Ogier

Main Story:
Cayman Islands law firms

How will Cayman fit into your firm’s offshore structure?
Ogier is a global professional services firm with more than 800 employees worldwide and 9 offices that span the globe from Cayman to Hong Kong and Tokyo.
We are lawyers who provide legal advice on the laws of the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey across five principal service lines: Investment Funds (including Private Equity), Private Wealth, Corporate, Banking & Finance, and Litigation. We also provide bespoke administration and fiduciary services across all of these service lines.
 
We have been practising Cayman law since 1991. Our Cayman practice changed its name from Boxalls in 2004, in the first-ever transatlantic merger in the offshore world, when Ogier (established in Jersey and Guernsey) merged with what was then Boxalls. Since the merger, the Cayman office has been one of the fastest-growing in the Ogier group, growing from some 50 employees in 2004 to over 140 today and establishing itself firmly as a top-tier player in the jurisdiction.
 
Our Cayman office is currently the second-largest office in the Ogier group and we expect the office to continue to grow and play a key role in our firm’s global ambitions. Cayman as a jurisdiction seems to have been the most successful in establishing itself as the offshore international financial centre of choice in all of the time zones that we cover: be it North or South America, Europe and the Middle East, or Asia. It is interesting to note, for example, that Cayman is the only offshore jurisdiction where all six of the largest international offshore law firms has an established presence.
 
What are your expectations for Cayman as a jurisdiction?
Cayman is facing a concerted effort from competitor jurisdictions, such as Ireland and Luxembourg, to attract business to these onshore domiciles. The financial services sector is becoming increasingly regulated and there is an opportunity for rival international financial centres to play upon their perceived regulatory advantages. It is crucial for Cayman’s financial services industry as a whole to advocate its case and to ensure that the factual advantages enjoyed by Cayman are not subsumed by the public relations puff circulated by competitor jurisdictions.
 
There are significant threats to Cayman’s pre-eminence, but there are also opportunities. The engagement by Cayman with the OECD and the network of Tax Information Exchange Agreements that have been signed as a result should reveal, for what it is, the cognitive dissonance of those who continue to refer to Cayman as a tax haven. The movement towards internationally connected regulation should provide a further opportunity to demonstrate Cayman’s maturity and sophistication in this regard.
 
The model of Cayman’s financial services business which evolved during the long bull run from the early 1990s is changing and will need to do so in order for Cayman to prosper in the more austere and regulated age that we have now entered. However, alarmist reports about the demise of Cayman’s dominance of hedge funds are overblown and lack substance. We expect to see private equity and investment funds become subject to increased regulation but, despite this increase in oversight, levels of regulation will still remain lower in Cayman than in many other jurisdictions and tax and structuring advantages will result in Cayman vehicles continuing to be part of the panoply of structures that managers will offer, due to their flexibility and lower cost resulting in potentially higher returns for investors.
 
After a period of uncertainty, Cayman appears to have accepted that it needs to work harder at all levels, within the public and private sectors, to promote the interests of Cayman Inc. There are significant challenges ahead, but there are many excellent opportunities for us to attract substantial activity to shores and to integrate ourselves further into the global cross-border financial services industry.

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