The October merger of leading offshore legal, fiduciary and administration services provider Appleby with one of the Isle of Man's largest law firms Dickinson Cruickshank, is viewed by both firms as producing a dramatic expansion of their international reach.
The move also marks the arrival of the first global offshore law firm to establish on the Island. The combined operation will operate under the Appleby banner to emerge as the offshore law firm with the widest jurisdictional reach. It will now have eleven offices worldwide covering Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Mauritius, Hong Kong, London, Zurich, Bahrain and the Seychelles as well as the Isle of Man.
Established in 1899, Dickinson Cruickshank is one of the longest established firms of advocates on the Island with a specific focus on corporate and commercial, private client, dispute resolution, property and fiduciary services. It has consistently achieved top ranking in the major international legal directories and twice been nominated as 'Offshore law firm of the year'.
The firm's commercial arm plays a dominant role in providing specialist services to foreign companies seeking flotation on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's alternative market for growing companies. It has also expanded into niche areas such as providing legal expertise to aircraft and ship management.
While the merger now firmly establishes its global credentials, the firm is quick to stress its Isle of Man roots remain undisturbed. Local services, including those involving property, wills and trusts and local litigation and dispute resolution will continue to operate as usual.
Commenting on the merger, Paul Morris, Dickinson Cruickshank's Senior Partner, said: 'We believe the merger with Appleby, as a global offshore services provider, is not only a ''first'' on the Island and an invaluable resource for our clients, but will also provide a huge boost to the Isle of Man's capabilities, status and reputation in the international offshore sector.
'Appleby's global reach in the key offshore jurisdictions, its recent expansion through Mauritius and the Seychelles into the emerging markets in India, Africa and Asia, and its market leading position in international financial centres, will have a significant impact on the breadth, range and choice of services we are able to offer to our Isle of Man and international clients.'
Following the merger Paul Morris will be Local Group Head of the Litigation and Insolvency Practice, an area he believes will benefit greatly from the operation's newly combined strength: 'I firmly believe this move is not only of great benefit to our rapidly growing commercial and fiduciary arms, but also to introducing new business across the board. I'm very optimistic about the new year.'
Peter Bubenzer, Appleby's Global Group Managing Partner, was on the Island during preparations for the launch of the restructured operation. He added: 'The opportunity to merge with a firm of the size and quality of Dickinson Cruickshank was compelling for us.
'The firm's focus on their clients' needs and their recognition of the value to clients of truly global resources as the offshore sector evolves - as well as a choice of jurisdictions and structures - mirrors our own strategic thinking.
'The merger will position us as the leading provider of legal, fiduciary and administration services across the offshore world. Our entry into the Isle of Man market further builds our strength and depth across multiple jurisdictions providing greater resources and greater choice to our clients.
'In addition, Dickinson Cruickshank's London presence will strengthen our offering in the UK market. The merger will provide both firms' corporate, institutional and private clients with greater resources across the locations and time zones in which they do business and a broader choice of structures and jurisdictions, unmatched by any other offshore firm. We believe that the move will reinforce Appleby's position as the first choice for clients in the offshore sector.'
He emphasised the merger would enable Appleby to further extend the services it offers to global clients seeking high quality, sophisticated financial centres through which to invest. It follows the firm's successful opening in Mauritius in 2008, providing clients with greater access to the high growth Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and African markets. Other new bases opened in Zurich and Bahrain in 2009 offer private banking and institutional clients in Switzerland and the Middle East access to the range of offshore centres.
Appleby's latest merger is part of a thirty-year development strategy. The firm has expanded rapidly in the last three years and now has a legal and professional staff approaching 800. It is the only offshore legal, fiduciary and administration service provider with a major foothold in the majority of the world's leading offshore business centres.
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