Ten-lawyer funds team defects from Walkers to Maples

Maples and Calder has raided offshore rival Walkers for a 10-strong investment funds team that includes seven partners.

Cayman-based partners Julian Ashworth, Heidi De Vries, Sheryl Dean, David Marshall, Philip Millward and Gwyneth Rees, as well as British Virgin Islands-based Tim Clipstone are set to join Maples soon.

Senior associates Philip Dickinson, Patrick Head and Lucy Nicklas are also leaving Walkers in Cayman for Maples. The team focuses on private equity and hedge fund work.

In a statement announcing the hires, the firm said the team would move “as soon as they are free to do so under their existing arrangements”.

The news follows the recent announcement that Walkers is selling its fiduciary business, Walkers Management Services, to trust company Intertrust (6 March 2012), and shifting its focus purely to law.

In contrast, Maples has retained its funds services and fiduciary businesses. Maples’ global investment funds head Jon Fowler suggested this was an attraction to the Walkers team.

“We’re recognised for the quality of our professionals and our ability to deliver a seamless service offering legal, corporate, fiduciary, and funds solutions to our clients. The proven Maples business model avoids the dislocation of outsourcing entity formation and maintenance to a third party provider. This no doubt was a factor in their respective decisions to join us,” he said.

In a statement, Walkers said: “A small number of our salaried partners disagreed with the strategic direction that the firm has taken and have made the decision to leave. Our equity partnership remains 100 per cent intact and every equity partner is fully committed to our global strategy.”

Global managing partner Diarmad Murray added that the firm had not been surprised by the Maples move.

Walkers has suffered a number of partner losses in recent months. Global chairman Grant Stein announced his retirement in December (9 December 2011) and the firm also lost Cayman partners Linda Martin and Anne Todd to boutique Thorp Alberga in the autumn (6 October 2011).