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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Margot MacInnis

Margot MacInnis

Grant Thornton Specialist Services48 Market Street2nd Floor, Suite 4290Canella CourtCamana BayCayman Islands

Thought Leader

WWL says

The “highly intelligent, pragmatic, effective and extremely committed” Margot MacInnis is highlighted as “a tenacious and creative expert”, who is “great with respect to strategising the tackling of cross-border asset recovery issues”.

Questions & Answers

Margot MacInnis leads the practice for Grant Thornton Specialist Services in the Cayman Islands and is passionate about insolvency and asset recovery work. Margot has been working on the cutting edge of insolvency and asset recovery cases for over 23 years, leading and producing results for many high-profile fraud and insolvency cases. She is a proven leader in business, known for her thoughtful and collaborative approach to tough and challenging situations and problems. Margot is highly skilled in the management, restructuring, and insolvency of cross-border structures and distressed entities.

What do you enjoy most about your role as an asset recovery expert? 

I enjoy the complexity and challenge of the work – it is always a new problem, often global in nature and under tight time frames. I like to bring experts together in their field to develop solutions that get results that might not be possible without the unique set of skills and experience of the team. I love the satisfaction of achieving a good result for the client.

How has the market changed since you first started practising?

The work is more complex, more global in nature and much more competitive. The legal and regulatory environments have changed – in some ways this is for the better, and in some ways the fight for more of the global landscape has prompted jurisdictions to become more protective and less collegiate and collaborative. It has never been more important for insolvency professionals to be creative and flexible when looking for solutions to difficult problems.

What are the challenges of managing a highly international practice? 

The work of professional insolvency practitioners requires well-established relationships – within your own firm and with third parties. In a highly international practice, the challenges continue to be collaborating and communicating across jurisdictions and time zones; and having well-established working practices that get everyone aligned on achieving and delivering results that meet the expectations of the client or the engagement.

How are you handling the investigations process in the covid-19 lockdown environment? 

Work has continued relatively unimpeded by the lockdown. Most court systems have found ways (through regulatory or legislative changes to practice directions) to hold virtual hearings, or make accommodations such that applications would continue to be heard and ruled on, and investigations and information-gathering would proceed through virtual platforms.

To what extent is the increasingly virtual nature of investigations in a covid-19 landscape making for a more efficient process? In what ways is it falling short? 

As business and industry has become increasingly comfortable with working virtually, and where restrictions on travel and social interaction may make an immediate physical presence impossible, our ability to operate digitally means we can deploy our investigation team “on the ground” instantly. Data can also be retrieved and transferred immediately, allowing it to be interrogated quickly and investigations to take shape rapidly.

Notwithstanding the above, a physical presence will almost always be required when possible. Not all entities have digitised records, and manual reviews can often lead to treasure troves of information to assist in the asset-tracing process. In addition, much can be gained from conversations with those connected to the investigations, and nothing beats an in-person meeting to get a feeling for the character of the person and the reliability of the information you are receiving.

How is technological innovation revolutionising the practice area at the moment? 

The covid-19 pandemic has significantly expedited the pace of digital transformation in our industry. No longer is this something that’s nice to have; it is a minimum requirement. Grant Thornton’s Cayman practice has always been at the forefront of digital change, as individuals are continuously working on the road owing to the multi-jurisdictional nature of our work. Consistent remote working has resulted in our entire team learning and maximising the features of the technology available. Not only does this allow for even more efficiency in our offering; it enables us to offer greater flexibility to our clients, so we are available whenever they need us. 

The technology also allows for even closer collaboration between our global teams as distance between colleagues becomes increasingly irrelevant. At Grant Thornton, we have always prided ourselves on our seamless international offering, and that is only going to improve further as we settle into a new dynamic of digital engagement. 

What are the challenges that arise from cryptocurrency asset recovery? 

The usual challenge arising in cryptocurrency asset recovery is being able to get control of the private key to access the cryptocurrency. These assets are easily transferred, and their value makes them a susceptible target for theft. Given the absence of a controlling authority that could force an unwinding or undoing of a transaction, a liquidator must have access to the private key. There are many examples where cryptocurrency is transferred easily between wallets, and a liquidator will want to avoid having the cryptocurrency transferred to a wallet out of her control.

What advice would you give to younger asset recovery experts hoping one day to be in your position? 

Building a career in this field is about applying what you know. Information is easily accessed with the technological advances and platforms available to all professionals. It is how you think and what you can do with the information that sets you apart from your peers. Being creative, proactive and focused on delivering results are all strong traits of those who have been successful in our industry.

Thought Leaders - Restructuring & Insolvency Advisers 2020
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Asset Recovery - Experts 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

The “highly intelligent, pragmatic, effective and extremely committed” Margot MacInnis is highlighted as “a tenacious and creative expert”, who is “great with respect to strategising the tackling of cross-border asset recovery issues”.

Biography

Margot MacInnis leads Grant Thornton’s Cayman Islands practice focusing on international cross- border restructuring, insolvency and asset tracing cases. With nearly 25 years of cross-border and offshore experience, her cases run from large and complex international engagements involving billions of dollars to small and complex frauds or asset tracing assignments. 

Margot is regularly appointed in fiduciary capacities by the Cayman Court and has been successfully recognised as a foreign representative in many other courts. This includes being appointed a foreign representative, under Chapter 15, for cases including Platinum Partners, China Medical and a personal bankruptcy estate. Margot has been appointed as a receiver by international banks over shares of multinational holding companies across several industries, including steel, telecoms, retail, and oil and gas. Margot has led the liquidation and asset realisation strategies for dozens of alternative investment vehicles, including cases where former investment advisers have been accused of fraud or operating the fund like a Ponzi scheme. Her experience includes liquidation activities, forensic review and asset tracing as well as asset realisation and directing recovery efforts.

Margot is a CIMA-approved Cayman director and has experience providing independent director services to many clients, including large international companies. Margot has a keen sense for business, entrepreneurial flair and a strong network both in Cayman and internationally. She has built several thriving businesses with multiple millions in revenues.

Comments from her peers include: “Margot has an excellent reputation and network of connections in the offshore insolvency and restructuring market, having been appointed to some of the largest international insolvency appointments in the Caribbean. She brings critical thinking and broad perspective to client engagements. She has also trailblazed the path for women in insolvency and restructuring.”
WWL Ranking: Recommended
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