The Court of Appeal has unanimously allowed every ground of an appeal by the liquidators of Argyle Funds SPC Inc. The key takeaway for the Cayman Islands professional services industry is that where work is delegated to be carried out by related entities outside the Cayman Islands, any attempt to contractually limit clients' rights to bring claims against those entities must be expressly articulated within the contract.
Along with the growth and maturity of the fund finance market, funds and their counsel have become increasingly familiar with lenders' limited partnership agreement (LPA) requirements. Therefore, newer LPAs often include the provisions that lenders require in order to provide financing under a capital call facility. Lenders and their counsel should consider several key due diligence points when reviewing LPAs, investor subscription documents and related side letters.
The Special Trusts (Alternative Regime) (STAR) Law introduced so-called 'STAR trusts' into Cayman Islands law to overcome some of the difficulties arising from more conventional offshore trusts. One of the most challenging aspects of establishing a STAR trust is the drafting of the purposes for which it is established. While the STAR Law contains rules to prevent STAR trusts from failing (eg, failure resulting from object and beneficiary uncertainty), there are a number of traps for the unwary.
Foundation companies are a unique structuring option in the Cayman Islands for wealth planning and also serve as holding and special purpose vehicles for commercial transactions and cryptocurrency offerings. Although a foundation company may be used as an alternative to a Cayman trust, a number of features specific to Cayman trust law have been incorporated into the foundation company vehicle which should prove beneficial to investors and private clients.
The Cayman Islands has become a popular choice for many businesses conducting initial coin offerings (ICOs) due to its tax neutrality, its reputation as a pre-eminent jurisdiction for investment funds and its securities law regime, which is generally more permissive than those of other jurisdictions. However, before any steps towards conducting an ICO are taken, it is critical that comprehensive legal and tax advice is obtained for each business before any token is sold or any entity is formed.
Two joint administrators recently applied to the Royal Court of Guernsey seeking an order that it issue the High Court of Justice of England and Wales with a letter of request to act in aid of and auxiliary to the Royal Court in recognising their appointment as administrators of a company. While the Royal Court has dealt with incoming letters of requests, in making the application, counsel was unaware of any case where the Royal Court's jurisdiction to issue a letter of request had previously been considered.
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission recently introduced the Guernsey Green Fund designation to provide investment managers with an opportunity to "assure investors that their investments are contributing to initiatives that have a positive environmental impact on the planet and in so doing inspire confidence that their investments are well regulated". The designation is available to registered and authorised schemes run in accordance with the Guernsey Green Fund Rules.
A variety of factors are fuelling a sustained boom in M&A activity around the world, including a number of mega-deals across a variety of sectors. Irrespective of deal size, a wide range of positive factors has driven deal volume. All of this is good news for the financial services community in Guernsey, which is seeing significant growth in work as a result – not least law firms with experienced M&A teams.
The Office for the Environment and Infrastructure recently announced that a new deposit protection scheme will be planned before the end of 2018. The announcement follows news that a local estate agent has ceased trading, leaving some tenants and landlords uncertain of their position with regard to rents and deposits that were being held by that agent. The proposal is likely to be that Guernsey should introduce a similar, if not identical, scheme to that already in place in Jersey.
The Guernsey Court of Appeal recently handed down its long-awaited judgment in M v St Anne's Trustees. On appeal, neither party had challenged the Guernsey Royal Court's decision that Guernsey law should follow Pitt v Holt. Instead, they had focused on arguing that there had been a breach of fiduciary duty and that the Royal Court should have exercised its discretion to grant relief.
New proposed requirements for an economic substance test for Jersey tax-resident entities have been published to meet the requirements of the EU Code of Conduct Group. The reforms are set to come into force on 1 January 2019, subject to approval by the States of Jersey, and establish new tests for certain tax-resident companies carrying on relevant activities in respect of demonstrating that they are directed and managed in Jersey, and that their core income generating activities are undertaken here.
The recently enacted Companies (Demerger) (Jersey) Regulations introduce a new demerger regime for Jersey companies. The new regime will be of particular interest to those who use, or are considering using, Jersey companies in their structures. It makes the use of a Jersey company more flexible and has a range of potential uses, including implementing a pre-sale reorganisation.
Limited partnerships in Jersey are governed by the Limited Partnerships (Jersey) Law 1994, as amended. The main feature of limited partnerships, as the name suggests, is the limited liability afforded to the limited partners. In addition, the law is highly flexible, such that the partners in a Jersey limited partnership are free to agree the terms attaching to the structure and operation of the partnership between them. For this reason, Jersey limited partnerships are popular vehicles.
The Signing of Instruments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Jersey Law 2018 was recently passed to enable people to validly execute legal documents (eg, a will or power of attorney) when they are physically incapable of signing their name. It brings about the much-needed change in law that was brought to light in 2015, when a local resident passed away after a paralysis of his hands had rendered him physically – but not mentally – incapable of signing a will.
The Jersey limitation period for claims against directors for breach of duty under Article 74 of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 has not been definitively decided by the Jersey Royal Court. However, the UK High Court recently found that the prescription period for claims against directors of Jersey companies for breach of their duties under Article 74 was 10 years. While this decision is not binding on the Jersey courts, it is likely to carry considerable weight.