Collas Crill and Charles Adams Ritchie & Duckworth announce offshore merger

Channel Islands firm Collas Crill and Cayman firm Charles Adams Ritchie & Duckworth (CARD) have announced they are merging in the New Year.

The merger comes four years after the formation of Collas Crill through a tie-up between Guernsey firm Collas Day and Jersey’s Crill Canavan (2 December 2010).

The move creates a firm with offices in both Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands, Singapore (26 May 2011) and London (5 November 2013). Collas Crill brings 24 partners, while CARD currently has a lawyer headcount of eight, including two partners.

For a transitional period the firm will trade as Collas Crill & CARD in Cayman, before becoming Collas Crill globally.

Collas Crill managing partner Jason Romer said the firm’s clients, particularly those in Singapore, had increasingly been asking for advice on Cayman law, including establishing parallel Cayman and Channel Islands funds structures.

“We found that was really important in terms of how our brand presented and the service our clients felt they were getting,” Romer added.

He said CARD brought an established funds practice, along with existing clients in the Far East which could be served from Collas Crill’s Singapore office. That base focuses on funds and private client work (17 November 2014).

The CARD team will be joining Collas Crill’s single profit pool, which Romer said was important for ensuring that work goes to the right place for the clients. 

CARD’s Antony Duckworth added: “We are delighted to be linking up with Collas Crill. This is great news for each individual firm, and gives the ‘new’ firm a true international footprint.”

Collas Crill is the latest Channel Islands firm to expand its footprint to the Caribbean. Ogier was the first when it merged with Cayman firm Boxalls in 2004 (15 December 2003), following up with a move into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) by merging with WSmiths in 2006 (5 October 2006).

Legacy Mourant du Feu & Jeune brought a Cayman office to its 2010 merger with Ozannes, and more recently has also launched in the BVI (24 September 2012).

Meanwhile Carey Olsen opened in Cayman in 2012 (12 June 2012) and followed up with a BVI launch in early 2013 (23 January 2013). Jersey-headquartered Bedell Cristin has also invested in BVI expertise, hiring Stephen Adams from BVI firm Baker Adams in early 2012 and relocating him to Singapore later that year (25 July 2012).

The move to the Caribbean by Channel Islands firms mirrors the shift by Caribbean firms into Guernsey and Jersey. Appleby merged with Jersey firm Bailhache Labesse in 2006 (1 June 2006) and followed up with a Guernsey launch in 2010 (11 January 2010).

Meanwhile Walkers also opened in Jersey in 2006, merging with local firm Crills Advocates (3 July 2006).