Channel Islands: Jersey

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: The Law Society of Jersey

Competition authority: The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA)

Financial regulator: Jersey Financial Services Commission

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate, Investment funds

Jurisdiction overview

The Jersey legal system has been influenced by the same three elements that influence its culture. Alongside the English Common Law model of its governing state, the jurisdiction’s legislation also has elements of French civil law and even Norman customary law (which is similar to common law except that the law is based on common usage rather than judicial verdict).

The jurisdiction is an offshore financial centre and has encouraged elements of the financial services industry to relocate by maintaining relatively low rates of tax. The jurisdiction is increasingly trying to attract capital and interest from new regions of the world, with recent overtures being made to Asian countries particularly China. Jersey’s relationship with the UK and the EU are often used as a selling point and highlighted in contrast to other offshore centres.

The legal industry has grown in tandem with the economy and thus the largest law firms in the market are those who also have bases in other offshore centres and UK crown dependencies such as Guernsey, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and increasingly, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The lawyers who staff these firms are a mix of Jersey qualified professionals and those qualified in the UK (primarily England and Wales) and other former British colonies such as Hong Kong or Australia. A common career history for a Jersey lawyer is to have received training and practised in a London corporate law firm before relocating.

Because of the nature of the Island’s economy, lawyers will generally work in tandem with firms from other jurisdictions (primarily the UK) advising on the local elements of cross border financings or acquisitions where a Jersey subsidiary or holding company is involved. The Island is also a centre of the investment fund industry and a lot of legal work is focused around the set-up of Jersey vehicles and related fund raisings, capital markets listings, acquisitions and disposals.

The most significant change to the funds regime in recent years and one which lawyers have been heavily engaged on, has been the Alternative Investment Fund Manager’s Directive (AIFMD), which regulates the types of funds that can be marketed in the EU. As it stands Jersey managers can market their funds using the national private placement regime, which will be in place until at least 2018, at which point it is hoped by those on the island that the jurisdiction will be granted a ‘passport’, which essentially allows funds from non-EU countries to be marketed.

Jersey law firms also commonly offer fiduciary and fund administration services to clients alongside their legal offering.

Financial and corporate
Appleby

Appleby has a broad network including offices across the Caribbean, Asia and all three crown dependencies. The firm was boosted by the addition of finance partner James Fox from Carey Olsen during the research period.

In the banking sector points to work on the restructuring of UK banks including work for Santander. Wendy Benjamin is particularly active in this space. The firm has also picked up work on recapitalisations and acquisition and real estate finance. In the capital markets Andrew Weaver acted on a high yield issue by Mauser Packaging Solutions.

In the corporate space the firm has seen more work involving schemes of arrangement. One clear M&A highlight was work alongside Allen & Overy for 21st Century Fox on the acquisition of Sky.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• 21st Century Fox £24.5 billion bid for Sky

• Atrium European Real Estate €225 million refinancing

• BC Partners acquisition of August Equity

• Mauser Packaging Solutions Holding Company high yield bond issue

• PraxisIFM Group acquisition of Nerine International Holding

• Santander Jersey and Isle of Man restructuring and transfer

 

Client feedback

“Good service, they give pertinent and commercial advice. A strength for me is the personal relationships that I have there and also the fact that they are in multiple jurisdictions.”  - Banking

“Very responsive and commercial, partner engagement and practical advice.” - Banking

“Good commercial advice, appropriate to our needs as trustees. They offer solutions rather than barriers and always respond quickly. Having offices in multiple jurisdictions is very helpful.” - Corporate

“The advice given was appropriate and useful.” - Private equity

Bedell Cristin

Bedell Cristin has offices in the Channel Islands and the BVI. The firm specialises in Islamic finance and restructuring.

In the banking space the firm has acted on acquisition and real estate financings for both borrowers and lenders, including work for Vitol, Blackstone and RBS. In the capital markets the firm acted for the likes of Crown UK Holdoc on a loan notes issue and Netflix on a senior notes issue. Tim Pearce and Alasdair Hunter were particularly active during the research period.

In M&A a clear highlight was work for Cindat Capital Management on its acquisition of a stake in HCP’s UK healthcare property portfolio. The firm also acted for Comcast on the regulatory aspects of its bid for Sky.

In the investment funds area the firm acts on real estate and private equity funds and REITs as well as providing regulatory advice. The firm has acted for the likes of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, Zedra and Fabrix Capital. Martin Paul and Bruce Scott were particularly active.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Cindat Capital Management acquisition of a 51% interest in HCP

• Comcast Corporation bid for Sky

• Crown UK Holdco loan notes issue

• Harrison Street Real Estate European Property Partners II

• Shoreline Natural Resources $534 million financing

• St. Katherine’s Dock £265 million refinancing

• Zedra Fiduciary Investment Fund

 

Client feedback

“We find BC very commercial, pragmatic, prompt and helpful, and importantly they know how to manage a fee budget well.” - Banking

“Technically strong, met all deadlines, pragmatic, helpful.” - Investment funds

“Professional and great service. Excellent value for money. Bedells are particularly strong in Jersey and BVI.” - Islamic finance

“Excellent, commercially minded in negotiations. Good value for money. Excellent team, partner always available.” - Real estate

“Excellent with good partner involvement.” - Real estate

“Responsive and efficient.” - Real estate

“Solid - good responsiveness and pragmatic, well-tailored advice.” - Real estate

Carey Olsen

Client feedback

“Support is very strong and responsive. Availability extremely good.” - Investment funds

“Very proactive, commercial and efficient.” - Investment funds

“The team always delivers no matter the task and the timetable involved.” - M&A

“James Wilmott and his able assistant Natasha Lyons kept their cool during a lengthy sale process which was sometimes difficult and always demanding; indeed without their positive professionalism the deal could well have failed.” - M&A

“Carey Olsen provide Oxford with an excellent service and are very attentive to all our needs. Carey's have a detailed knowledge of the way in which Oxford work and through this we act as partners as compared to client and adviser.” - Real estate

Dickinson Gleeson

Dickinson Gleeson is a relatively new entrant to the Jersey market having been established in 2010. The financial and corporate department was then founded by Edward Scott in 2016. The firm is a nimble boutique that has already picked up work alongside the likes of Reed Smith and Eversheds Sutherland and also works with Guernsey boutique Ferbrache & Farrell on matters that span the Channel Islands.

Like its peers in the market the firm picks up a lot of its work in the real estate sector, where the use of Jersey structures for UK acquisitions is particularly popular. During the research period this included work on the acquisitions of the Burlington Arcade and the Chineham Shopping Centre.

In addition to real estate M&A, the firm has also picked up financing work, acting on loan deals for the likes of Albury Land.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Reuben Brothers acquisition of Burlington Arcade

• Tellon Capital acquisition of Chineham Shopping Centre

Maples Group

 Maples Group entered the Jersey market in 2018 with a number of hires including Chris Byrne from Ogier, Paul Burton from Carey Olsen and Simon Hopwood from Bedell Cristin. Despite being new to the Channel Islands the firm is a strong brand in the global offshore legal market (where it is best known as Maples & Calder), with an historic base in the Caribbean and a raft of offices in various finance centres around the world. The Jersey office will also complement the firm’s established presence in Dublin and its existing European fund practice.

Like most of the larger practices in Jersey the firm has a focus on real estate work and has already acted for the likes of Soor Capital. While most of the firm’s work is confidential it can be said that it has advised several private equity clients on matters during the research period with Burton and Byrne both active.

Hopwood leads the firm’s fund practice which has focused on regulatory issues and manager and fund migrations in addition to new fund structuring. The firm can also point to a specialism in Islamic finance structures having acted on a number of shariah-complaint investment companies and structures.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Soor Capital acquisition of 23-26 Austin Friars

 

Client feedback

“Responsiveness was very good - the team were available at all times to respond to queries. The team also seemed to have good knowledge of, and a good relationship with, the local institutions.  The team does need to expand somewhat. Whilst responsiveness was excellent, the ability to spread capacity would benefit them and clients a great deal.” - Asset finance

“Maples are highly experienced at Jersey listing work. Their team has worked in this area for years. They have excellent contacts at the stock exchange and run the listing work in an efficient way adhering to clients' deadlines.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Highly competent with the benefit of joined up thinking across their offshore network of offices.” - Financial and corporate

“Very good. Good technical knowledge, responsive and good team.” - Investment funds

“The Maples team, especially Anna Cochrane, were very proactive and their attention to deal and overall awareness of the commercial realities of the transaction made it easier to get the deal across the line. They have a thorough understanding of the Jersey market and have established contacts within Jersey account banks, meaning that the Maples team can confidently advise on what the market norms are in Jersey.” - Islamic finance

Mourant Ozannes

Mourant Ozannes has offices in Guernsey, Jersey, BVI, Cayman as well as London and Hong Kong. It is one of the largest firms on Jersey. Robert Hickling, Jon Woolrich and Paul Martin were particularly active during the research period.

In the banking space the firm has acted on traditional financing structures and has also seen an increase in fund financing and Islamic financing acting for the likes of CVC, Investec and Citibank. In the capital markets the firm was focused on structured finance and securitisation.

In M&A the firm acted as Jersey counsel on a number of high-profile acquisitions and has also picked up work in the private equity sphere. Clear highlights were work for Shire on its takeover by Takeda Pharmaceutical and Cinven’s acquisition of Envirotainer group.

In the investment funds area the firm points to expertise in various asset classes such as private equity, real estate, debt and infrastructure and acts for 46% of Jersey funds by asset market share. Clients include the likes of Triton, Sole Shipping and LaSalle Investment Management. Joel Hernandez and Ben Robins were active during the research project.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Bain Capital £1.2 billion acquisition of esure Group

• China Investment Corporation €12.25 billion acquisition of Logicor

• Cinven €1 billion acquisition of Envirotainer group

• Invision VI

• Sole Shipping Special Opportunities Fund II

• Takeda Pharmaceutical Company £46 billion acquisition of Shire

• Triton Fund V

 

Client feedback

“Excellent. Simon and his team are first rate. They are responsive and accurate. Their legal work and commercial awareness are hugely beneficial in getting deals done quickly and accurately, to time and budget.” - Real estate

“Excellent, Mourants are my go-to Jersey law firm. They are technically excellent, very responsible, provide a first-class service and are commercial and pragmatic lawyers.” - Banking

“Mourant is a quality firm and the corporate Partner whom we deal with, Jon Woolrich, is an effective operator, who provides timely and pragmatic advice in a user friendly way.” - Capital markets : Equity

“Excellent level of service and market knowledge.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Very good - good level of communication and a real sensitivity to the commercial issues arising from the legal analysis.” - Financial and corporate

“They were very quick to respond with helpful advice and input for a demanding client which often needed input at short notice.” - Financial services regulatory

“High quality collegiate partnership, market leading.” - Investment funds

“The firm is highly responsive, solution oriented and makes sure the deal gets done. The MO team, led by Mark Chambers and Alistair Horn, is highly experienced and extremely valuable when dealing with the JFSC.” - Investment funds

“Industry leading team with in-depth insight into the Jersey funds market and regimes. Excellent client service. Advice that is technically sound but commercially focused - solution rather than problem driven. Not the cheapest of firms but with service and support that justifies it. Definitely a firm that you want in your corner!” - Investment funds

“Mourant is, by any measure, the leading firm when it comes to investment funds. Mourant has serviced some of the largest and most complex funds ever seen in Jersey and has retained its dominant position as the leading firm for many, many years. There is nothing that Mourant cannot service and their responsiveness and ability is second to none. Because of the size of Mourant's offering and their strength and depth, the investment funds team is able to call on specialists in other areas (e.g. corporate, banking, employment, dispute resolution), working seamlessly together, particularly across jurisdictions where necessary. Mourant has the largest team of dedicated investment funds lawyers in Jersey and they consistently provide a thorough and professional job. It is evident that a particular DNA has been instilled in the team as each member is helpful, approachable and commercial. You can always reach the correct person who will be able to answer any question at any time and this provides a great level of confidence in the team.” - Investment funds

“Very client-focussed and "on the point" advice, and they clearly have very strong relationships with the regulatory authorities in Jersey. There is also obviously great expertise throughout the levels of lawyer, and not just at partner level. It seems as though they may not have quite the numbers they need of non-partner lawyers after a few departures - this doesn't impact greatly on their responsiveness which is a testament to the extremely hard work of the team, but occasionally it shows that availability during transactions can be difficult for them.” - Investment funds

“Excellent. They are our go to firm for Jersey investment fund advice.” - Investment funds

“Proactive and available, whether or not they are instructed by us or by our client's counterparty. Accessible. Problem solving.” - Investment funds

“Excellent, we are very pleased with their availability, affability and advice.” - M&A

“James Hill and Rob Duggan are very good - technically strong, helpful and pragmatic.” - M&A

“Paul Martin and Sam Malpass always go above and beyond when we work with them. It feels like we work as one team rather than separate firms. It's always a pleasure to work with the team.” - M&A

“Consistently the best performance in Jersey. Commercial, strong technically and responsive.” - M&A

“Excellent work. Proactive and responsive.” - Private equity

“Excellent partner led service.” - Real estate

“This law firm are very responsive to client requests with expert technical knowledge.” - Real estate

Ogier

Ogier has offices across the Channel Islands, in London, in the BVI and Cayman, in Asia in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo and notably in Luxembourg. The firm expanded its funds team during the research period with the addition of Sophie Reguengo from Walkers.

Simon Dinning and Simon Felton have been particularly active within the financial and corporate space during the research period.

In banking and finance the firm points to an increase in work relating to fund finance and real estate finance and restructuring during the research period.

In the corporate space the firm points to work on sizeable deals involving Jersey schemes of arrangement including Takeda's acquisition of Shire and Randgold Resources’ merger with Barrick Gold. In addition, the firm has acted on large UK real estate deals and has also seen an increase in local (i.e. Jersey based) M&A.

In the investment funds space the firm is boosted by its Luxembourg office which gives it more options to offer clients. The firm points to private equity, infrastructure and real estate funds as the three most active asset classes during the research period. Niamh Lalor and Emily Haithwaite were particularly active during the research period.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Barrick Gold/Randgold Resources merger

• Hospital Topco restructuring

• Index Ventures Growth IV

• Informa £3.9 billion acquisition of UBM

• Permodalan Nasional Berhad/Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia acquisition of Phase 2 of Battersea Power Station redevelopment

• Takeda Pharmaceutical Company £46 billion acquisition of Shire

 

Client feedback

“Excellent, detailed and commercial advice. Helpful and efficient service.” - Banking

“Great communication, pragmatic and consistent in their approach, always a pleasure to bring them onto a matter.” - Banking

“The Ogier team, led by Simon Felton and ably assisted by Julia Keppe, are excellent to work with. They are always on the ball and incredibly efficient. They make my work easier as I can trust them to run with their matters appropriately knowing that they will only bring up matters to my attention which need my input.” - Banking

“They are quite responsive and efficient and quite knowledgeable and experienced in the relevant area. Work quality is good.” - Capital markets : Debt

“They are very responsive, commercial and helpful.” - Capital markets : Debt

“Ogier have done a great job. They understand the complexities of the underlying transactions and have made the listing process seamless from our and the client's perspective. They have been responsive and helpful, resolving queries and ensuring the listings occurred well inside the required time.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“Very good, experienced team - fees on the high side but able to deal with any query.” - Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

“A reliable and commercially-minded firm.” - Investment funds

“As always, Niamh Lalor and her team were efficient and commercial in their approach to all aspects of the fundraising process.” - Investment funds

“Excellent, careful, pragmatic advice.” - Investment funds

“Excellent. Responsive, communicative and obviously highly knowledgeable.” - Investment funds

“Generally very good, responsive and achieve desired results.” - Investment funds

“Overall an excellent service, efficient and practical, good value.” - Investment funds

“Excellent.” - M&A

“Good knowledge of local law, responsive, personable, good consistency.” - M&A

“Highly responsive and available. Excellent technical knowledge and high quality work.” - M&A

“Ogier have experienced lawyers who are regularly involved in the more significant deals and are great to work with, but it is important to get the right team.” - M&A

“Ogier in Jersey have always provided good service. Raulin Amy in particular is superb - technically excellent, commercial, practical, innovative and very client-friendly. Alex Curry is also very good.” - M&A

“The corporate team at Ogier in Jersey is the leading team on the island. Simon Dinning heads the team. He is a real authority on both Jersey and BVI law. He delivers advice in a client friendly manner with a focus on solutions. This is something that he engenders in the rest of the team.” - M&A

“The team is excellent at promptly delivering relevant and to-the-point advice.” - M&A

“Emily Haithwaite is our contact and she is exceptional. Proactive, technically first class and engages with all stakeholders in the relationship in the most helpful and effortless manner.” - Private equity

“We are happy with our experience to date. The firm is very professional and client oriented. We primarily worked with Emily Haithwaite (partner) and Alexandra O'Grady (senior associate). Emily has a wealth of knowledge in her expertise and we have consistently received prompt and precise legal advice. Alexandra has also provided us with prompt assistance and have been responsive on our needs. Considering we are in a different timezone, quick turnaround and feedback is of tremendous help in our process.” - Private equity

“Oliver Richardson and his team did a great job to lead and guide us through to the finishing line. They were very clear and concise in providing their support to us and look forward to working with them again soon.” - Project development

“Efficient, speedy and knowledgeable.” - Real estate

“Bruce MacNeil and team are responsive, commercial and practical. They have taken responsibility for understanding the wider transaction and the role their advice plays within it.” - Restructuring and insolvency

Walkers

Walkers has offices in the Channel Islands, in its strong markets in the Caribbean in Bermuda, BVI and Cayman as well as in Ireland, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

The firm expanded its team with the hire of two senior counsel from Mourant Ozannes in the form of Christopher Reed and John Le Rossignol.

In the financial and corporate space the firm has been active in leveraged real estate acquisitions and general M&A and points to an increase of work from Middle East and its Dubai office. The firm also acted on some notable bond deals. Jonathan Heaney, Alexandra Corner and Nigel Watson were particularly active during the research period. Key clients include the likes of Apache Capital Partners, Qatar National Bank and Apex Group.

In the investment funds space the firm’s work is all confidential but it can be said that Heaney has led the majority of the firm’s matters which had a clear focus on private equity fund formation work.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

• Apex Group acquisition of Ipes

• CHMT Peaceful Development Asia Property $4.1 billion bond issue

• Informa acquisition of UBM

• PVH Group €600 million 3.125% senior notes issue

• United Energy Group £650 million acquisition of Kuwait Energy

 

Client feedback

“Very high quality work, responsive and commercial in approach.” - Investment funds

“The team we work with at Walkers are superb. They go out of their way to ensure everything is looked after. Their advice is always clear and helpful.” - M&A

“Mark Critchton and team have been superb, great keeping all the plates spinning and playing an active lead in managing transactions. On Jersey law very knowledgeable, practical and commercial.” - Real estate

“Extremely responsive and very knowledgeable and experienced.” - Real estate

“The team at Walkers are responsive, professional, approachable and extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields.” - Restructuring and insolvency