The “brilliant” Ingrid Pierce is lauded as “a rock star in the field”. One client effuses that she is “terrific - knowledgeable, practical, responsive and a pleasure to work with".
Ingrid Pierce is Walkers’ global managing partner and is recognised as one of the world’s leading investment funds lawyers. She has been named in the 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds, the IFC PowerWomen 100, Women & Wealth 20 Women to Watch in 2020 and in every leading legal directory. Ingrid acts for many of the who’s who of asset managers, major institutions, insurers, reinsurers and other fiduciaries. Ingrid is a frequent speaker at industry events and a guest commentator on various media platforms.
What do you enjoy most about working in the funds space?
I get to work with a lot of smart people in the investment management world and that makes it interesting. Whether I’m putting together a structure, completing a transaction or advising on a dispute, there is usually something new or different to consider so it doesn’t feel routine.
What insight have you gained from your role as global managing partner regarding challenges and opportunities facing other jurisdictions?
We operate in mature jurisdictions, which are well known for their expertise in a number of different areas so it’s great to be able to offer clients multiple options, depending on their particular drivers. It can take many years for institutional clients to become repeat users of a jurisdiction and it can be difficult for non-traditional jurisdictions to cultivate a niche, especially in the alternative asset space. In the current macro-economic environment, businesses are evaluating where they establish physical operations and whether now could be the right time to make a move. I think the frequent introduction of significant new and enhanced regulation will probably benefit jurisdictions in the longer term although it tends to create short term issues as stakeholders try to keep pace with their cross-border obligations and complete transactions within the timeframes they have come to expect. This can create opportunities for those jurisdictions which can offer easier to market and more flexible solutions.
What have been the key challenges and benefits of working from home?
I have been impressed and inspired by the way our staff have risen to the occasion and successfully managed the transition. One of the benefits during this particular period is that clients are in the same position so there has been more of a shared experience. One challenge is the absence of casual chit chat that you get in an office environment and mentoring from afar is a new skill. On the whole it has been a positive experience from which we all need to learn and adapt for a changed future working environment.
How has covid-19 impacted the type of work you are currently seeing and which industries or practice areas have benefited and suffered from due to the crisis?
A few fund launches were put on hold although many have now started to fundraise. Several managers have been able to take advantage of the market volatility and have done very well to date. At the other end of the spectrum we’ve had a few clients working through liquidity issues – either due to large investor redemptions or because of holding positions which the manager believes will achieve a greater return for investors if held in the fund for a longer period. This will likely affect the terms of new funds, which will seek longer lock-up periods. Our insolvency and dispute resolution teams are ramping up and I think this practice area is going to have very busy few years.
How have clients with fiduciary duties adapted to effectively discharge their duties in the current climate?
Many of our clients were used to working on the move so working remotely has not made a huge difference to some people. However, where travel to in person meetings was a big part of a director’s role, they have had to adapt not only their schedules, but also the way in which they interact with co-directors / co-trustees and with investors and other stakeholders. While meetings tend to be shorter and perhaps more productive, not being in person has also thrown into sharp focus the benefit of taking time to discuss and to think about issues over a period of hours or days, which is just more challenging in a virtual boardroom.
In your opinion, are ESG-focused funds a passing trend or do they hold their weight in making a positive socially responsible change?
This is far from a passing trend although it is fair to say we have seen fewer of these funds in the Americas than in Europe. Investors are placing more emphasis on ESG policies when considering investment decisions so this will likely be the biggest driver for change, provided of course that the strategy generates the level of returns they are looking for. We could have an entire chapter on this subject.
How would you like to develop your practice in the next few years?
Helping clients navigate tricky questions and deal with contentious issues before they become truly contentious is very rewarding. I am lucky to have a job that I truly enjoy, and I love the variety of my practice, so long may that continue.
Ingrid Pierce has a splendid reputation thanks to her “cutting-edge knowledge” and depth of experience in multi-billion-dollar transactions. Her “combination of extraordinary legal skills and pragmatism” make her an authority on fund formation.
Ingrid Pierce is Walkers' global managing partner and specialises in investment funds. She was elected global managing partner in October 2012 and sits on the firm's management committee.
Recognised as one of the world's leading investment funds lawyers, Ingrid has been described by Chambers and Partners as a "phenomenal lawyer", as someone "on my speed dial for the toughest Cayman Islands legal matters" and as someone who "impresses clients and peers alike". She receives glowing references from clients, who say she is "exceptional in her knowledge" and has been named in the 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds, the IFC PowerWomen 100 and in every leading legal directory.
Ingrid specialises in all aspects of formation and ongoing operation of open and closed-ended investment vehicles, focusing principally on hedge funds. Ingrid services a large client base comprising major institutions, asset managers, insurers, reinsurers and other fiduciaries. Her book of clients includes many of the who's who of asset managers.
Given her litigation background and having advised multiple clients through the credit crisis and beyond, she has considerable experience with contentious matters including advising funds on managing distress in volatile markets. She has acted as counsel to investors and managers in connection with the acquisition, restructuring and winding down of various high profile funds.
Ingrid is a frequent speaker at industry events and a guest commentator on various media platforms including Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox Business.