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2016 and early 2017 have been incredibly strong for private equity fundraising, with fundraising both nationally and internationally at some of the highest levels seen after the 2008 crash. Indeed, a particular difficulty for managers has been, if anything, finding appropriate assets to invest in, leading to some funds having surplus capital to deploy, and others seeking to structure funds using either different asset classes or broadening their horizons within them.

One particular private equity fundraising of note is the SoftBank Vision Fund, a $100bn fund with significant commitments from leading technology companies and sovereign wealth funds – the domiciliation of this fund in Jersey somewhat bucking a trend towards the use of Ireland and Luxembourg as jurisdictions of choice for private equity funds, primarily due to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIMFD), a trend which has also affected hedge funds, which have been traditionally based in the Cayman Islands. Hedge fund performance has improved after some setbacks in recent years, although conversely 2016 was a quiet year for the listed funds market with few funds making initial public offerings.

Political uncertainty has led to an increased focus on currency risks, with a number of managers employing fund structures to allow limited partners a choice of currencies when investing in the same fund.

Market developments included the collapse of King & Wood Mallesons’s European presence, resulting in the dispersal of a significant funds practice with Goodwin and Greenberg Traurig, LLP taking the bulk of the traditional and real estate funds respectively; and the three-way merger between CMS, Nabarro and Olswang, fusing the global presence, real estate expertise and technology knowledge from each of the firms.

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