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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Joseph B. Buonanno

Joseph B. Buonanno



  • Capital Markets and Securities
  • Banking and Finance
  • Acquisitions and Dispositions
  • Asset-Backed Securitization

WSG Practice Industries


Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
North Carolina, U.S.A.


Throughout a bank and law firm career spanning more than three decades, Joe has guided financial institutions, utilities and other companies in a wide range of industries, helping them manage change, adapt to market developments and achieve strategic objectives.

Joe’s work has involved trillions of dollars in financial assets and and has included strategic planning, corporate governance, enterprise structuring, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, securities, capital markets, finance, securitization, insurance, risk management, commodities, derivatives, commercial transactions, housing, real estate, regulatory affairs, litigation and insolvency. As a result of that work, Joe has helped clients to serve their customers and grow their businesses while maximizing profitability, mitigating losses, allocating capital and managing other resources.

Clients trust Joe because of his knowledge, integrity, humility and commitment to excellence. He enthusiastically and energetically develops creative and entrepreneurial solutions to complex challenges and then lights the way forward with astute, analytical and action-oriented guidance.

Joe also is easy to work with because he manages by consensus and promotes teamwork and cooperation. In matters both contentious and conciliatory, he builds relationships with diverse constituents through respect for others, transparent communication and an inclusive leadership style. His demonstrable gravitas, sophistication, perspective, judgment, restraint, pragmatism, and unique combination of legal and business acumen are valued by clients.

Joe heads the firm's derivatives group and is a member of its opinion committee and its Uniform Commercial Code committee.

Relevant Experience

  • Debt Transactions: Managed an extensive array of borrowings totaling in the trillions of dollars (and the equivalent amounts of other currencies), including secured and unsecured credit facilities, leveraged leases and project financings as well as CP, MTNs, bonds and other capital markets transactions.
  • Equity Securities: Represented issuers, underwriters and others in the negotiation of public and private, common and preferred stock offerings and convertible note sales as well as share repurchase programs, forward share distributions, stock options and other equity capital transactions.
  • Governance and Strategy: Advised on tender offers, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and other strategic alliances and on obtaining the related debt and equity financing and all board and other approvals.
  • Risk Management: Created and implemented risk management programs, provided counsel on the contractual and international regulatory aspects of swaps, futures, options and other derivatives as well as trading platforms and clearinghouses, advised on the use of forward contracts to manage environmental allowances and to trade in and control production factors, arranged for coverage under insurance policies and reinsurance treaties and managed risk by disposing of financial and other assets, resolving troubled debt and restructuring business activities.
  • Asset Securitization: Designed the currently-issued synthetic, insurance-linked (cat bond) and credit risk transfer securities for residential mortgage loans, structured mortgage- and other asset-backed securities, produced the leading CLO structure for obligations of restaurant, gas station, automobile dealership, retail shopping place and other franchise or chain store operators and handled sale, servicing, financing and other transactions for a variety of financial assets.
  • Real Estate and Housing: Guided lenders, developers and property owners in acquisition, construction and take-out financing for multifamily, office, hotel, retail, healthcare, warehousing, manufacturing, renewable energy generation and other types of commercial real estate, and advised clients on single-family rental investments, installment sale agreements and lease-to-own programs.
  • Regulatory Affairs: Practiced before government agencies and other bodies, met with legislators, regulators and others, published legal opinion pieces, integrated business and legal procedures, fashioned business arrangements to minimize regulation and obtain other benefits and played a leading role in compliance initiatives, including the production of compliance manuals, the provision of employee compliance training and the prosecution of regulatory filings to comment on government initiatives and procure necessary government approvals.
  • Litigation and Insolvency: Collaborated with litigators and other attorneys in the management of investigations, enforcement actions, defense litigation, asset recoveries and other proceedings involving complex financial products, trading activities and related transactions, and additionally, participated with bankruptcy lawyers in counseling debtors and creditors in the insolvencies of depository institutions, insurance companies, broker-dealers, mortgage lenders and other obligors, including in reconstructing records of title to hundreds of below-market leasehold interests in multiple states for purposes of enabling a bankrupt department store operator to obtain and grant mortgages securing its reorganization plan financing.

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • North Carolina


PC, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, 1985
Areas of Practice

Acquisitions and Dispositions | Asset-Backed Securitization | Banking and Finance | Capital Markets and Securities | Commercial Real Estate Lending | Commodities Trading and Regulation | Corporate | Corporate Finance-NEW | Derivatives | Energy | Energy and Infrastructure | Mergers and Acquisitions | Power and Utilities Capital Markets | Private Equity | Real Estate, Development and Finance | Structured Finance and Securitization | Sustainability and Corporate Clean Power

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

  • Liquidity Generation: Assists clients to maintain diversified funding sources by representing them on a wide variety of fixed income transactions across different products, programs, markets, currencies, structures, maturities and investor bases, including structured deposits, senior, mezzanine and subordinated debt, secured and unsecured loans, revolving and term facilities, warehouse and securities lending, repurchase (or repo) agreements, commercial paper and debentures, covered bonds, mortgage- and asset-backed securities, collateralized loan obligations, structured (or medium-term) notes, letters of credit, leveraged leases, project financing and the sale and servicing of financial assets, syndicated credits and loan participations. These obligations are created either directly by clients at their operating company, parent and subsidiary levels or by their special purpose and variable interest entities and have been used by some clients in conjunction with raising equity capital in private equity transactions, initial public offerings and subsequent sales of shares in their stock. 
  • Credit and Market Risk Mitigation: Assists clients to hedge exposures to duration, rate, currency, foreign exchange (FX), commodity, credit, equity, market value and other risks by entering into swaps, options, futures, forwards and other derivative contracts, sponsoring synthetic securities, obtaining insurance and reinsurance coverage and making or soliciting other investments with returns that are linked to those exposures. Also, assists clients to mitigate credit and market risks through financial and other asset dispositions and troubled debt restructurings. 
  • Product Development: Assists clients to develop and obtain corporate and regulatory approval for innovative new financial and treasury services in anticipation of and reaction to customer and constituent needs and marketplace changes. These new services have included loan products to finance underserved asset classes, mortgage insurance structured to minimize rejected claims, credit, currency and commodity-linked notes, credit derivatives on non-traditional reference obligations, synthetic residential and commercial mortgage loan securitizations, mortgage and financial guaranty insurance catastrophe bonds and bond insurance for mortgage- and asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and other previously uninsured financial assets. 
  • Strategic Transactions: Assists clients to implement business plans and respond to prevailing business conditions by advising on and executing mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Most recently, these have included transfers of fiduciary services, mortgage insurance, financial asset servicing and consumer credit businesses.
  • Operational Activity: Assists clients to reform operational activities to mitigate and control the risks posed by processes, people, systems and events, including by advising on best practices, policies, standards of conduct, reporting and review by transaction and business line for prevention, monitoring and measurement purposes. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Assists clients by preparing, submitting, prosecuting and advising on regulatory filings and by reviewing and commenting on legislative and regulatory initiatives. Also, assists clients by advising on managing legal, regulatory and ethical issues, complying with contractual commitments, satisfying business partners’ guidelines, observing tax and accounting standards and obtaining necessary licenses, consents and government authorizations. This has included the creation of written compliance and supervisory procedures, the presentation of educational programs and the delivery of updates when regulatory changes occur. Additionally, government agency practice has included the Commodity Fixtures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as systemic, bank, insurance, consumer and other regulators.  Marketplace practice has included self-regulatory organizations, exchanges, clearinghouses, government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), rating agencies, trade associations, the press and other business venues and environments.
  • Defense and Recovery Litigation: Assists clients, collaboratively with litigators and administrative lawyers at the firm, in government investigations, enforcement actions and other proceedings and in asset recovery and litigation defense efforts for complex financial products, services and related transactions.  Also, advises clients, collaboratively with firm bankruptcy lawyers, in the insolvencies of banks, insurance companies, broker-dealers, real estate investment trusts (REITs), mortgage companies, special purpose entities and other obligors.

Professional Associations

  • Member, International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA)
  • Firm Member, The Loan Syndications and Trading Association, Inc. (LSTA)
  • Member, Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG)
  • Member, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
  • Member, Mortgage Bankers Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Mecklenburg County Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, North Carolina Bar Association

Professional Activities and Experience

  • Selected as a Best Lawyer for Derivatives Law, North Carolina, Best Lawyers in America, 2007-present. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Best Lawyers’ webpage.
  • Listed in Who's Who of International Lawyers for Capital Markets, 2007-present
  • Named among the Top 100 Corporate Lawyers in North Carolina by The American Society of Legal Advocates, 2013-present


  • Compliance Matters For Equity REITS Using Derivatives, Real Estate Finance Journal

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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