Walkers

Main Story:
Cayman Islands law firms

How will Cayman fit into your firm’s offshore structure in the future?
The Cayman Islands will always be pivotal to the structure of Walkers. Even as we continue to gain more work from other offices across our international network, a great deal of our work from those other offices involves the provisioning of Cayman Islands legal and management services to clients around the world.
 
We predict there will be greater opportunities for offshore finance and private equity structures in Asia, particularly where there has been significant growth in foreign direct investment. Due to differences in legal frameworks and financial markets in Asia and around the world, achieving success for shareholders, investors and creditors can sometimes prove challenging. The dependability of the Cayman Islands’ legal system is often a key factor in the decision to use Cayman incorporated companies in Asian corporate structures. Our offices in both Singapore and Hong Kong give us a strong position from which to guide clients with these types of structures.
 
What are your expectations for Cayman as a jurisdiction?

We continue to have high expectations for the jurisdiction. We are proud of the integral role that the Cayman Islands play in the global capital markets. The jurisdiction has shown time and time again that it is a leader in the worldwide marketplace, and that the Cayman legal and regulatory systems stand tall on the fundamentals of transparency and openness.
 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) have recognised the Cayman Islands for transparency and “know-your-client” regulations with standards that surpass many of the world’s top international financial centres. Cayman’s position on the OECD white list further illustrates the jurisdiction’s commitment to a strict regulatory environment, which our clients – leading FORTUNE 100 and FTSE 100 global corporations and financial institutions and investment fund managers – appreciate.
 
International financial centres such as the Cayman Islands play a key role in enhancing liquidity in international markets and providing neutral jurisdictions for investors which simplify the challenges of doing business where participants are based in multiple countries. Furthermore, offshore financial centres have been central to transactions and initiatives designed to support the economic recovery.
 
For example, offshore vehicles were involved in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) which has proven critical to the revival of the securitisation market. Similarly there have been numerous transactions in the past year by major investment banks utilising offshore structures, designed to provide relief to balance sheets stricken by so called “toxic assets” during the financial crisis.
 
One of the key aims of the International Financial Centres Forum, which was formed in 2009 by a number of the major offshore law firms, is to ensure that IFCs like Cayman are recognised for the positive contributions they make towards global commerce so that these centres can continue to play this important role.
 
Having said all of this, other international financial centres will always be looking to win our business so Cayman cannot afford to rest on its laurels. We must remain competitive and continue to innovate and enhance our existing products and services, while ensuring that we still provide value for money. Cayman is becoming prohibitively expensive for certain types of support staff, which is largely a result of the restrictions on labour including costly administrative delays and work permit fees.
 
Furthermore, the government must strive to ensure that our financial services legislation remains current or we run the risk of falling behind and losing market share.
 
Historically, one of the key reasons for Cayman’s success has been the manner in which our legislative framework has developed to meet the changing needs of our clients. Going forward it will be vital that we retain this responsiveness in the marketplace.

walkerssm.jpg