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Pan-African Financial Markets

Our local pan-African team operating in South Africa

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South Africa, with a population of around 59 million, has one of the largest economies on the African continent, accounting for approximately 16% of the continent’s GDP. It is counted among the world’s industrialised nations. It is endowed with an advanced financial market infrastructure, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) being Africa’s largest and most developed, and one of the world’s top 20 exchanges, and functions as the region's financial centre. South Africa is also the location of choice for international corporations, international banks, development institutions, institutional investors and funds looking at trade, investment and finance opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and provides a supportive and growing ecosystem as the continent's hub for innovation, technology and fintech.

CMS South Africa is a young law firm with a long history. It was established in 2018 by experienced and diverse international lawyers working with global firms to establish a new kind of commercial legal business focusing on Southern Africa. Our objectives are to provide the highest quality legal services in our areas of expertise, develop local talent and support economic transformation. We currently have around 40 lawyers and have established relationships with law firms in the region that share similar objectives.

Our African financial markets team consists of 10 lawyers and is led by Riza Moosa. We work on matters involving South Africa and, together with our partner firms, in other Sub-Saharan countries. Many transactions on which we advise are multi-jurisdictional and we offer a one-stop service by managing the transaction and coordinating legal advice. Our team members have common and civil law backgrounds and are fluent in English, French Swahili and Portuguese. 

Our team is known for its versatility, creativity and agility and can assist on a wide range of finance or finance related matters such as:

  • acquisition and leverages finance
  • asset finance
  • capital markets
  • commodity and trade finance
  • debt restructuring, business rescue and insolvency
  • derivatives
  • export finance
  • financial markets, regulation and compliance  
  • mining and resource finance
  • project finance
  • structured finance
  • syndicated lending 

Our clients

Our clients include banks, institutional and financial investors, corporates, DFIs, law firms, guarantee funds, credit insurers, national and international development bodies and institutions and governments and public authorities. 

Our coverage

We can assist with transactions involving all Sub-Saharan countries. Our recent experience includes advising on transactions involving Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Our local and global clients

Our firm also has strong teams in the following practice areas: commercial contracts, corporate, dispute resolution, funds, market regulation and compliance, tax, technology and white-collar crime. 

Being part of the global CMS network, we are supported by over 70 offices globally and have offices in Algeria, Angola, Kenya and Morocco. We have moreover established a network of firms in other African countries.

It is one of the shining firms that understands banking and finance law from a structuring, distressed scenario and insolvency law perspective

Legal 500 | Banking & Finance | South Africa 2020

Moreover, the immensely experienced Pieter van Welzen has joined as a senior consultant from Clifford Chance to provide further weight to the team, including in Africa-wide transactions.

Legal 500 | Banking & Finance | South Africa 2021

The firm has real credibility in the market thanks to the presence of highly rated founding partner Riza Moosa, a recognised leader in preference share transactions, acquisition finance and debt restructurings.

Legal 500 | Banking & Finance | South Africa 2021

The up-and-coming Bridgett Majola recently joined the firm as a director from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, adding further senior level credibility, particularly in project finance.

Legal 500 | Banking & Finance | South Africa 2021

I would say that compared to other firms in the market they are more entrepreneurial and business focused

Legal 500 | Banking & Finance | South Africa 2021

CMS has developed a notable profile and market share in South Africa's banking space. The firm represents a range of borrowers and lenders, including major South African banks and international development finance institutions. The group possesses expertise covering private placements and preference shares, project financing and debt restructuring, among other matters. It has additional capabilities on which the South African practice can draw, from across its network of global offices.

Chambers & Partners, Banking & Finance, South Africa, 2023

Strengths include "handled complex matters with speedy turnaround, and with a good balance between the legal versus the pragmatic".

Chambers & Partners, Banking & Finance, South Africa, 2023

Strengths include "were able to conclude the requisite transactions in record time, largely due to the very strong service levels of CMS".

Chambers & Partners, Banking & Finance, South Africa, 2023

They are very knowledgeable, efficient and professional. They specialise in corporate, commercial and banking law and have an excellent track record.

Chambers & Partners, South Africa, 2024

The firm handled complex matters with speedy turnaround, and with a good balance between the legal versus the pragmatic.

Chambers & Partners, South Africa, 2024

We were able to conclude the requisite transactions in record time, largely due to the very strong service levels of CMS.

Chambers & Partners, South Africa, 2024


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