Appleby shuts London office after MBO Review

| 06/11/2015 | 5 Comments
CNS Business

Appleby Office in Grand Cayman

(CNS Business): Law firm Appleby has closed its London office, breaking its link with the City, in the wake of the management buyout (MBO) of its trust and fiduciary business. For offshore law firms, keeping an office in the Square Mile is a matter of some prestige and most of the major firms do so, however, Appleby’s move follows that of Ogier, which closed its London office two years ago, also completing an MBO of its fiduciary business.

Appleby said it shut its three-partner office in the City of London at the end of the summer following a firm-wide logistical review, which took place ahead of the MBO earlier this year. Whilst not practising UK law, offshore firms have tended to maintain a presence in what is arguably the most prominent financial centre in the world in order to be closer to their clients in the region who do the deals that use Cayman and other offshore structures. Appleby said that with its offices dotted in the three crown dependencies around England — Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man — it does not need to keep the London office going.

“Due to their immediate proximity, communications and travel between Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and London is very simple,” said an Appleby spokesperson. “The need for a London office in light of this was being thought through before the MBO of the fiduciary business was considered. However, alongside a comprehensive review of our logistics as part of the preparation for the MBO, we reached a natural point at which to implement a rationalisation of our resources in London simply because it made no difference to our ability to deal with our clients and intermediaries, and it has enabled us to refocus our resources into other offices within the group.”

Of the three partners and two other lawyers that staffed the London office, partner Stephen James heads back to Cayman, having previously practised here between 2004 and 2012. James is the group team leader in the Banking and Asset Finance Group and specialises in securitisations, corporate inversions, reorganisations and M&A. David Clarke has moved to the BVI and Deborah Poole, formerly of Walkers in London, has retired.

These developments for Appleby follow the summer exit of a three-lawyer funds team, which jumped across to rival Harneys in the wake of the fiduciary MBO. Partner Ian Gobin, who headed Appleby’s funds group, moved along with attorneys Matthew Taber, who became a partner at Harneys, and Jonathan Bernstein in July. The move was notable as it mirrored how a team of ten funds lawyers left Walkers for Maples and Calder in 2012, following the sale of its fiduciary operation.

For now, Appleby has also announced the arrival of a new partner in Cayman, who is also making a return trip. Sailaja Alla has joined the funds practice, having previously worked with Appleby in Cayman and Hong Kong between 2000 and 2007. For the past three years she has been at Harneys and she has 15 years’ experience advising on investment funds.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Did the lawyers in London have practicing certificates?

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting to see how these lawyers are moving all over the place in Cayman. Interesting to understand how this impacts the Cayman lawyers in these firms or those Cayman lawyers looking for jobs in Cayman.

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