Ogier merges with BVI firm to create offshore powerhouse

Offshore giant Ogier has merged with WSmiths in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), giving the firm access to three further offshore jurisdictions.

The merger, which will be effective from 1 February 2007, will create a global offshore firm with nine offices, including the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, London, Uruguay and New Zealand.

The combined firm, which will have over 600 staff, will be branded Ogier. Both firms have already begun integrating their services and operations.

The merger extends Ogier’s reach into the BVI, Montevideo and Hong Kong. The firm, which has 29 partners and 479 staff, has existing presences in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey and London, with an associated trust company in New Zealand.

WSmiths (formerly Walker Smiths) was formed five years ago in the BVI, has a turnover of $5m and expanded into Montevideo, Uruguay, and Hong Kong earlier this year.

Ogier has a history of growth through merger, having combined with Boxalls in 2003, the first transatlantic merger of offshore firms.

Ogier chairman Jonathan White said: “Today it is increasingly important to be able to provide services from all key offshore jurisdictions and this merger enables us to do just that and gets us very close to achieving our ultimate goal of being the undisputed market leader.”

Managing partner of WSmiths Duncan Smith said in a statement: “The merger with Ogier, with whom we share many of the same values and a very compatible client list, is an exciting opportunity to move forward with an enhanced multi-jurisdictional capability.”