Hugo Stephens

Partner

  • Profile
  • I am recognised as a leading housing lawyer specialising in corporate, finance and major projects. My clients are housing associations, local authorities, private companies working in the sector and funders.

    I have a wide range of expertise encompassing:

    Corporate:

    • Governance issues, regulatory compliance, charity law and powers;
    • Formation of housing associations, registrations with (and deregistrations from) the HCA, rule changes, transfers of engagement, amalgamations and conversion into companies (and vice-versa);
    • Group Structures, mergers, demergers, acquisitions and disposals and advice re commercial subsidiaries;

    Finance:

    • Bilateral and Syndicated loans to individual housing association and to housing groups;
    • Private Placements;
    • Public Bond issues;
    • Loan restructurings and refinancings;
    • Security trusts;
    • Derivative transactions; and
    • Intra-group loans;

    Projects:

    • VAT Savings schemes;
    • Solar projects;
    • Cost sharing vehicles;
    • Joint ventures; and
    • Large scale housing stock transfers.

    Publications and conference speaking

    I am the author of the NHF's book: "Understanding Loan Documentation" for board members and officers and have contributed to the NHF's Housing Finance Manual.

    I have led workshops and spoken at the NHF Finance and Chartered Institute of Housing conferences on matters such as money laundering and new models of housing finance.

    Career Highlights

    • Leading the team on one of the first housing association bond issues outside of London and the South East: Longhurst Group's £250,000,000 bond;
    • Advising on the first metropolitan local authority housing stock transfer which became the model used on all subsequent ones;
    • I advised Halton Housing Trust on its debt restructure via several private placements totalling over £1,000,000;
    • I led our team that advised the Chevin, Prospect and Trans-Pennine Housing Groups on their merger to form the Together Housing Group; one of the largest groups in the North;
    • Advising Warrington Borough Council on its public bond issue (the first local authority bond issue in over ten years) and on its programme of loans to housing associations;
    • I advised Gentoo Group on its unique funding structure comprising a public bond, bank debt and bespoke loans from the European Investment Bank all governed under a common terms agreement which raised over £500,000,000 facilities for the Group;
    • Following the introduction of new regulatory regime for housing associations, I advised a non-RP charity on the formation and registration of a new housing association subsidiary including drafting bespoke provisions into the intragroup agreement to satisfy the Regulator's new requirements;
    • I assisted the board of a housing association to navigate a path back to full regulatory compliance following a major breach of the regulatory regime.

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