We are delighted to welcome you to the Offshore Funds Blog.
The Offshore Funds Blog is written by a diverse group of funds lawyers who have come from far and wide and now practice together under the global roof of one of the leading offshore law firms, Harneys. This blog was born from wanting answer everyday questions we receive from our clients such as “Why do I need an offshore fund?”, “How do I go about setting one up?” and “Why are you lawyers so damn expensive?” (a common misconception).
Wanting to be good Samaritans (and hopefully remove the common misconception), Lewis Chong and I started looking around online and were surprised to see that there was not a lot of helpful information for people with these types of questions. So, after a couple of cold Heinekens one evening in 2015, we decided to create this blog.
We enlisted a first rate team, who would bring with them well regarded expertise in the industry, but also different viewpoints, styles and outlooks. Today, our blog team is made up of funds lawyers who have practiced in BVI and/or Cayman with over 70 years combined practicing experience advising on all aspects of investment fund vehicles. As well as blogs from all of us, we regularly feature guest posts from our colleagues and other experts in the industry. I invite you to read more about the blog team below.
We write about Cayman and BVI funds, what they do, how they work and how they are regulated. We also keep you up to date with what our teams are up to and we will be bringing you our observations and commentary on the latest news in the wider global funds industry.
But this is a blog, which means that it exists for you, our readers, and we are looking forward to hearing from you. Whether you are an existing client, an investment manager thinking of setting up a new fund, another service provider, onshore counsel or just reading for general interest, please use the comments sections to connect with us, or reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to know what you are up to, what challenges you face and what you want us to write about in the future.
Anyway, enough from me, onto the actual interesting content.
Thanks for stopping by and we hope you will come back often. We’ll put the kettle on just in case.
All the very best,
Meet our Editors
I first dipped my toe into the world of funds over sixteen years ago with the completion of a billion pound real estate fund (focused on “sheds” in Eastern Europe which I was only informed a little too late down the line actually referred to giant warehouses. It did seem an awful lot of money for a little wooden hut that you place in the back of your garden), which had me working for 45 hours in a row. Weirdly, the masochist in me found this quite enjoyable and so I set sail from the UK for the shores of the BVI to immerse myself a little bit more into the industry.
Since arriving at Harneys, I have worked with clients in every corner of the globe, guiding them through the happiness of a successful launch, the challenges of a distressed situation and the sadness of a winding down.
The lifecycle of a fund and the people that make it tick remain a constant fascination for me and I take great pride in being a little cog in an otherwise gigantic wheel.
I have also been invited to speak at industry forums in a wide variety of places, including London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and New York, as well as being appointed on various focus groups to assist the BVI government with ensuring that the funds sector remains as vibrant as ever.
As a father of three young children, the concept of “spare time” has been somewhat lost. But my hobbies are largely based around sport, both those my aging body will still allow me to play (which is pretty much just golf now – as the photograph illustrates) and those which I passionately support, preferably live from the stands. The undoubted highlight of this so far, was a trip to the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul to see my beloved Liverpool FC triumph over AC Milan in the most unforgettable Champions League Final of all time.
My wife informs me that I am not allowed to say in a public domain that this was the greatest night of my life. Ooops.
I think it is fair to say I’m the most well travelled member of the blog group, having lived and worked as a lawyer in New Zealand, the UK, Cayman and the BVI. I’m now based in Vancouver, Canada as Harneys’ “man on the ground” in North America.
My career as a funds lawyer started when I moved to London. I worked for a number of years in two of the leading alternative funds practices in the City assisting US, European and emerging markets managers with the formation of a variety of private equity and other fund structures. Since leaving London to practice “offshore” I have found this onshore funds experience invaluable as it often helps me anticipate the needs and expectations of our clients and, equally importantly, their onshore counsel.
You might be surprised to learn that I was a golden gloves boxing champion in New Zealand (as depicted in the photograph at right). I hung up my gloves in the second year of my legal career (I needed to conserve brain cells for the day job). These days, I maintain fitness by playing touch rugby, running and hiking.
Travel is my other big passion. Before joining Harneys, I took far too many career breaks to explore Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and Europe.
Originally from Australia, I have spent almost 20 years living and working as an investment funds lawyer in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Hong Kong, Dubai and the Cayman Islands. I spent 8 of those years living in the Cayman Islands.
Whilst still practicing Cayman Islands and BVI law, and thus being an “offshore” lawyer, I’m now physically based in Hong Kong, working with hedge fund managers, private equity fund managers and various prominent onshore law firms, as part of Harneys’ global investment funds practice.
I was in the Cayman Islands in the heady days preceding the financial crisis, and have remained in the action working with offshore investment fund clients through the extremely interesting, if challenging, times that have followed. I have advised on countless offshore fund formations. I have seen many funds succeed and continued to advise them in connection with legal issues pertinent to their ongoing operations as they have done so. I have provided advice in connection with the re-structuring of a significant number of distressed funds, and I have seen a few funds implode spectacularly. Throughout all this, I have learned much, and continue to learn something new almost every day.
I have a deep interest not only in investment funds, but also in the underlying public and private financial markets in which these funds operate.
As you may suspect from the list of cities in which I have been fortunate to live over the last 15 years, I also enjoy exploring the world. Landscapes, people, cultures, art, music, food. Currently, I am endlessly fascinated by the melting pot that is Hong Kong, and am periodically enjoying travels throughout incredible Asia.
I enjoy keeping fit by running, swimming and gym training and I love spending time with my wife, who through her support over the last 20 plus years has made all of the above possible, and with our incredible son, who is truly my special little man.