Firms To Watch: Regulatory and compliance

Boutique outfit BeesMont Law maintains a specialism in innovative fintech and digital asset structures, fielding Stephanie Sanderson (the former chairman of the Bermuda Industry/Government Joint Committee on FATCA and CRS) and Sharon Beesley (a director of the board of the Bermuda Monetary Authority).

Regulatory and compliance in Bermuda

Appleby

Presided over by Sally Penrose, who is at the forefront of legislative and regulatory change in the jurisdiction, the regulatory practice at Appleby advises a whole host of financial institutions, multinational corporations, professional and public bodies on regulatory and licensing issues. Alongside its economic substance knowledge (Penrose was heavily involved in the  Economic Substance Task Force established by the Bermudan Minister of Finance), the group also assists clients with issues arising from the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes, and provides assistance with regulatory licenses and issues arising under the Investment Business Act, the Insurance Act and the Investment Funds Act. From the contentious perspective, dispute resolution practice head John Wasty regularly advises insurers, reinsurers, captives, hedge funds, investment advisers and financial institutions on Bermuda Monetary Authority and Regulatory Authority of Bermuda investigations and enforcement actions.

Practice head(s):

Sally Penrose

Other key lawyers:

John Wasty

Work highlights

  • Advised the largest telecoms company in Bermuda, One Communications group of companies, on its statutory appeal of the General Determination issued by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (Authority).

Walkers

The regulatory and risk advisory team at Walkers attracts praise for its ‘ability to tackle complex regulatory considerations and structures by providing commercial and practical solutions’. Working in tandem with colleagues from other international offices on a cross-jurisdictional basis, the department primarily advises financial institutions including banks, investment funds, fintech companies, corporate service providers and insurance entities on day-to-day financial regulatory compliance issues, AML and counter-terrorist and proliferation financing work, the economic substance regime, international sanctions, private funds requirements, automatic exchange of information matters, FATCA reporting work and regulatory issues arising from the fintech and digital assets spheres. Globally, Cayman-based Lucy Frew  leads the practice, which also includes Natalie Neto, who has been instrumental in the development of Bermuda’s digital assets legislation. Senior associate Melanie Fullerton (top-notch knowledge of regulatory matters) adds a unique perspective on regulatory issues, having previously worked at the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Frew

Other key lawyers:

Natalie Neto; Melanie Fullerton

Testimonials

‘Ability to tackle complex regulatory considerations and structures by providing commercial and practical solutions.’

‘Melanie Fullerton has top-notch knowledge of regulatory matters and is well connected in the industry, providing easy to digest advice on complex matters and overlays the practical.’

Key clients

Diamond Standard

Kettle Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Diamond Standard Ltd. on its application and subsequent approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority for a Class M License in accordance with the Digital Asset Business Act 2018 (as amended).
  • Advised Kettle Ltd. on the formation and licensing of a new innovative insurance agent with the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited

The multidisciplinary team at Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited advises clients on the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious regulatory and compliance issues. Notably, it assists clients with the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and the local economic substance regimes, as well as guiding banking institutions and fiduciary companies through the anti-money laundering regimes. Managing partner Michael Hanson  has extensive experience in reputational risk matters and sensitive regulatory investigations, while counsel Kyle Masters  (whose ‘prior experience with regulators is key’) frequently advises clients on their interactions with statutory bodies and regulators, including in relation to licensing applications and appeals. Additional names to note are Mary Ward , Gavin Woods , senior counsel Michael Frith  and counsel Ashley Fife , who specialises in regulatory issues affecting trustees.

Testimonials

‘Bermuda regulations are constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up. Carey Olsen help me stay up to date on what is going on. They also give me the context for changes so I can understand what practically matters and what doesn’t. Its good to know they have the best relationships with all the regulators should I get in a pickle.’

‘Kyle Masters’ prior experience with regulators is key – it provides me with the assurance that we are approaching things correctly (often regulators say one thing and want another). He is clearly respected by the regulators and is, therefore, the person I want on my side.’

I have received regulatory/compliance advice from a range of other associates and partners and it is always consistently strong and accurate advice.’

They go above and beyond to understand their clients’ businesses, enabling them to offer sound and commercial advice.’

The individuals I have worked with offer first-class client care and are ultra-responsive and easy to work with.’

The team has a focused and in-depth understanding of this area of expertise. They also have a problem-solving and innovative approach to problems faced by clients which is very successful.’

Key clients

Bermuda Registrar of Companies

Ascendant Group (now known as Liberty Group)

Bermuda Commercial Bank Limited

The Hamilton Medical Centre Limited

Arch Capital Group Limited

Cedar Hamilton / Nuclear Electric insurance Company

Meritus Trust Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a doctor and The Hamilton Medical Centre Limited on a successful judicial review application by the director of a medical clinic against the Bermuda Health Council.
  • Advised the Bermuda Registrar of Companies on the development and implementation of Bermuda’s Economic Substance Act and related regulations.
  • Advised Arch Capital Group Ltd. on all Bermuda law aspects of its merger with Watford Holdings, including all of the Bermuda regulatory filings and its defence of its offer from interloper Enstar Group.

Conyers

Under the leadership of Julie McLean , the regulatory group at Conyers, which is comprised of fund, insurance and corporate specialists, advises on a range of regulatory requirements and is particularly adept at advising on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policies as they apply to investment funds, most notably assisting clients with submissions to the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Sitting as an associate within the team, Andrew Barnes  also specialises in data protection and privacy requirements, guiding insurance and corporate clients through compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act.

Practice head(s):

Julie McLean

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Barnes

Testimonials

‘Competent, timely advice.’

‘I have successfully worked with associate Andrew Barnes on several projects, and he is particularly helpful on insurance industry regulatory issues.’

‘Very knowledgeable and quick to reply. Regulatory updates are well adapted to our business and always relevant.’

‘Julie McLean (JM) has been our firm’s contact person for years. From the beginning of our business relationship up until now JM has always shown excellent knowledge of relevant rules and regulations and how to apply them to our business. JM is always quick to respond to queries and has valuable input when negotiating new business agreements and setting up new entities.’

ASW Law Limited

Notably active in the insurance and reinsurance space, ASW Law Limited mainly provides regulatory advice to clients on insurance regulations, AML/ATF issues, sanctions, cyber risk matters and economic substance requirements. Recently, the group has specialised in the establishment of complex regulated structures in the fund and insurance sectors, and advised on the regulatory aspects of large M&A and corporate transactions, regularly interacting and in close contact with the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Also skilled at advising on regulatory and compliance issues is Hanno Tolhurst. Neil Horner  and Kehinde George  lead the corporate and insolvency groups respectively.

Practice head(s):

Neil Horner; Kehinde George

Other key lawyers:

Hanno Tolhurst

Key clients

Apollo Global Management, Inc.

Aon plc and Willis Towers Watson

Sompo International

QBE Insurance Group

Athene Holding Ltd.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Group

McDonalds Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising Apollo on all Bermuda legal and regulatory aspects of its proposed $11bn acquisition of Athene Holding Ltd., a Bermuda exempted company and leading provider of annuities products and retirement services.
  • Advising Sompo International, QBE Insurance Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and others on all Bermuda legal and regulatory queries each group has in respect of its Bermuda registered entities.
  • Advised McDonalds Corporation on all Bermuda legal and regulatory aspects of the establishment and licensing of Grand Arches Insurance Limited, a Class 2 insurer, to assume risks formerly ceded to the group’s current captive domiciled in Ireland.