Michael Abbey’s 25+ year career as a transactional lawyer focused on emerging markets investment and finance includes eight years as in-house counsel with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a development finance institution, and 18 years as outside counsel to lenders, investors, project sponsors and investment funds with the law firms of Hills Stern & Morley LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP.
Mr. Abbey has acted on more than 45 transactions involving capital commitments in excess of US$2.5 billion to emerging markets private equity, credit, and similar funds, and is the head of HSM’s investment funds practice group. As outside counsel, Mr. Abbey has represented a wide range of institutional investors including many of the leading development finance institutions. Prior to joining HSM, Mr. Abbey served for five years as the top career lawyer for the OPIC fund of funds program, producing many of its template documents (including regarding ESG policies), managing the delivery of legal services to the program, acting as a standing member of evaluation committee that screened and selected fund managers for support, and participating in the monitoring of a $2 billion fund portfolio (including the restructuring and termination of several funds). As a result of his broad experience, particularly in the area of public sector investments into the emerging markets private equity space, he has a keen understanding and appreciation of the diverse objectives and sensitivities of development finance institutions, private sector fund managers, and private and public investors.
In addition, Mr. Abbey has represented lenders and borrowers in cross-border debt transactions across the emerging markets totaling more than $2.3 billion in loan commitments, ranging from on-lending structures that featured the funding of banks and non-bank financial entities to finance downstream borrowers to growth expansion of operating companies in the energy, telecommunications, manufacturing, and services sectors. On the equity side, Mr. Abbey’s recent representations include the purchase of CKD interests in a Mexican trust, the sale of interests in a cable and media company in Africa, the sale of interests in a bank in Central America, and the sale of a restaurant chain (which deal won Africa Investor “Deal of the Year” in 2012). He managed Steptoe & Johnson’s affiliate office in Kazakhstan from 1994 to 1996, where he acted primarily for project sponsors in the natural resource and infrastructure sectors, and served from 2003 to 2008 as the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the DC Bar Structured and Project Finance Committee.
Mr. Abbey is a member of the District of Columbia bar. He received a B.A. in economics and public policy from Duke University (magna cum laude), and a J.D. from the University of Virginia (Law Review, Articles Review Editor).