About Me

As the partner heading our German Finance & Financial Regulation team in Frankfurt, I advise our clients on national and international financial and capital markets law, as well as on banking, payment services, insurance regulation and corporate law. I'm also a member of our international Financial Services Sector Steering Group.

I have a long-standing track record of advising on the implementation and restructuring of transactions, both in Germany and internationally. Over the years, I have corresponded and liaised with lawyers on finance transactions and restructurings in over 50 jurisdictions worldwide. Today I work with our clients across sectors as diverse as financial services, payment services, ecommerce, fintech, insurtech, regtech, energy and utilities, telecommunications and media.

Providing advice to international investors and banks on their European investments and credit exposure, my areas of expertise range from distressed investments through leverage buyout and project finance to loan trading. I also advise on the management of loan portfolios, other securitised assets and investments in companies and capital market transactions. I have particular expertise in LMA-based and other structured loans, as well as German securities law and public takeover law.

I also offer our clients, from established businesses to start-ups, in-depth know-how in all fields of banking regulatory law and its interdependence with digitisation, including new and disruptive technologies such as blockchain and distributed ledgers. I provide support, from the lobbying process around new legislation to the comprehensive application of regulatory law through corporate finance, to all sorts of fintech, insurtech, regtech and related business models, enabling practical solutions for our clients.

In recent years, we have advised Mastercard on payments regulation and anti-money laundering laws in Germany and Europe. In a separate landmark case, I advised Germany's bank bailout fund on the development of interim and final stabilisation measures for WestLB AG in accordance with the Financial Market Stabilisation Act, including the formation of the first German 'bad bank'. This highly complex case led to the establishment of new standards in German banking regulation.

I speak regularly at conferences and provide expert opinions, as well as interviews for the mainstream and specialist press regarding the future of banking and the financial services industry.

I am an Executive Board Member of the International RegTech Association (IRTA) and an Advisory Board member for the European Fintech Risk Management Project under the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Programme.
Experience
  • A German FinTech: Advising on the launch of a new joint EU banking product with Number26, combining a bank account with a mobile app solution and a debit card, as well as adding the option of overdrafts for customers to the N26 account's range of services; the product set new standards in terms of bringing together electronic payments, mobility and security. Continued to advise on the delivery of a co-branded card product, including the licensing of a mobile payment app, credit card issuance, credit card payment processing, and loyalty program processing.
  • Mastercard Europe Sprl: Continuous advice on a variety of matters regarding finance law and relevant regulation including, but not limited to PSD2, Interchange Fee Regulation, Customer Authentication, competition law etc.
  • Hamburg Commercial Bank: Customer-dependant project financing of fibre-optic network infrastructure and corporate restructuring in the German state of Brandenburg.
  • Cerberus Capital Management: Advising on the bidding and acquisition of a loan portfolio of HSH Nordbank and an associated debtor structure of Kaiserwetter (loan-to-own transaction).
  • LCM Partners: Advising a leading European alternative investment management firm regarding the acquisition in Germany of multiple non-performing loan portfolios from major European banks.
  • Lone Star/Hudson Advisors: Legal monitoring of several billion-Euro transactions in the field of LMA-based distressed loan trading, CMBS bonds and CLNs, as well as accompanying tax-optimised structuring of funds. Legal advice on the management of distressed assets.
  • Deutsche Beteiligungs AG/vitronet Projekte GmbH: Advising German fibre optics champion vitronet regarding demand-oriented fibre-optic network financing project including management buyout.
  • Vitruvian Partners: Advising Vitruvian Partners on its partnership with German-Swiss doctari-group. This included acquisition of shares, the composition of the holding structure, as well as the financing of the purchasing price. The firm also advised on the merger control clearance by the German Federal Antitrust Office (Bundeskartellamt).
  • Investkredit Bank AG: Development of German leveraged buyout portfolio through the extension of numerous syndicated loans to private equity investors. Financing in the mid-cap sector, LBO and lease financing, as well as secured and unsecured lines of credit for acquisitions, in the form of both senior and mezzanine loans.
  • Mood Media (Canada): USD 140 million senior and second lien acquisition financing of Mood Media and subsidiaries and subsequent corporate restructuring.
  • Lone Star: Advising on the acquisition of Bankgesellschaft Berlin and IKB, particularly with regard to questions relating to corporate and capital market law, and government guarantees.
Education

Studied

  • Legal studies at the University of Potsdam
  • Doctoral thesis on good and valuable consideration according to section 31 paragraph 1 of the German Securities Acquisition and Takeover Act (Wertpapierübernahmegesetz – WpÜG) in light of constitutional law (Die angemessene Gegenleistung nach § 31 Abs. 1 WpÜG im Lichte des Verfassungsrechts) summa cum laude at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
  • Legal clerkship in Berlin and Vancouver.

Admissions

  • Admitted to the German Bar in 2002
Testimonials Carousel Megaphone

Testimonials

'Michael's ability to manage a complex, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary transaction from acquisition, to restructuring and refinancing, while consistently providing commercial advice and representing his client with the utmost integrity is absolutely world class'.

Aaron Maczonis, Cerberus Capital's Senior Vice President

'Michael brings a depth of knowledge and breadth of expertise in financial regulation to the table that is unrivalled in Germany. He combines real understanding of the legal framework with a willingness and ability to assess unconventional ideas to draw correct conclusions. To us as a Fintech enterprise this mind set is invaluable. He masters to give the client summaries of the most complex legal matters in a way that allows for a comprehensive overview and fact-based decisions at any time. Michael is my first choice for everything Fintech in a regulated environment.'

Axel Apfelbacher, niiio finance group's Chief Strategy Officer

'Michael does not shy away from asking the 'what if' or 'why not' questions thereby coming up with creative and practical solutions for complex problems'.

Christoph Baert, Mastercard's Europe Region Senior Regulatory Counsel

Latest insights

More Insights

Upcoming events

More Events

News & Deals

More News & Deals

What's on TwoBirds TV?

More Videos