Ogier and WSmiths to Merge

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Ogier, a leading provider of offshore legal and fiduciary services, and WSmiths (formerly Walker Smiths), a highly successful niche provider of BVI legal and fiduciary services have agreed to merge their businesses to create a new global organisation with offices in nine financial centres around the world and a staff complement of over 600. The merger will be effective from 1st February 2007 and both firms are already working hard to integrate their services and operations.

As a result of the merger, the firm, which will be branded Ogier, will have a presence in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, London, Montevideo and New Zealand.

One of the key benefits of the merger is that the group will be able to offer clients advice on all aspects of BVI, Cayman Islands and Channel Islands law, through an extended network of offices supporting all the key financial markets including the rapidly growing Asian and Chinese markets.

Ogier pioneered offshore multi-jurisdictional growth when it combined with Boxalls in 2003, to produce the first transatlantic merger of offshore firms.

Ogier Chairman Jonathan White said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with WSmiths, a highly respected firm that is a very good fit with Ogier. The merger will allow us to provide a comprehensive range of offshore legal and fiduciary services to our clients. 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”

Duncan Smith, managing partner of WSmiths, said: “Through our commitment to hiring the best lawyers and expansion into new jurisdictions we have earned a strong reputation for high quality legal and commercial advice. 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.”

Ogier continues to establish itself as a pre-eminent provider of offshore legal and fiduciary services as is evidenced by some of the recent awards bestowed upon the firm including “Top Offshore Law Firm” at the 2006 Alpha Awards and “Offshore Legal Team of the Year” at the inaugural Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners’ Private Client Awards in London on 26th September 2006.

WSmiths was formed five years ago in the BVI and has quickly gained the respect of the market including notable comment from directories such as Chambers and Legal 500 as a leading offshore firm. The firm was short listed for the HighNets Awards as “Offshore Advisers of the Year 2005” and notably as “Offshore Law Firm of the Year” by The Lawyer in 2006. In 2006 WSmiths opened offices in Montevideo and Hong Kong.

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