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Claire Wills


Claire is based in London and is co-head of our global financial institutions sector group and head of our retail sector group.





Claire is a senior corporate partner based in London.  She works mainly with financial institutions including insurance companies, banks, asset managers as well as a number of our clients in the retail sector.  Her ability to lead the team to deliver on complex mandates is particularly valued.  Her expertise includes advising on complex restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and governance projects.

An experienced relationship partner, Claire regularly advises a number of our key clients including Barclays, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, the Prudential and Tesco.

She is co-head of our global financial institutions group and head of our retail sector group.

She is listed as a leading corporate and M&A partner in Chamber and Partners.

The "fantastic" Claire Wills co-heads the global financial institutions group. Clients say: "She manages to combine legal technical skills, commercial judgement and the softer skills necessary to deliver deals in a way that delivers favourable outcomes for a client."
Chambers Global 2016, Corporate/M&A - UK

Recent deals/Highlights

  • Recovery and resolution work (“living wills”) for a number of G-SIBs, including HSBC;
  • Barclays on its acquisition of Standard Life Bank, Goldfish Credit Card and on its disposal of Barclays Bank Russia and other non-core disposals (including Barclays Wealth disposal of its offshore trust and fiduciary business)
  • HSBC on a number of non-core disposals including part of its Cayman banking business to Butterfield Bank;
  • Prudential UK on the sale of its joint venture stake in the health and protection business to Discovery;
  • Tesco on the carve-out of Tesco Bank from RBS and the carve-out of Tesco Insurance into a joint venture with Fortis to create Tesco Insurance; and
  • ING on the sale of ING Direct to Barclays; and
  • Tesco on international acquisitions and joint ventures in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Poland and Czech Republic

Career to date

Claire has spent her entire career at Freshfields.  She became a partner in May 2001. Her time with us has included two years in Hong Kong, where she was also admitted to the Hong Kong Bar.  She co-chaired our partner recommendation committee for a number of years and was appointed co-head of our global financial institutions group in December 2014.  She is also head of our retail sector group.

Qualifications and education

Qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales.

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