Aftermath – the offshore world post the Brexit vote

Aftermath – the offshore world post the Brexit vote

‘The morning after the night before, there was stunned silence,’ says David Cadin, managing partner at Bedell Cristin. For offshore law firms, the long-term implications of Brexit are no clearer than for their onshore counterparts and they are equally loath to make predictions when uncertainty continues to surround terms for the UK’s departure from the EU.

As Antonia Hardy, Cayman Islands managing partner of Walkers, puts it: ‘In terms of offshore access for financial services, no-one knows yet – like everything to do with Brexit the answer is possibly and hopefully.’ She offers a very positive take: ‘Offshore centres have always been required to apply for European access independently of the UK and so we do not foresee any negative impact from the Brexit decision.’

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Standing tall – 2015 in review for the offshore elite

Standing tall – 2015 in review for the offshore elite

The offshore transactional market continues to go from strength to strength. Our annual focus on the ten largest offshore firms again reveals impressive activity levels during the last year. According to Appleby’s recent private equity report, during the third quarter of 2015 deal activity was even more robust than usual: there were 660 offshore deals during the quarter, worth a total of $60.7bn. Of those, 26 involved private equity firms either acquiring or disposing of their investments. With a combined worth of $16.1bn, private equity deals therefore represented over a quarter of total offshore activity by value in Q3 2015.

Material growth in private equity-backed M&A is a trend that looks set to continue, according to Ogier global managing partner Nick Kershaw. ‘The asset classes are diverse, from real estate to trust companies, but there is consistent acquisitive appetite,’ he says. Ogier acted on several high-profile deals in 2015, such as providing Jersey law advice to Palamon Capital Partners on the £200m joint acquisition with Corsair Capital of Currencies Direct.

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Making gains – to be or not to be in the fiduciary business

Making gains – to be or not to be in the fiduciary business

In July, global offshore firm Appleby announced the management buyout (MBO) of its fiduciary business for an undisclosed sum, backed by private equity house Bridgepoint. Completion is subject to regulatory and legal approvals, but is expected to wrap up by the end of 2015.

According to group chair Frances Woo, the sale had been considered for some time, so that the fiduciary arm could continue to develop new products while the legal side could invest in new technology and knowledge management going forward.

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Changing Tack – Bermuda triangulation

Changing Tack – Bermuda triangulation

Mythical triangles notwithstanding, the island state of Bermuda plays host to the prestigious America’s Cup in June 2017. But while it may be two years before the world’s sailing elite descends on the island state, competition for the local offshore firms has already arrived. In May, Cayman-based Walkers announced it would open in Bermuda later this year. This came just one month after Bennett Jones’ (Bermuda) law practice was launched through an association with Canada-based law firm, Bennett Jones.

These are significant changes for the islands, which have little experience of overseas firms on their territory, save for Sedgwick Chudleigh, which opened in Bermuda in 2006 in conjunction with international firm Sedgwick. Subject to regulatory approval, Walkers’ opening will be the first major offshore firm headquartered outside the islands to open in Bermuda. It wasn’t the only major player to show a keen interest this year either: British Virgin Islands (BVI)-based Harneys at press time announced a combination with Bermudian firm Hurrion & Associates to form a full-service practice, Harneys Bermuda. Continue reading “Changing Tack – Bermuda triangulation”

The tide is high – the report card on the world’s top offshore players

The tide is high – the report card on the world’s top offshore players

With global corporate markets experiencing a resurgence in 2014, the strongest offshore law firms had key roles to play in the world’s most high-profile deals and disputes. Legal Business’ annual offshore survey assesses recent highlights and profiles the leading offshore law firms.

In many ways, the last 12 months have represented another robust year for the ten largest global offshore law firms. In our first annual report on those firms last year, a number cited double-digit increases in revenues on the previous year. This year, a number are again reporting significant growth.

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Offshore: Putting funds back on the map

Offshore: Putting funds back on the map

With transactional work picking up globally, offshore funds are back in vogue. We assess the most active offshore firms and the key recent developments

The renewed sense of optimism emanating from the world’s major financial centres has clearly made its way offshore. While the global financial crisis put successful launches of offshore private equity, real estate and listed funds on hold, the mood has clearly changed. New funds and start-ups are upbeat again and the fund practices of offshore law firms are enjoying healthy flows of work.

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Centre of the universe – the offshore counsel role in big ticket deals

Centre of the universe – the offshore counsel role in big ticket deals

With corporate lawyers finding their feet once more, Legal Business examines the often overlooked role of offshore firms in major global corporate and capital markets transactions

2014 has been the year where the corporate lawyer has begun to feel valued again. Take Dublin-based drug manufacturer Shire’s proposed £32bn takeover by US giant AbbVie, which is scheduled to close this year and pitches US/UK corporate heavyweights Sullivan & Cromwell and Herbert Smith Freehills opposite Davis Polk & Wardwell and Slaughter and May for Shire. But while those elite international firms make the headlines, the deal is to be implemented via a scheme of arrangement in Jersey, based on advice to Shire from a Mourant Ozannes team led by partner Robert Hickling, with Ogier’s Simon Dinning heading a team for AbbVie.

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Staying on top – inside the 10 firms aiming to dominate the global offshore market

Staying on top – inside the 10 firms aiming to dominate the global offshore market

Offshore jurisdictions have responded proactively to recent global initiatives affecting how they operate. Legal Business assesses recent developments and profiles the top offshore law firms

Law firms are noted for their ability to turn difficult situations to their advantage and the global offshore giants have certainly demonstrated this quality in recent years. While the vast majority of these firms are more opaque about their financial performance than even the offshore tax arrangements that have come under global scrutiny in recent years, some report double-digit growth in revenues and in the main it appears, despite the general economic malaise, they are well insulated against a crisis.

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Into the light

Into the light

Still demonised by Western governments for aiding tax evasion, major offshore centres have in recent years ushered in substantive moves to bolster standards and transparency. Will it be enough?

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron wrote to the leaders of several UK Crown dependencies and British overseas territories in May, confirming his support of their low-tax status, but insisting they establish new rules that complement international initiatives against tax avoidance. Continue reading “Into the light”

Through the maze

Through the maze

Complex and controversial, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive has finally emerged, with huge regulatory implications for global funds. Legal Business asks if offshore jurisdictions can chart their way through

In force since 22 July, the EU directive on alternative investment fund managers (AIFMD) marks a huge change to the European private equity and venture capital industry. Developed to regulate hedge funds and private equity and the promotion of alternative investment funds within the EU, the AIFMD is set on advancing the stability and transparency of investment vehicles.

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