Harneys operates through 14 international locations and its global funds practice advises on all aspects of offshore investment funds, establishment, maintenance and restructuring both in distressed and planned scenarios. The firm’s global investment funds practice continued to grow in 2017, particularly in Cayman and Hong Kong. Harneys is now fully entrenched in the Cayman Islands, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Its market disrupter approach and mentality has taken the offshore investment funds market by storm.
“It’s a conscience decision to be the market disrupter. It’s who we are. It’s in our DNA,” says Ian Gobin, who heads-up the Cayman Islands investment funds team. Gobin says the Cayman investment funds market was “crying out” for a viable alternative to the norm.
“We are rapidly closed the gap between us and top two firms in the jurisdiction through our strategic onshore partnerships with complementary service providers, firms and people who see the world the same way as us. We continue to target a wider client base through our extensive marketing campaign. Our focus remains on the North American and LatAm markets,” confirms Gobin.
On new offshore developments, the firm invested early in the FinTech space through their investment fund teams in Cayman, BVI and Vancouver. “We are the ‘go-to’ offshore firm for ICOs and crypto-asset funds. It’s a great space for us to be in. We committed to being the market leader in this space several years ago. The pace of the market was incredible last year and it’s just getting started. We’re now seeing institutional players probe and show interest with this market,” says Gobin. He says that Harneys is extremely opportunistic and nimble in all aspects of its business.
“We saw an opportunity to not only strengthen our investment funds team but also our structured finance, banking and corporate teams with the hiring of Nicole Pineda, as a partner and new head of our banking and finance group and Ana Lazgare, associate,” says Gobin.
Nicole advises on structured finance, including US CLOs and emerging market future cash flow-backed securities, secured lending and fund finance and also brings further expertise in hedge fund and private equity transactions, particularly in LatAm. Ana is a Mexican, BVI and Cayman Islands qualified lawyer, who has worked with Nicole for many years. “They link up perfectly with our offering in North America and dove-tail with our strengths in South America, through our offices in Sao Paulo and Montevideo,” says Gobin, adding: “It’s been an amazing year with the talent we have attracted to the Firm. We agree with Richard Branson, ‘If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers’.”
Harneys prides itself on being able to offer bespoke services to clients, whether institutional or boutique managers. Its size, collegiate atmosphere and flexible teams allow Harneys to work across departments and offices.
“We challenge the industry by bringing personality to the table with our clients. We have a different culture to a lot of other offshore law firms. Rather than simply provide an anonymous service from a distance, if a client is looking for an offshore law firm to be their back-office legal team and provide real value at the right price point, they should look no further than Harneys. Ultimately, our job is to make the life of a general counsel and fund manager as easy as possible,” comments Gobin.
Gobin says that the end of 2017 was incredibly strong and, if Q1 2018 is anything to go by, “it’s going to be a another record year for us”.
On winning this year’s award, Gobin remarks: “By continuing to challenge the industry norms, and at the same time holding onto our core values and historical roots, we are innovating and enhancing the market for offshore. We thank our clients and our business partners in the industry.”