The Court of Appeal has overturned an earlier decision of the Grand Court, thereby allowing the enforcement of an International Chamber of Commerce arbitral award issued in favour of a Brazilian airline. The decision raises important and difficult issues relating to the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards which are the subject of robust challenge before the courts of supervisory jurisdiction.
The government recently announced that the Virtual Asset (Service Providers) Law 2020 will commence in phases, with phase one commencing on 31 October 2020. Phase one will focus on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism compliance, supervision and enforcement. Phase two, which is expected to begin in June 2021, will bring into force the licensing and virtual asset issuance approval process.
The Monetary Authority (Administrative Fines) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 recently came into force, extending the administrative fines regime beyond breaches of the Anti-money Laundering Regulations to a much broader spectrum of breaches under various Cayman regulatory laws. Of particular interest to Cayman bank licensees will be how breaches of the Banks and Trust Companies Law will be treated under the regulations.
The Cayman Islands recently introduced a new framework for regulating virtual asset businesses: the Virtual Assets (Service Providers) Law 2020. The law derives from recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force and provides for the regulation of virtual asset businesses and the registration and licensing of persons which provide virtual asset services. In addition, the government has amended a number of existing laws to extend to virtual assets.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a number of operational and administrative challenges across the global legal and economic landscape. This article summarises some of the latest developments and the key issues relevant to financial institutions with legal and regulatory links to the Cayman Islands, including the validity and enforceability of electronic signatures and the Cayman Islands advisory on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism compliance.
To help Cayman hedge funds navigate the myriad issues brought about by COVID-19, this article offers a high-level checklist for fund directors and investment managers to consider. The checklist covers operational issues, issues around liquidity and possible termination and communication and reporting considerations. Each of these topics is considered in turn in relation to a typical standalone corporate open-ended Cayman fund. That said, most of the checks can be applied using a variety of Cayman vehicles.
Against the backdrop of differing economies, laws and regulations throughout Asia, choosing to incorporate Cayman entities into holding and investment structures allows international stakeholders to cooperate under the aegis of a stable and effective judicial system. Through its court system, the Cayman Islands can provide the investment community with impartial, established and highly regarded judicial resources dedicated to resolving complex commercial disputes.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and with many people now working remotely, companies are increasingly considering the use of digital contracts and electronic signatures. To help minimise disruption and ensure business continuity, this article summarises the legal position in the Cayman Islands and provides practical advice on implementation.
The Foundation Companies Law 2017 was a welcome addition to the Cayman Islands legal landscape. The law introduced a brand new legal entity known as the 'foundation company' – a remarkably flexible vehicle that operates like an incorporated trust, allowing it to function like a civil law foundation or common law trust while retaining the separate legal personality and limited liability of a company.
Section 238 of the Companies Law (2020 Revision) provides an avenue through which shareholders of a merged or consolidated Cayman Islands company can apply to have the fair value of their shares determined by the Grand Court. Section 238 has its origins in Delaware law and was first introduced into the Cayman Islands Companies Law in 2009. After a relatively uneventful first few years in operation, Section 238 is now at the forefront of jurisprudence.
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority recently issued an industry notice regarding fund annual return (FAR) filings for private funds registered under the Private Funds Act (Revised) (private funds). The notice confirms that the deadline for the first filing of audited accounts and the associated FAR form by all private funds has been extended to 30 September 2021.
The Grand Court has confirmed that shareholders of companies that effect a short-form merger pursuant to Section 233(7) of Part XVI of the Companies Act (2021 Revision) are entitled to be paid the fair value of their shares on dissenting from the merger under Section 238 of the act. The eagerly awaited judgment in Changyou.com clarifies an issue which was previously the subject of extensive debate and provides welcome certainty to minority shareholders of Cayman companies.
For the best part of 20 years, private equity sponsors and their global advisers have been attracted by the Cayman Islands' neutrality, efficiency, quality and flexibility – but also by its predictability. So, when the Cayman Islands announced in early 2020 that all Cayman-domiciled closed-ended funds (including private equity and real estate funds) would be required to register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority by August 2020, this seemed like a shake-up.
The Court of Appeal recently reiterated the importance of following the natural and ordinary meaning of a fund's articles in order to ensure that redemptions are effective. This is particularly important in the context of a master-feeder fund structure. Although the decision is consistent with longstanding authority, it does highlight the importance of ensuring that the redemption procedures set out in a master fund's articles are strictly adhered to as a matter of practice.
In a decision that provides additional certainty to dissenting shareholders, the Grand Court has rejected a company's efforts to recast the procedural framework for appraisal proceedings brought under Section 238 of the Companies Law (as revised). This decision follows the significant 2019 ruling of Chief Justice Smellie in JA Solar, which has become the touchstone for directions orders in Section 238 proceedings.
The International Tax Cooperation (Economic Substance) Act reflected the Cayman Islands' commitment to its obligations as a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's global Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Inclusive Framework and corresponding EU requirements for no or nominal tax jurisdictions. This article summarises the key elements of the act and draws upon guidance issued by the Tax Information Authority.
The new Department for International Tax Cooperation (DITC) Portal launched in early November 2020. The DITC has also issued an advisory setting out details of a phased opening of the DITC Portal, confirming that it will initially be available for Common Reporting Standard and US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act purposes, with functionality for economic substance and country-by-country reporting being launched in subsequent phases.
The Cayman Islands has comprehensive economic substance legislation, under which in-scope entities that carry on particular activities must demonstrate economic substance in the Cayman Islands. The Tax Information Authority, which is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the substance requirements in the Cayman Islands, recently published guidance on economic substance for geographically mobile activities.