Walkers Launches Compliance Services Offering

Walkers Compliance complements Walkers' legal, corporate and fiduciary services to deliver a one-stop-shop for clients looking to use the Cayman Islands jurisdiction for their business needs.

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Brexit

Following the 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 is a leading international law firm. We advise on the laws of Bermuda*, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey.
GlobalMap Oct2018
Admissions April2019

Walkers Announces Admissions of 50th and 51st Caymanian Attorneys-at-Law

We are pleased to announce that Articled Clerks Gemma Cowan and Sophie Dibb have completed their legal training, both being called to the Cayman Islands Bar. 

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Walkers – Most Ranked Practices in Offshore (Chambers Global)

Walkers' practice groups have received the highest number of rankings for an offshore law firm in this year's Chambers and Partners Global Guide 2019.

Walkers is one of three international law firms ranked in the highest tier (Band 1) for offshore law with a total of 21 practice groups ranked for legal excellence.

"Applauded for its depth of expertise in offshore transactional work... The firm's transactional expertise is increasingly matched by its prowess in dispute resolution, with restructuring and insolvency mandates a  particular forte. Over the last decade Walkers has greatly expanded its range of product jurisdictions, opening in the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Bermuda. These newer offices are increasingly well regarded across the full spectrum of transactional and contentious matters."

Walkers Bermuda* has, for the first time since inception, made it into the Chambers and Partners ranks with its Finance, Corporate & Funds and Insolvency & Dispute Resolution practices entering the rankings in Band 3. The Finance & Corporate practice, led by ranked partners Jonathan Betts (Band 2) and Natalie Neto (Band 3) is the first new entry for three years. In Bermuda, Walkers works in exclusive association with Kevin Taylor, trading as 'Walkers Bermuda', a full service commercial law firm providing advice on all aspects of Bermuda law.

"The Bermuda team is increasingly entrusted with large, complex transactions and is well equipped to advise on matters such as capital markets transactions, asset financing and fund finance."

"One client commented: "The team are dedicated to delivering proactive, technical and commercial legal excellence and are thoroughly trusted in acting as advocates or more general legal advisers."

In the British Virgin Islands, Walkers' Insolvency & Dispute Resolution practice, led by partners Oliver Clifton and Rosalind Nicholson maintained their Band 1 rating:

"Pre-eminent team, adept at assisting with multi-stranded cross-border disputes. Regularly instructed on high-value and high-profile litigation cases, including insolvencies and major shareholder disputes."

One source commented: "They are good, sensible lawyers who have good judgement and know when to press. They're what you look for in local counsel."

Walkers' cornerstone Cayman Islands office continues to receive Band 1 recognition across the board:

"First-class group commanding significant respect in Cayman for its corporate and finance practices."

"Sizeable, market-leading team with deep experience handling significant restructuring and insolvency mandates."

"Exceptional funds group, guiding top asset management names through all Cayman aspects of their business. The team offers first-rate expertise in fund formation and structuring, as well as a complementary understanding of downstream transactional matters."

Walkers' Dubai office, which has recently been involved in a myriad of Abu Dhabi matters, has also retained its Band 1 status:

"Substantial team that is a popular choice among onshore lawyers seeking Cayman or British Virgin Islands counsel."

In Ireland, Walkers received top marks for Debt: Capital Markets:

One source says: "As a team they are cohesive, responsive, commercially aware and price-sensitive when it comes to fees. They're my go-to firm and ensure first-class service."

Clients appreciate the firm's international presence, with one saying: "The team's cross-border capabilities are the strongest selling point for us," and another adding: "We get the same fantastic and responsive service levels regardless of which office we are dealing with."

In Asia, Walkers' Hong Kong and Singapore offices received a Band 1 ranking once again.

"Finance giants with impressive knowledge across BVI and Cayman law."

In London, Walkers received a Band 1 ranking for its Cayman Islands practice:

"Walkers is an excellent firm with extensive resources. We recommend them highly." 

Walkers' Global Managing Partner, Ingrid Pierce, states: "This is a tremendous result and honour. I am delighted that our global firm has been recognised in this fashion as it is a testament to the hard work and service excellence that is associated with Walkers."

Walkers - Most Ranked Offshore Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyers

With the most ranked lawyers, Who's Who Legal has confirmed Walkers as the leading offshore law firm for restructuring and insolvency in their 2019 guide.

Walkers has six partners ranked in the Who's Who Legal Guide. This includes Jersey partner Fraser Hern, who is the Head of Walkers' Channel Islands business and is the only ranked restructuring and insolvency lawyer in Jersey.

In the Cayman Islands, partner Neil Lupton is the only offshore lawyer included in the Americas & Caribbean Global Elite Thought Leaders and appears with lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis and Milbank. Partners Colette Wilkins, Matthew Goucke and Barnaby Gowrie have also been ranked in the guide.

In Singapore, Asia partner Robert Foote has been included in the guide for the seventh consecutive year.

Below are a few excerpts from the guide:

"Walkers has an outstanding lawyer in Fraser Hern, who demonstrates wide-ranging knowledge of both contentious and non-contentious matters. He has a highly international background, with experience working in Hong Kong before moving to the firm’s Jersey office."

"Walkers’ Matthew Goucke is “the most gifted advocate in the Cayman Islands”, with specialist insight into private equity matters and superb expertise on cross-border insolvency litigation. Sources note that he is “very good technically”."

"Neil Lupton is a well-established figure in the market who gains widespread support from commentators as “probably the most senior and influential figure in the jurisdiction” for restructuring. He excels on issues arising from distressed situations, advising a range of parties including private equity funds and debtors."

"The “highly thought of” Colette Wilkins is commended by colleagues for her excellent work on contentious-side issues in the insolvency space. A “great lawyer who is much in demand”, she is adept on CVAs and liquidations."

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Walkers Grows Guernsey Funds, Corporate and Finance Practice

Guernsey, February 2019 - Walkers' Investment Funds, Corporate and Finance team continues to expand with the arrival of Senior Counsel, Zoë Hallam, who has joined us from Walkers' Cayman Islands office.

Guernsey born Zoë is returning to the Channel Islands having worked in Walkers' Cayman Islands office for the last eight years and for a magic circle firm in London prior to that. Zoë advises on a broad range of finance and corporate transactions, with a particular focus advising borrowers and lenders on fund financing, particularly subscription line facilities. Her clients include leading international banks and financial institutions, and numerous hedge fund managers and PE houses.

Zoë's arrival is the latest hire to boost the Investment Funds, Corporate and Finance team in Guernsey following the recent hire of partner Kate Storey, in September last year, who in addition to her investment funds and corporate experience, also spearheads, the firm's Insurance Practice in the Channel Islands.

Walkers' Guernsey Managing Partner Louise Hall said:

"We are delighted by the recent expansion of our Investment Funds, Corporate and Finance team in Guernsey and to welcome Zoë back to Guernsey. Her broad experience and international reputation will be invaluable as we continue to develop the Investment Funds, Corporate and Finance practice in the Channel Islands"

Walkers' Investments Funds, Corporate & Finance practice has also benefitted from the recruitment of two new associates Mark Finlayson and Wandile Sishi, both of whom previously practised corporate law in South Africa for a number of years.

The growing practice which now has three partners, three senior counsel and a team of new associates, demonstrates the continued investment in the Guernsey transactional team and further highlights the importance of the jurisdiction to the global firm.

Walkers' Head of Channel Islands, Fraser Hern, commented:

"The expansion of our Funds, Corporate and Finance team is a welcome consequence of the support that our local and global client base is offering. We now have a top class Guernsey practice. This is consistent with what we are experiencing in Jersey as a consequence of our increased investment in that jurisdiction occurring simultaneously with our investment in Guernsey. We have an ambition to be the leading Channel Islands law firm with true integration across the Jersey and Guernsey offices, and are very excited at the opportunities that are presenting themselves to make this a reality."

 

Guernsey Expansion

Walkers Guernsey's senior Funds, Corporate & Finance team
(Back Row L to R): Sam Shires, Matt Sanders, Kate Storey; (Front Row L to R) Kim Paiva, Stephen Ozanne, Zoë Hallam

Walkers advises Apex Group on three major acquisitions

Leading international law firm Walkers is pleased to have advised leading fund services provider Apex Group Ltd. (“Apex”) on three major acquisitions which significantly enhance its presence and service capabilities in the fund and corporate administration markets in the Channel Islands and Ireland.

Walkers recently advised in relation to the acquisition of Custom House, a leading global hedge fund administrator, the acquisition of Ipes, a private equity fund administration business and the acquisition of the Corporate and Private Client Services (“CPCS”) and Throgmorton businesses of Link Group’s Asset Services division, a multi-jurisdiction corporate and private client services business.

The deals were led by Jersey Partner Jonathan Heaney (Corporate), Guernsey Group Partner Matt Sanders (Corporate) and Dublin Partners Noeleen Ruddy (Finance) and Brendan O'Brien (Corporate) and fielded a team of 15 lawyers across the 3 offices. These transactions showcased the depth of Walkers' seamless multi-jurisdictional offering with regards to complex cross-border leveraged M&A deals. Wilkie Farr Gallagher's London and New York offices acting as lead deal counsel.

Originally established in Bermuda, the Apex Group has 2600 staff across over 40 offices globally: including offices in both Guernsey and Jersey. The acquisitions increase Apex’s assets under administration to over $600 billion and significantly enhance its breadth of service offering in both the fund and corporate administration markets globally and on a local scale across the Channel Islands and Ireland.

Peter Hughes, Founder & Chief Executive Officer Apex Group commented, "The close of the Custom House, Ipes deals and most recently the acquisition of CPCS and Throgmorton mark an exciting milestone for the Apex Group. The addition of these entities signifies an inflection point for the business, moving us from one of the world's largest fund administrators into the wider financial services market as a global provider delivering end-to-end solutions to funds, corporations and private clients. The CPCS, Throgmorton and Ipes teams are comprised of extremely well respected and experienced personnel that will complement our expertise across other service capabilities to complete our global financial services offering."

Walkers' Group Partner Matt Sanders said, "We were delighted to assist on these acquisitions. Working with our teams in Jersey and Ireland, alongside the Willkie teams, and on a challenging timescale, is something that we very much enjoy. We believe that an excellent result has been achieved for our clients. It is another example of Walkers' active role in assisting on M&A deals involving the consolidation of trust, fund and corporate administration businesses in the Channel Islands. Walkers is ideally placed to assist on these types of deals, particularly as these businesses often have a presence in both of the Channel Islands and in Ireland, and Walkers is the only law firm to have offices in all of these jurisdictions. We look forward to continuing to assist in this market, and congratulate Apex on their acquisitions."

UK Location Rule – Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) clarification on a No-Deal Brexit basis

In a welcome clarification on 4 February, the CBI published a Notice of Intention on its website in relation to the location requirements for directors and designated persons of Irish fund management and self-managed companies ("ManCos").

The Notice of Intention clarifies that should the UK leave the EU on a no-deal basis, the CBI will consider whether the UK is a country that meets the Effective Supervision Requirement. Currently, half of the directors of a ManCo and half of a ManCo's managerial functions must be performed by at least two designated persons resident in the EEA or such other country as the CBI may, taking into account criteria regarding effective supervision, determine and advise by notice published on its website.

For the period while this is under consideration the CBI does not propose adopting a default position which would treat the UK as not satisfying the above Effective Supervision Requirement. Accordingly, where there is a no-deal Brexit, UK resident directors/designated persons who currently fall within the EEA resident category can remain in situ from 30 March 2019 for the purpose of being counted towards the Effective Supervision Requirement, until such time as the CBI makes its determination.

Further information is available here.

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