Opalesque Industry Update - HighWater is the new brand name of DirectorsPlus Limited, a Cayman-based director services company owned by Gary Linford, John Lewis and Winston Connolly. |
In early 2007, Gary Linford co-founded the DMTC Group with Bill Jones in Luxembourg and Nigel Stead in Singapore, with each of the three offices independently owned and operated, but jointly promoted under the DMTC Group branding. Linford explained the original vision of the DMTC Group model;
“We intended to build a global offshore fiduciary services company, offering services to investment funds and managers from offices in all of the major offshore fund centres. >From this initial objective, in addition to all three locations providing directors to the alternative fund industry, each office began to specialise in additional services best suited to their locations: Luxembourg found a market in UCITS; Singapore developed an offering in back office and operational services for Japanese investment advisors; and Cayman established offices of substance for investment managers”.
“It was getting hard to see how the initial vision of a global director services business was going to match my rhetoric of a niche offering that had at its core, limited directorships for a select group of clients that had Cayman as its main domicile. It was time to take another look at the business model”, Linford explained.
The Cayman operation of DMTC Group has experienced steady organic growth since early 2007, by following a strategy of diversification – by client, originating jurisdiction of the business and the investment strategy - all while limiting the number of directorships taken on by each principal. This growth facilitated the introduction of two new partners in the Cayman Islands – John Lewis in July 2008 and Winston Connolly in June 2010.
“A decision was taken very recently to no longer operate under the common branding of DMTC Group but rather to reinforce our separate identity and ownership from the offices in Luxembourg and Singapore. We still have a fantastic working relationship with Bill and Nigel and remain on several joint boards with both gentlemen but the three Cayman partners have decided to focus primarily on the Cayman funds industry and will do so under the HighWater brand.”
John Lewis confirms: “The message we are hearing across our key markets is that the alternative investment industry remains strong but with an increasing need for credible corporate governance. With a quality team of principals and staff and in a capacity-constrained business that allows us to selectively pick our new clients, we have little fear that we will have spare time on our hands”.
HighWater was chosen as the new brand name as it is a positive industry term that denotes the highest peak of performance that a fund has reached. Winston Connolly, HighWater’s newest partner explains: “Managers are always striving to reach a new high water mark of performance as do we in respect of our service and added value to our clients. We are continually raising our own high water marks when it comes to fiduciary standards, building a portfolio of clients, retaining the team that services our clients and working with service providers in key fund jurisdictions. The brand HighWater is simple and just made sense when defining our business and our key relationships”.
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