Law firm boasts best team in business

| 09/12/2008

(CNS):  Providers of Special Purpose Vehicles, local firm, Walkers SPV Limited, part of the Walkers group said this week that it now has a new top team with a level of experience, qualifications and know-how unmatched in the industry. The appointment of David Lloyd as Senior Vice President, who starts work in January 2009, represents the final stage in building the group’s upper-management structure.

Lloyd has worked for a number of investment banks including Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas in addition to Citigroup where he was a director on the structured products desk. He brings great expertise in all areas of structured finance including issuance vehicles, product wrappers and structured products for institutional and retail investors. With a LLB law degree from the University of Wales, Lloyd qualified at the Inns of Court School of Law and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2006. A fellowship member of the International Bar Association, he holds a number of qualifications with the Securities Institute.

"Our approach has been to build a team with people that can add value and have a wide knowledge of transactions so that we can advise clients on alternatives and ways for them to overcome any difficulties," said Nancy Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Walkers Global Holdings Limited. "These are people with strong business backgrounds who know what is happening in the markets."

Working alongside Lloyd, a lawyer with significant experience in the investment banking industry is Senior Vice President Richard Ruffer – a securitisation specialist and former New York investment banker; Senior Vice President Alasdair Foster, an investment banker from JPMorgan in London and Rachael Rankin, Senior Vice President and Cayman Islands attorney, with an in-depth knowledge of the local legal environment.

A veteran on Wall Street, Ruffer joined Walkers SPV earlier this year, moving to the Cayman Islands from Institutional Credit Partners (ICP), a specialist fixed income investment firm in New York, where he was Head of Investment Structuring for Commercial Real Estate and Associate Portfolio Manager for the firm’s commercial real estate debt portfolio. Prior to ICP, Ruffer spent ten years with Bear Stearns, becoming a Senior Managing Director specialising in commercial mortgage securitisation and commercial real estate CDOs. After graduating law school in 1990, he practiced as a tax attorney in New York with Brown & Wood and Rogers & Wells where he specialised in structured finance. His rating agency experience, which provided an important overview of the entire industry, came between 1994 and 1997, when Ruffer was a Senior Analyst at Moody’s Investor Service. Rating numerous transactions with the agency, he chaired the committee that set credit enhancement levels for all US residential mortgage securitisations.

"It is important to speak the same technical language as the investment bankers, collateral managers and onshore lawyers that are our clients so we can ensure we are all on the same plane," Ruffer said. "When we raise an issue we can also propose a solution. No one minds issues when they come along with practical solutions."

Also an experienced investment banker, Foster has an impressive range of qualifications. He has specialist legal experience, practicing as a barrister for five years, primarily in the field of commercial litigation. Foster holds an MA in Jurisprudence from Oxford University and gained an MBA from the Judge Business School at Cambridge University

Investment banking experience gives him the ability to understand transactions from the perspective of issuers and investors as well as lawyers, while three years spent on a fixed income trading floor provides an in-depth knowledge of the underlying collateral that deals are secured upon. A background of legal practice, meanwhile, affords the means to effective interaction with onshore and offshore counsel in terms of providing constructive advice both at the start of a new deal and during the life of a transaction.

"Previous legal experience has well equipped me to delve into the often voluminous transaction documents and establish what needs to happen when novel issues or unexpected events occur," Foster said. "The combination of market, legal and offshore experience puts me in a powerful position to offer clients advice which benefits from multiple perspectives on a transaction."

While so much of the Walkers SPV senior management team’s background has been in themajor financialcapitals of the world, such as New York and London, Rankin’s vast local knowledge, with an emphasis on special purpose vehicles, ensures that clients receive the best possible attention with regard to the provision of director, trustee and related administration services. Rankin holds an LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Liverpool and has been with the Walkers group for four years possessing wide-ranging experience in all realms of structured finance transactions, including CDOs, securitisations, asset financing and MTN programmes. She obtained her professional practice qualification with distinction from the Legal Advisory Council in the Cayman Islands and was admitted to practice as a Cayman Islands attorney in 2007, having trained in the Corporate, Litigation, Trusts and Real Estate departments of Walkers.  Previously employed by Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited as a Senior Corporate Officer, Rankin holds a Certificate in Offshore Finance and Administration from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

"As the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands continues to face increasing levels of scrutiny and the actions and duties of directors are regularly being questioned, the skill sets and knowledge base of a qualified Cayman Islands attorney increases the confidence in and credibility of the Trust Group," Rankin said. "As the potential for litigation increases, the ability for directors to be familiar with the laws under which they are bound will prove ever important."

Lewis add that with such a broad range of expertise and in-depth experience, clients of Walkers can depend on this team for the right advice "The new management structure has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our clients, many of whom are currently looking to restructure complex transactions," she said "Our expertise is also being employed on new deals and our professionals are able to impart advice on what we have learned from the current market, which combines into an unrivalled service offering."



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