Alvarez & Marsal launches Cayman office to expand insolvency offering

Professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal has opened an office in the Cayman Islands. The firm will provide a full service offering for alternative investment restructuring for corporations, institutional investors, hedge funds and private equity firms.

Managing Director Alex Lawson is heading the company in Cayman, together with Chris Kennedy, as a fellow managing director, and Barry Lynch, as senior director.

The firm has noticed client demand across all regions and launching in the Cayman Islands, an offshore financial center, is a core part of a strategic expansion plan to service clients’ needs, Mr. Lawson said.

“Fundamentally, while there are many offshore jurisdictions, we particularly liked the Cayman Islands,” he said, citing qualities such as its security in the financial world, strong infrastructure, strong government support and legislation, as well as the judiciary.

“If you look at the client needs, it is a very easy decision to say that is where the firm needs to be,” he noted.

The Cayman office will complement Alvarez & Marsal’s ability to work on restructuring engagements in parallel tracks with the U.S., U.K., Europe and Hong Kong. The expansion further benefits clients by strengthening the reach of the firm’s U.K.-based insolvency practice and bolstering its soft wind-down and advisory offering.

Mr. Lawson said the firm will be able to provide soft wind-down liquidity or close-out solutions for funds that do not necessarily have any solvency issues, but that may have come to the end of their life or face other factors that drive them to do close-outs.

He said, “What we are particularly excited about in offering that service is that we are able to use Alvarez & Marsal’s existing Asset Management Services Group out of New York, which is an SEC-registered entity, fully licensed with very experienced key players in the asset management market.”

In addition, the firm will carry out traditional liquidation work involving international conglomerate groups.

Mr. Lawson believes that after a brief lull in terms of pure volume, the restructuring and insolvency market is growing as the economy is heading into its next cycle, with activity somewhere around the levels seen in 2006.

The company said it is making a strong commitment to invest in Cayman and expects to double its size from the current three people before the end of the year. “We are looking to build that with Cayman Islands talent with the offshore experience in place,” Mr. Lawson said.

Alvarez & Marsal is currently setting up new offices in George Town in the Flagship Building.

Mr. Lawson has more than 15 years’ restructuring experience, of which he spent 10 years in the Cayman Islands, where he was previously a partner with KPMG.

Mr. Kennedy is a qualified insolvency practitioner in the Cayman Islands, a chartered accountant (Ireland) and a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority registered director who advises on distressed solutions for financial services sector clients. He has worked in the Cayman Islands for nine years.

Mr. Lynch is a qualified insolvency practitioner who specializes in providing distressed solutions to the financial services sector with diverse experience across the hedge fund, banking and capital markets, oil and gas, and shipping industries. Before joining Alvarez & Marsal, Mr. Lynch served as a senior manager with RHSW Caribbean and as a manager with PwC in Dublin.

Worldwide, Alvarez & Marsal employs more than 3,000 people across four continents, and provides advisory, business performance improvement and turnaround management services.

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