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 list, the IFC PowerWomen 100 list and every leading legal directory. Ingrid acts for many of the most prominent 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, including Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox Business.
What inspired you to pursue a legal career?
I have always enjoyed advocating on behalf of others; that is what originally excited me about becoming a barrister. Corporate lawyers do much the same thing – fighting for our clients’ best interests – just in a different way.
How has the private funds market changed since you first started practising?
There are many more touch points with legal and professional advisers during the life of a private fund, particularly for offshore vehicles. Notwithstanding the level of acquisitions and increasing size of institutional managers, the competition for capital and talent is fiercer than ever.
What do you enjoy most about your current role as global managing partner of Walkers?
My role allows me to do a combination of things: doing the work, looking after clients and helping to run the business. Having a global perspective gives me a better understanding of adjacent practices in multiple jurisdictions. I really enjoy the variety and I am lucky to be able to interact with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders.
What qualities do clients look for when selecting a private funds lawyer?
Clients want someone who understands the industry and, more importantly, what they are trying to achieve. I have worked with many private funds lawyers and the best ones get straight to the heart of the matter, and really try to help clients find solutions.
Your practice often involves working with start-ups. What are the main challenges currently faced by start-up companies?
There have been some incredibly strong launches in the last 18 months. Those managers were able to attract extremely talented PMs, with the result that huge amounts of capital followed in a short space of time. However, in most cases, it takes newer managers much longer to gain traction. One of the challenges for start-up funds is differentiating themselves from peers, especially in a strong economy. Unless they find the right niche to appeal to their target investors, many start-ups are unable to go the distance. Similarly, some struggle without a lot of seed capital, which means that the infrastructure costs can be an outright barrier to entry. Lack of scale also makes them vulnerable in the event of a market downturn.
You have highlighted to us that some funds are offering new products to investors via different portals. Do you expect this trend to continue? If so, how might it affect your practice?
We have seen several funds restructure, offering investors different terms or the option to invest in different products through a related offering. This provides a level of diversification and can be very appealing to investors with different investment horizons. This is a developing trend and we think it is likely to continue to keep our lawyers busy doing interesting work.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
I believe that our institutional clients will continue to allocate significant capital to private funds and will therefore remain dominant in the space. We also see increases in private capital moving into professional asset management and expect this area of the practice to further develop.
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 also heads the Cayman Investment Funds Group. 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.