Mourant Ozannes welcomes upbeat funds news with increased expertise

Cayman Islands hedge fund registrations increased strongly over the past six months, as managers around the world continue to make Cayman the destination of choice for raising and deploying international, institutional investment capital.


With a particularly active period since March, the number of hedge funds regulated by CIMA has grown by 460 over the past two consecutive quarters, with the total number of funds standing at 11,215.


The Cayman fund sector is currently expanding at a rate of 76.5 new funds per month, even allowing for any cancellations; and the total does not include the large number of funds not required to be regulated, such as single investor funds, or private equity funds typically set up as partnerships, which are also trending higher this year.


Against this background, Mourant Ozannes has added significant expertise and capacity to its Cayman Islands funds team, with the relocation of partner Alex Last from Hong Kong and the recent appointments of Jennifer Parsons as counsel and Catherine Pham as senior associate.


“The climate for new hedge fund launches remains upbeat and confidence has improved over the summer as we continue to see a steady stream of instructions from both new and existing clients,” said Hayden Isbister, partner and head of the firm’s Cayman Islands Corporate practice. “FATCA submissions for 2014 are now largely complete for US clients who appear to have been able to manage the increased regulatory burden quite efficiently.”


“We are delighted to welcome Alex, Jennifer and Catherine to the team in Cayman,” Isbister added “only by investing in and developing the industry’s best talent, can we ensure that we have the right depth of expertise in place to continue exceeding our clients’ expectations in this era of unprecedented market change.”


Alex Last is a highly experienced partner, specialising in private equity, investment funds and corporate and commercial work. Alex is recognised for his high quality advice to leading private fund sponsors on the structuring and establishment of investment funds, secondary transactions and related deal work. He also frequently advises on general corporate and finance matters, with particular expertise in the context of fund financing. He is currently splitting his time between Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, with a view to making the role permanent in Cayman.


Counsel Jennifer Parsons brings a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of the establishment and ongoing operations of investment funds, Cayman Islands’ Companies Law and corporate governance. Her primary focus and experience has been in investment funds, securities investment business and corporate and commercial work she also has experience in mergers and acquisitions and regulatory law. She has written extensively on these topics and is active in a number of industry associations and organisations, including the Cayman Islands Law Society and the Cayman Chapter of 100 Women in Hedge Funds.


Senior Associate Catherine Pham brings her extensive offshore experience to Mourant Ozannes, having previously worked for six years with another major firm in the Cayman Islands, where she advised a multinational client base, including some of the world’s largest investment banks. Her practice primarily involves investment fund structuring, regulation, restructuring, liquidity management, investor relations and associated corporate transactions.


Mourant Ozannes’ funds team in Cayman continues to gain recognition from leading industry observers. The recent IFLR 1000 publication highlighted the firm’s “undeniably impressive transactional record, client base, success at luring talent, and the list of onshore firms with which it works regularly”.


IFLR 1000 stated: “The superior quality of the firm’s work for Nomura Asset Management in the past led to a major new deal for the same client in April 2015, overseen by partner and investment practice head Hayden Isbister,” adding that Mourant Ozannes gained dozens of new funds clients in 2014.

In addition to noting the firm’s intensive recruitment of talent, with the appointment of Pham, alongside hires in London and Hong Kong, IFLR 1000 highlights Mourant Ozannes’ specialist focus on private equity globally, with one client describing partner Alex Last as “very good, always responsive, easy to work with, and gets the job done on time”.

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