Managing Partner CORPORATE , GESTIÓN DE RIESGO
Bernardo is founding and managing partner of TOBAR ZVS C.L., a full-service Firm for the corporate client. His 30 years of experience as practicing attorney include four years as a former CEO of one of the largest private infrastructure companies in the resource industry in Ecuador, so in addition to providing strategic advice to complex infrastructure projects, he has successfully faced the challenge of leading them. He is recognized internationally for his corporate practice and law firm leading vision by Legal 500 and is one out of four practitioners in his country named by the Who’s Who of Mining –the other one being also a partner to the Firm-. Worth mentioning as recognition of his professional leadership in the early days of his career is the award granted by the United States Department of State for his contribution to the protection of intellectual property rights and for the IP Law passed in 1998, of which he was lead writer and promoter.
Bernardo usually advises investors and corporate clients in cross border, multi-jurisdictional transactions, integrating legal and business perspectives in order to meet strategic goals. Key areas of practice involve M&A, private equity, financing, corporate structuring, investment protection and risk management. As managing partner, he focuses also on innovation and is constantly looking for ways to improve the client experience by leveraging artificial intelligence in service delivery models.
Bernardo has provided legal advice and strategic guidance in many projects with high investment profile, such as a concession agreement for a $1.5 billion oil midstream project financed through senior debt and a mix of equity and subordinated debt by the sponsors. He also participated as lead local counsel in the transfer of the Fruta del Norte gold discovery to Kinross and provided strategic advice to the purchaser during its tenure in Ecuador. He was the lead counsel in the negotiation of a PPP agreement on behalf of China Road & Bridge Corporation for a $130 million road infrastructure in Quito, and also assisted CRBC in the project finance. He has been very active in M&A activity in the mining sector, and pioneered the participation of local investors in the exploration stage through private equity arrangements and private placement deals he helped structure and close, as in the Lumina Capital and Solgold Plc. cases –Solgold owns the largest gold and copper discovery in the region-, and provides both companies with legal and strategic advice in implementing its projects and securing its investment. The most recent deal in which Bernardo had a leading role as Ecuadorian Counsel to Solgold Plc. included the structuring of an NSR financing agreement of up to US$ 150 million for the completion of the final exploration activities and feasibility study for the development of one of the world largest copper-gold resources, Cascabel. Other representative corporate clients include The Coca-Cola Company, Fox International, The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation, Ormat Technologies.
In addition to his consulting practice, Bernardo has been a professor of corporate law, a frequent speaker and lecturer at international events on mining, investment protection, risk management and has finished writing his first book on the future of political organizations. He also wrote for more than 8 years a weekly column at one of the top national newspapers. Due to his entrepreneurial spirit, he is also an investor and is currently promoting Legaltech startups.
Publications, presentations and writings include Legal Protection for Software, included in a WIPO publication he edited in 1995; Investment Protection in the rise of sovereign powers, presented at the RMMLF Rio Conference in 2011; Investment Protection in politically exposed projects, presented at the PDAC annual conference in 2017; The End of Leviathan, his recent work on the future of political organizations.
He graduated as a Doctor in Law in 1989 at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, was granted a diploma in Advanced International Legal Studies by McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, and has also obtained certificates from Northwestern University Kellog School of Business and Singularity University.