|AIFMD still driving the conversations for global funds using Ireland
|As an alternative investment specialist, Ian Dillon, partner at William Fry, is still getting a lot of queries on AIFMD from clients around the world. Dillon, who has recently returned from a 7 year spell in the Cayman Islands, notes that while the format of the firm’s bi-weekly Asset Management and Investment Funds Group lunch hasn’t changed much from when he last worked in William Fry around 10 years ago, the get-together now requires a considerably bigger room.
|5.30am: Monday morning, the alarm goes off and I contemplate going for a run. Morning runs were a lot more appealing when I lived in the Cayman Islands when even at this hour it was 25 degrees outside. I glance out the window at another Irish summer day, pull the covers over my head and keep hitting snooze until just after 6am when Zoe finally punches me and tells me to either turn the alarm off altogether, or get out of bed.
We love living in Greystones which is a fantastic part of the world and really a great place to be with many advantages, but the commute isn’t one of them. So, in order to avoid spending the better part of my morning sitting in traffic, I climb out of bed and hit the shower.
7.00am: I am on the road and at this hour it is usually a fairly straight run without too many delays. I spend the commute flicking between Radio 1 and the Ray Foley show, equal doses of news and nonsense. After a brief stop at Coffee Angel and my morning kick-start, I am usually at my desk by 7.45am.
Monday mornings are often a pretty quiet start on the email front, as most of my US contacts won’t have been sending things over the weekend, so there is just a few from the Hong Kong contacts I deal with as they’ve been up for a few hours. We’re still getting an awful lot of general queries on AIFMD from that part of the world, so I spend forty-five minutes or so doling out free legal advice in the hope it will convert at some point.
9.00am: One of my partners, Cormac Commins, and I, have a meeting with an independent director who works with a number of our clients who is calling in to give us a general update on his practice and to get an update from us. We regularly meet with independent directors and other service providers servicing the Irish market as it is important to keep on top of who is doing what and our clients expect us to be very up to date on who is in the market and what their capabilities are.
We actually had a few things to discuss with this particular gentleman so the meeting went on until just after 10am. I am back at my desk and the messages and mails have started to flow.
I re-joined William Fry after returning from the Cayman Islands last year in October and although it certainly takes some time to settle in after 7 years abroad, it certainly doesn’t take very long for your name to get on every internal and external email list, and after being away from my desk for an hour, I have to spend another 15 minutes clearing my inbox.
This week we have a number of very active client matters which have steps that are being finalised at the moment (it never rains, but it pours) and as such it is looking very busy.
We are currently providing advice to one client in relation to an investment they are making in a fairly complex private equity structure and they have reverted with some questions on the latest redrafts, so I spend about an hour reviewing those queries and writing a response.
11.30am: I’m now dealing with a small but steady stream of Associates and Assistants looking for various sign offs and the like, followed by a call with a potential new client who is asking us to provide a quote.
12.45pm: I get one more client response out and its at this stage the morning seems to have completely disappeared and it is now time for our bi-weekly Asset Management and Investment Funds Group lunch where we get the entire team together over lunch to discuss various practice issues and updates. The format of the Funds Lunch, as it is called, hasn’t changed a lot from when I was last in William Fry around 10 years ago although we now require a considerably larger room to fit us all!
2.00pm: After an hour or so of discussion, suitably armed with new knowledge and a list of ‘To Dos’ it is back to the desk and another 15-20 minutes clearing the inbox of conflict checks, update CCs and ‘Special Offers’ which leaves me with 2 or 3 emails requiring significantly more attention.
2.45pm: The US is wide awake by now so I have a call with one of my US Manager clients who we are advising in relation to a sub-fund they are establishing in one of the AIFMD platforms that are becoming increasingly popular. A simple structure in concept, it is actually quite complex to plug a manager into somebody else’s product and ensure everyone gets what they want out of it, particularly given the newness of AIFMD and the lack of clarity that still exists around certain aspects but I think we are getting there.
After the call, the team working on that matter spend half and hour or so clarifying the next steps for us before my next meeting.
4.00pm: I sit down with my secretary and a consultant the firm has hired to help us prepare for our move to 2 Grand Canal Square towards the end of the year. We lawyers are traditionally overly fond of our paper and this particular consultant has come in to help us reduce the amount of paper in our offices and on our floor which houses the Asset Management & Investment Funds Unit, so that we are taking considerably less with us than currently exists in our space.
We have been at pains to explain to her that lawyers don’t do numbers, and as she talks in linear metres, percentage reduction targets and volumetric storage, Martina and I look blankly at her whilst promising to continue the ‘de-clutter’ exercise with which we have been tasked. One of the disadvantages of being the ‘New Boy’ on the floor is that I get all the interesting jobs. It is somewhat amusing though, having come from a paperless environment in my last role, where I am a little bit more used to electronic filing, to see some of my partners trying to get to grips with reducing the volume of paper in their offices. But the move is something we’re all excited about so buy-in is high. For some of them the stacks of papers have yielded some interesting ‘historical’ finds including bibles relating to Funds that were some of the first of their kind in Ireland. Whilst we are certainly looking to reduce unnecessary paper, I’m pretty sure we’ll find a place for those in 2GCS!
5.00pm: and it is time for more email checking and to get back to two of the Associates who have been looking for me on a matter we have been working on to check some materials that are going out to a client before it is time for a call with a New York lawyer I have been doing some work with.
She has been looking for me to give me an update on a pitch we recently put together and it is good news as we seem to have won the business. Looks like I will have to be back in New York again soon but it is a city that I love to visit so there is no great pain there.
7.00pm: Somewhat surprisingly the mails I sent out this morning haven’t had a response yet (not everyone’s as responsive as us I guess) so, as there is nothing urgent on my desk right now, I take the welcome opportunity to pack up the laptop and hit the road.
After 7pm the bus lanes are open and traffic is not usually too much of an issue. I am back in Greystones by 7.45pm and just on-time to help put the kids to bed. After 14 bedtime stories, dinner and a catch up at home, I log on and have a quick look to see if anything is happening. Other than some conflict checks and more Special Offers, all seems quiet and there is time for a bit of Netflix and then off to bed.
Last thing before I go, I check the weather forecast and with somewhat unjustified optimism I put out my running clothes again…you never know...might be sunny tomorrow...