European law firm established in Cayman

Irish law firm Dillon Eustace is going to open an office in the Cayman Islands in response to increased client demand for Cayman services. Dillon Eustace will establish a fully-serviced practice in Cayman despite the firm’s view that the introduction of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive may restrict access to European markets.

However, there remains a huge volume of business focussed outside Europe on which the Directive will have little or no impact, the firm said, and this will ensure that Cayman will remain a major domicile of choice.

Mark Thorne, managing partner at Dillon Eustace said: “The continued strengthening of Cayman’s regulatory regime and its focus on good corporate governance is bringing the jurisdiction more in line with established on-shore practices. This will give Dillon Eustace an opportunity to use our 20 years of experience operating in a European Union regulated jurisdiction.”

International work

The Cayman branch will come in addition to the firm’s existing international office network which includes Asian, European and North American representative offices. The Cayman office will provide services complementary to the firm’s Irish law offering, Dillon Eustace said.

Funds lawyer Matt Mulry has joined the firm as a partner with over 15 years of legal experience, more than 11 of which have focused on the offshore investment funds sector. Senior litigation specialist John Fox who has practiced at the Irish and Cayman Bars for a combined total of 20 years has also joined the new Cayman office. He will develop the firm’s commercial litigation practice.

Range of services

The Cayman law practice will offer a range of legal services including commercial litigation, securities litigation, funds establishment, insurance and banking. In response to the increased focus on corporate governance in Cayman and amongst institutions using Cayman as a domicile, Dillon Eustace will also be extending its compliance and regulatory practice to Cayman. Separately, the firm plans to establish a complementary corporate services firm which, subject to Cayman Islands Monetary Authority approval, will be launched in the third quarter of 2012.

“Developing our international network remains a priority for Dillon Eustace. Establishing the first European Union based full-service legal office in the Caymans reflects the potential we see in the Cayman offering over the coming years,” Mr. Thorne said. “The Cayman Islands is one of the leading worldwide locations for fund establishment. As a firm with specialist expertise in the funds industry, having a Cayman office is a natural next step for us. Our clients appreciate the tax transparent environment as well as the progressive regulatory regime.”

Lorcan Tiernan, partner with Dillon Eustace and lead partner for the firm’s initiative in Cayman said: “The Cayman Islands are an excellent place to do business. Dillon Eustace has had very positive experiences with the Cayman authorities throughout the process of establishing here and looks forward to developing these relationships further. We plan to grow our team locally across our practice areas.”

Mr. Mulry said Dillon Eustace’s access to professional colleagues on the ground in all of the key financial centres around the world and the firm’s establishment in Cayman will be seen in these important centres of influence as a strong vote of confidence in Cayman. “The importance of the Cayman Islands is likely to increase in the coming years as new regulation begins to take effect in Europe and elsewhere and fund promoters consolidate their products in both offshore and onshore jurisdictions,” Mr. Mulry added.

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