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Data Points To Cayman's Structured Finance Strength

by Amanda Banks, for, London

30 August 2006

Cayman legal firms were in great demand from the issuers of structured finance securities during the first six months of 2006, underlining the Cayman Island's pre-eminence as a jurisdiction of choice for special purpose vehicles (SPVs) used in securitisation transactions.

According to UK data provider FactSet Global Filings, leading Cayman Islands law firms Maples and Calder and Walkers gave legal advice on 147 asset-backed securitisation (ABS) deals between January and June 2006.

Maples gave advice on a total of 111 deals and Walkers on a further 36 deals, while smaller contributions from Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Ogier pushed the total number higher still. This compares with the combined total of 92 from the three main Irish law firms of A&L Goodbody, Matheson Ormsby Prentice and McCann Fitzgerald.

The process of asset securitisation involves the sale of income-generating financial assets (such as loans, trade receivables and leases) by a company to a special purpose vehicle. The SPV, which might be a trust or a company, finances the purchase of these assets by the issue of bonds, which are secured by those assets.

Cayman law firms were also dominant in advising on collateralised deals during the first half of the year with Maples and Walkers advising on a combined 143 transactions compared, compared with 77 from the main Irish firms.

“Being number one in a list like this does not say anything in itself about what you do and the quality of service you provide to your clients, which are important, but it is some indication of the depth of client base and the experience of the firm,” said Graham Lockington, partner in the structured finance group at Maples and Calder, in a report first published in the Cayman Observer.

“The important thing is the background work that you have to do in order to be there,” added Alasdair Robertson, also a partner in structured finance at Maples and Calder.

“You don’t strive to be top of the league. You strive to do a good job for your clients," he added.

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