Firm profile submitted by O'Neal Webster
Managing Partner: Kerry Anderson
Number of partners: 7
Number of lawyers: 11
Total number of staff: 32
O’Neal Webster holds a decidedly unique position among all BVI law firms, being among the first to establish exclusively in the territory to serve clients’ onshore and offshore corporate, finance, banking, business, property, admiralty, and trust and estate needs since 1989. Providing legal advice and representation of the highest quality to a broad client base, including leading business enterprises, financial institutions, law firms, trust companies, investment houses, corporations, and high net worth individuals, the firm is highly respected for its expert handling of transactional, regulatory, and adversarial matters and attention to responsive service.
Affiliated financial services company Coverdale Trust Services Limited provides O’Neal Webster clients a full complement of corporate and fiduciary services, including company, trust, and fund formation.
O’Neal Webster is the exclusive, BVI member firm of prestigious international professional networks; Lex Mundi and World Services Group.
Main Areas of Practice:
Litigation & Dispute Resolution:
Queen’s Counsel Paul Dennis leads the firm’s litigation team, which earns an excellent reputation for resolving disputes ranging from insolvency and restructuring to asset-tracing and general commercial litigation. Advocates possess experience at all levels of the local and regional courts, including appearances in the London Privy Council.
International and local clients alike look to O’Neal Webster’s litigators and litigation support team for innovative legal strategies and practical and cost-effective counsel in complex cross-border disputes emanating from the BVI. Attorneys collaborate with clients and their advisers, keeping them involved in every stage of the process.
Banking & Finance:
Under the leadership of Vanessa King, commercial department head, the banking and finance team has extensive experience in advising financial institutions, trust companies, and borrowers on international and local transactions. Attorneys offer comprehensive, practical, cost-effective service to render legal advice regarding the relationship of banker and customer, regulatory requirements in the disclosure of information to authorities, and all matters affecting the daily business concerns of the banking industry in the BVI. Attorneys give prompt advice on borrower’s due diligence and the capacity of borrowers, and prepare documentation for borrowers to satisfy requirements to meet financing terms. Services also include the enforcement of bankers’ security through several means available at law and the mortgagor’s power of sale, finance documents, and closing transactions, including stamp duty and registration of security documentation.
Investment Funds & Regulatory:
BVI funds legislation provides a flexible, user-friendly framework for establishing collective investment vehicles. Under the leadership of managing partner Kerry Anderson, the firm’s funds and regulatory department advises both new and established fund managers setting up or restructuring BVI funds. The team is known for its expert advice on offering documentation and agreements with investment managers, administrators, and custodians. Attorneys advise funds, fund managers, banks, local trust companies, insurance companies, and other financial services firms on their regulatory and compliance obligations. They provide advice to both private and public companies on corporate governance matters and conduct of meetings, and review resolutions. Department members maintain a good relationship with the regulator and have forged strong bonds with key persons at the BVI Financial Services Commission over the years. Partners are frequently requested to chair or sit on boards, including those of statutory bodies.
Corporate & Commercial:
The corporate and commercial department has expertise and experience in international and local corporate and commercial transactions, including advising on stock exchange listings, private equity transactions, joint ventures, redomiciliations, corporate arrangements, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, corporate restructuring, and related aspects of BVI company and commercial law. The team is regularly instructed by leading financial institutions, law firms, trust companies, investment houses, and corporations to handle their high-value commercial transactions.
Trusts & Estates:
The trusts and estates department, under the leadership of Chambers HNW guide-ranked Christopher McKenzie, provides practical commercial advice on all aspects of BVI trusts law, whether clients seek to take advantage of cutting-edge legislation by utilising a VISTA trust or wish to adopt a more standard structure. The team advises trustees (individuals and corporations) and beneficiaries alike on issues such as wealth protection, probate planning, trust creation, administration, and termination.
The firm’s intellectual property practice covers trademark and patent registrations and protection and defense of intellectual property rights. Attorneys represent clients in Trade Marks Registry proceedings and in litigation before BVI courts. As a BVI licensed trademark agent, the firm is authorised in all matters under the BVI Trade Mark Act, 2013 and routinely handles large portfolios for major corporate clients, providing customised reports to suit individual requirements.
Real estate in the BVI is tightly regulated, where foreign ownership requires licenses and the framework is complex. Led by Partner Willa Tavernier, the firm offers unparalleled expertise in commercial and residential real estate. Attorneys work with clients through all phases of development, including title verification, planning and design approval, and corporate structuring and financing, with particular expertise in tourism projects, including luxury resorts, from concept phase through construction and sales.
Shipping & Admiralty:
The BVI’s reputation as a premier sailing destination makes it an attractive choice for the registration of vessels and is a full category 1 REG Registry, capable of registering pleasure and commercial craft of any type, size, and tonnage. There is no VAT or other levy imposed concerning registration in the BVI, except for the registration fee. O’Neal Webster offers the full range of services required to secure vessel registration and advises on all matters related to acquisition, financing, operation, and transfer in the territory. Attorneys are internationally experienced and equipped to handle all contentious admiralty matters in litigation or arbitration.
The firm serves a broad range of international clients in BVI law and cross-border matters, including other law firms, professional services companies, and high net worth individuals. Attorneys are frequently instructed for transactions and advice in trusts, trademarks, funds, stock exchange listings, and property, and for resolving related contentious disputes.