Happy Holidays 2017!

We would like to wish our clients and friends a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.

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Following the recent result in the United Kingdom's EU referendum, Walkers has created a Brexit page dedicated to providing our clients relevant information about the jurisdictions in which we practise.

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Walkers Asset Recovery

Fifteen Walkers lawyers were recognised in the 2017 Who's Who Legal Asset Recovery guide. This is more than any other global law firm worldwide.

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Walkers Wins HFM Week Award

Walkers has been awarded the Best Offshore Law Firm Award for Client Service at the HFM Week US Hedge Fund Services Awards 2017.

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Walkers is a leading international law firm. We advise on the laws of Bermuda*, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey.
Powerwomen 200

Walkers in IFC Powerwomen Top 200

Six Walkers lawyers have been ranked in the 2017 edition of CityWealth's IFC Powerwomen Top 200.


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The Path to Redemption Is Not Always Smooth

‘The Path to Redemption Is Not Always Smooth’: Unfortunate Consequences for Unredeemed Investors in the Cayman Islands.

A recent judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (‘Privy Council’ or ‘Board’), the ultimate appellate court of the Cayman Islands, has provided certainty for investors and insolvency practitioners alike with respect to the enforceability and priority to be afforded to investors’ claims for unpaid redemption proceeds in the winding up of Cayman Islands investment funds. The judgment has, however, given rise to rise to commercially unfortunate results in that the effects of a mis-stated NAV now appear capable of being perpetuated in a winding up, regardless of the fund’s ability (or inability as the case may be) to lawfully make payment of redemption proceeds prior to the commencement of liquidation.

The Privy Council decision is the most recent in the ongoing liquidation proceedings of Herald Fund SPC (‘Herald’). Herald was, in terms of its constituent documents at least, a fairly typical Cayman Islands domiciled open-ended mutual fund, often referred to as a ‘hedge fund’. However, as explained below, Herald’s sole investment turned out to be a substantial investment in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and Herald ultimately ended up in official liquidation in the Cayman Islands.

This aspect of the proceedings involved an important point of statutory construction, namely how section 7(7) of the Companies Law operates in the factual context of Herald which involved claims to significant unpaid redemption proceeds which were sought to be enforced several years after the discovery of the Ponzi scheme and which with the benefit of hindsight were clearly based on a mis-stated NAV. The outcome of the proceedings is highly material to Herald’s various categories of stakeholders (the redemption claims being valued at almost USD 200m). The issue is one that has rarely confronted the Grand Court in any detail and certainly this was the first time it had been considered at the highest appellate level.


This article first appeared in Volume 14, Issue 6 of International Corporate Rescue and is reprinted with the permission of Chase Cambria Publishing - www.chasecambria.com

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A Cayman Islands Perspective on the Private Funds Market

Ingrid Pierce and Matthew Goucke assess the private funds landscape in the Cayman Islands in relation to the global market.

In the world of private funds, 2017 has been anything but dull. Global events have influenced not only fund strategies and the geographies in which funds invest, but also where managers choose to locate their business operations. Funds are attracting international capital and are using multiple jurisdictions to domicile their products. The Cayman Islands continue to be the primary offshore jurisdiction for private fund managers in the US, the UK and parts of Asia, including Japan.

This article first appeared on whoswholegal.com in November 2017.


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The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Returns to BVI in January 2018

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has issued a court notice and announced that the Commercial Division of the High Court returns to the Territory of the Virgin Islands in January 2018. Walkers' BVI office continues to provide full service BVI legal advice to our clients, supported by its BVI lawyers in its offices in London, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

You Gotta Have (Good) Faith | The Cayman LLC Law

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the Cayman Islands has proven to be a popular vehicle from the outset. One of the key selling points of the LLC is the ability for clients to mirror the terms of their onshore vehicles and structures; and for that reason, the Limited Liability Companies Law (the Cayman LLC Law) has been closely modelled on the Delaware vehicle of the same name. However, in response to our discussions with users of the Delaware product, the Cayman model has one key departure: it offers contracting parties a greater degree of flexibility and certainty when considering the duties owed by members to one another.

The Cayman Islands legislation did not import the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which we understand is the only duty that cannot be waived, modified or eliminated in a Delaware LLC agreement. The resulting ability to expressly define the duties applicable to the parties to an LLC agreement entirely within that document affords the contracting parties, who are typically sophisticated and experienced, the flexibility to negotiate their agreement with the certainty that its terms will be considered entirely within the four corners of the contract. The uncertainty inherent in the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, with the potential that exists under Delaware law for an exercise of judicial discretion in a way that may run counter to the true intention of the parties, is avoided...


This article first appeared in The Drawdown; Private Equity Funds Cayman 2017.

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Investment Funds Observations 2017 - Part Three

From our vantage point as advisers to many of the world’s top hedge fund managers, broad market forces flow through to our instructions, and ultimately drive many of the terms of the funds we advise.

In this series we take a look at what we have been seeing in the investment funds world. Part three will focus on hedge funds.

Liquidity follows strategy, but managers can use it to their advantage
The most influential factor affecting a fund’s liquidity terms is its strategy. Monthly and quarterly redemptions remain the most common liquidity structure in 2017 for traditional corporate fund structures.

One third of the funds surveyed employed lock-up periods, typically for 12 months and with a broadly even split between hard lock-ups (redemptions not permitted during the lock-up period) and soft lock-ups (redemptions permitted, but subject to an early redemption fee). We have also observed managers using lock-ups, either in ‘founders’ classes or in side letters, to commit anchor investors or to secure investors with whom they have agreed material concessions in side letters. This gives the manager a pool of committed capital for the initial years of a fund’s life. Where an anchor investor expects a minimum commitment period, formalising the commitment with the fund, especially if it assists the fund in attracting other capital, is an easy give. We expect this trend to continue.

Corporate Governance
Many of the governance-related indicators that we follow have remained broadly consistent with prior years, and independence remains a common theme.

Institutional investors continue to focus on independent oversight in the form of non-executive directors and advisory board members and industry experts and others with strong business or academic records, relevant to the fund’s investment focus, continue to fulfil governance roles.

What to look for in 2018
The most important trend to watch in 2018 is whether the recent run of returns can be sustained, much of which will depend on managers’ ability to navigate the political and economic landscape. Nearly all of the trends we have identified in our surveys are ultimately a response to a prolonged period of investor frustration with returns. If strong performance leads to a significant positive shift in investor sentiment towards hedge funds generally, then we may look back at 2017 as the year things turned for the hedge fund industry.

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