Corporate, Commercial & Finance


We are an exceptional Corporate, Commercial and Finance team, ranked across the legal directories. Our clients value us for the clarity of our advice, our technical expertise and our strategic guidance.

We represent a wide range of clients, including start-ups,  serial entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, retail and manufacturing businesses, media and tech companies and international private equity houses. We advise on all aspects of our clients’ businesses, including corporate, commercial, franchising and licencing arrangements, finance and banking documentation.

What We Do

  • Corporate

    Our exceptional team of specialist partners and associates provides specialist corporate advice to a wide range of clients, including companies, professional partnerships, directors, founders, investors and lenders who are active in the UK and internationally.

    We work with start-ups and established international businesses, covering all their corporate requirements, from sales and acquisitions to structuring their equity, corporate governance to advising on directors’ duties and the terms of joint ventures.

    We are ranked in the Legal 500 for Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions under £50m.

  • Commercial Agreements

    We advise on all forms of commercial contracts, from traditional contracts for services to tech, retail and outsourcing agreements to commissioning, broadcast and distribution agreements for film and TV and publishing.

    We receive instructions from a broad range of corporate clients requiring standard terms and conditions for their websites, as well as reviewing licensing and supplier agreements and negotiating franchising, procurement and endorsement agreements on their behalf.

    We also provide guidance on limitation of liability, data protection, and termination provisions where our clients may be concerned about their obligations or exposure under their existing commercial agreements.

  • Finance

    We advise on all aspects of corporate finance, traditional secured asset finance and specialist media and film finance with expertise in securing intellectual property rights.

    Our team regularly advises lenders on secured property lending, complex asset-backed structured lending arrangements, including Sharia finance, and also assists borrowers in negotiating terms with mezzanine and senior lenders.

    Our clients include banks, property developers, private equity houses, growing businesses, secured lenders, high net worth individuals, media companies and international investors.

  • Funds and Private Wealth

    We provide a unique combination of expertise in the structuring, setup, regulation and governance of private wealth funds, family offices and financial services businesses.  Our clients value us for our holistic approach to wealth protection, preservation and strategic philanthropy, which combines with in-depth knowledge of financial regulation and a network of advisers overseas.

    We advise and support an international client base of family offices, trustees, private capital investors, private wealth managers and entrepreneurs (particularly private equity, hedge fund principals, forex, fintech and regtech businesses) and other city professionals.

    What We Do

    Corporate structuring, set up, joint ventures, M&A

    We are experts in structuring and setting up new funds and businesses within the financial services sector, ensuring that all compliance requirements are fulfilled while meeting founder objectives.

    This includes strategic planning of company structures, obtaining relevant authorisations, drafting key corporate documents such as shareholder, joint venture or limited liability partnership agreements, and working with professionals offshore where required.

    We have extensive experience in the establishment, acquisition of, investment in,  joint ventures and sale of fund and financial businesses, and have advised and completed transactions for fund managers and private offices in the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Bermuda, BVI , Jersey, Guernsey , Isle of Man,  and the United States.

    Compliance and governance

    We advise on the authorisation or de-authorisation of funds and financial services businesses, as well as drafting rules for the conduct of business and advising on all governance issues, such as investment and risk committee procedures and processes, financial promotion and marketing rules and obligations.

    We support clients in their compliance with all relevant financial regulations, including the application and interpretation of English law under EU directives such as:

    • the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID II)
    • Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MIFIR)
    • the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD)
    • the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS)
    • European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)
    • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation
    • The senior managers certification regime (SMCR)
    Outsourcing, Commercial trading and agreements

    We advise find family offices and financial services businesses on their terms of business, discretionary investment management agreements, custody agreements, distribution agreements, carry and incentive arrangements, intellectual property and all other commercial arrangements. We have a great deal of experience regarding  commercial , distribution and outsourcing agreements.

    We also support our clients to ensure compliance with laws relating to transparency, know your client, privacy, and data protection (GDPR), and the implications of the Bribery Act, money laundering.

    We advise firms on  the establishment and review of financial regulatory environmental, social and governance policies, disclosures and compliance.

    Families, philanthropy and employees

    Wealth brings particular challenges in regard to families and employees (which may often be the same people) in the shape of regulatory obligations combined with ever-shifting family dynamics.

    We work with our private client colleagues to ensure that clients protect and gift  their wealth and investments through appropriate use of trusts and estate planning, family offices and philanthropy. We also advise on prenuptial agreements, separation or divorce.

    In regard to employees, we support clients with employment and immigration law, pensions and employee benefits, share and incentive schemes, and employment disputes.

  • Retail, Franchising & Licensing

    We have a unique and leading practice that helps household-name brands build and develop national and international networks. Relying on cross-departmental strength, we act for top restaurant chains, fashion brands, public schools, and retailers of all types, at all stages of brand development.

    We also advise companies and public bodies domiciled in Singapore, Denmark, UAE and China, in addition to representing  a number of market-leading organisations based in the UK on cross-border matters.

    We have a team of industry experts with significant in-house experience, enabling us to give informed, pragmatic advice. Maninder Gill, head of the department, was previously Legal Director of a publishing powerhouse and a global luxury fashion store. He has niche franchising expertise in the specialist areas of publishing and education sectors, having franchised a number of leading publications and schools.

    Partner Natalie Wright has worked alongside retail clients for over ten years and is especially experienced in the beauty industry.

    The team are regularly called upon to speak at retail and franchising conferences in the UK and overseas.

  • Testimonials

    “We found Simons Muirhead Burton to be a strong and reliable partner, experienced in all aspects of a company acquisition, ranging from the commercial side, through to product and IP, property, litigation and employment.” Legal 500, 2022

    “They provide a first class service and assure attention to detail on the finer points of M&A transactions.”
    Legal 500, 2021

    “Peter Weiss – the partner and visionary behind a first-class team of associates and juniors. Without his inspiration, we would not have been as well looked after.”
    Legal 500, 2021

    “I cannot speak highly enough of the team – they are formidable lawyers but remain very approachable.” Legal 500, 2021

    “SMB is a fantastic firm. There is a willingness to resolve any issue or query, however small it may be.” Legal 500, 2021

    “The team has a very strong franchises background in different countries.”
    Legal 500, 2020

    “The firm has knowledge in the targeted country, and is cost effective and always very quick in its reactions.”
    Legal 500, 2020

    “Extremely friendly, approachable and razor-sharp.”
    Legal 500, 2020

    “The firm’s knowledge of today’s complex media market is second to none.”
    Legal 500, 2020

    “A very serious firm that delivers results.”
    Legal 500,2020

    “Provides ‘excellent support’ and leaves clients ‘exceptionally happy’.”
    Legal 500, 2018

    “Very clear communication, are quick to respond and are available when I need them.”
    Chambers & Partners, 2019

  • “Strong deep knowledge in M&A, coupled with acute customer service focus. A powerful mix.”

    Legal 500, 2022
  • “Curated leadership and professional at all times.”

    Legal 500, 2022
  • “A partner-led and commercially-minded team with an appetite and aptitude for working with emerging, fast-growth businesses at an earlier stage than their bigger firm peers.”

    Legal 500, 2022
  • “They are highly commercial, attentive and thorough with every transaction they complete.”

    Legal 500, 2022
  • “The team’s expertise is wide and varied and they work very well across departments, resulting in speedy conclusions.”

    Legal 500, 2022