Derivatives and Trading

We represent hedge funds, corporate treasuries, financial institutions, managed account platforms, asset managers and high-net-worth individuals in structuring, negotiating and executing complex and bespoke derivative instruments.

We advise on a wide range of products including swaps, options, forwards and repos, covering interest rate, fixed income, currency, commodity, equity, credit, basket and index underliers. The team routinely advises on matters such as:

  • prime brokerage and issues around rehypothecation and segregation;
  • custody and collateral;
  • securities lending and margin financing matters;
  • repos;
  • structured products;
  • exchange traded derivatives;
  • central clearing including OTC clearing under Dodd-Frank and EMIR;
  • cash equities and cash bond trading under broker terms of business; and
  • electronic trading arrangements.

Our team works alongside our specialist lawyers in financial services, regulatory, capital markets, tax and dispute resolution and is able to advise on both the day-to-day trading requirements of our clients, and the most complex derivative and structured product transactions in both transactional and contentious roles.

We have a global client base; we act for managers in London, New York and Hong Kong and have daily experience negotiating for these clients with the London and New York offices of the leading US and European banks and broker dealers.

What people are saying


"The derivatives practice at Macfarlanes provides an efficient, strong and supportive partnership for our many funds, it really understands our organisation’s nuances, risk strategies and priorities."

The Legal 500 2023

"Their project management capabilities are exceptional. They are extremely collaborative and a pleasure to work with and thrive on supporting an innovative project."

The UK Legal 500 2023

"In this area Macfarlanes have unique insights into what buy-side clients should really care about. They have deep knowledge of derivative contracts and prime brokerage arrangements. There are very few areas in this space that do not have extensive experience."

The UK Legal 500 2023

"I have worked with Macfarlanes for over 10 years. They are my first choice of derivatives and repurchase transactions counsel. Their turnaround times are exceptional, they are approachable and engaging. They are very competent of the legal and regulatory regime in an ever-changing regulatory or political canvas. They are very much attuned to the latest industry practices and commercial in their advice which is really helpful for an in-house counsel."

The UK Legal 500 2022

"This team has superior practical experience of derivative transactions. Some of the team have worked in industry previously and therefore know exactly what firms are looking for in terms of deliverables."

The UK Legal 500 2022

"We have used the Macfarlanes team for some years now and they continue to impress. Whether small tasks or large projects, the service you get is quick, smart, sensible and good value. For bespoke and nuanced arrangements and advice, they are sharp and clear-thinking. We are always confident that they fully understand the commercial complexities as well as the legal analysis."

The UK Legal 500 2022