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Cayman Islands

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Legal market overview

With approximately 10,700 private investment funds registered with The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Cayman Islands (Cayman) remains the leading domicile for investment funds. With an upsurge in deal flow from US corporations and private equity firms, Cayman also retains its appeal as a popular destination for offshore M&A and IPOs.

On the contentious side, although certain corporate liquidation work slackened off, as limitation periods for Cayman-related claims from the global financial crisis expired, a number of ongoing liquidations and the pursuit of assets continue to keep the jurisdiction's litigators busy.

Cayman's private client and trusts lawyers have also been busy advising on the new Cayman Islands Foundation Companies Law, which introduced foundation companies; these are flexible vehicles that can achieve a range of private client, family business and philanthropic objectives. A new beneficial ownership register regime also came into play, which requires all Cayman companies and Cayman limited liability companies to maintain a beneficial ownership register, unless they are eligible for certain exemptions.

In the legal market, firms from outside of the Caribbean continue to launch Cayman outposts. In October 2018, Channel Islands-based law firm Bedell Cristin merged with domestic outfit Solomon Harris. The year also saw outbound expansion among the islands' law firms; Maples and Calder opened an office in Jersey, which provides Jersey corporate, finance and investment fund legal services, as well as listing agent services for the listing of securities on The International Stock Exchange (TISE) in the Channel Islands.

Back in Cayman, high-profile movements among partners included Walkers’ former Cayman managing partner Antonia Hardy retiring from the firm and former finance and corporate partner Richard Munden joining Carey Olsen; Harneys' recruitment of Nicole Pineda, previously at Travers Thorp Alberga, to lead the banking and finance practice in Cayman; and former Africa group head Patrick Colegrave joining Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc.

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