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Cayman Islands

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Cayman Islands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Legal market overview

The Cayman Islands (Cayman) is globally recognised as a leading international financial centre and preferred investment funds domicile. As of December 2016, there were over 10,500 funds registered with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) under the Mutual Funds Law, with approximately 85% of the world’s hedge funds being Cayman-domiciled. Significant numbers of private equity and other closed-ended alternative investment funds are also Cayman-registered but they are not required to be CIMA-registered.

Key legislative developments that Cayman’s practitioners recently advised on include The Cayman Islands beneficial ownership regime (Regime), which came into force in July 2017. The Regime established a secure, non-public centralised platform through which the beneficial ownership information of in-scope companies (ISCs) must be maintained; both ISCs and ISC-Registrable Persons must be Regime-compliant.

Major legal market developments included Cayman-headquartered Walkers Cayman launching a Guernsey office in late 2016, through a merger with local firm AO Hall, while at the end of 2016 Carey Olsen opened a Hong Kong office, relocating litigator Michael Makridakis to head it up, and corporate, commercial and finance transactions specialist Anthony McKenzie moved to the firm’s Singapore office to bolster the firm’s business development strategy in Asia.

Previously appearing within the Legal 500’s Cayman corporate and commercial chapter, for the 2018 edition Cayman banking, finance and capital markets work has a standalone section, which has been introduced to reflect the significant growth of this practice area.

It would be remiss of us to ignore the ‘Paradise Papers’ leak of November 2017, which involved the leaking of millions of financial documents that were quickly obtained by the press. Over half of those documents came from Appleby and Estera, Appleby’s former fiduciary arm. Naturally, this led to much international press attention for Appleby, which was founded in Bermuda and also has offices in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

It remains to be seen the extent to which this adverse publicity will impact the firm’s reputational credibility (and thereby the volume and consistency of its work for a premium client base). But at this stage – we write this mere weeks after the leak – it is too early to allow even this level of press attention to affect our rankings.

The In-House Lawyer

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