Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and the Cayman Islands are all self-governing British Overseas Territories with stable and sophisticated legal and judicial systems including final rights of appeal to the Privy Council in London.
Most international business companies incorporated in these territories conduct their business activities in foreign jurisdictions, whether that is the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, or Asia.
Many of these companies have their securities listed on foreign stock exchanges (including in New York and Hong Kong), with assets, liabilities, and creditors in multiple locations and with contracts governed by various governing laws.
Indeed, a majority of companies whose shares are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are incorporated in either Bermuda or the Cayman Islands. Many of these companies have operating businesses in China or Asia more broadly, several of which have been showing signs of financial distress in recent months, increasingly giving rise to the risk of default on their international debt obligations.
As a result, a wide range of international companies are subject to the bankruptcy jurisdiction of not only their ‘home court’ (whether that is the Supreme Court of Bermuda, the High Court of the British Virgin Islands, or the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands), but also the courts of the foreign jurisdictions in which they operate or have other relevant connections with.
Read the full article in The Emerging Markets Restructuring Journal, Winter 2021/2022 issue.