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”
In a tough period for international firms at the hands of legal regulators, US firm Locke Lord received the largest-ever fine handed down by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in November.
The £500,000 penalty handed to Locke Lord came after one of its former UK lawyers engaged in ‘dubious financial arrangements’ with a client’s bank account. The lawyer in question, Jonathan Denton, left the firm in October 2015. Continue reading “Locke Lord fined, Clydes ex-partner suspended, while Appleby hit by data breach”
The growing threat of cyber-attacks shows no sign of abating, with news that global offshore firm Appleby was the victim of a data breach last year.
In a statement on the firm’s website posted yesterday (24 October), Appleby conceded that a ‘data security incident’ took place in 2016. Continue reading “‘Sector needs to take this seriously’: cyber-attack on offshore firm Appleby sees data on brink of entering public domain”
On April Fool’s Day this year, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co notified its clients that it had sustained an email hack. It instantly became the world’s best-known law firm following the leak of 11.5 million documents, cherry-picked by global media outlets, that revealed confidential client information. The Panama Papers made news and so did offshore law firms. Again.
But for every offshore firm, regardless of jurisdiction, the Panama Papers leak was no laughing matter: the inevitable public outcry further fuelled the enduring debate over tax and transparency. Continue reading “Standing apart – the offshore fallout from the Panama Papers”
The leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca has reheated a debate about tax and transparency that in truth hasn’t much cooled since the banking crisis. And from a narrow legal industry perspective, it will pile additional pressure on the offshore community. Continue reading “Comment: Shifting the Overton window – Panama Papers will change the consensus on tax (and boost corporate law firms)”
The government has announced today (19 March) it is to establish a strict liability offence for offshore tax evasion – despite concerns expressed by regulatory bodies including the Law Society.
Continue reading “Tackling evasion: Government set to create strict liability for offshore tax evasion despite Law Society concerns”
It’s been a challenging period for European firms, but a growing band of players see a substantive City presence as core to their future prospects
Top-tier French outfit Gide Loyrette Nouel is the only continental European firm ever to have made our list of the 50 largest foreign firms in London and its fortunes in the Capital in recent years tell the story of many international firms post-Lehman. In 2008, it had 45 lawyers in the City. By 2013, this had fallen to 34. This is against a backdrop of poor financial performance in recent years, with turnover dropping 30% from £7.8m to £5.5m in the 2011/12 financial year, alongside a gross profit drop of 63% from £3.8m to £1.4m.
Continue reading “Global London – Part of the game”