Simpson Thacher hires four-partner Skadden financial services team in New York and DC

Group led by Skadden financial institutions co-head Sven Mickisch specialise in M&A and regulatory law

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has bolstered its financial institutions group in New York and Washington DC with the hire of a four-partner transactions and regulatory team from Skadden that also includes a counsel who is joining as a partner.

The team is led by Sven Mickisch, who was previously co-head of Skadden’s financial institutions group and fintech practice and will serve as managing partner of the financial institutions practice at Simpson Thacher. He will join the Wall Street firm in New York alongside Matt Nemeroff and Tim Gaffney, while Brian Christiansen and Bao Nguyen will move over in Washington DC. 

The team brings decades of experience in private practice and at the major financial service regulators and will be uniquely positioned to help clients through their most significant transactional, regulatory and enforcement matters in the financial services space, Simpson Thacher said.  

“The financial services sector continues to evolve, with financial institutions facing economic and competitive challenges, policy uncertainties and increased regulatory oversight, and we see more changes coming,” said Alden Millard, chair of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee.  

“The incoming team has advised on some of the most significant developments in the financial services sector since the global financial crisis, and our expanded practice will be invaluable to clients as they navigate the challenging financial services landscape.” 

Mickisch is joining Simpson Thacher after 18 years at Skadden, where he counselled clients including American Express, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Wells Fargo. He also represented Wall Street firm Bear Sterns when it was bought by JPMorgan Chase in 2008 for $1.4bn.  

Christiansen is likewise joining after nearly two decades at Skadden, where he worked with clients including Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Worldpay on regulatory, transactional, compliance and enforcement matters. 

Meantime Nguyen served as the deputy chief counsel of the OCC and senior counsel at the Federal Reserve Board before joining Skadden in 2021 and focuses his practice on regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters in banking, fintech, payments and digital assets. 

Finally Nemeroff and Gaffney, who was a counsel at Skadden, advise financial institutions, fintech companies and private equity sponsors on M&A, divestitures, investments and other corporate matters, including corporate governance and capital markets issues.

The team’s arrival will take Simpson Thacher’s financial institutions practice to nearly 20 partners, among them leading practitioners such as New York-based Lee Meyerson, widely touted as one of the top financial services M&A lawyers in America. 

The practice has worked on a number of the biggest financial services transactions in the US, including JPMorgan Chase’s $58bn merger with Bank One back in 2004. It also worked with the US Treasury to develop its $250bn TARP programme for investments in banks following the 2008 financial crisis.  

Simpson Thacher hired a partner from Skadden in London earlier this month, adding David Edwards to co-lead its European disputes team alongside Tyler Robinson. The firm also hired a trio of funds partners in London from Travers Smith over the course of the year as it positioned itself to exploit the increasingly lucrative secondaries deals market, and in the summer added partner Angus Lennox to its private equity bench from longtime client Blackstone. 

Going the other way, it lost leading finance partners Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea to Kirkland & Ellis in London last October, just a month after debt finance partner Adam Shapiro left after 16 years to join Kirkland in New York.

News of the hires comes hard on the heels of Capital One’s $35.3bn acquisition of rival Discover, which are being repped by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Sullivan & Cromwell respectively. The blockbuster deal will bring together two of the US’s largest credit card companies.

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