Trust industry takes on hot topics

| 11/10/2011

(CNS): Tough issues facing Cayman’s trusts industry such as insolvency, divorce and disclosure will be up for discussion this Friday at Mourant Ozannes first ever International Trusts Conference. International speakers from the law firm’s Jersey, Guernsey and London practices will be joining forces with local speakers at The Ritz-Carlton to look in depth at hurdles faced by the industry, such as whether the industry can survive in light of the increasing burden of disclosure being heaped on international finance centres such as Cayman by international regulatory bodies.

The section is entitled: Are the IFCs flogging a dead horse? – Confidentiality in the light of the increasing burden of disclosure, and the chair of the event will be Shân Warnock-Smith QC, from ICT Chambers, Cayman and 5 Stone Buildings, London, a well-known figure to practitioners within the industry. The panel tasked with discussing the subject is Alan Milgate from Rawlinson & Hunter, Rob Shepherd  from Mourant Ozannes, Ziva Robertson  from Withers and Julien Martel from Butterfield.

Co-chair of the event and partner at Mourant Ozannes in the Cayman Islands, Morven McMillan, who heads up Mourant Ozannes’ trust team, says this is will be one of the hottest topics of the day.

“Out of all the issues we have detailed for discussion, this has promoted the most feedback so far,” she confirms.

McMillan says another topic that is becoming increasingly relevant to the trusts industry given these tough economic times is the problem of insolvency.

“We will be examining what happens when individuals involved with a trust, such as the beneficiary, settlor, trustee or even the trust itself becomes insolvent,” she explains. “And we will be offering up options to trustees if they are faced with such scenarios.”
Sarah Higgins, Head of Family at Charles Russell in London will join with Mourant Ozannes’ Lucy Diggle to look at trustees and divorce and what happens when trustees of offshore trusts get dragged into divorce proceedings in the UK.

“Divorce can happen to anyone,” McMillan says. “And when there is an offshore trust involved this can cause all sorts of difficulties. This is another highly topical issue.”
Similarly, through a case study, the conference will examine what mechanisms the long arm of the US Courts have at their disposal to reach down to offshore trustees.

“We intend for the conference to highlight the Cayman Islands as a centre of excellence when it comes to trusts and wealth management,” McMillan confirms. “Living in uncertain times and with increased competition,we think it is incredibly important to do everything we can to promote this jurisdiction. It is also essential that that we maintain the friends and business contacts that we have and remember to share our knowledge and expertise with those currently rising up within the industry.”

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