Bermuda: Appleby Appoints Michael Burns To Lead In The British Virgin Islands
Last Updated: 5 June 2008

Leading offshore firm Appleby has appointed Michael Burns, a senior Corporate Partner in Bermuda and member of the Appleby Global Executive Board, as Managing Partner of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) office effective 1 October 2008. He will assume the leadership from Alex Erskine who has been serving in that capacity on secondment from the Bermuda office for 18 months. Michael’s appointment will enable Alex Erskine to return to the Bermuda office, where he will resume his leadership of the Funds Team in that office.

The Appleby BVI office has been in existence since early 2004, when it commenced operating with 1 member of staff. Over the course of Alex’s leadership, the office has increased in size to seven lawyers, with four more lawyers, including Eliot Simpson who is to head Appleby’s BVI litigation team as litigation partner, and Andrew Willins, a London based commercial litigation barrister, scheduled to join the office imminently. These and other recruitment efforts currently in progress will bring the number of personnel in the BVI office to 32 in total. Under Alex’s leadership, Appleby was designated by the BVI Chamber of Commerce as the BVI Commercial Firm of the year for 2007. Alex has built strong relationships with Government officials as well as industry and peers in the profession.  He has also taken particular pleasure in seeing the recent promotions to Partnership of two of his colleagues in the British Virgin Islands, Sally Cox and Valerie Georges -Thomas, effective 1 April this year. 

Michael Burns has had a very successful corporate insurance based practice in Bermuda and has been closely involved in significant company law reform and associated developments including in relation to the creation of segregated accounts legislation in Bermuda. Michael has been involved with the BVI office in various capacities since its opening. He also serves as Appleby’s Group General Counsel and will continue in that role. In the light of the recent overhaul of BVI’s insurance legislation in the form of the BVI Insurance Act 2008, Michael’s arrival in the BVI comes at a most opportune time for the BVI as an aspiring lead captive insurance jurisdiction.

Peter Bubenzer, Group Managing Partner of Appleby, stated that "We have been very fortunate to have Alex serve as Managing Partner in BVI. During his tenure, the office has grown significantly and we are able to offer much more effective and complete service to our clients. Michael’s arrival and his ability to continue to build and lead the office bode very well for the future."

The British Virgin Islands continue to grow as an offshore jurisdiction, particularly with general corporate work from the US, Latin America and Asia.

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