The government and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority are well aware that it is imperative that the Cayman Islands is not only perceived to, but does in fact, play a central role in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. At the same time, there is a deep understanding of the need to remain competitive and commercial. This article addresses a number of key questions concerning the 2018 amendments to Cayman's anti-money laundering regime.
This article addresses how the landscape for the structuring of offshore investment funds established in the Cayman Islands is changing and how this change is being driven by the evolving relationship between investors and investment fund managers – in particular, how the balance of power has in many cases shifted from the manager to the investor.
New legislation recently came into force in the Cayman Islands requiring in-scope entities that carry on particular activities to have demonstrable economic substance in Cayman. Relevant entities must make an annual report as to whether they are carrying on one or more of a defined list of activities (relevant activities). If they are, they must satisfy an economic substance test in Cayman in respect of such relevant activities.
A Cayman court recently considered numerous complex areas of the law concerning commercial fraud and the ability to trace assets through corporate groups and into sophisticated financial products. This article discusses the court's findings regarding the illegality defence and the lessons which can be derived for future Cayman cases in which this defence might be engaged.
Insolvency and restructuring cases are perhaps the most common types of cross-border dispute heard by the Grand Court, but other examples include trust disputes, which can often involve high-net-worth families and trust assets spread across the globe, and the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards. High-profile examples of cross-border cooperation between the Grand Court and foreign courts include the Bank of Credit and Commerce International liquidation and the Ocean Rig restructuring.
Employers want maximum restriction on employees who leave but must be careful not to overstep the mark as covenants which are unduly restrictive risk being struck out by the courts. As such, employers should be aware that disgruntled employees can file complaints with the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority and might also bring civil actions for damages pursuant to Section 42 of the Competition Ordinance.
The Association of Investment Companies Code of Corporate Governance (AIC code) is a framework of best practice for the governance of investment companies. The new AIC code applies to accounting periods which began on or after 1 January 2019. As such, Guernsey boards are urged to (among other things) review their existing corporate governance arrangements and determine which code is applicable to their companies.
The government has approved new regulations which impose an economic substance test on Guernsey tax-resident companies in order to meet the requirements of the EU Code of Conduct Group. The regulations, which came into force on 1 January 2019, establish tests for tax-resident companies carrying on 'relevant activities', including fund management.
When applying to the court for an order with respect to a trust, it is important to consider how future circumstances are changing and how this might be provided for without the need for further recourse to the court. A recent case involving a Jersey trustee, which had applied to the Royal Court of Guernsey to vary an order previously made by the Royal Court and to invoke the court's power to construe a trustee power under its Public Trustee v Cooper jurisdiction, provides clarity in this regard.
The Guernsey Royal Court recently issued a regulatory decision on prohibition orders, fines and public statements. In this decision, the deputy bailiff found that the Guernsey Financial Services Commission did not have the jurisdiction or power to make prohibition orders that were limited in time; it only had the power to make unlimited prohibition orders (as in the United Kingdom) against the defendant – although it could have indicated when it might be appropriate for the defendant to reapply for a licence.
Jersey's environmental legislation covers areas including water pollution, nuisance, planning, wildlife and waste disposal. Further, the minister for planning and the environment has the power to exercise enforcement in a number of ways. This system ensures that all development within Jersey is carried out in accordance with the local legislation and any specific conditions imposed by the minister. However, even with active and engaged enforcement, legislation can only go so far.
A recent Royal Court judgment has indicated that delays in bringing an application to set aside a transfer of property to a Jersey trust due to mistake will be considered by the court when exercising its discretion as to whether to grant relief. In particular, this decision clarifies that delay is a factor that the court will consider when determining whether the mistake is of so serious a character as to render it just to make a declaration setting aside a disposition into trust.
Personal assets that most commonly need to be accessed in Jersey following the death of a non-domiciled person are shares in Jersey companies and Jersey bank accounts and investments. If individuals are domiciled outside Jersey, they need not prepare a separate will to cover their Jersey personal estate if they already have a valid one which covers their worldwide personal estate; however, doing so can offer significant benefits.
A recent Royal Court decision arose out of an attempt by the settlors of trusts to exercise their power to revoke the trusts. The trustee in this case was concerned and so petitioned the Royal Court for directions. Among other things, the court's decision highlights that trustees should be aware of how a trust fund might be distributed on revocation of a trust. Trustees should also review their terms and conditions of business to ensure that they are protected against any potential adverse consequences.
It is fair to say that the term 'asset protection trust' has developed as an informal description of a trust, the primary purpose of which is to safeguard trust assets from claims made by creditors and others usually against the settlor or beneficiaries of a trust. This article discusses what an asset protection trust is and what, over and above a normal trust, it is seeking to achieve. It also considers to what extent a Jersey trust, once established, will protect assets from creditor claims.