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Investor vigilance driving more independent director appointments

A shift in economic conditions which are more conducive to new fund formations will also help support growth in the industry. Butler notes the jurisdiction is already starting to see new fund launches taking place during the first quarter of 2023.

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Increased investor vigilance is driving more fund managers to place independent directors on the boards of their entities in the Cayman Islands. They are also placing a greater emphasis on requiring service providers without conflicts of interest.

Given the close scrutiny the Cayman Islands financial services industry has been under, fund managers are taking precautions and ensuring they do all they can to protect their funds and their investors.

Appointing an independent director can give investors comfort as it can help ensure the fund’s interests continue to be closely aligned with those of the investors themselves in that there is independent oversight of the various activities of the fund.

“We have also seen an emphasis on requiring service providers who have no conflicts of interest,” observes Gary Butler, Managing Director, IMS Fund Services. From the firm’s perspective this is a positive development since, as a provider of independent governance services IMS does not provide services that could be seen as potentially conflicting with our governance services, such as fund administration or legal services.

More broadly, the outlook for fund launches in the Cayman Islands is showing signs of green shoots as the industry hopes for a year in which inflation begins to subside and without much regulatory upheaval.

“In recent years we saw a number of material changes to legislation regulating Cayman funds and hope that 2023 will be a quiet year for funds-related legislation,” says Gary Butler, Managing Director, IMS.

A shift in economic conditions which are more conducive to new fund formations will also help support growth in the industry. Butler notes the jurisdiction is already starting to see new fund launches taking place during the first quarter of 2023.

Butler notes that the grey listing of the Cayman Islands in October 2022 by the Financial Services Task Force (FATF) seems to have had little impact on the funds business in the domicile.

On the other hand, the crypto winter in the wake of the FTX collapse has had considerable ripple effects across the Cayman Islands industry, due to the heavy focus placed on crypto funds in the past few years.

“Over the past couple of years, a material portion of new fund formations have been blockchain/crypto related, although in the wake of the FTX collapse, new blockchain related business has slowed down significantly,” Butler says.

Although industry participants hope for less regulatory change over the course of 2023, Butler notes that the fall of FTX is likely to lead to increased regulation for crypto/blockchain related business, which will have knock-on effects for funds business generally and its regulation. “Though whether this happens in 2023 or later remains to be seen,” he adds.

However, Butler concludes: “Cayman continues to be an excellent jurisdiction for funds and remains the jurisdiction of choice for the majority of new fund formations due to the quality of service providers, the ease of registration and timezone for US based managers.”


Gary Butler, Managing Director & Fund Director, IMS – Gary Butler is Managing Director of IMS and serves as a director on the boards of a limited number of investment funds and special purpose vehicles. He is a Solicitor of the High Court of England and Wales and is a Professional Director in the Cayman Islands registered pursuant to the Directors Registration and Licensing Act and is a member of the Cayman Islands Directors Association. His expertise is in the fields of corporate and fiduciary law, with an emphasis on offshore structures.
 

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