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Andrew De La Rosa

Independent Counsel  |  ICT Chambers
JURISDICTION

Cayman
England

TOP 3 AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Contentious trusts
Contentious estates
Family wealth/business succession planning
Fiduciary relationships in the corporate, partnership and collective investment spheres

Enhanced Q&A

What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

Over the last 12 months, I have been involved in engineering the transition of long-standing trust structures between generations, from an existing fiduciary team to different, client-controlled arrangements. Two of these instances involved families from non-common law jurisdictions with huge wealth. They were both testing and court applications were necessary. One was particularly difficult as the existing team was standing out against change. The other involved dealing with hundreds of members of a large Arab family, whose wealth needed to be structured in accordance with what the Settlor wanted.

How did you get into private client?

Accident of practice. I started out as a chancery practitioner with primarily commercial work - I only became specialised with greater experience. It was the international dimension that appealed to me foremost in private client, after acting for Muslim clients for many years. It was the substance of it too – trust and succession planning came second after experience in litigation of what can and does go wrong.

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

It was travel! I have always been interested in scale modelling and photography.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

Undoubtedly in my case it has been restructuring of existing family wealth/succession trusts to cater for changed circumstances - mostly in the families themselves, including the wishes of different family members to go their own separate ways, but also in the global regulatory/compliance scene. Some of these exercises have been protracted and difficult, not least because the original settlor/founder 'vision' for the structure may have been inflexible and/or intended to endure for several generations, and the assumptions made about how the structure would in fact operate have been falsified.

What do you think will be the biggest three challenges in your practice for the next 12 months?

(1) Coping with remote contact with clients and colleagues in circumstances where, in practical terms, nobody is allowed to travel anywhere to meet in person
(2) More EU-inspired regulatory/compliance onslaughts against the entire global wealth management/transfer industries
(3) Seeing new sources of work become more limited the longer the COVID situation continues.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Specialise sooner rather than later - because it takes a long time to develop a specialist practice - and do so in a sphere that is not cyclical. (International trust and estate work tends not to be as subject to ups and down than other areas although bigger firms, who essentially form my client base, sometimes reshuffle their priorities towards commercial transactions work and insolvency for perceived gain.)