An experienced, quality independent director is increasingly considered “value added” to a hedge fund operation. The performance of the independent director is of paramount importance in gaining and keeping the confidence of fund investors. Our principals have several years of alternative investment industry experience.
We provide effective management and a commercial approach whilst having a high level of funds expertise with our extensive knowledge of the Cayman legal and regulatory regime. We can liaise effectively with all parties concerned from the regulators to the service providers of the fund, negotiating terms of business with both the agents of the fund and market counterparties.
We have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the structures commonly used in investment fund transactions and the many different types of funds, including hybrid and complex structures. We draw on a wealth of experience acting as directors for funds whose managers are based in the UK, USA and many other jurisdictions. The specialist experience of our Managing Director as global leader of the Investment Funds Team in a major offshore law firm extends to knowledge of investment fund structuring, derivatives and financing transactions the legal and regulatory framework in the Cayman Islands and other offshore jurisdictions, risk management and the listing requirements of the Cayman Islands and major worldwide Stock Exchanges.
Athena was a founding member of the Cayman Islands chapter of the Alternative Investment Management Association Limited (AIMA).
Athena offers a full range of fund governance services and solutions and is committed to providing an exceptional level of service with the ultimate degree of professionalism, integrity, and efficiency, utilising our in-depth knowledge, experience and expertise to facilitate a high level of client satisfaction.
One of the most significant trends in the global fund industry is that all parties involved are now focusing on the issue of sound corporate governance and the appointment of independent fund directors is now central to the integrity of hedge fund operations. The principals of Athena offer a superior level of quality and professionalism and in-depth knowledge of the high-level duties of care inherent in responsible corporate governance balanced with an understanding of the business strategies and issues affecting our clients. We have developed our own corporate governance best practice guidelines and procedures, taking into account international industry standards and our breadth and depth of experience in serving as directors. Athena is an active member of AIMA and our principals are executive members of the Cayman Islands Directors Association.
A key principal of sound governance is that non-executive directors should be independent in judgement; able to challenge rigorously and decide dispassionately. Our principals are truly independent from any other service provider and are not affiliated with any law firm or an administrator.
Our directors have decades of experience in the financial services arena and have navigated the full range of economic cycles. In times of financial crisis or uncertainty it is critical for stakeholders to have confidence in the strength of the governance in place to protect their interests and we have a proven track record of delivering in these times.
We ensure that each director has excess capacity to meet the unexpected demands of distressed situations which means that we can apply ourselves fully to the needs of the client. We are a guiding force in times of turmoil bringing decisiveness and thoughtful consideration to bear.
When practicing as a lawyer, our founder Allison Nolan was recognised in the Legal 500 for being “extremely good at short notice and in complex situations”. The immediate response, proactive approach, intelligent processes and track record of delivering in pressured situations form the innate foundation of our governance services and is crucial when dealing with funds or other vehicles in distressed situations or liquidity crises.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
A key area of development and expansion in our expertise relates to our focus on the risks and opportunities posed by environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Our directors have experience working with investment managers with strategies focused on positive social and environmental benefit, corporate responsibility and strategies designed to capture investment opportunity at the nexus of innovation, disruption, and impact.
We have seen ESG assessments and filters becoming a standard component of investor due diligence and can guide our clients on the integration of these into their existing framework. One common ESG criteria is gender diversity. In addition to scrutinising the underlying portfolio, we see investors looking at the investment management firm themselves and, as a female founded and led governance firm, we can assist our clients in this by adding gender diversity to the fund’s board of directors or advisory committee.
The Cayman Islands now has legislation in place requiring in-scope entities that carry on particular activities to have demonstrable economic substance in Cayman. Athena has been providing substantive presence in the Cayman Islands for entities such as investment managers for several years and we are well positioned to assist clients in navigating the requirements.
The assessment of economic substance in the Cayman Islands will include a careful consideration of what elements of Cayman Islands core income generating activity the entity is carrying on and the level of income derived from the relevant activity performed in Cayman. As part of our governance offering, Athena has a range of economic substance services that allows relevant entities to comply. We are ideally placed to guide you through the Economic Substance Legislation and related Guidance Notes, offering bespoke solutions to meet the individual needs of each entity. We can provide experienced professionals resident in the Cayman Islands to act as directors and offer personnel with the specific experience to assist with certain elements of Cayman Islands core income generating activity.