The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.
Andrew has 22 years’ experience in restructuring and insolvency, including eight years in the Cayman Islands. Andrew is an expert in offshore restructurings and investment funds. He co-founded FTI Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser for fund wind-downs, and FTI Directors, a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority regulated corporate governance provider. Andrew’s experience includes long-term client secondments to the global restructuring group of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the business support unit of Lloyds Banking Group.
How have your previous experiences at a big four accounting firm and secondments to major banks enhanced your current practice?
The wide variety of perspectives and approaches that I experienced and can draw upon in my current practice is invaluable. Looking back there are a number of outstanding individuals who have hugely influenced my professional development. There is no substitute for working with high-calibre people on cutting-edge engagements, and I am lucky enough to have done that in a restructuring context at all of EY, KPMG, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and FTI Consulting – all of them great but very different firms. The combination of the London and Cayman Islands markets has added to a unique mix.
What cases most stick in your mind and why?
Large UK retail insolvency cases such as Woolworths and Threshers / Wine Rack were high pressure and action-packed. As was an advisory mandate with the business of a certain foul-mouthed celebrity chef (who openly talked in the press about our work, so there is no betrayal of confidentiality!). My cases in the Cayman Islands tend to be high value and highly complex, and it is satisfying being involved in cross-border balance sheet restructurings that can each save thousands of jobs. My very first appointment as court officer in an asset recovery case sticks in the mind though – I had a baptism of fire chairing a meeting, via Spanish translators, for some 200 investors in Buenos Aires who were understandably angry about losses presided over by the outgoing fund investment manager.
What are clients looking for when appointing a liquidator?
Leadership of challenging and complex situations, objectivity, commerciality, speed and efficiency of execution. Specific to our work in the Cayman Islands, where underlying assets and management are situated in many jurisdictions across the world, a strong network and the ability to work seamlessly with our global offices often comes into play.
What are some of the key powers in your toolkit you employ to handle high-value cross-border asset recovery proceedings?
We have a sound basis for asset recovery strategy that is underpinned by the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and our Companies Law regime. As appointed court officers, we have wide-ranging powers to investigate, prosecute and enforce claims. For Cayman practitioners the cross-border aspect is key. For every asset recovery matter, we carry out a fact-specific and flexible assessment of how best to access foreign legal systems. Using the United States as an example, there is optionality to file say fraud and breach of duty claims, seek recognition using Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code, or access the wider range of powers that are available through Chapter 11. A common approach is to obtain discovery of banking transaction information, and then utilise fraudulent transfer actions to recover misused funds.
What are the long-term effects going to be of covid-19 on the restructuring market?
I would anticipate an extremely long tail on the effects of covid-19. The market has been busier than usual over the course of 2020, but it feels like just the beginning of a challenging period that will last for a number of years. For FTI Consulting in the Cayman Islands we have expanded our team to have more capacity than ever, and I have no doubt that the market will demand that additional resource.
What more could governments and standard-setting bodies be doing to assist firms facing insolvency? And what are they getting wrong or failing to understand?
I do not envy governments and policy makers in this rapidly evolving and unprecedented situation, who can find themselves damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Juggling worldwide public health and economic crises at speed is clearly an incredible challenge. The fact that in the Cayman Islands market we are experiencing a relative flood as opposed to the tsunami of restructuring work that may have been expected, must in part be the result of the myriad of policy decisions that have been made by governments the world over to support firms that would otherwise already be insolvent. Of course, there is always more that can be done.
How has the market in the Cayman Islands developed since you moved there?
The market of practitioners was polarised between large audit firms and small independent boutiques. Consistent with the wider global restructuring trend, a helpful middle ground has been developed by global advisory firms like FTI Consulting. Being free from audit conflicts and having access to experts across the world has proved to be a compelling delivery model for our clients.
There has also been movement towards alternative and creative approaches. For example, we regularly work as independent directors or replacement investment managers, whereas historically Cayman Islands firms would only deploy liquidators.
Looking back over your career, what has been your greatest achievement to date?
Developing FTI Consulting in the Cayman Islands from being a four-person start-up in a saturated restructuring market to a leading firm of some 20 people is something that we are extremely proud of. We have consistently focused on quality of client service and innovated by adding new services such as FTI Capital Management, in order to achieve that. This has afforded us the opportunity to work cross-border with FTI Consulting colleagues in more than 20 of our global offices to date.
Andrew Morrison is a senior managing director in the corporate finance and restructuring segment of FTI Consulting and is based in the Cayman Islands. Mr Morrison has more than 19 years’ experience in insolvency and restructuring matters, including over six years based offshore in the Cayman Islands.
Mr Morrison has acted as an official liquidator, provisional liquidator, voluntary liquidator, receiver, director and adviser of various Cayman Islands entities.
Many of Mr Morrison’s engagements have included high-value cross-border asset recovery exercises, arising from insolvency, disputes and allegations of fraud, wrongdoing or mismanagement. These matters have also included detailed investigations, forensic analysis and reconstruction of books and records in order to support recoveries and substantial litigation claims against third parties.
Specific examples of Mr Morrison’s engagements include acting as official liquidator of a Cayman Islands investment fund that operated a complex segregated portfolio structure, which is subject to serious allegations of mismanagement and potential fraud, including intermingling of assets and the operation of a Ponzi scheme. He was also the lead director in the liquidations of Rye Select Broad Market XL Portfolio Ltd, Rye Select Broad Market Insurance Portfolio LDC and Broad Market XL Holdings Ltd, which are funds that invested in assets related to Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Mr Morrison is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, a prize winner in the UK Joint Insolvency Examinations and a fellow of INSOL International.
Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Mr Morrison was a director in a boutique restructuring practice in the Caribbean and a director of KPMG in London.