10 Walkers' Lawyers Recognised in Asia Business Law Journal's Top 50 Offshore Lawyers 2022

10 lawyers across Walkers' Bermuda, Cayman, Hong Kong and Singapore offices have been recognised in the Asia Business Law Journal’s A-List of top offshore lawyers.

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Walkers Celebrates Record 72 Lawyer Rankings in Chambers Global Guide 2022

Walkers is celebrating a record year as 72 of its lawyers have been included in the guide, representing an 18% uplift from the 2021 guide.

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Walkers Launches Online AML Training Solution in Bermuda

Walkers Professional Services has announced that it has launched an innovative e-Learning Anti-Money Laundering Training platform in Bermuda.

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Walkers Maintains Tier 1 Ranking in The Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) 2022 edition

Walkers Dubai has reinforced its preeminent position as the go-to offshore law firm in the region with a top tier status in Legal 500's EMEA 2022 edition.
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At Walkers we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone can feel comfortable, happy and confident in an inclusive environment.

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INSOL World: New Restructuring Officer Regime to be Introduced into the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands continues to be at the forefront of developments in restructuring and insolvency law in the offshore world and one of the premier jurisdictions of choice to facilitate complex and high-value cross-border restructurings.

The much-anticipated reforms to the insolvency legislation in the Cayman Islands are now expected to come into force during the course of 2022 and will provide practitioners and their clients with an alternative restructuring tool. The amendments to Part V of the Cayman Islands Companies Act (the “Companies Act”) will introduce a new restructuring officer regime available to companies in financial distress, which can be accessed without the need to present a winding up petition to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands (“Cayman Court”).

Upon filing the application seeking the appointment of restructuring officers, an automatic and standalone restructuring moratorium will immediately arise which will have extraterritorial effect, similar to a Chapter 11 stay or English administration moratorium, within which a restructuring may be proposed and implemented (by way of a Cayman Islands scheme of arrangement, a restructuring process in a foreign jurisdiction or consensually, as between affected stakeholders).

This article was first published in INSOL World. 

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Key Trends for 2022 – Structured Finance

Despite the impact of the Global Pandemic, the structured finance market enjoyed strong performance in 2021, with signs that 2022 will see more of the same, supported by wider economic growth. There are positive signs across our jurisdictions, including promising ABS deals, continued strong performance in Europe, and sustained use of BVI by PRC issuers.

The structured finance specialists in our Bermuda, BVI, Cayman, Channel Islands, Hong Kong, Ireland, London and Middle East offices work every day with onshore counsel and financial institutions, and have summarised the key trends relevant to their jurisdictions of law and the regions in which they operate.

Key Trends for 2022 - Structured Finance

Private Equity Survey Report - Asia and Middle East 2021

While 2020 was a year of challenges and contradictions in the Asian private equity (“PE”) market, it was predicted that 2021 would be a year of improvement. With China being “the first country to lock down and the first to recover”, and other regional jurisdictions looking towards the imminent availability of Covid-19 vaccines, at the close of 2020, Walkers Asia Private Equity Survey Report 2020 (“2020 Report”) found over 80% of respondents in the region were generally optimistic about the year ahead .

So was the optimism justified? What has changed? And where is the industry now?

For the second year running, Walkers reached out to the PE funds industry in Asia and asked our clients, colleagues at service providers and other related market contacts to share their insights through a short survey.

Over half of the surveyed population consisted of PE fund managers. Lawyers specialising in PE represented one third of respondents, with the remainder of the data coming from industry service providers (such as administrators and investors).

The respondents were based across the Asia Pacific region with the majority based in Hong Kong SAR (“Hong Kong”), and others spread throughout Japan, the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and Singapore. As with the 2020 Report, the data included input from a small number of respondents based in Australia, but this year, we expanded the surveyed population by adding clients and contacts of our Dubai office to add a Middle Eastern perspective to the data set.

This report will focus on the views of PE fund managers and their onshore counsel that assist them in structuring and launching their funds. But just as the PE industry in the region is multi-faceted and diverse, so too is the resultant data. So where appropriate we have tried to identify themes and trends not only across the industry, but across geographical areas, funds sizes and types. The results reveal a mixture of consistency and change over time, and we hope you will find it interesting.

 

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ESG and Offshore Fund Governance

Climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has on various occasions lashed out at global leaders for “empty” and “beautiful” words that she considers do not translate to meaningful action on climate change. Most recently at COP-26, Ms Thunberg sought to paraphrase the pronouncements of certain politicians as “blah blah blah”, and spoke of the failure of governments to implement climate change strategy.

Whether or not you agree with Ms Thunberg’s political views on government actions regarding emission reductions, there can be little disagreement in respect of the pace of growth in private sector interest and investment in ESG funds. The data is irrefutable: US sustainable funds saw $15.7 billion in net inflows during the third quarter of 2021, according to Morning Star with assets in these funds totaling more than $330 billion as of September. According to Bloomberg, Global ESG assets are on track to exceed $53 trillion by 2025, representing more than a third of the $140.5 trillion in projected total assets under management. Further, more than half of the environmental, social and governance-linked funds in the market outperformed the S&P 500 in the first several months of 2021.

Although the reasons for the growth and performance of ESG products are the subject of vigorous debate, the data is conclusive in relation to the surge of interest in funds being raised with an environmental or social purpose.

This begs a question: How do statements of intention around the environmental purpose and social objectives of a fund translate into action? When an offering document states that the purpose of a fund is to advance environmental and social goals, how can investors be certain that the fund will, in fact, deliver on its promise?

 

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Lucy Frew’s FinTech column: February 2022

In this edition of her column, Lucy considers the UK government’s plans to bring qualifying cryptoassets into scope of financial promotion legislation, and how the FCA’s proposals to strengthen the financial promotion regime will impact on the promotion of such cryptoassets.

January brought the UK government’s plans to bring certain cryptoassets into scope of financial promotion legislation following a consultation in 2020. Meanwhile, in tandem, an FCA consultation paper sets out proposals to strengthen its financial promotion rules, introducing new rules that will apply to such cryptoassets and restrict their promotion. The changes will be significant for unauthorised and overseas firms, as well as for authorised firms.

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