Legal Market Overview
The Cayman Islands remains a stable offshore legal market, renowned in particular for its vast pool of investment funds. Some 11,000 investment funds are registered in the jurisdiction with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, accounting for almost half of the world’s assets under management.
The impact of COVID-19 on the jurisdiction and its economy is yet to be seen, although in early 2020, insolvent fund work, restructuring applications and contentious liquidations were already active areas of focus for firms.
New regulatory regimes have signalled a new era for regulatory and compliance work in the jurisdiction. Economic substance requirements forced firms in the jurisdiction to either consolidate their standalone regulatory expertise or enhance the advice given on large deals and complex mandates. Many firms with regulatory expertise also launched a number of automated solutions aimed at guiding clients through the new regimes.
Another development from a regulatory perspective was the amendment to the Private Funds Law 2020, which increased the number and categories of closed-ended Cayman investment vehicles required to register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
Beyond funds and regulatory work, the region is increasingly prominent for digital technology, cryptocurrency, global insurance and reinsurance, and big-ticket M&A deals. Dispute resolution also continues to be at the heart of many firms’ practices; commercial disputes involving insolvencies, funds, trusts, insurance, fraud and asset-tracing issues dominate.
Maples Group and Walkers remain strong across the region and Mourant has continued to consolidate its presence in the market. Campbells and Conyers are noted for their insurance and reinsurance practices, while Ritch & Conolly is particularly strong in real estate matters.
In one notable regional swap, Alex Potts QC joined Conyers from Kennedys’ Bermuda office to lead the local litigation practice, a move which in turn saw Paul Smith relocate to the firm’s Bermuda office. Elsewhere, Bahamas-headquartered firm Higgs & Johnson closed its Cayman office, and Bodden & Bodden re-branded as Boddens.