Investment funds in Cayman Islands
With a substantial number of the world’s largest private equity firms and hedge funds as clients, Maples Group advises across the spectrum of fund and investment management products. Within this area, it is a go-to practice for assisting with hedge funds, fund of funds, master-feeder funds, liquid alternatives, credit funds, hybrid funds and unit trusts. Jon Fowler is global head of the firm’s funds and investment management team and Michael Richardson heads up the local Cayman group, while Iain McMurdo, who is the global head of private equity, focuses on the formation of private equity funds and the resulting downstream transactions. Alongside Sheryl Dean, Gwyneth Rees, Tim Coak, Jeremy Bomford, Jonathan Green and Julian Ashworth, all of whom are vastly experienced in the space, Jo Cunningham is particularly active on major mandates; in a recent stand-out matter, Cunningham advised Fortress Investment Group LLC on the launch of its first direct lending fund valued at $2bn. Of counsel Stephen Watler is also noted, while at senior associate level, Michelle Richie and Lee Davis are highly regarded.
Other key lawyers:
Ian McMurdo; Sheryl Dean, Gwyneth Rees; Tim Coak; Grant Dixon; Patrick Rosenfeld; Jeremy Bomford; Jonathan Green; Julian Ashworth; Jo Cunningham; Stephen Watler; Michelle Richie; Lee Davis; Philip Dickinson; Andrew Keast
‘Impeccable service and very professional advice.’
‘Andrew Keast is very responsive, professional and very pleasant to work with.’
‘The best legal team for funds in Cayman in my view. Very knowledgeable, creative when needed. Work product is very high quality, typically. Because they have such a strong market position, when they tell you what is “market” with respect to a term or practice, it carries a lot of weight. They have a very strong name recognition in the industry.’
‘Jon Fowler is the top funds lawyer in Cayman in my view. Outstanding lawyer, but also very practical.’
‘Maples has the leading investment funds practice in the Cayman Islands. Their collection of talent is impressive, as is their ability to take on challenging issues. They are responsive and commercial.’
Apollo Global Management
Ares Management Corporation
Bessemer Venture Partners
Fortress Investment Group LLC
- Advised Advent International on the $17.5bn fundraiser for its ninth fund, GPE IX.
- Advised Fortress Investment Group LLC on the launch of its first direct lending fund valued at $2bn.
- Advised SKY Leasing on its strategic partnership with M&G Investments, and the closing of SKY Leasing’s first aircraft leasing fund.
Praised for its ‘ability to synthesise all relevant legal and compliance information regarding the Cayman regime’, Walkers has extensive experience and provides a wide range of advice to hedge funds and private equity funds in particular. Key areas of strength include fund formations and capitalisations, financing issues, buyouts, M&A, joint ventures and downstream-spend transactions. Global managing partner Ingrid Pierce also has particular expertise in managing distressed funds in volatile markets, whereas Caroline Williams has a track record in co-investment and alternative investment vehicles. From a regulatory perspective, the firm was involved with government, regulators and industry bodies to create the new closed-ended funds regulatory regime. Other names to note are Ashley Gunning, Tim Buckley, Rolf Lindsay, Andrew Barker, Theo Lefkos and Bicrom Das; Matt Bernardo and Christine Ballantyne-Drewe are senior counsels with experience in this space.
Other key lawyers:
‘Walkers is able to synthesize all relevant legal and compliance information that we need to know regarding the Cayman regime and communicate it to us in the most helpful and efficient way, with a thorough analysis. Always prompt to reply, excellent communication and just a pleasure to work with.’
‘Caroline Heal and Jennifer Sangaroonthong are always quick to reply and provide thorough yet understandable advice on all issues and are incredible helpful in helping us to have our questions answered. Excellent communication on the matter itself as well as billing transparency.’
‘Short response time. Proper understanding of our investment fund structure. Highlighting legal & regulatory changes early, including remediation possibilities.’
‘Caroline Heal: good understanding of fund structures and issues. Lucy Frew: great knowledge about complex topics and ability to boil down to current situation and related remediation.’
CVC Capital Partners
First Reserve Corporation
GSO Capital Partners
Oaktree Capital Management
Stone Point Capital
The Blackstone Group
The Carlyle Group
- Acted as Cayman counsel to FGL on its acquisition by Fidelity National Financial, the leading provider of title insurance and closing and settlement services to the real estate and mortgage industries.
- Acted as Cayman counsel to Blackstone on its acquisition of the Dream Global portfolio.
- Acted as Cayman counsel to SiriusXM in respect of its investment in audio-sharing platform SoundCloud.
Mourant has a strong track record in investment fund launches, structuring mandates and fund restructurings in the Cayman Islands. Regularly instructed by large fund managers and sponsors, the team is skilled at handling matters for distressed funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds. Singled out for his ‘technical excellence with great client handling skills’, Alex Last advised CBRE Global Investment Partners on the establishment of a second real estate fund under its mandate with the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan, the largest pension fund in the world. The department is headed up by Hayden Isbister, is praised for being ‘great with clients and very knowledgeable and responsive’. Elsewhere within the team, Neal Lomax is ‘seasoned in fund structures’, particularly Cayman hedge funds and private equity funds. Catherine Pham and senior associate Gemma Cowan are other names to note.
‘In a market environment that is changing by the minute, having a team of offshore advisors that can provide cutting edge resources, market views and solve complex structural issues is what makes Mourant stand out. The ability to tap into the firms diverse base of experts across jurisdictions and asset classes is what differentiates Mourant from its peers.’
‘Neal Lomax is a partner who is seasoned in fund structures and transactional matters that provides us with the needed resources in Cayman Counsel. He has the ability to attack the issue head-on and in an efficient way.’
‘Hayden Isbister is very commercial, knowledgeable.’
‘Small but sophisticated team that can handle all fund matters effectively.’
‘Hayden Isbister is great with clients and very knowledgeable and responsive. Very positive experience also with Catherine Pham and Gemma Cowan.’
‘This team provides excellent legal advice and client service.’
‘The most talented lawyer in this strong team in undoubtedly Alex Last, who combines technical excellence with great client handling skills.’
Knighthead Capital Management, LLC
CVC Credit Partners
- Advised CBRE Global Investment Partners on the establishment of the second real estate fund under its mandate with the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan, the largest pension fund in the world.
- Advised leading private equity firm, L Catterton, on the launch of its ninth flagship fund.
- Advised Sun Life Capital Management on the launch of its high-profile new Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) fund.
Supported by lawyers in its corporate, banking and finance, and private wealth departments, the investment funds team at Ogier advises on the full spectrum of fund structures including hedge, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, energy, credit, debt, venture capital and cryptocurrency funds. Headed up globally by James Bergstrom, the group is a key name in the Cayman registered funds market, regularly acting for clients in North America. The team also has a strong Latin America practice, led by Giorgio Subiotto, as well as a large number of Asian and European clients alongside an increasing prominence in regulatory issues. A notable growth area for the firm is its private equity and crypto funds practice, which is headed by Nick Rogers, who advises a raft of hedge funds, sponsors and investors on private equity matters. Regulatory expert Joanne Huckle, hedge fund and private equity specialist Justin Savage, managing associate Tim Cone, and counsels Emma Sutherland and Barry McEwan are further names to note, and regulatory counsel Dave Sherwin joined from Maples Group in 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘A knowledgeable, approachable and responsive team. All of the team members that I have come across are enthusiastic, quick and go to the extra mile to be helpful.’
‘Jo Huckle is particularly impressive in terms of her understanding of funds law in Cayman and the regulatory environment in general.’
‘Justin Savage provides a high-quality work product to tight timetables.’
‘Barry McEwan works tirelessly to meet client expectations.’
‘Always available to answer questions, great depth of knowledge, proactive approach to providing information regarding potential changes to local legislation.’
‘Justin Savage, Funds Partner. Justin is always willing to assist with any questions that arise.’
‘The team members are always available. They are kind and clearly do their best to assist us. They do not miss deadlines and are quick. Giorgio Subiotto does stand out.’
‘Ogier’s team is very pleasant to work with because they are pro-active, accurate and fast. They truly are a trusted advisor.’
‘Joanne Huckle is an experienced and skilled professional. She is always on top of things and makes sure that the process deadlines are met. She is very responsive, and also kind and polite.’
‘Very responsive team. I usually receive a response to my emails within an hour or so of sending. If a team member is unavailable, they will make an effort to let me know beforehand. Appreciate the responsiveness and open level of communication.’
5D+ Capital Investment Management Company
Voleon Funds LP
Banco BTG Pactual S.A.
- Acted as sole legal counsel for 5D+ Capital Investment Management Company on the establishment of Draco I Latam SPC, an open-ended investment fund established as a segregated portfolio company in the Cayman Islands, to be used as a vehicle for global investors to invest in a range of investment opportunities across the Latin American jurisdiction.
- Acted as Cayman legal counsel for GAMA Investimentos on the establishment of GAMA BW Global Diversified SPC, an open-ended investment fund established as a segregated portfolio company in the Cayman Islands.
- Advised Voleon Funds LP on the establishment of an open-ended investment fund within a multi-tiered, multi-fund structure, created to allow investments in multiple underlying portfolio funds advised by Voleon.
Specialising in Asia-related mandates, Appleby’s partner-driven team has experience in hedge, private equity, real estate, venture capital and infrastructure funds. Led by private equity specialist Simon Raftopoulos following the retirement of former funds practice head Bryan Hunter, the team receives a steady flow of instructions from established funds on downstream transactional work and financing activities, as well as mandates relating to the establishment of investment funds investing in cryptocurrencies and related asset classes. Sailaja Alla, Anna-Lise Wisdom and Christian Victory are also noted practitioners.
- Assisted NCB Investments Ltd. with the formation of an open-ended fund which will apply for a CIMA licence and will be listed on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange; this is the first fund established in Cayman for investment in Cayman real estate.
- Assisted EnCap Investment L.P with the formation of a closed-ended fund structure.
- Acted as Cayman counsel to Banco Bradesco S.A. acting through its Cayman Branch as issuer in connection with its issuance of $800m notes due 2023 and $800m notes due 2025.
The team at Campbells ‘provides keen insight in respect of establishing fund structures’, particularly venture capital fund formations for fintech clients. Headed up by Alan Craig, who regularly assists investment funds and managers with debt structuring and financing issues, the group also advises clients on the structuring, formation and launch of hedge, private equity and hybrid funds. Richard Spencer and Robert Searle ‘both have expertise in the regulation of the investment management industry’, while Simon Thomas is vastly experienced in the fund space due to his previous work for fund managers at leading US onshore private equity fund formation practices. Another name to note is senior associate Aoife Tuohy, who frequently advises cryptocurrency fund managers.
‘We have worked with Campbells since 2016 and many of us have worked with the team prior to this. We were drawn to Campbells as a favoured partner since, as something of an investment funds boutique, they offer an alternative to the larger firms in Cayman with their team often more price competitive, commercial and responsive than those larger firms.’
‘The team provides keen insight in respect of establishing fund structures.’
‘The partners, Richard Spencer and Robert Searle, are always prompt to respond to inquiries. They both have expertise in regulation of the investment management industry and take a practical approach to finding the best solution for their clients.’
Northern Light Ventures
Abraaj Investment Management
Shunwei Capital Management
DCM Capital Management
- Acted as funds counsel to Deloitte which is the liquidator of Abraaj Investment Management Limited.
- Advised on the launch of an innovative fund for a major Australian pension fund.
- Advised on the formation of Kaszek Ventures IV and Kaszek Opportunities Fund.
Focused on ‘building a long-term relationship with clients and putting the clients’ needs first always’, Carey Olsen’s investment fund group comprises managing partners Nick Bullmore and Jarrod Farley, both of whom have growing practices in this area. Experienced with fund establishment and fund financing matters, Bullmore displays an ‘in-depth knowledge of the law’, while Farley also has experience of advising investment funds and other vehicles on transactional and compliance matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Team is excellent technically on the law as well as being commercial which makes them a pleasure to deal with. Team has consistent quality throughout and is also very responsive.’
‘Nick Bullmore is an excellent partner with a very good commercial awareness and in depth knowledge of the law and the market in general. He is very accessible, his advice is also succinct and on point making him a pleasure to deal with.’
‘The Carey Olsen practice is unique due to the entrepreneurial spirt and long term vision of the client relationship. There is excellent leadership, technical knowledge and client service. Carey Olsen is a firm that deals with its clients with a great deal of perspective taking and common sense. It is by far the best law firm I have dealt with in my over 20+ years as a financial services professional.’
‘The lawyers at Carey Olsen have strong technical knowledge and excellent leadership skills. However, where they really stand out is in the way they deal with clients. At their core, the lawyers at Carey Olsen care about the client and provide excellent client service. They take time to understand the clients needs and provide quality legal advice that meets those needs. The fees are fair and they do what is right for the client at all times. The lawyers are truly into building a long term relationship with clients and put the clients needs first always.’
In Conyers' corporate department, investment funds is a notable area of focus; fund formations, compliance work, terminations and restructuring mandates are particular areas of strength for the team. Craig Fulton and Nicholas Pattman’s practices focus on hedge, private equity, venture capital and other investment funds. Kevin Butler leads the Cayman office, which also includes well-regarded associate Michael O’Connor.
IFM Global Infrastructure Fund
Lazard Asset Management
EIG Asset Management
IFM U.S. Infrastructure Debt Fund
SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc
- Acting as Cayman legal counsel and trustee to IFM Global Infrastructure Fund, with almost daily involvement in matters ranging from reviewing and approving infrastructure investments, reviewing and approving investor subscription and side letters, and the provision of legal opinions on transactions to the reviewing and approving of loan, security documents, and ISDA Master Agreements.
- Acted as Cayman counsel IFM US Infrastructure Debt Fund in relation to the formation of a complex master-feeder fund structure.
Adept at advising emerging and established private equity and hedge funds, Harneys’ Cayman team also has considerable experience assisting clients in the digital asset, fintech, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology sectors. Following the departure of global practice head Ian Gobin to a new global offshore firm named Intertrust Law, the local team now comprises two key partners: Daniella Skotnicki, who is a fintech expert who advises on fund structuring, fundraising and regulatory matters; and Matthew Taber, who is a digital asset specialist who handles matters for a variety of leading asset managers. Senior associate James Smith also has experience in relation to ICOs, STOs and ILPs.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is always available for discussions and explanations, if necessary.’
Cosemper Co Inc (which became Cosemper Feeder Fund SPC) and Cosemper Master Fund
- Acted as lead counsel to Cosemper Co Inc on the establishment of a registered mutual fund with a master-feeder structure using an SPC valued at $832m.
Working closely with the firm’s team in Dublin, Dillon Eustace acts for a diverse range of clients on matters relating to hedge funds, private equity funds, asset management issues, derivatives and alternative investment services. Recently, the ‘business-oriented and pragmatic’ team has seen an increase in instructions relating to private equity, regulatory and compliance mandates. Matt Mulry leads the team, which also includes Jonathan Law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very experienced and knowledgeable and very practical advice. Very responsive and straightforward and cost efficient.’
‘Very much partner lead advice and they have the benefit of in-house experience and so they understand the drivers for advice and provide timely advice that is practical and solutions based.’
‘We find the practice extremely business oriented and pragmatic when it comes to offering legal advice or considering legal matters.’
‘Prudent, pragmatic, professional and proactive. They are creative in their approach and do not simply fall back on assembly line advice as do many other larger competitors that we deal with. Jonathan Law in particular is one of their practitioners who embodies all of these qualities, which is very attractive to us and something we always seek out as a client firm.’
UBS Fund Services (Ireland) Limited
Crossroads Capital Management Limited
Deutsche Bank, Wealth Management Divisions across Cayman, NY and London
Boutique corporate outfit Loeb Smith Attorneys focuses its attention on investment fund mandates, with particular expertise in assisting PRC and Hong Kong entities with fund establishments, launches and terminations. Led by Gary Smith, the department assists a mix of institutional fund managers, banks and listed companies with hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds and cryptocurrency funds.
Other key lawyers:
‘Cayman funds are very popular in China in recent years. Loeb Smith is a local Cayman firm focusing on Cayman funds; comparing with other Cayman firms with longer establishment in China focusing on capital markets, they have deeper insights into Cayman fund formation and operation; their fees are competitive and have a strong PRC team.’
‘I have worked with Gary Smith and his team for more than three years. Having experiences in capital market and PE projects, Gary and his team are experts in Cayman fund formation and operation. They provides us and clients legal updates in both English and Chinese in this regard on a continual basis.’
Led by Chris Humphries, who, according to clients, is ‘well informed regarding changing legislation and regulations’, the investment funds team at Stuarts Walker Hersant Humphries has experience advising clients on the entire lifecycle of funds and investment vehicles. Key areas of strength include fund formations, restructurings, liquidations and terminations. The practice also has expertise in advising on the structuring of funds investing in cryptocurrencies and portfolio transactions. The department also fields Andrew Hersant, who handles complex hedge fund restructurings.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong in funds-related advice and very responsive.’
‘Very responsive – answer emails very quickly and get on the phone quickly.’
‘The team has consistently been outstanding and I’ve got no cause for criticism or any complaints, at all. They are responsive, accurate and informed, and communication across their team is seamless, from our point of view. I would rate them as highly as any other that I’ve worked with in my 25 years in the industry.’
‘Chris Humphries has never taken longer than 24 hours to respond to a query, even replying to emails on Sunday afternoons. He has always comfortably met deadlines, is clear and concise, is well informed regarding changing legislation/regulation, is willing to voice and explain an opinion where appropriate and is pleasant to deal with at all times. I know that I can depend on Chris to give us the requisite cover, where and when required.’
Lion Capital LLP
The Captive Investments Funds, Captive Resources Inc.
Mariner Investment Group
Tricadia Capital Management
Managing Partners Limited
- Acting for Captive Resources as Cayman legal counsel in respect of its fund; recently, a feeder fund was set up for Captive Resources, called CIF FEEDER SPC.
- Acting for Mariner Investment Group, LLC on the company set up and administration of a number of Cayman funds and have advised on all aspects of the operations and lifecycles of its Cayman funds.
- Acted for 3G Capital for a number of years, helping the company administer a number of Cayman funds and have advised on all aspects of the operations and lifecycles of its Cayman funds.