Trusts/private client in Cayman Islands

Appleby

Appleby’s trusts and private client team is particularly active in Public Trustee v Cooper applications, sophisticated trust restructuring proceedings, contentious trusts disputes and the establishment of complex foundation companies. In a notable highlight, the group advised on the structuring of a new Cayman foundation company, R3 Cayman Foundation, launched to manage a private sector-led recovery fund which will provide assistance following the global COVID-19 crisis. The 'very experienced' Carlos de Serpa Pimentel heads up the practice, which acts for an array of high-net-worth clients and global institutions on cross-border trust and estate matters. Other key areas of strength include trustee directions applications and Beddoes applications, while senior associate Esmond Brown frequently handles the administration of local trusts and will and estate planning issues.

Practice head(s):

Carlos de Serpa Pimentel

Other key lawyers:

Esmond Brown

Testimonials

‘We have a long standing relationship with Appleby that whereby they continue to provide strong technical advice.’

‘Esmond Brown is a very strong lawyer who has navigated us through some very difficult trustee situations. I cannot recommend him enough.’

‘Carlos Pimentel is a very experienced lawyer who consistently provides strong technical advice.’

Key clients

Cayman National Trust Company

Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan

R3 Cayman Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce as trustee of the Chamber’s Pension Plan for all employees resident in the Cayman Islands.
  • Advised on the establishment of a new Cayman Islands foundation company, R3 Cayman Foundation; the foundation company will manage a private sector-led recovery fund to support readiness, relief and recovery efforts in the Cayman Islands in the event of a natural or man-made emergency or disaster, including the global Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acting for the Trustee of the Poulton Family Trust in respect of hostile proceedings brought in the Grand Court by the adult children of the settlor and beneficiaries who were excluded from the Trust by the Settlor and Protector of the Trust in 2016.

Harneys

Harneys’ private client and trusts group has continued to expand its contentious mandates with high-end trust proceedings and litigation; it is involved in a large proportion of major trust proceedings before Cayman courts. Particularly prominent with clients in the Far East and South America encompassing trust companies, banks, high-net-worth individuals and families, the department also has a robust non-contentious practice. Particular strengths include estate and succession planning issues including the establishment and restructuring of trusts governed by Cayman law. The group also has experience assisting clients with STAR trusts, private trust companies, charitable trusts, foundation companies, unit trusts and employee benefit and pension trusts. Henry Mander and contentious trusts expert Jessica Williams jointly lead the team, which also includes Charles Moore, who was promoted to counsel in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Henry Mander; Jessica Williams

Other key lawyers:

Charles Moore

Testimonials

‘Harneys have a top drawer private client team with extensive knowledge of contentious and non-contentious issues. They are fun, dependable and knowledgeable and that is the highest compliment I can pay any law firm.’

‘Henry Mander and Charlie Moore are an impressive team and second to none. I would not hesitate to work with either or both of them. They are responsive, smart and user friendly. I have complete faith in them.’

‘A first-rate team, with particular specialty in high-value, highly complex trust litigation. They are very much a leading player in the field, and they always give confidence that no matter how large or how complex, they have done it all before, and know precisely what to do next. I am currently working on a multi-billion dollar trust dispute with them, and they are fantastic. They are gold standard.’

‘Charlie Moore and Jessica Williams are simply excellent. They are both highly experienced pros, with whom it is a pleasure to work. They both have deep, and precise knowledge of the trust litigation sector. They are also both really good, nice people. I would recommend them both in a heartbeat.’

‘First class trust lawyers and effective pragmatic lawyers. It is a winning combination.’

‘Henry Mander – is a very skilful draftsman and understands how to make a trust instrument work best for the client and stand the test of time. Charlie Moore – a vital part of the team who brings the instincts of a litigator to the trust department. Charlie is a very skilful trust lawyer. Jessica Williams – has great judgment and can see what needs to be done and how to put together a team quickly and effectively.’

‘Charles Moore is an outstanding lawyer, very responsive and pragmatic.’

‘Harneys is my first port of call for advice and assistance on Trust / private client matters relating to the Cayman Islands. They provide sound commercially applicable legal advice and their responsiveness and availability is exceptional. The Harneys team stays on top of latest legal developments and ensure that their knowledge is shared with the clients.’

‘The Harneys private client team in Cayman is first rate.’

‘Charles Moore is exceptionally diligent and hard working, as well as being really enjoyable to work with. Surely a future partner of the firm.’

‘Henry Mander leads the team, he is a first-rate private client lawyer with a deep knowledge of trust and fiduciary structures.’

‘Charles Moore is a very smooth, confident practitioner: client’s love him. He’s a calming and authoritative presence in big cases. He is comfortable handling big ticket trust litigation.’

Maples Group

Headed up by contentious and non-contentious trusts expert Morven McMillan, Maples Group advises world-leading financial institutions, foreign governments, high-net-worth individuals, families, charities and other trust companies on local private wealth structures. As well as being active in trust disputes, which increasingly involve associate Adam Huckle, the department advises clients on complex cross-border estate and succession planning matters and also the use of trusts as part of international commercial transactions. Promoted to of counsel in late 2019, Maxine Bodden specialises in advising on the establishment and administration of Cayman trusts including unit trusts, pension and employee benefit trusts, and charitable trusts. Experienced litigator Colin McKie QC retired in late 2020.

Practice head(s):

Morven McMillan

Other key lawyers:

Maxine Bodden; Adam Huckle

Ogier

Global dispute resolution head Rachael Reynolds and trusts specialist Anthony Partridge jointly lead Ogier’s private wealth practice, which handles a broad range of contentious and non-contentious instructions. Partridge regularly advises on wealth structuring matters for institutional trustees and high-net-worth individuals, with particular expertise in cross-border succession and probate work. Elsewhere, Reynolds, with the assistance of Jennifer Fox, specialises in acting for executors, trustees, settlors, protectors, enforcers and beneficiaries in high-value international trust and estate disputes. Managing associate Fraser Allister has particular expertise in the formation of foundation companies for use as traditional wealth planning vehicles, particularly in the cryptocurrency and fintech arenas.

Other key lawyers:

Fraser Allister; Jennifer Fox

Testimonials

‘Extremely responsive and knowledgeable. Given international nature of practice the flexibility and creativity they bring to the table is very helpful.’

‘Extremely personable and exude the confidence that they have the knowledge and ability to get the job done. Responsiveness and ability to earn the quick respect of the client is a great attribute.’

‘Excellent reputation in the Caymans. First choice for litigation in the region.’

‘Rachael Reynolds – fantastic reputation, hugely knowledgeable, very approachable, good tactician.’

‘Cohesion between contentious and non-contentious practitioners with a real understanding of trusts.’

‘Rachael Reynolds has exceptional knowledge of trust law and how it interconnects with other fields of law, ensuring that not only is she on top of the trust details but is able to put them into a context that can often offer a competitive advantage.’

‘In recent years, under the leadership of Rachel Reynolds, Ogier has developed into the leading litigation firm in the Cayman Islands. It has an enviable reputation for meticulous, high quality work. It is unsurprising that it has been involved in most of the leading cases in the private client arena.’

‘Rachael Reynolds – the doyenne of the offshore private client world – simply the best in this hugely competitive area.’

‘Excellent world class trusts and private client team who are at the forefront of many of the leading cases.’

‘Rachael Reynolds – one of the best trust lawyers working in the offshore world. Very clever and knowledgeable but also shrewd and commercial. She will find a practical solution for her client. Jennifer Fox – a pleasure to work with and a rising star new to partner level. She will go far.’

Key clients

Genesis Trust Company (Lands and Sanchez matters)

HSBC

Guardian of the Settlor and primary beneficiary of the Stingray Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the Genesis Trust Company on the first successful executor removal application in the Cayman Islands.
  • Acting as Cayman Counsel for HSBC in relation to a Cayman Islands irrevocable discretionary trust in litigation brought against the trustee by a beneficiary of the trust.
  • Acting for the trustee of a multi-billion dollar trust structure in an application to reform the trust cy-pres under section 104 of the Trusts Law.

Walkers

The team at Walkers ‘has a deep and broad knowledge of trusts and related issues, combined with sharp commercial common sense’. David Pytches heads up the non-contentious offering, which handles matters pertaining to the preservation, investment and passing on of private capital. The group also advises institutional trustees, ultra-high-net-worth private clients and family offices on a range of trusts and succession matters, primarily the formation, administration and restructuring of trusts and foundations, private trust companies and charitable and philanthropic ventures, and will and succession planning mandates. The trust litigation practice is led by Shelley White​, who ‘is incredibly sharp, responsive and an excellent communicator’. Monique Bhullar, recently promoted partner Clive Thomas and senior counsels Lucy Diggle and Jo-Anne Stephens are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

David Pytches

Testimonials

‘The Walkers Cayman Private Clients Trust Team truly works as a team, ensuring a seamless and timely delivery to it’s clients of relevant, practical and timely advice.’

‘Lucy Diggle – advises on both contentious and non contentious matters so is a really useful part of the team being able to highlight aspects of seemingly non contentious advice that may lead to issues down the road.’

‘Monique Bhullar – very practical. David Pytches – An all round resource.’

‘The team at Walkers has a deep and broad knowledge of trusts and related issues, combined with sharp commercial common sense. The team is at the forefront of thought leadership in this area and clients can be sure that all of the angles and nuances will be covered in the advice.’

‘The Cayman contentious trust team is led by Shelley White, who is incredibly sharp, responsive, and an excellent communicator, able to translate highly technical matters into clear and effective client friendly advice. She was supported on my matter by Lucy Diggle (senior counsel), who is very much in the same mould as Shelley. They make an impressive team.’

‘Clive Thomas and Anthony Mourginos – Clive has been exceptional in his delivery of legal knowledge and expertise. He has been very straight forward in his conversations when it comes to our personal client situations. We are pleased with his work. Clive has been great with his follow up and his deep understanding of the work that we have asked him to do. Anthony as well has been prompt and a super resource for us to work with.’

‘The team has an excellent segregation of roles among individual members who are able to assist in areas of their individual expertise. They can confine their work scope in issues of priority and importance without over killing any issues of concern.’

‘Individuals who worked with me demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and were able to assist in providing thorough analysis of the case and pragmatic solutions to issues without losing sight of other related problems. In particular, they showed care and concern of clients’ need and were able to follow up the actions required without missing any key components to settle the matter.’

Key clients

Butterfield Trust

CIBC

Genesis Trust

Intertrust

Rawlinson & Hunter

Zedra

Grant Thornton, Saad Investments Company Limited (In Official Liquidation)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Saad Investments Company Limited and its liquidators in the Cayman trusts law elements of a substantial dispute, in which assets in the liquidation estate of the client are being claimed by Awal Bank BSC.
  • Acting for the plaintiffs in a major cross-border trust litigation against a Liechtenstein trustee seeking to set aside or amend the settlement, both on grounds of mistake and under Israeli matrimonial law.

Bedell Cristin

Headed up by Andrew Miller, Bedell Cristin's BVI and Cayman international private client group specialises in non-contentious international wealth structuring mandates. Key areas of strength in Cayman include international trust, foundation and private holding company issues, as well as succession planning and probate work for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients. Another name to note in Cayman is Kai McGriele, who has extensive contentious trust experience.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Miller

Other key lawyers:

Kai McGriele

Carey Olsen

Fielding 'an excellent team with an excellent grasp of both contentious and non-contentious private client work', Carey Olsen advises high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families and trustees on a range of trust issues. With a focus on contentious matters, practice head Bernadette Carey assists trustees and executors with administration issues including multi-party court applications, estates and succession planning work. Another name to note is counsel Graham Stoute, who is a non-contentious wealth structuring specialist who advises private and institutional clients on the establishment, reorganisation and administration of trusts and trust structures.

Practice head(s):

Bernadette Carey

Other key lawyers:

Graham Stoute

Testimonials

‘They have a good team with extensive knowledge.’

‘I have mainly worked with Graham Stoute who has a excellent mind who thinks hard about the issues of the clients and finds the right solutions. He is very personable and works well with all clients and intermediaries.’

‘Bernadette Carey is a leader in her field and brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.’

‘I am delighted with Carey Olsen’s bench strength in trusts and private client. Bernadette Carey and Graeme Stoute are an excellent team with an excellent grasp of both contentious and non-contentious private client work. They are a pleasure to deal with and excellent lawyers.’

‘Bernadette Carey is an unassuming and likeable star of the Cayman Islands private wealth world. An excellent lawyer with a firm grasp of the law and the practical aspects of private client work. Clients and foreign lawyers know they are in excellent hands with Bernadette.’

‘Graeme Stoute has an unassuming academic air about him. His legal knowledge of the field and Caribbean law generally is encyclopaedic and he is hugely likeable.’

‘Bernadette Carey is a very commercial lawyer, someone who breaks things down simply.’

‘Although a large global firm, the Cayman practice has a more boutique feel, with personnel always on hand and easily accessible to assist as required, including quick no-charge discussions prior to potential formal engagement. Very personal touch including regular face to face business development and training opportunities.’

‘Very commercially focused, looking for efficient and economic solutions rather than theoretical crusades. If only one lawyer needs to be on a call, that’s what you’ll get, rather than three (triple charging) that you often experience with other firms. Staff are personable, knowledgeable and practical and always willing to go the extra mile, even at short notice.’

Collas Crill

With lawyers who work ‘exceptionally well as a team’, Collas Crill's international trust and private client department handles a diverse mix of cross-border wealth structuring matters and complex trust litigation. The department is headed up by Thomas Mylott, who specialises in handling non-contentious trust matters and wealth structuring issues for institutional trustees, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Key areas of focus include trust establishments, restructurings and terminations, with notable expertise in STAR trusts and foundation companies. Counsel Andrew Peedom and senior associate Sally Peedom, who both joined the team in 2019, are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Mylott

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Peedom; Sally Peedom

Testimonials

‘The team’s capacity has increased very substantially in recent years through the recruitment of three very well known and respected lawyers; as a result of this they have become a leading private client law firm in respect of Trusts/private client.’

‘This team was very focused on the work they did for us. They gave us updates without having to ask and the charges were not far from budgeted. Their knowledge in the Annuity and Trust area was extensive and the quality of work was great.’

‘The individuals I worked with were Andrew Peedom, Sally Peedom and Tom Mylott. They take a team approach to their work and it was refreshing to see them working together on our project. They were extremely knowledgeable and understood exactly what we were doing and what was needed from them. They took the work seriously and paid very close attention to detail and asked questions to keep from having to do re-work. Their request for meetings to discuss scenarios and options was a refreshing approach. Their friendliness and personalities were such a difference that what I have experienced in the legal profession. They were just extremely nice people.’

‘Collas Crill’s Private Client lawyers work exceptionally well as a team offering clear and pragmatic advice.’

‘Andrew Peedom is an unflappable lawyer, always able to look through current matters to predict potential issues ahead and steer you through.’

‘Sally Peedom is a very efficient and effective lawyer, always providing advice you are comfortable trusting.’

Conyers

Dividing his time between Conyers’ BVI and the Cayman offices, Robert Lindley - who was made partner in 2020 - advises on an array of contentious and non-contentious trust and private client matters. Praised as ‘very collaborative and approachable’, the department primarily assists high-net-worth clients with family trust structures, estate planning issues, estate administration work and the establishment of private trust companies. The group also has a track record in contentious trust mandates. Associate Wesley O’Brien also specialises in regulatory issues which arise in the private client and trusts space.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lindley

Other key lawyers:

Wesley O’Brien

Testimonials

‘The team is very collaborative and approachable. They are always open to receiving questions, discussing questions on an informal basis. I think this separates them from other firms.’

‘I enjoy working with Robert Lindley as I have found him to be very pragmatic, a good reader of people and technically sound. His approach is collaborative, he listens well and works well with all parts of a transaction. I also enjoy working with Wes O’Brien who is always affable, friendly and prompt with advice and thoughts.’

‘The Trust and Private Client team at Conyers, Cayman Islands are very pragmatic in their approach. Understanding the competing considerations of family dynamics and a trustees fiduciary responsibility providing their advice in a clear and concise manner.’

‘Robert Lindley leads with his pragmatism and approach to contentious matters.’