Attorneys Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co have recently taken on two new attorneys, strengthening both their litigation and investment funds team. Business Editor speaks with both and reports.
Benjamin Wrench joins Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co as a Senior Associate in the firm’s Investment Funds practice having previously worked at Anderson Legal and Lovells in London and Ogier in Guernsey. He studied law at Exeter University in the UK and graduated with a LL.B. with honours in 1994. Thereafter he attended the Inns of Court School of Law in London and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1995. He has a wealth of experience in financial services law and practice, not least because of his earlier position at a derivates clearing broker in London but also as a result of specialising in financial services law and unregulated collective investment schemes at Anderson Legal, and then Lovells, before moving offshore to the Channel Islands to continue advising on investment funds (including hedge funds, funds of funds, private equity funds, and funds investing in alternative asset classes as diverse as oil drilling platforms and wine funds).
Raymond Davern was admitted to practice as an attorney-at-law in the Cayman Islands by the Honourable Justice Quin on the application of Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co. At that time Justice Quin said that Raymond was clearly a ‘significant advocate’.
Davern has 18 years of experience in law as a practitioner and academic. He has undertaken court work at all levels (including the Privy Council) in a litigious practice at the modern, commercial Chancery Bar.
Most recently John McDonnell QC, a distinguished UK advocate invited Davern to become a founder member of his Chambers at 13 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn, where he has for the last five years undertaken a wide range of litigious Chancery and Commercial work in London. However he was greatly attracted by the offer of a position with Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co which will allow him to put his highly valuable combination of trusts expertise and fondness for hard-fought commercial litigation to the greatest use. Since Davern’s arrival, he has been instrumental in having Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co appointed Special Counsel to the trustee for the liquidation of the business of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Why did you move to Cayman?
BW: I am a Funds specialist and moved to Grand Cayman to further my career because it is recognised globally as the place to establish and work on Hedge Funds, which has been my primary interest since working with derivatives in London in the 1990s.
RD: I was enticed by the promise of an exciting mix of offshore Trusts work and Commercial Litigation.
Why did you move to HJTBCO in particular?
BW: I moved to Higgs Johnson Truman Bodden & Co because of opportunities arising from the recent merger with Higgs & Johnson of the Bahamas in January 2009. Also Truman Bodden & Company is well respected in the legal community. It is an ideal time to join this firm at the start of its expansion.
RD: The partners invited me to join their Litigation department to replace a former colleague as well as to build an offshore Trusts team, capitalising on my previous experience, both practical and academic, in the field of trusts.
What types of business do you anticipate working on?
BW: I will be working on all types of Investment Funds and related Corporate/Commercial work. I’ll also use my expertise to complement that of the firm’s new trust expert, Raymond Davern, in establishing Unit Trusts.
RD: On the commercial side, I anticipate working on the insolvent liquidation of hedge funds, defending service providers to hedge funds and litigation involving some of the bigger local enterprises. On the trusts side, I anticipate working on advising trust corporations on their powers and duties and launching hedge funds with a trust structure.
What are your views on the recession and its impact on business (or not)?
BW: The lack of credit available to banks and businesses in general has slowed the economy down. The work of all offshore funds lawyers has therefore focused more on restructuring existing investment vehicles than establishing new funds. However, low interest rates mean that investors cannot leave their portfolios in cash for much longer and investment managers are keen to be ready for the anticipated economic up-turn and, as a consequence, the firm is now seeing a significant increase in start-up investment funds.
RD: A good litigation team only gets busier in a recession and trustees need ever more considered advice about their position when diminishing returns give beneficiaries greater grounds for scrutiny of trustee action and complaint.