Morrison Foerster secures senior Bank of England adviser to bolster London fintech offering

Sam Riley’s arrival follows US firm adding four-strong team from Brown Rudnick in London last November to build contentious IP practice

Sam Riley Image courtesy of Morrison Foerster

Top 40 US law firm Morrison Foerster (MoFo) has hired a Bank of England senior adviser to boost its financial services and fintech offering in London. 

Sam Riley has joined the firm’s transactions team as a partner after six years at the Bank of England and brings a broad regulatory and transactional practice built around financial regulation, fintech, digital innovation, emerging technology and derivatives to her new firm.

“Sam will be a terrific asset for our clients,” said Paul Friedman, Morrison Foerster’s managing partner for Europe. “The combination of her legal experience with her role at the Bank of England, in which she interacted extensively with senior UK and global policymakers and regulators, will prove invaluable to our clients, in particular on their cross-border matters.” 

At the Bank of England Riley most recently advised Sir Jon Cunliffe in his role as chair of the Committee for Payments and Market Infrastructures and also worked on developing international policy regarding financial market infrastructure, as well as policy and regulatory development related to innovation in financial services, such as digital assets. 

She was also involved in international work on the G20 cross-border payments roadmap and worked on the the response to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Before joining the bank in 2017, Riley served as assistant general counsel at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, where she chaired industry working groups and developed regulatory implementation initiatives. 

Earlier she was in private practice for almost nine years at Allen & Overy, advising clients on banking, securitisation, derivatives, regulatory and structured finance mandates. 

“The regulatory landscape affecting the financial services sector writ-large, from cryptocurrency to cross-border payments, and derivatives to digital innovation, is constantly evolving,” Riley said. “I am excited to join Morrison Foerster’s London office and work closely with my new colleagues across multiple transactional and regulatory practices both in London and globally as we amplify the firm’s offering across financial services and fintech.” 

The bulk of MoFo’s 55 fintech lawyers are spread across the firm’s US offices, with five in London, including London managing partner Andrew Boyd, who focuses on M&A, corporate partner Vladimir Maly and Europe technology and commercial practice head Alistair Maughan. 

The fintech team is led from Washington DC by partners Jeff Silberman and Crystal Kaldjob and is known for handling regulatory investigations and securities class action responses on the blockchain side, according to Chambers and Partners.

It also advises on bank partnerships and compliance with state money transmission laws within the payments sphere and has expertise in financing and capital markets work. 

Standout work includes advising New York blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis on the government contracts aspects of its acquisition of Abaxx Associates. 

Another recent addition to MoFo’s London team was a four-strong IP team from Brown Rudnick led by partner Steven James that the firm hired last November to build a contentious IP practice, which it described at the time as a ‘strategic priority’. 

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