Walkers expands funds team in Jersey

Expansion in response to demand for specialist fund expertise

Walkers has expanded in Jersey with the addition of two highly qualified attorneys from its London office to meet the increased demand for specialist expertise related to private equity and hedge funds work in the jurisdiction.

Ian Gobin has been named the new Head of Private Equity for Jersey and Charles Lee joins Walkers’ Jersey investment funds team.

Jersey was recently named as one of the jurisdictions on the OECD ‘white list’, which recognises financial centres that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard. Jersey’s position on the list reaffirms that its tax regime meets the highest standards of transparency and regulation, and is expected to bolster Jersey’s reputation as a hub for investment funds and structured finance vehicles. The OECD recognition, combined with the current turbulence in financial markets, presents specific opportunities and challenges to fund managers.

‘Both Charles and Ian posses highly-specialised skills and bring a wealth of experience to Jersey, which will allow them to provide creative solutions to the issues that our funds and private equity clients face in the current economic climate,’ said Heather Bestwick, managing partner of Walkers’ Jersey office. ‘With very senior attorneys covering the range of practice areas in Jersey, our clients can rely on sensible and commercial advice, while ensuring that all eventualities are covered in these uncertain times.’

The shift away from more traditional fund formation work in favour of restructuring and enforcement work is one example of the current market dynamic, where Walkers is adding value for its Jersey client base.

‘Many funds are suffering from liquidity issues or are taking pre-emptive action as the liquidity squeeze bites,’ said Jonathan Heaney, a partner and the head of Walkers’ Hedge Funds Group in Jersey. ‘When funds feel the pinch, Walkers can add significant value due to our level of understanding and ability to respond quickly in order to meet client expectations in difficult circumstances.’

With more than eight years of experience in Walkers’ Grand Cayman and London offices, Mr. Gobin specialises in setting up and advising private equity funds and hedge funds.

‘We expect continued demand for specialist advice on investor-related issues, especially as conditions in the financial markets continue to change rapidly,’ said Mr. Gobin. ‘Hedge funds have had to deal with large scale redemption requests and funds are revisiting their documentation and structures with a view to riding out this period of volatility. Walkers’ breadth and depth of experience makes us particularly well placed to service these needs.’

Mr. Lee joined Walkers’ London office in 2007, primarily focusing on hedge funds and private equity funds, as well as general corporate matters and structured finance transactions. Previously Mr. Lee worked as a solicitor in both London and Sydney.

‘The addition of Charles and Ian also enhances the services that our highly experienced commercial litigation team offers. They both bring valuable insights into the non-contentious aspect of funds and restructuring work, ensuring that our clients have the best counsel whether their restructuring results in litigation, or remains an out-of-court transaction,’ said David Steenson, partner and head of Litigation in Jersey.

Since opening the Jersey office two years ago, Walkers has built a full-service team with eight partners and 15 other fee earners, offering advice regarding the laws of Jersey, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands on finance, hedge funds, private equity, litigation, private client and trust work. Working closely with the team of 19 lawyers in Walkers’ London office and the firm’s other international locations, clients can be sure of receiving the most relevant and timely advice.