Alvarez & Marsal opens an office in the Cayman Islands, 55th globally

18 September 2018 5 min. read
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Professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal has expanded its presence in Latin America with a new office in the Cayman Islands. The new hub becomes the firm’s first in the Caribbean, fourth in the region following two offices in Brazil and one in Mexico, and 55th globally.

With a population of under 61,000 inhabitants, the Cayman Islands is one of the smallest territories in Latin America. Economically, however, the small island located in between Cuba and Jamaica is a heavy-weight, in particular thanks to its financial services industry, which is among one of the largest in the world. With over $1 trillion of banking assets and liabilities housed in the country, the Cayman Islands is the fifth-largest banking center in the world. The country counts over 150 banking institutions, and 40 of the world's 50 largest banks have branches in the country. Further, Cayman Islands is with more than 700 captives a top three captive domicile in the world (Bermuda is largest) – assets under management are estimated to be above $35 billion.

Alvarez & Marsal’s arrival to the Cayman Islands is part of the firm’s strategy to be present in each of the globe’s most important financial sectors. The management consultancy, which has around 3,000 employees across four continents, already has offices in New York, London, Frankfurt, Honk Kong and Singapore. “The Cayman Islands is the fifth largest financial jurisdiction in the world. Our expansion here, and plans for growth, demonstrates our continuing commitment to meet our clients’ complex, international restructuring needs, related global valuation demands, as well as disputes and investigations concerns,” explained Bryan Marsal, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alvarez & Marsal.

In the country, Alvarez & Marsal will mainly focus on restructuring and operational turnaround, services which are the cornerstone of A&M’s heritage, providing both advisory and execution. The consultancy was founded in 1983, and received global fame after it was appointed as one of the top restructuring advisors to oversee the winding down of Lehman Brothers after its collapse in 2008. Bryan Marsal played an instrumental role in the process, named Lehman’s Chief Restructuring Officer in September 2008 and in November that year even appointed as Lehman’s CEO, replacing Richard Fuld Junior. Under his direction, the consultancy, headquartered in the United States (where it has 25 offices), has since helped many of the globe’s largest corporations and strategic investors with their restructuring endeavors.

Alvarez & Marsal opens office in the Cayman Islands

Alvarez & Marsal’s Restructuring & Turnaround practice helps companies stabilize their financial and operational performance in times of hardship, by driving rapid change to preserve and create value. Offerings that are part of the units portfolio include Restructuring Advisory, Crisis Management, Fiduciary Services, Corporate Finance and Insolvency. In the slipstream of restructuring work, Alvarez & Marsal Cayman Islands will also support its clients with a “full service offering” said Marsal. Other services include services related to turnaround such as valuations and disputes and investigations, but also offerings in the area of risk advisory, performance improvement, regulatory & compliance, mergers & acquisitions and human capital.

Trio at the top

To lead the new office, Alvarez & Marsal has brought three experienced professionals into the firm. Alex Lawson, who has been named Managing Director and Head of A&M Cayman Islands, joined from KPMG in the Cayman Islands, where he was a Partner. He brings with him over 15 years restructuring experience, 10 of which were in the Cayman Islands. Lawson, has worked across all restructuring and insolvency procedures, including serving as an appointment holder for Provisional, Official and Voluntary liquidations, Controllerships and Inspectorships.

Joining Lawson are Chris Kennedy, as Managing Director, and Barry Lynch, as Senior Director. The latter previously worked for RHSW Caribbean as a Senior Manager and for PwC in Dublin as a Manager. He is a qualified Insolvency Practitioner in the Cayman Islands specializing in providing distressed solutions to the financial services sector. He has further been appointed as an Official Liquidator by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, and has led multiple high profile multi-jurisdictional insolvency, restructuring and advisory cases across the Cayman Islands, the U.S., U.K., the British Virgin Islands, Portugal, Monaco and Switzerland.

Kennedy also joined from RHSW Caribbean, where he was a Director. Earlier in his career the qualified Insolvency Practitioner in the Cayman Islands, Chartered Accountant (Ireland) and a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) registered Director worked for Zolfo Cooper in the Cayman Islands (now AlixPartners) and Grant Thornton in Ireland. He specializes in corporate advisory, restructuring and insolvency and has been appointed as an Official, Provisional and Voluntary Liquidator to numerous Cayman registered entities.

Commenting on the expansion into the Cayman Islands, Richard Fleming, leader of the firm’s Restructuring practice in Europe, said “A&M’s presence in the Cayman Islands enhances our ability to maximize value for clients. Alex’s, Chris’ and Barry’s individual and combined expertise will provide the seasoned restructuring counsel required to help our clients address their turnaround challenges.”

Alvarez & Marsal’s other offices in Latin America are based in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City. Meanwhile, in Europe, the consultancy recently launched a People & Organisation Change unit and a Transaction Advisory Group in France.

Related: The Caribbean is globe’s second largest tax haven, harboring $97 billion annually.