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Legal market overview
With the BVI maintaining its popularity as a jurisdiction for offshore holding structures, its legal market continues to welcome new entrants. In 2012, international offshore law firms Mourant Ozannes and Bedell Cristin launched BVI offices, while at the start of 2013 Carey Olsen, looking to strengthen its Caribbean offering to clients, arrived through an association with Hempel and Boyd. In October 2013, Hempel and Boyd rebranded, taking the Carey Olsen name in the jurisdiction.
Local firms are also expanding at international level. BVI firm O'Neal Webster - Barristers & Solicitors has launched a London office under Christopher McKenzie, who previously headed Walkers’ BVI private client team.
The Legal Profession Bill, introduced by BVI premier Orlando Smith in June 2012, is anticipated to come into effect shortly. It is welcomed by the local industry as it will regulate and protect BVI law practice; designed to maintain the reputation of the legal profession and to promote the island as a globally competitive financial services centre, it will also introduce a code of ethics for the BVI’s legal profession.
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This client briefing examines a number of issues which arise on the redemption of shares by an investor in a BVI investment fund which may lead to disputes between the investor, the fund, and other investors.
By Kerry Anderson
Click here -> onealwebster.asianinvestor.dec12 to read Kerry Anderson's co-published chapter featured in Asian Investor (December 2012) entitled 'Fast and Simple in the BVI - The British Virgin Islands have responded to regulatory changes by making fund and manager domiciling painless and efficient.
The attempt by Fairfield Sentry's liquidators to recover monies paid out to investors by way of redemption proceeds has been blocked by both the BVI High Court and now the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, both Courts finding that the liquidators have no ability to do so. Read more ...
The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has re-affirmed that a debt arising out of unpaid redemption proceeds does not confer standing on an investor to apply for the winding up of the company. Read more...
Fund investors and the fund industry globally should take note of the recent decision of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Appellate Division’s (the “Court of Appeal”) in Madoff related litigation. Essentially, the Court of Appeal found that monies could not be recovered from former investors by the liquidators of Fairfield Sentry Limited (“Fairfield”) a BVI investment fund and investor in Bernard L Madoff Investments Securities limited (“BLMIS”), where those investors had redeemed their shares for significant value before BLMIS collapsed.
The BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2012 (the Amendment Act) and the BVI Business Company Regulations, 2012 (the Regulations) came into force on 15 October 2012. The new legislation is designed to refine and upgrade the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 (the Act) to ensure the British Virgin Islands (BVI) maintains its position as one of the leading corporate domiciles.
The British Virgin Islands ("BVI") is the world's leading offshore corporate domicile and is known for continuously refining its laws to accord with, and improve upon international standards whilst promoting a business oriented framework.
WHERE IS THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS The British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a British overseas territory situated to the east of Puerto Rico between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The country consists of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke and over fifty other smaller islands and cays clustered around the aquamarine waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
The much anticipated Trade Marks Bill (“the Bill”) was recently circulated to the industry for comments. The Bill, which when enacted will be known as the Trade Marks Act, 2012, promises to introduce much needed change to the trademark industry in the British Virgin Islands and place the jurisdiction in line with other modern jurisdictions.
Stamford Law advised Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd, a party in the Banyan Caverns Storage Services Pte Ltd ( BCSS ) consortium, in a successful joint venture bid to operate the Jurong Rock Caverns. The operatorship of South East Asia's first subterranean hydrocarbon storage facility will be for a period of 15 years and has a contractual value of about S$200 million.
Attorney and Partner Søren Stenderup Jensen has written an article about the Danish Government's new resource strategy "Denmark without waste" in the recent edition of ILO's newsletter on environmental law.- Plesner
Stamford Law successfully appealed in the Singapore Court of Appeal against a High Court judgment which held the main contractor solely liable in negligence for the collapse of a crane into a concealed manhole at a worksite in 2010, with the Court of Appeal apportioning 40% of liability in negligence to the subcontractor. The Court of Appeal's judgment clarified important issues of law pertaining to the legal responsibility for worksite safety, the relationship between the statutory framework of the Work Safety and Health Act (Cap 354A) and common law duties, and the applicable standard of care.
Stamford Law advised Tuaspring Pte. Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hyflux Ltd) in the S$720 million 18-year term loan facility to fund the development of Singapore's second and largest reverse osmosis desalination plant and integrated on-site power generation plant.
Stamford Law advised Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings Limited on its initial public offering and listing on the Catalist board of the SGX-ST. Based in Singapore, Kim Heng is an established integrated offshore and marine value chain services provider for the oil & gas industry. Based on the invitation price of S$0.25, Kim Heng is valued at S$177.5 million post-offering.
Stamford Law acted as Singapore counsel to Bain Capital Partners LLC in its US$501 million offer to buy all shares of Macromill Inc., a Japanese online market research company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange which has Yahoo Japan Corporation as its biggest shareholder. Under the terms of the offer, Bain Capital will buy up to 65.4 million shares at 786 yen per Macromill share. Bain Capital is a private investment firm based in Boston, USA with more than US$70 billion in assets. Ropes & Gray (Tokyo) and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto are advising Bain Capital and TMI Associates is advising Macromill.
As part of Stamford Law's corporate responsibility initiatives, lawyers are encouraged to take on pro bono legal representations on a case-by-case basis.
Stamford Law is pleased to announce that our market-leading corporate practice has been ranked 2 nd amongst Singapore firms by Mergermarket for M&A activity by value within Q1-Q4 2013 in the Southeast Asia region. The firm's practice has a sizeable lead of $1.81 billion over the next Singapore firm on the league table.
Stamford Law is advising AVIC International Kairong Limited on the share acquisition and the implementation of a general offer for 39,762,858 shares of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG which are listed on the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The offer values KHD at over EUR 320 million.
Stamford Law represented the Rickmers Trust Management Pte. Ltd., Trustee-Manager of Mainboard-listed Rickmers Maritime (a business trust), in the establishment of its S$300 million multicurrency medium term note programme. DBS Bank Ltd. and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation acted as joint arrangers and dealers of the programme.