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Ward Yates is a leading Jersey law firm specialising in corporate, finance and  trust law. The firm has established a reputation for punching above its weight and being instructed regularly by leading onshore intermediaries and local trust companies on high-profile and high-value matters. Its clients range from regulated trust companies to listed funds, and the largest single corporate deal by value this year was ÂŁ740m.

The firm: The firm was founded by Nick Ward and Victoria Yates, both former partners of one of the largest international law firms based in Jersey, each of them having over 15 years’ legal experience, including ten years as advocates of the Royal Court of Jersey. Elaine Kelly, a senior banking and corporate lawyer, became a partner on 1 August 2016 and Elena Moran joined as a partner to head the firm’s dispute resolution practice on 1 October 2018.

Ward Yates is perceived by clients as a genuine alternative to larger Tier 1 firms and is known for having excellent partner-led client service, responsiveness and commerciality. The firm is also valued for its competitive pricing and ability to work on a fixed-fee basis, even on transactional matters.

Ward Yates’ key objective is to provide a partner-led, yet cost-sensitive solution to fiduciary businesses, international companies and private clients and their onshore advisers. Its ethos is to provide the technical quality and level of service expected from larger firms, but with the personal delivery, responsiveness and focus on the overall client relationship that drives a small practice.

It is particularly well-known for its work advising international clients, including sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, listed companies and property developers, on high-profile and significant UK real estate investments which are structured through Jersey vehicles. It also has a strong reputation advising on all aspects of trust and corporate structures for international private clients and entrepreneurs.

In addition to advising on Jersey law, Ward Yates provides BVI corporate and finance advice. It regularly advises a significant number of leading trust companies on matters relating to client entities that they administer. It has developed a strong practice advising trust companies on their own account in relation to their own internal equity agreements, precedents and commercial contracts.

Types of work undertaken:

Corporate: Ward Yates advises on all aspects of corporate structuring and transactional work, including due diligence, acquisitions and disposals, mergers, shareholder agreements and joint venture arrangements, as well as insolvency and restructuring. It provides constitutional documents, corporate authorisations and regulatory advice in connection with the establishment of Jersey structures. It also provides legal opinions and corporate advice, including advice where companies are entering into transactions, borrowing, granting security over their assets, making distributions, migrating, merging or winding up. In addition to advising on Jersey law, Ward Yates is also able to provide BVI legal opinions and advise on general BVI corporate matters.

Finance: Ward Yates advises banks and other financial institutions on all aspects of lending and security packages involving Jersey and BVI entities and assets.  The largest single development financing this year being for over ÂŁ500m.

Trusts: Ward Yates advises on all aspects of trust law. It provides constitutional documents and supplemental deeds for the establishment, operation and termination of both traditional private client vehicles (discretionary trusts, purpose trusts and foundations), as well as alternative private wealth structures such as family unit trusts and limited partnerships. It also advises in relation to the transactional work that often takes place at or below the main trust structure level, where Jersey entities are entering into transactions, borrowing, granting security over their assets or being restructured. Ward Yates also advise in relation to commercial trusts, including in the context of employee benefit structures.

Dispute Resolution:  Ward Yates advises beneficiaries and trustees on all aspects of contentious trusts law including breach of trust claims, requests for information, applications to set aside for mistake and enforcement of foreign judgments.  It also advises on complex commercial litigation and company law disputes, including minority shareholder actions and claims of breach of fiduciary duty against directors.  Other areas of expertise include employment law, enforcement of restrictive covenants and regulatory work including investigations by the JFSC.

  • Number of UK partners: 4
  • Breakdown of work %

  • Corporate: 40
  • Finance: 30
  • Trusts: 30

Above material supplied by Ward Yates.

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