Walkers spins out management services business

LaunchesLegalPeople Moves
06 Mar, 2012

Walkers, the offshore law firm, has sold its management services business to Intertrust Group Holding following a strategic review of the business.

A source familiar with the situation refused to disclose the price.The source added the 100 staff at Cayman Islands-based Walkers’ fiduciary business will continue in their existing roles at Intertrust. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval. Intertrust, which has offices in 21 countries, offering private wealth services, asset planning and corporate services, will now have access to markets in the British Virgin Islands, Delaware and Dubai.

The sale comes as Walkers consultancy unit continues to grapple with the ongoing controversy surrounding the collapse of the Bear Stearns High Grade Structured Credit fund and its highly leveraged sister fund in 2008.  Walkers’ employees Scott Lennon and Michelle Wilson-Clarke were both independent directors on the Bear Stearns hedge funds’ boards and have been criticised for not adequately performing their oversight functions. Lennon, a source said, has since left Walkers to set up his own firm in Cayman although Wilson-Clarke remains.

“The sale did not have anything to do with ongoing lawsuits – all but one of the cases have been settled. It was a wholly strategic decision by Walkers to concentrate on legal services. The management group has grown significantly over the last few years and wanted to expand into more markets and felt it could do this with Intertrust. Under the new owners, the business will be able to offer a wider range of services,” said the source.

Some investors have criticised law firms for supplying directors to hedge funds arguing it can create a conflict of interest. .

Retraction: In an earlier edition of this article, we said Walkers had settled a complaint for $9.29 million in Massachusetts. This was incorrect. All the cases involving Walkers have been settled at no cost to the law firm. In the same article, we also said Intertrust paid $50 million for Walkers’ financial services business. This, too, was incorrect.