Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Walkers continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its people, its clients and its business.

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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.
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Students, Graduates and Training Programmes

Walkers is pleased to announce that its 2020 Students, Graduates and Training Programmes are open.

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Furlough and Redundancy: Jurisdictional Comparison for Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey

The governments of Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey have created payroll co-funding/subsidy schemes in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The rules and eligibility criteria are different in each jurisdiction, as are the laws on furlough, variation of terms, redundancy and collective consultation.

In this advisory, we have sought to help businesses with employees in one or more of these jurisdictions to understand the nuances and distinctions that exist under the respective laws.


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Central Bank of Ireland Highlights Key Investment Funds Issues for Current Market Uncertainty

On 30 April 2020, the Central Bank of Ireland ("Central Bank") published a letter to fund management companies (including SMICs) highlighting some key issues for investment funds in light of ongoing market uncertainty due to Covid-19. The letter refers to the regulatory flexibility already provided in terms of reporting and that the Central Bank has clarified that it will apply the measures set out by ESMA in recent weeks.

The key issues detailed by the Central Bank are:

  • liquidity management – reiterating the expectation set out in its industry letter of August 2019 that boards and designated persons need to assess the liquidity position of each fund under management, ensuring that the liquidity of the investment portfolio remains in line with the respective fund’s redemption policy taking into account investors’ potential redemption demands. The Central Bank's expectations in the context of recent market conditions are that effective liquidity management includes an assessment as to whether a fund has appropriate liquidity management tools in place. This assessment should take into account dealing frequency, investment strategy, portfolio composition and investor profile of the fund. If it is considered necessary to expand the tools available or make other changes to address liquidity risk, steps should be taken to amend the relevant fund documentation and notify investors of the changes (including information on any potential risks or costs) with sufficient time for investors to redeem prior any changes becoming effective;

  • Central Bank UCITS Regulations / AIF Rulebook – the Central Bank understands that, in light of recent market volatility, breaches of requirements set out in the Central Bank UCITS Regulations or the AIF Rulebook may be identified. It expects fund management companies to minimise the potential for breaches, ensure that such breaches are reported to the Central Bank and remedied as a priority and consider whether such breaches need to be notified to investors;

  • investor disclosure - as part of its obligations to ensure risks are identified, monitored and managed during this time, fund management companies may have identified a risk (or potential risk) which may warrant additional disclosure to investors (or potential investors). Where such risk is not already covered by existing prospectus disclosure and it may have a material effect on an investment made by an investor in a fund, a fund management company should consider the extent to which the additional risk (or potential risk) should be brought to investors' attention in the prospectus;

  • minimum of two directors that are Irish residents - in the event of incapacitation of an Irish resident director on the board of a fund management company or fund, the Central Bank recognises that there may be a delay in finding a replacement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Central Bank has set out information on addressing vacancies which might arise for PCFs during this period;

  • data collection for UCITS and AIFs – the Central Bank notes the importance of reliable supervisory reporting and that in response to Brexit it had already increased its monitoring of investment funds liquidity and redemption activity. It further notes that these arrangements have remained in place and in some instances have been supplemented.
Further information will be published by the Central Bank as considered necessary.

Cayman Islands Employment Update

The first ever electronic meeting of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly on 23 April 2020 considered a number of pieces of legislation, largely in response to the COVID-19 emergency, that are likely to be of interest to local employers and employees.

This note is intended to provide a brief overview of the key changes: some of these are technical in nature and this note should not be regarded as a substitute for specific advice.


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An Update on the Offshore Funds Landscape

There have been a number of changes to the offshore funds landscape in recent months. Our global team sets out below a high level summary of the current position in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.


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Ireland update – Central Bank of Ireland Announces Prudential Regulatory Flexibility Measures in Light of COVID-19

The Central Bank of Ireland (“CBI”) has published a page on its website entitled “COVID-19 – Prudential Regulatory Flexibility Measures”. The page sets out regulatory flexibility that will be applied in certain areas for credit institutions, securities markets, investment management, investment firms, and fund service providers, insurers/reinsurers and credit unions.

In this advisory we have summarised the key takeaways for MiFID investment firms and credit institutions.


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