatory issues and a very good grasp of the subject matter."

About the Team (content provided by Morgan & Morgan)

Our Banking and Finance team is very experienced and has been involved in numerous financing transactions in the market acting for both creditors and debtors. Our practice focuses mainly on drafting loan (and debt issues), security documentation associated with complex financing transactions, setting up leasing and factoring facilities and handling of all legal aspects related to banking acquisitions and mergers (including tender offers for publicly traded banks).

Our experience includes not only transaction involving private parties, but also public entities, as we have participated in some of the largest public infrastructure finance transactions, including representing a syndicate of multilateral institutions in connection with the financing of the expansion of the Panama Canal.

On banking operations matters, we have provided assistance to many banks and financial institutions with their needs in the process of obtaining licenses (banking and fiduciary) and ongoing regulatory assistance related to their operations in the country.

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FABREGA MOLINO - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Noteworthy firm within the banking and finance sphere acting for a client roster featuring prominent arrangers, agents, lenders and borrowers on syndicated lending. Additional areas of strength include the structure and registration of investment funds.

Strengths The team's expertise is praised by clients, who report: "They are very good lawyers; they review legal documents thoroughly and give us their opinion and suggestions. They have an excellent reputation for international transactions and they have great expertise."

Notable practitioners

Skilled partner Juan Pablo Fabrega is a respected figure among peers in the financial arena, who emphasise that "he is a very skilled lawyer." He combines his financial expertise with robust capabilities in corporate restructuring and acquisitions.

About the Team (content provided by FABREGA MOLINO)

The Firm clients include some of the largest local and international Banks operating in the Republic of Panama, Trust Companies and other financial institutions.

FABREGA MOLINO has a vast experience advising banking clients in connection with a wide range of financial transactions and representing their interest as agents, arrangers and lenders, as well as corporate borrowers. 

Our practice covers a wide range of services to satisfy our client’s needs in the process of establishing and developing a banking operation in Panama.

Our services includes the application before the Superintendency of Banks of Panama for the different types of banking licenses, trust companies licenses and any regulatory assistance related to banking and trust company’s operations.

FABREGA MOLINO keeps up to date with the new banking and finance sector regulations to advise clients on the contents and applicability of such rules, and so as to ensure that with their assistance and legal opinions they are protecting their clients rights.

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Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán - Banking & Finance Department

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Band 3

第三等

Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Solid banking and finance department particularly known for its command of regulatory issues. Client roster encompasses financial institutions, public entities and insurance companies. Also retained to advise on matters concerning trusts.

Strengths Sources say that "this is an important firm" and highlight the team's extensive involvement in advising government bodies.

Notable practitioners

Market sources attest to partner Gabriel González-Ruiz's abilities, describing him as "a good lawyer." They also highlight his track record acting for public entities.

About the Team (content provided by Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán)

In its 97 years of existence, ICAZA, GONZALEZ-RUIZ & ALEMAN has accumulated an invaluable experience that directly benefits its international and local clients. We have a team of lawyers with a renowned prestige within the banking field, which are able to attend our clients in all aspects of this complex business.

Among our clients we have local and international commercial and investment banks, multilateral organizations, government agencies, investment houses, accountant firms, insurance companies, fund managers, corporations and trusts.

Since the year 1970, the banking activity has been developing in Panama, as one of the fundamental pillars of its service economy, thanks to various factors among which we may mention: 100 years of a dollarized economy, the free flow of capitals, the great connectivity on the subject of communications and accessibility that the country has, the compliance with the highest international regulatory standards, and the economic and political stability that has been strengthened in the last 25 years.

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Senior Statesperson

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Founder Carlos Cordero is a respected figure among peers, who deem him a well-known name in the banking and finance arena.He is recognised for his capabilities advising clients on banking and project finance matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Leading name Estif Aparicio receives effusive praise from interviewees, who declare: "He's absolutely excellent; he has all the technical knowledge we need. He has tremendous capabilities and he's very hard-working. There's no doubt that he is someone at the highest level in Panama." He is involved in advising banks on syndicated lending, as well as structured finance deals.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Well-known partner Ricardo Arango is held in high esteem by market sources. They enthuse: "He knows a lot about complex transactions including capital markets, banking and finance and M&A deals. He's one of the most knowledgeable people for this sort of work." Another commentator further calls him "a point of reference." He offers vast expertise in banking and finance mandates, including syndicated loans and structured finance deals.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Inocencio Galindo

Morgan & Morgan

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Head of department Inocencio Galindo continues to gain recognition from peers for his strong grasp of financial and banking matters. Market commentators say that "he has a good reputation" and laud him as "an excellent lawyer" and "supremely competent." He is highly sought after by significant clients for regulatory and project finance advice.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Arturo Gerbaud de la Guardia

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Interviewees are full of praise for "excellent" head of department Arturo Gerbaud de la Guardia, deeming him "one of the best in Panama in this area." A client values his "very good service," noting that "his knowledge of different areas is really good and he has great availability." He frequently represents top financial institutions in high-value corporate and project finance matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Cecilio Castillero Jr

SIGMA

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Cecilio Castillero Jr of SIGMA receives strong praise from peers within the banking and finance space, who endorse his "high-level financial and business acumen" and note that "he does really important transactions and advises high-profile banks and companies."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Diego Herrera Dutari

Galindo, Arias & López

From the Chambers Latin America guide

"Important" partner Diego Herrera Dutari is an admired practitioner in the finance arena, recognised by peers for his long-standing involvement and impressive expertise. He often advises top banks and corporations on syndicated loans and project finance matters. He is also highly regarded in the corporate space.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Morgan & Morgan

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Key partner Francisco Arias is deemed "a key name" in this area, offering a wealth of experience and ample sector-specific expertise. He is also a well-regarded figure in M&A, capital markets and energy matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Juan Pablo Fabrega

FABREGA MOLINO

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Skilled partner Juan Pablo Fabrega is a respected figure among peers in the financial arena, who emphasise that "he is a very skilled lawyer." He combines his financial expertise with robust capabilities in corporate restructuring and acquisitions.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Gabriel González-Ruiz

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Market sources attest to partner Gabriel González-Ruiz's abilities, describing him as "a good lawyer." They also highlight his track record acting for public entities.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Roberto Harrington Arango

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Partner Roberto Harrington Arango earns plaudits from impressed clients and peers in the sphere, with one asserting: "He is eminently reasonable and working with him is really easy." Others go on to describe him as "an effective transactional lawyer" and "supremely committed."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Alfredo Ramírez Jr

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Head of department Alfredo Ramírez Jr is admired by clients for his ''extensive experience and knowledge." Another goes on to characterise him as "very reliable, hard-working and knowledgeable." He remains active counselling domestic and international clients on a variety of transactional mandates.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Eloy Alfaro de Alba

Tapia, Linares y Alfaro

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Eloy Alfaro de Alba of Tapia, Linares y Alfaro is recognised by peers for his significant banking practice, with sources emphasising his "notable clientele." He offers substantial expertise in corporate finance matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Roberto De Araujo López

Galindo, Arias & López

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Roberto De Araujo López receives praise from clients, who observe: "He is a diligent professional, with great experience and a good reputation." He is frequently called upon to advise prominent financial clients on regulatory compliance matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Galindo, Arias & López

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Partner Cristina Lewis elicits glowing praise from clients, who explain: "She is very able and has an enormous capacity for hard work." Sources additionally describe her as "a lawyer that provides a quick and efficient service."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Ana Lucrecia Tovar

Dentons Muñoz

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Market commentators have a high opinion of Ana Lucrecia Tovar of Dentons Muñoz, considering her an "excellent" and "able lawyer." She possesses solid capabilities in structured finance and regulatory issues.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Morgan & Morgan

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Department co-head Ramón Varela receives accolades from clients and peers alike, one of whom highlights that "he has a lot of experience in regulatory issues and a very good grasp of the subject matter."

^ See whole ranking table

Associates to watch

Rita de la Guardia

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

From the Chambers Latin America guide

Associate Rita de la Guardia enters the ranking after receiving strong endorsements from clients. They say: "She is very hard-working and efficient, and has a bright future ahead of her." Others regard her as "dynamic and detail-oriented."

^ See whole ranking table