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Walkers' Guernsey Insolvency & Dispute Resolution Team Strengthened by New Associate Hires

Walkers' top-tier Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team in Guernsey has been further strengthened with the recruitment of two new associates: Rebecca Hale and Sarah Ball.

Highly experienced Rebecca joins the team from another leading offshore firm in Guernsey – she has six years' experience in the jurisdiction as a disputes lawyer, and is President and Director of the Young Business Group (YBG) and Membership Secretary of the Guernsey International Legal Association (GILA).

Sarah joins Walkers having practised with two boutique law firms in Cape Town, where she advised on wide-ranging matters from estates disputes, intellectual property litigation and company liquidations.

The new arrivals brings the Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team to nine lawyers as the firm continues its strategic growth in Europe – five of the team have joined within the last three years, and Walkers has recently moved to new, larger premises in Guernsey to accommodate the further planned expansion.

The Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team in Guernsey – ranked as top tier by Legal 500 - is led by partners Alison Ozanne, Sarah Brehaut and Adam Cole.

Alison said: "We are thrilled to be building and growing our team in line with our growing market share and reputation in Guernsey – Rebecca and Sarah bring with them rich and varied experience and they are already having a very positive impact on our busy team."

Matt Sanders, the managing partner of Walkers' Guernsey office, added: "We are delighted to welcome Rebecca and Sarah to the firm, and to our excellent Insolvency & Dispute Resolution group where we are expecting a busy year in the areas of contentious trusts matters and restructuring and insolvency.

"Their experience both offshore and onshore complements our existing skills, as we continue to build out our practice groups in the Guernsey office."

Financial services focus group discussion

Walkers BVI managing partner Matthew Cowman, accompanied by a range of industry peers, sits down with BVI Business and BVI Finance for a Financial Services Focus Group Discussion.

The roundtable takes a deep and informative dive into the current state of doing business in the BVI and the global challenges and trends that are impacting the jurisdiction in what is clearly a sustained period of global uncertainty economically and geopolitically.


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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.