Jeffrey Kirk is the managing partner of the Appleby British Virgin Islands office and he leads the BVI office Corporate Practice Group. He advises on public and private M&A, capital markets, banking & finance, FinTech including digital assets, investment funds & services, private equity, (re)insurance and other corporate matters. He is also the global head of the Appleby Islamic Finance Practice Group. Jeffrey has worked in the Appleby London, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands and BVI offices and has extensive experience advising on the laws of the BVI, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
His pre-Appleby experience includes being in practice at leading London law firms; in-house counsel at Lloyd´s of London and his South African experience includes practicing in a leading regional South African law firm, being in-house counsel at an international asset management group and general counsel for a leading underwriting firm.
Jeffrey is a frequent speaker and panelist at seminars and conferences including AFSIC (Africa Financial Services Investment Conference, London), Business BVI Outlook, the Fund Forum Asia, Islamic Finance News Hong Kong Road Show, Business Bermuda and the Islamic Real Estate World Asia Conference. He is often interviewed and invited to write articles on all aspects of offshore finance, hedge funds, (re)insurance, SPVs and other corporate issues and has contributed to numerous publications including The Lawyer, the Hedge Fund Journal, China Offshore, Banking Today, Bloomberg; Asia Insurance Review, Middle East Insurance Review, Legal Week, Business Today, the Bermuda Royal Gazette and the China Business Law Journal. He is a co-author of the BVI chapter of the Asset Management Review.
His memberships include being a member of the Hong Kong Insurance Law Association, the Law Society of Hong Kong (registered foreign lawyer), the Law Society of England & Wales (non-practicing) and the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (South Africa) (non-practicing), the Bermuda Bar Association and he is admitted to practice as a barrister and attorney in Bermuda and as a solicitor and notary public in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (British Virgin Islands) and is a member of the BVI Bar Association
In the 2020 Chambers Global listings, Jeffrey was ranked as an eminent practitioner and is regarded by commentators as a “sensible operator” and was held in high regard for his depth of knowledge and long-standing client relationships. In 2019, Chambers Global described Jeffrey as “articulate and precise” as well as being the “consummate all-rounder”. In 2018 they noted that he is praised by interviewees as a “brilliant lawyer” who is “articulate and picks things up easily.” Having formerly practised in the firm´s Hong Kong office, he is particularly noted for his expertise working with Asia-based clients, and is hailed by sources for his “service-oriented advice.” In other previous years’ editions of Chambers Asia-Pacific and Chambers Global, he was rated for his debt capital markets expertise and gained affirmation from clients as being “very prompt, practical and responsive. He combines legal expertise with commercial understanding” and that “He stands out for his insurance and reinsurance expertise.”
He has also been ranked as a leading individual by The Legal 500 since 2014, which noted that he stands out for his “responsiveness and ability to deal with demanding clients.” IFLR1000 has also ranked Jeffrey as “highly regarded”.
Representative work includes advising:
- Salamander Energy on the approximately £300m sale of all its issued share capital to Ophir Energy;
- Gazprombank on its provision of a $585m loan to Mail.ru Group, in order to part-finance the acquisition of a 48% stake in VK.Com of a 48% stake in VK.Com
- Goldman Sachs International on a £750m bridge facility relating to the purchase of a controlling interest in Travelex;
- joint arrangers and lenders (Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited) and acting as BVI and Bermuda counsel in regard to the US$2.5 billion secured acquisition financing provided to HKT Limited for the purchase of CSL New World Mobility Limited from Telstra Corporation and New World development; an acquisition which resulted in the creation of the largest telecommunications operator in Hong Kong;
- mandated lead arrangers and financial advisors (China Minsheng Banking Corp Hong Kong, BNP Paribas Hong Kong, Credit Suisse Singapore, Deutsche Bank Singapore, Goldman Sachs, ICBC International Finance and JP Morgan Chase Bank) in relation to the US$3 billion privatisation of the New York listed Chinese gaming company, China Interactive Group Inc, by way of merger in the Cayman Islands. This deal won both the ASIA-MENA Counsel and the China Business Law Journal 2014 deal of the year awards, the IFLR Asia 2015 private equity deal of the year award and the China Law & Practice 2014 private equity deal of the year award;
- GuoLine Overseas Limited in relation to its proposed voluntary cash offer to privatise Guoco for US$1.1 billion by acquiring all issued shares of Guoco. Also advised Standard Chartered Bank on the financing aspect;
- Fosun International on a guaranteed notes issuance of US$400 million issued by its indirect subsidiary, Sparkle Assets Limited. This deal won the China Business Law Journal 2013 debt capital market deal of the year award;
- COSCO Pacific (2013) Finance Limited and COSCO Pacific Limited in relation to COSCO Pacific Finance´s note issuance in the amount of US$300 million;
- the Dutch Development Bank (Nederlandse Financierings Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden) as part of a syndicate of banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Korean banks in regard to a US$90 million loan facility to China Singyes Solar Technology Holdings to develop solar energy projects;
- Peak Reinsurance Holdings Limited and the International Finance Corporation in relation to the issuance of shares in Peak Reinsurance to IFC and Spinel Investments Limited worth US$550 million;
- ING Life on the sale of certain of its Asia life insurance businesses;
- Fosun International on the BVI law aspects of its RMB210.5 million investment in, and strategic partnership with, Malaysian food and beverage chain Secret Recipe;
- a leading Hong Kong based private equity house on the formation and operations of its BVI and Cayman private equity funds and hedge funds, related management and investment management entities;
- Li & Fung on its issuance of US$500 million hybrid securities;
- Shanghai Fosun Group on the BVI law aspects of its equity investment in the AIA Group;
- Genting on the issuance of dim sum bonds;
- RexLot on the issuance of US$ denominated convertible bonds;
- Softbank Corporation on the Cayman law aspects in regard to the settlement of a shareholder dispute with Alibaba Group in relation to Alipay.com and involving Yahoo! Inc. and advice in regard to the IPO and pre-IPO restructuring;
- mandated lead arrangers, including J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse, on the BVI and Cayman law aspects of the financing and security arrangements for the acquisition financing provided to Home Inns in relation to Motel 168;
- numerous private banks on their life insurance premium financing products and services;
- Asia Development Bank on project financing for numerous alternative energy construction projects in the PRC;
- a sovereign wealth fund in relation to its investments in Cayman Islands hedge funds and its proposed equity investment into the PRC medical sector;
- eStats Funds Management (Australia) on the formation of Bermuda – master and feeder funds;
- Tokio Marine Group on its acquisition of the LSE listed Kiln Group (including the Kiln Lloyd’s of London operating entities);
- Shangri-La Asia (as guarantor) of US$500 million zero coupon guaranteed convertible bonds issued by Newford Capital Limited;
- Park Group in regard to the acquisition by JLT Risk Solutions of the Park Group’s Bermuda broker;
- on the formation and operations of SPVs investing into South American agri-business funds; and
- a leading investment bank in regard to longevity and mortality swap arrangements and deferred premium annuity transactions and products.
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
BPP Law School, London (England)
“[Jeffrey] is somebody who is always looking for solutions and sees things from the client’s point of view.”