Channel hopping

Offshore firms in Jersey and Guernsey have been island hopping over the past few months with two firms announcing new office openings.

As first reported on (29 March), Ozannes will make history by becoming the first Guernsey outfit to launch an office in Jersey. The new office will be headed by recently hired partner Marcus Stone, who joins from Jersey law firm Crills Advocates, and has a 15-person business licence, which it intends to fulfil in three to four years through lateral recruitment.

Travelling in the opposite direction, Jersey firm Bedell Cristin launched its fifth office in April when it opened in Guernsey. The new operation is headed by corporate specialist Mark Helyar, who joined from local firm Babbe Le Pelley Tostevin. Bedell Cristin is an old hand at opening new offices. It launched in London at the end of 2005, while it gained a Geneva operation in 2004.

It is not just the older established firms that have been having all the fun; new kids on the BVI block WSmiths has added two consulting offices in the first sixth months of 2006.

As first revealed by The Lawyer (5 June), from September WSmiths will have a representative office in Montevideo, Uruguay, that will tap into growth for investment funds and structured finance transactions in the region.

The firm, which has only been around for five years, has certainly realised early on the importance of a multi-jurisdictional approach: in February it set up a Hong Kong office.