UK offshore report: Staying afloat

UK offshore report: Staying afloat

‘Anyone who says they’re not struggling would be lying,’ says Tim Pearce, global managing partner of Bedell Cristin, referring to the Jersey market. ‘Every sector of the economy and every business has struggled or suffered as a result of Covid, though businesses have struggled in different ways. Some financially, others socially. Others are struggling in terms of pure management. But for us, and indeed for the offshore industry as a whole, we’ve weathered the storm OK so far.’

Pearce’s cautiously optimistic outlook reverberates throughout the discussions with partners across the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands archipelago and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea to the north – the jurisdictions collectively known as the Crown Dependencies. Unlike the UK, domestic property is booming, buoyed by numerous factors. ‘In times of crisis, people invest in what they know,’ says Pearce. ‘People are looking for safe havens right now and property in all of our offshore jurisdictions is benefiting from that.’ Continue reading “UK offshore report: Staying afloat”

Caribbean offshore report: End of the storm?

Caribbean offshore report: End of the storm?

The Caribbean’s offshore financial centres have faced their fair share of challenges in recent years thanks to the increased international scrutiny of the tax haven environments, the impact of falling oil prices and the business interruption caused by the seemingly endless cycle of hurricanes, which sees the region bear the brunt of the ever-pervasive impact of climate change. Add to that a global pandemic, and there’s certainly the potential for a substantial economic disaster.

While the Covid-19 infection numbers for the Caribbean as a whole have remained low thanks to quick action by the local governments to close borders, enact temporary lockdowns and implement testing and contact tracing methods, the primary impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Caribbean is undoubtedly on tourism. For Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Cayman Islands (Cayman), the tourism industry contributes 28%, 52% and 70% of the average GDP respectively and figures suggest that, at worst, 2020 could see a 71% reduction in the number of international visitors. Continue reading “Caribbean offshore report: End of the storm?”

Letter from Iberia – Despite global meltdown, local lawyers remain upbeat

Letter from Iberia – Despite global meltdown, local lawyers remain upbeat

For most, May 2019 will feel like a lifetime ago, and Iberia is little different. When Legal Business last visited its legal market, the major talking point was the impact of highly-regarded dealmaker Juan Picón’s move from DLA Piper to Latham & Watkins the year before.

Less than 12 months later on 14 March 2020, the Spanish government imposed a national lockdown in response to the Covid-19 crisis. On 29 March, it was announced that, beginning the following day, all non-essential workers were ordered to remain at home for the next 14 days. It quickly became the case that Spain became one of Europe’s worst-affected countries, being the second country after Russia to record half a million cases of the disease. Continue reading “Letter from Iberia – Despite global meltdown, local lawyers remain upbeat”

Ireland: No luck required

Ireland: No luck required

Legal Business’ last deep delve into the Irish legal market revealed a country on the rebound. Since the country’s exit from a bailout package cobbled together by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the island of Ireland had proven itself robust.

By 2019 that recovery looked even more assured: GDP grew a strong 5.5%, making it six consecutive years as Europe’s fastest-growing economy. For comparison, Hungary was closest last year to matching its pace with a growth of 4.9%. Sure, the persistent gnaw of uncertainty could be felt as Brexit loomed ever larger, but the feeling was after years of forewarning, Irish business was as prepared as it could be in the face of a tumultuous but manageable 2020. Continue reading “Ireland: No luck required”

A very clear shift – Remaking the Swiss economy

A very clear shift – Remaking the Swiss economy

After delivering his keynote address at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, President Trump immediately left to catch the plane home. En route to Air Force One, every bridge crossing the highway on which his limousine passed was closed, doing everything to sweep aside potential delays to his exit. Yet despite being the world’s most expensive country to live, few locals ever choose to emigrate from Switzerland – except perhaps to retire in warmer climates.

And why would they? Swiss citizens enjoy a high living standard, low levels of inflation, unemployment and crime and enviable economic and political stability. ‘Even if the cost of living is high, the high salaries, the high quality of life, the beautiful landscape, security – all of that creates an attractive package,’ says Daniel Hochstrasser, managing partner of Bär & Karrer. Continue reading “A very clear shift – Remaking the Swiss economy”

Southern and Eastern Europe – A different hue

Southern and Eastern Europe – A different hue

Anyone making a business trip to Tirana 20 years ago was in for a surprise if they ventured outside the comfort of the city’s hotels to see what was on offer. There was plenty of interest in the obvious sights – the derelict Piramida, built to honour Albania’s dictator, Enver Hoxha, or Skanderbeg Square, with its stately neo-Renaissance buildings – but there was something else, too. There was colour. And lots of it.

Albania had recently emerged from Hoxha’s repressive, quasi-Stalinist regime and Tirana’s mayor, Edi Rama – now the country’s 33rd prime minister – had celebrated by painting the town pink. And yellow. And lime-green. And, seemingly, just about any other bright colour that was available. Tirana’s buildings were making a statement. The millennium had dawned and the post- Soviet era was over. Continue reading “Southern and Eastern Europe – A different hue”

Sponsored spotlight: Dispute resolution: Strategic case management with legal acumen

Sponsored spotlight: Dispute resolution: Strategic case management with legal acumen

State court litigation and private arbitration proceedings require practitioners to combine legal thoroughness and the management of evidence with strategic ingenuity. Understanding court processes, legal practice and tactical procedural advantages all add up to sound advice in contentious legal matters.

Dispute resolution in all its appearances enjoys a long-standing tradition at Prager Dreifuss. Our attorneys represent parties before local state courts as well as administrative authorities. Debt collection and bankruptcy matters are strong areas of our practice, in particular in disputes involving foreign parties. International arbitration has attained special significance in our firm and a number of our attorneys are regularly appointed as arbitrators in institutional and ad hoc arbitration tribunals. Continue reading “Sponsored spotlight: Dispute resolution: Strategic case management with legal acumen”

Global offshore – Stick or twist for the sector’s leaders

Global offshore – Stick or twist for the sector’s leaders

On paper at least, history will show that 2019 was a very good year. Encouraged by sustained low interest rates, declining trade policy uncertainty and diminished fears of an economic slowdown, US stock markets led the way: the S&P 500 ended the year up 28% and the Nasdaq 35%. Meanwhile, the Europe-wide STOXX 600 increased by 23% and the FTSE 100 by a more modest 12%.

But on the ground, things seemed a little different for many offshore law firms. ‘Even by recent standards, 2019 was an extraordinary year in geopolitical and macro-economic terms: US-China trade wars, Brexit uncertainty, volatility in the US dollar/GBP exchange rate, tension in Hong Kong and the growing risk of a global economic downturn,’ says Jonathan Rigby, global managing partner of Mourant. Continue reading “Global offshore – Stick or twist for the sector’s leaders”

The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life

The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life

Visiting Milan at the end of 2019, it was striking that a map of law firms’ office addresses drawn up just the year before was no longer reliable: too many had moved, taken up larger premises… or no longer existed.

Finding our way to meetings with 20 partners at domestic and international firms, an unusual buzzword was emerging: consolidation. ‘There are too many Italian firms and there is not space for everyone, so they need to consolidate,’ argues one Milan-based partner of a foreign firm. Continue reading “The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life”