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Joe Gavin
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Joe Gavin is partner and Head of Financial Services at ByrneWallace LLP.  

With over 30 years’ financial services experience in Ireland, Europe and the United States, Joe advises clients on a broad range of regulatory and compliance issues which may affect their business. His expertise ranges from setting up funds to debt structures, advising on creditors' rights to coordinating high court applications, structuring to restructurings and enforcements including liquidations. 

Key Experience

In 2016, Joe returned to private practice setting up a financial services practice at ByrneWallace LLP, where he advises clients on a wide range of financial services transactions and financial regulation matters, including:

  • An EU credit institution on the set-up of a Dublin branch under CRD IV
  • A proprietary trading firm on exemptions for algorithmic trading and DEA under MiFID II, and secured an Irish local trader licence as CRD IV exempt firm
  • An EU market infrastructure firm on set-up under MiFID II in Ireland
  • Several payment services firms on set-up in Ireland PSD2
  • MiFID II product oversight governance requirements in relation to the provision of execution only services in respect of complex products for retail pension fund clients, and the set-up of a related investment platform
  • Adviser to several investment platforms including real estate, private equity, UCITS investment funds, and asset backed bond programmes in compliance with applicable regulations, including AIFMD, MiFID II, Prospectus, Market Abuse, and Transparency Directives
  • Adviser on Acquiring Transaction of regulated firm by leveraged buy-out
  • Successful close-out of an 18 month AML inspection of a systemic regulated firm in Ireland
  • Settlement of administrative sanction with the Financial Reporting Council in the UK on behalf of an Irish client as a regulated person in the UK
  • Adviser on MiFID II changes to full service  professional and retail client agreements
  • Adviser on Irish securities laws in relation to several ABS programmes listed on the MSM and GEM in Ireland an Third Market of VSX.

Between 2010 and 2015, Joe was the first person appointed as General Counsel to the Central Bank of Ireland, following the merger of IFSRA. Key roles and assignments included:

  • Set up of newly established legal division and developing a of team of 30 lawyers advising on Central Banking, Prudential Supervision of Banking, Insurance, Conduct, and general services as well as secretariat to the Bank’s Administrative Sanctions Panel
  • Restructuring of ANGLO Promissory Note for €31 billion in exchange for a portfolio of long term Irish Government Bonds with consent of the ECB
  • Initiation of High Court proceedings to wind-down Quinn Insurance, Custom House Capital and several credit unions
  • Implementation of all CBI legislation during this time, including Central Bank Reform Act, 2012, Supervision and Enforcement Act, 2013, implementation of SSM, BRRD, MiFID II, CRD IV, Client Asset and Cash Regulations etc.
  • Successful defence of several Judicial Review proceedings brought against the CBI
  • Member of the Legal Committee of the ECB between 2010 and 2015
  • Member of the Irish Company Law Review Group responsible for the Companies Consolidation Act 2014 and the ICAV legislation
  • Member of the Deputy Governor Financial Regulation Policy Committee between 2012 and 2015.

Between 1995 and 2010, Joe set-up and led the Financial Services practice at a top tier Dublin law firm. Key assignments included:

  • Restructuring of loans to insolvent Irish corporate borrower by EU credit institution, including cross-border set-off in compliance with EU sanctions regime and consent of syndicate members
  • Establishment and restructuring of Structured Investment Vehicle with assets in excess of €4 billion and solvent wind-down
  • Adviser to several creditors in relation to insolvency proceedings of ISTC
  • Irish Legal adviser to Global CP Programme issuing CP in excess of €13billion
  • Adviser to several UCITS, private equity and  directly traded hedge fund platforms
  • Financial regulatory correspondent to several UK law firms, including ISD, MiFID and CAD.

Prior to 1995, Joe he trained a US banking lawyer at Bingham, Dana, & Gould in Boston and as a solicitor at McCann FitzGerald in Dublin. 


  • 1980, Bachelor of Civil Law, UCD
  • 1982, Admitted to the Irish Bar
  • 1986, Master of Business Administration, Michael Smurfit School of Business, UCD
  • 1987, Juris Doctor, New England School of Law
  • 1988, Admitted to the Massachusetts Bar
  • 1995, Admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland


  • IBEC Financial Services Ireland - International Finance Forum 
  • Irish Funds Industry Association Legal and Europe Working Group


Joseph Gavin is the head of ByrneWallace's financial services department. He advises on regulatory matters affecting a wide range of clients including fintech companies, payment services entities, investment managers and providers of fund depositary services. Clients highlight his former experience working for the Irish regulator, saying: "He knows the thought process from a Central Bank point of view and understands its internal workings." "He is willing to give a clear-cut, no-nonsense response," says another source. - Chambers Global, 2021 and Chambers Europe, 2021

Joe Gavin has deep knowledge in terms of the substantive regulations and a strong understanding of how the regulator will approach different issues. - Chambers Global, 2020            

Joe Gavin is innovative, pragmatic and focused on finding a workable solution. - Chambers Global, 2020 

Joe Gavin is particularly well networked within the broader EC regulatory framework. As a result he has an excellent perspective on what can be achieved in the different jurisdictions. - Legal 500, 2020

Joe Gavin is known for regulatory expertise in structuring transactions to address regulatory issues. - Legal 500, 2020

One interviewee attests that he [Joe Gavin] is "very responsive, very knowledgeable, very commercial and definitely someone we would go back to for advice." - Chambers Global, 2019

Joe Gavin“has a wide experience from both the commercial and regulatory perspectives, and is always creative and pragmatic." - Chambers Global, 2018

At ByrneWallace, practice head Joseph Gavin ‘has an excellent perspective on what can be achieved in different jurisdictions’. - Legal 500, 2018

Joe Gavin "is a very thoughtful guy who has a complete knowledge of the regulatory environment, is creative and very easy to work with." - Chambers Global, 2017

Joe Gavin is ‘a highly commercial and focused lawyer’. - Legal 500, 2016

Joe is named as an "‘impressive’ team head" - Legal 500, 2009

Joe is “singled out” in banking and finance for being “invaluable and highly responsive” - Legal 500, 2008 

Joe is “client-focussed, pragmatic and easy to get along with”, he provides “measured and balanced advice…” - Chambers Global, 2008

Joe Gavin has been recognised by the Eurosystem for the significant contribution he made as General Counsel and chief legal adviser to the Governor and the Central Bank of Ireland between 2010 and 2015