Ogier opens in Luxembourg in offshore first

Ogier has become the first offshore firm to open an office in Luxembourg, poaching senior partner François Pfister from local firm OPF Partners (formerly Oostvogels Pfister Feyten).

Pfister will be joined by Ogier partner Daniel Richards, who is relocating from Jersey. The duo will be able to provide Luxembourg, Jersey, BVI, Cayman and Guernsey legal advice.

Ogier is no stranger to trailblazing, having become the first offshore firm to open in mainland China when it set up in Shanghai last year (4 July 2011).

The move is part of a growing trend towards increased regulation in the offshore industry and comes ahead of the implementation of the EU’s alternative investment fund managers directive (AIFMD) in 2013. Luxembourg is likely to be one of the first countries to implement legislation for the AIFMD and the fourth iteration of the Undertakings in Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (Ucits IV).

Ogier group CEO Nick Kershaw said the office was being driven by client demand as many existing clients either use, or want to use, Luxembourg as a domicile for their funds.

“We think Luxembourg is a very strong jurisdiction, particularly for investment funds and corporate structures sitting underneath investment funds,” Kershaw said. He added that the office would be useful for the firm’s Asian clients, as they commonly choose Luxembourg vehicles for onshore investments.

Kershaw said the firm would recruit a team of associates to support Pfister and Richards, and hoped to have eight to 10 lawyers in the office by the end of the year. The exact date for the Luxembourg launch is yet to be decided, although it is likely to be in the first half of the year.

Ogier said it expects to add a fiduciary business to its Luxembourg legal offering later this year. Luxembourg is the firm’s eleventh jurisdiction internationally.

While Ogier is the first to open in Luxembourg, Maples and Calder and Walkers opened offices in Ireland in 2006 and 2010 respectively, seeking to take advantage of the country’s popularity as a funds jurisdiction.

OPF Partners was unable to comment immediately.