British Virgin Islands
Corporate and commercial
Harneys’ ‘advice is commercial, sensible and extremely straightforward, while the level of service is outstanding’. The team welcomed Greg Boyd from Carey Olsen as partner in 2015 and advised DBS’ teams in Hong Kong and Singapore on the BVI aspects of DBS’ acquisition of the Asian private banking business of Société Générale in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as selected parts of its trust business. Other work included acting alongside colleagues in the Hong Kong and Cayman offices to advise Kaisa on a highly complex and contentious $2.4bn debt restructuring in China with multi-jurisdictional elements. Corporate highlights included advising student accommodation fund manager Brandeaux on the BVI law elements of the £1.1bn sale of its Liberty Living property management portfolio to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. BVI head of banking and finance Tanya Cassie-Parker’s ‘level of service, commerciality and responsiveness far exceed the levels experienced by other jurisdictions’. Russell Willings leads on BVI transactions, Jacqueline Daley is BVI head of corporate and commercial head, and Philip Graham leads on BVI investment funds and regulatory matters.
Harneys is ‘an effective top-drawer firm for the BVI and offshore generally’. Key contentious matters in the fund space included acting for a shareholder of a leading New York hedge fund in a highly contentious conspiracy and unfair prejudice petition, which was brought to prevent the $350m restructuring of a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed BVI company. BVI head of litigation and insolvency Andrew Thorp led the representation of defendants against a $450m claim by a Kazakh governmental agency over ownership of uranium mines in Kazakhstan; Thorp and senior associate Jonathan Addo ‘impress with their detailed familiarity of the finer points of governing local law’. Jeremy Child is ‘very responsive and handles transactions smoothly’; senior associate Claire Goldstein is ‘an engaging advocate, whose style and eloquence commands the attention of the bench’; Mungo Lowe and Stuart Cullen are also key figures. Richard Brown joined Carey Olsen (Jersey), Kissock Laing was appointed to the Bench in Jamaica and Claire Robey also left the firm.
Harneys’ ‘level of service is always excellent; its advisers are prompt with responses and have sound knowledge of the trust business’. The practice advises on the establishment and restructuring of all types of British Virgin Islands (BVI) trusts, including Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (VISTA) trusts, with the client base including trust companies, banks and high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and their families. The BVI practice experienced an increase in contentious instructions involving complex tax and trusts structuring, cross-border probate, succession planning and international trusts. Recent highlights include acting for an Asian trustee of a complex $1bn BVI unit trust on the winding up of the structure. Cayman Islands (Cayman) and BVI-based Henry Mander is ‘always reachable, gives undivided care to his clients and is very knowledgeable’. Will Burnell is a key associate. The firm’s recently rebranded fiduciary arm, Harneys Fiduciary, hired former Ogier senior associate Lawrie Kearns.
Further information on Harneys
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