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Private Capital & Trusts specialist Shumona Neswar joins Walkers' Guernsey office

Experienced lawyer Shumona Neswar has joined Walkers' top-tier Private Capital & Trusts team in Guernsey.

Shumona, who joins Walkers from another leading offshore firm in Guernsey as an associate, has both onshore and offshore experience as a private wealth lawyer – she is fully STEP qualified and specialises in advice in relation to Guernsey trust and foundation structures, and in advice relating to underlying assets.

The addition of Shumona brings Walkers' Guernsey Private Capital & Trusts team to eight lawyers, led by partner Rupert Morris and group partners Rajah Abusrewil and David Cooney.

She follows senior associate Aaron Sanders who joined the team earlier this year as part of Walkers' strategic growth in the region. The firm has recently moved to new, larger premises in St Peter Port to accommodate the further planned expansion.

The Walkers Private Capital & Trusts team is unique in its jurisdictional offering – the teams in Guernsey and Jersey advise on the laws of Bermuda, BVI and Cayman as well as the laws of the Channel Islands, offering a jurisdictionally-agnostic service based on clients' unique requirements.

The team is ranked in the top tier by Legal 500.

Rupert, who leads Walkers' Channel Islands Private Capital & Trusts group, said: "Our positioning advising on five laws from two offices is resonating with our local and international client base who see the benefits of an authentically jurisdiction-neutral approach on offshore structuring options.

"Shumona's experience – both in onshore and offshore private practice and on the fiduciary side – adds further weight to our tier one ranking, as we continue to grow in terms of market share."

Matt Sanders, the managing partner of Walkers' Guernsey office, added: "Adding further experience in Guernsey law further strengthens our excellent private capital and trusts offering in the jurisdiction.

"We are very pleased to welcome Shumona to Walkers as we continue our strategic growth here in the region."

Update on BVI

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) government has succeeded in its request for a supplementary review to more accurately reflect its current legislative status following the EU's decision last month to add the BVI to its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

The BVI Government issued a statement highlighting that it had already introduced legislation to address the EU Council's concerns but the legislative changes, which came into effect in January, were not recognised in the most recent OECD peer review rating. The BVI Government immediately requested a supplementary review with a view to having the BVI removed from the list as soon as possible. Permission for the review has been given by the Peer Review Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (PRG).

The BVI is confident that a “largely compliant” or “compliant” rating will be given, which would see the BVI removed from the non-compliant list.

While the inclusion of the BVI will have limited or no direct immediate consequences for investors or clients using BVI structures, the announcement of the supplementary review will be welcomed by the BVI government and investors.

Walkers advises on first approved restructuring plan presented under new Cayman Islands regime

Following orders of the United States Bankruptcy Court and the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, both made on 10 March 2023, the first ever restructuring plan developed and presented under section 91B of the Cayman Islands Companies Act (2023 Revision) ("Restructuring Plan") has been approved.

Walkers act as Cayman Islands counsel to Rockley Photonics Holdings Limited (Restructuring Officers Appointed) (the "Company") and to its Joint Restructuring Officers, Mr Christopher Kennedy and Mr Alexander Lawson of Alvarez & Marsal Cayman Islands Limited (the "JROs").

On 23 January 2023 the Company presented voluntary reorganisation proceedings under Chapter 11 of the United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, and the following day it commenced proceedings under the new restructuring officer regime, under Part V of the Companies Act (2023 Revision).

Following orders of both Courts made today the amended Restructuring Plan has been approved.

The Walkers team is led by Partners Rupert Bell and Niall Hanna, with Associates Chaowei Fan and Alexandra Stasiuk.

Walkers welcomes Central Bank of Ireland Deputy Governor to International Women's Day event focused on "Embrace Equity"

Derville Rowland, Deputy Governor, Consumer and Investor Protection at the Central Bank of Ireland, has joined a Walkers' International Women's Day event in Dublin focused on the theme of "Embrace Equity" – as the Central Bank launches its seventh annual report on demographics and diversity within the regulated financial services industry in Ireland.

The lunch event today at No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place saw the Deputy Governor speak to members of the industry and related sectors about the importance of diversity and inclusion within firms as part of Walkers’ international programme of events around International Women's Day.

In her published remarks, Derville Rowland emphasised the importance of senior leaders driving positive change and said it was in firms’ own best interests to do so. 

She said: "We want the firms we regulate to be sufficiently diverse and inclusive, at all levels and particularly at senior level, to prevent group-think, guard against overconfidence, and promote internal challenge.”

Walkers partner and co-chair of the Finance and Capital Markets Group, Noeleen Ruddy, said that the message of "Embrace Equity" was one that resonated with Walkers and its culture.

"Equality is the goal, and equity is the means to get there," said Noeleen. "We're excited to launch our Women of Walkers network globally across our 10 offices this week which aims to build an even stronger community within the firm to attract, retain and promote women, support them through all the stages of their careers and promote social inclusion."

Walkers partner Nicholas Blake-Knox, who chairs the firm's Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee and its Irish Asset Management & Investment Funds Group, said:

"At Walkers we recognise that we have a responsibility to each other as colleagues to foster a culture in our global offices that values and celebrates our differences and individuality.

"We are particularly pleased to have been joined by Derville today, given her track record of championing diversity and inclusion in the Central Bank of Ireland and as a key figure in one of our most important financial institutions."

To find out more about Walkers' Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, visit: https://www.walkersglobal.com/index.php/about-walkers/diversity-inclusion.

Regulatory specialist Amman Bulchandani joins Walkers' Jersey office

Walker's Jersey team has been further strengthened with the addition of specialist regulatory lawyer Amman Bulchandani.

Amman has five years' experience as an onshore regulatory lawyer in New Zealand, and joins Walkers Investment Funds & Corporate team led by partner Jonathan Heaney.

Amman has experience of onshore practice as a financial services regulation specialist, advising on matters relating to AML, compliance and regulatory investigations.

He also advises businesses in Jersey and onshore about Jersey's regulatory regime, financial crime and economic substance.

Jonathan Heaney, the managing partner of Walkers' Jersey office, said: "We are delighted to welcome Amman to the firm, further building out our regulatory capacity at a time when client demand for this service is rising.

"He brings valuable onshore experience to the team, and has relevant expertise in AML / CFT, the Islands' compliance regime and in the conduct of regulatory investigations."

Amman is the third arrival of the year in the Jersey team as the firm's strategic growth in the Island continues. He follows the arrivals of David Connell and Félim Ó Maolmhána in the Banking & Finance team, with more new recruits set to join in the coming weeks.

Last year, Walkers' Channel Islands offices saw 33 new joiners and 16 promotions – the growth has led to the firm's Guernsey team moving to new, larger premises.

Fraser Hern, the head of Walkers' Channel Islands business, added: "Developing our regulatory practice across the Channel Islands is a key area of focus for our business in 2023 - this is an area that touches on each of our core practice groups, and one in which specialist support can add clear value to clients.

"Amman's onshore experience coupled with the insight and expertise of our existing team helps to further strengthen our client offering, and he will have a clear impact on the team."

Senior Associate hire in Walkers' growing Guernsey Private Capital & Trusts team

Walkers' has further strengthened its Channel Islands Private Capital & Trusts team with the arrival of senior associate Aaron Sanders.

Aaron practised onshore with the highly ranked contentious private client team of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP for four years, and is a STEP affiliate.

Aaron joins the team led by partner Rupert Morris and group partners Rajah Abusrewil and David Cooney, and has a mixed contentious and non-contentious practice, advising on wealth structuring and on cross-border disputes and court applications in relation to probate and private wealth.

He advises on matters relating to international HNW families including wealth planning, advising trustees and beneficiaries on breach of trust and trustee removal applications and seeking court blessing for momentous decisions.

Partner Rupert Morris, who heads Walkers' Channel Islands Private Capital & Trusts team, said: "Aaron's onshore experience on both the contentious and non-contentious sides adds further expertise to our Tier 1 team as we continue to grow our practice in the Channel Islands.

"Our team continues to see a growing volume of instructions, both from trustees and from HNWIs – and we look forward to making further announcements about further new joiners in due course."

Walkers' Private Capital & Trusts team in the Channel Islands advises on the laws of Guernsey, Jersey, Bermuda, BVI and Cayman, offering a jurisdiction-agnostic service to clients.

Last year, Walkers' Channel Islands offices saw 33 new joiners and 16 promotions – the growth has led to the firm's Guernsey team moving to new, larger premises.

Fraser Hern, the head of Walkers' Channel Islands business, added: "The unique cross-jurisdiction positioning of our Private Capital & Trusts group is resonating with clients and intermediaries in the local and international markets.

"We continue to build out the team in line with our strategic growth objectives, and we are delighted to welcome Aaron aboard."