Ellie Crespi

Ellie Crespi 

Managing Partner | BVI

Financial Services and Regulatory

  • Collas Crill’s hire of Ellie Crespi was a real coup. When it comes to structured finance and secured lending, there is simply no one else in the offshore market with greater depth and breadth of experience than Ellie.
    Legal 500 2022
  • She literally wrote the book on BVI Commercial Law, as contributing editor of the Company Law and Banking Law sections of the BVI Commercial Law (3rd and 4th editions).
    Legal 500 2022
  • Ellie treats you as if you were the only or most important client she has.
    Legal 500 2024
  • It is very positive for the jurisdiction (BVI) to have a lawyer who spent the best part of a decade working in Hong Kong heading up one of the big international offshore firms here.
    Legal 500 2022
  • Ellie steers things towards being more practically-oriented. She is quick to respond, helpful and switched on.
    Chambers Global 2024
  • A superb partner – she is commercially excellent, quick to respond and support and very approachable.
    Legal 500 2024
  • Very strong banking and finance lawyer, and a secured lending specialist. The time she spent onshore sets her apart from many of her competitors.
    Legal 500 2024
  • Ellie is definitely someone to watch.
    Chambers Global 2023
  • She has unmatched experience in corporate and finance matters.
    Chambers Global 2023
  • Ellie is very knowledgeable and provides accurate and prompt responses. She understands business and industry very well.
    Chambers Global 2024
  • Extremely responsive and adaptable.
    Legal 500
  • Professional, responsive and diligent.
    Legal 500
  • Ellie is well informed and talented. She is a well-rounded professional.
    Chambers Global 2024
  • Very dedicated and responsive to requests upon short notice, very collaborative, and flexible on issues.
    Legal 500 2024
  • Ellie Crespi and Greg Boyd make a serious, experienced and switched-on team that easily rivals any of the bigger offshore firms.
    Legal 500 2024
  • Remarkable.
    IFLR

Overview

Ellie is the Managing Partner of the BVI office, and also heads up the firm's Financial Services and Regulatory team in the Caribbean.

She practises BVI and Cayman laws and advises on all elements of corporate, capital markets and banking transactions as well as restructurings. Her clients include leading onshore law firms, private equity investors, major international financial institutions, listed and private companies and British Virgin Islands statutory and public bodies.

"Clients expect service, quality and value for money as a minimum - and rightly so. What I add to transactions - and what has built years-long relationships - is actual care for my clients' business. It sounds simple but it can't be faked."

Experience

Ellie has been practising since 2006 and has built a global client base, advising on top-ticket corporate, finance and capital markets transactions in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Her experience practising and living in Western Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and the Caribbean brings a nuanced cultural understanding to complex, cross-border transactions with global stakeholders.

Background

Ellie started her career in London, practising in Moscow and Hong Kong with Allen & Overy prior to making the move offshore almost a decade ago with a leading BVI law firm and making her home in the British Virgin Islands at the beginning of 2019.

Awards

Ellie has maintained recommendations by Legal 500 and IFLR since 2015. In 2020, she was recommended and recognised by Legal 500 as a 'Leading Individual' and in 2024 she was ranked in Band 4 in Chambers & Partners . She was nominated by peers as Lawyer of the Year in BVI Finance's 2020 Financial Services Awards.

Memberships

  • BVI Bar Association
  • The Law Society of England and Wales

 
My services
Acquisition finance
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Advising on acquisition finance is a key part of our services when acting on merger and acquisition transactions. We work with our corporate teams to provide solutions which may include conventional loans, leveraging the target, accessing capital markets, or typically, a combination of these. We act for lenders, corporates and corporate advisors.

Asset finance
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We work both lender and borrower side in funding the acquisition of aircraft, ships, containers, art and other high value assets and advise on finance and operating leases, sale and leaseback transactions, jurisdiction specific transactions such as JOLCOs and the securitisation of asset receivables.

Banking and finance
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The importance of managing risk across all types of banking and financial transactions has never been more apparent. International and multi-jurisdictional activity, particularly in emerging markets and with alternative credit providers, is driving creativity in structuring and transactions which requires a team of lawyers who know how to get the optimal results from each deal.  

At Collas Crill, our credentials are clear: with our well-established banking and finance team and some of the best known transactions both internationally and locally, there isn’t much we have not encountered.

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Business relocations, migrations and continuations
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An increasing number of business leaders are looking to relocate their business and indeed live offshore. Our pan-departmental relocation team has the knowledge and experience to assist in all aspects of such a move and welcome you to our islands. We are well placed to advise on and project manage such a relocation and can support with company migrations and continuations, regulatory approvals, housing licences and real estate matters through to introductions to other service providers and complementary local businesses.

For guidance on relocating your business in and out of the BVI, Cayman Islands, Guernsey or Jersey, click here.

Capital markets
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Our capital markets team have significant onshore as well as offshore experience, giving us an in-depth understanding of all aspects of security issues and capital markets transactions. We advise on the structuring of securitisation vehicles, the promotion of securities and the full range of equity and debt capital markets transactions, including both public equity and debt offerings and mergers and acquisitions, including schemes or arrangement and reverse takeovers.

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Commercial real estate
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Our commercial property team includes some of the most highly regarded offshore commercial property lawyers. We are recognised and cited for our experience, commercial approach, exceptional service standards and ability to deliver in a fast and efficient manner. Across Guernsey, Jersey and the Cayman Islands we have been involved in many of the most significant commercial property transactions of the last decade. We handle all aspects of commercial freehold and leasehold real estate, acting for both landlord and tenant, buyer and seller. We have the experience to guide you through every stage of a transaction with absolute confidence.

Contentious banking and finance
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Our dispute resolution specialists collaborate seamlessly with our corporate, banking and finance teams across jurisdictions to advise on litigation, restructuring and risk and regulatory matters. We provide a global perspective, working closely with our clients to ensure that they are best placed to respond to customer issues, fraud risks, rapidly changing market conditions and regulatory demands.

Corporate acquisitions and takeovers
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Our team has a wealth of experience advising on all aspects of corporate acquisitions providing seamless support from agreeing heads of terms all the way through to completion.

Corporate advisory
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Successfully navigating the modern global business environment, taking advantage of opportunities as they arise while avoiding legal and regulatory pitfalls, is a challenge for any entrepreneur, business or corporation.

As commercially minded lawyers committed to providing a high quality and cost-effective service we understand those challenges and, more importantly, seek to turn them into opportunities.

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Corporate governance and shareholder relations
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Good corporate governance and a sound understanding of directors duties is critical. Regardless of size, establishing a best practice approach should be fundamental to all boards. The board of directors are responsible for ensuring the company achieves its objectives and the corporate governance framework they adhere to should underpin their accountability to the company and its members.

We advise company boards in relation to both the non-contentious and contentious aspects of shareholder relations with a focus on corporate governance to prevent contentious issues arising. We have also advised both boards and activist shareholders in relation to highly contentious general meetings and associated issues arising out of investor actions.

Thanks to the depth of our experience and the resources of our team, we've acted on some of the largest pieces of litigation brought against directors offshore. We are well placed to deal with the 'bet the farm' proceedings that can occur in these type of disputes and have represented parties involved in intra-company disputes, including executive, non-executive and independent directors, majority and minority shareholders, companies and liquidators. We understand that shareholder disputes are often not black and white and our team finds innovative and commercial alternatives to those which the Court may offer – taking a collaborative approach with our clients to ensure that the right result is achieved.

Corporate reorganisations
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Our team has deep experience in complex, multi-jurisdictional corporate reorganisations and reconstructions.

Whether leading the project, or working as part of an integrated team with co-ordinating onshore counsel, we can assist with the variety of debt and equity restructuring processes and procedures available in our Collas Crill jurisdictions; from mergers and acquisitions, to migrations and redomiciliation, to schemes of arrangement and the more innovative and flexible solutions our jurisdictions are known for.  

With our mix of non-contentious and litigation restructuring specialists, Collas Crill offers the unique advantage of having being able to provide a team to seamlessly take a transaction from start to finish. 

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Debt collection
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Knowing what to do and when to act when things go wrong is a key part of our service to our clients on both lender and borrower side. Our clients include banks, funds, directors, shareholders and insolvency practitioners. We undertake security reviews and advise on pre-emptive measures. We appreciate the need to act promptly and decisively, and at the same time are sensitive to potential negative publicity for our clients.

Debt issues
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We advise on structured bond issues, including covered bonds, convertible debt, private equity and intra-group debt finance and hybrid deals that make use of offshore special purpose debt vehicles. We also advise onshore issuers with listing Eurobonds and other debt instruments on The International Stock Exchange in Guernsey and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange. Our partners and senior lawyers have significant experience and understanding of the nuances of such transactions, and are very well placed to provide practical, tailored advice.

Due-diligence
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Our experienced team will handle the due diligence process, from initial requests for information and documentation, transitioning to the review phase, making further requisitions as necessary and producing a comprehensive due diligence report setting out key issues and areas for risk mitigation.

Equity issues
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We advise on all forms of public offerings by companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey. Our clients include trading companies, SPACs, brokers, advisors and NOMADs, and recent transactions have included listings on both the London Stock Exchange's Main Market and AIM, as well as other leading international exchanges and offshore markets. We cover the full scope of transactions for listed companies, from IPOs to rights issues, secondary offerings, equity bridge financing, mergers and acquisitions, including schemes or arrangement and reverse takeovers, and de-listing.

Fund finance
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Fund financing covers a range of financing possibilities but most commonly involves capital call or subscription facilities. It is a specialist area that requires an understanding of fund structuring, the risks involved in lending to funds and specific security requirements. Underlying relationships between investors, borrowers and lenders are key to the success of the industry. We work with lenders and borrowers to maintain these relationships at every stage of the process, with our commercial, efficient and pragmatic approach to managing transactions.

Mergers, amalgamations and schemes of arrangement
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We provide expert legal support on both local and cross border amalgamations of regulated and unregulated companies and work closely with our dispute resolution team on local schemes of arrangement.

Mergers and acquisitions
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We regularly act in relation to significant mergers and acquisitions activity in our jurisdictions, whether as lead counsel for strictly local matters or as part of an international team for multi-jurisdictional transactions.

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Project finance
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Our teams have been involved in some of the most innovative finance structures, including the first public-private finance initiative in Guernsey, a care home. We regularly advise housing associations on funding their projects. Internationally we work with clients on key infrastructure projects, including power stations and railway links.

Real estate finance
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Real estate continues to dominate as an asset class for many investors. We have a strong track record in financing commercial real estate acquisitions, mainly in New York and the UK and the London prime market. We act for some of the key lenders in this area. Our clients include banks, funds, alternative lenders, private equity houses, private investors, hotel consortiums and family offices. Locally, we have worked on the funding of some of the most prestigious buildings in our jurisdictions.

Regulatory
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Our multi-disciplinary approach to providing risk and regulatory consultancy services ensures that every aspect of our clients' business is covered. By drawing on the skills and experience of a highly experienced team of lawyers with expertise from across the firm, we are able to deal with all legal compliance issues that could affect your business, whether contentious or non-contentious. The assistance we are able to provide ranges from strategic matters to specific operational issues.

Collas Crill's market-leading fraud, financial and white collar crime practice sits within our regulatory practice. Uniquely offering a mix of both civil and criminal fraud litigation experience, from internal investigations, to injunctions, to defence and enforcement, the team can lead clients through the most challenging of circumstances.

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Restructuring
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Restructuring takes many forms, and we have broad experience in reshaping businesses to the changing needs and demands of the market. The team possesses a hands-on and comprehensive grasp of the intricate challenges that may emerge in restructuring scenarios, whether involving mergers, acquisitions, reorganisations or recapitalisation activities.

Securitisation and structured products
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Our securities and capital markets team advise on all aspects of securitisation transactions, including the structuring of securities and securitisation vehicles, producing the prospectus, providing regulatory advice and advising on promotion restrictions and requirements. Our clients include both offshore and onshore banks as well as other financial instructions.

Structuring
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Offshore vehicles are used for a huge range of purposes either standing alone or as part of large multi-jurisdictional structures. Our highly commercial team specialises in advising clients on the most effective uses of such vehicles and their on-going operation, including normal and cellular companies as well as foundations, unit trusts, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, segregated portfolio and restricted purpose companies.  We are able to advise what jurisdiction among the "Big Four" that we advise on will best suit our client's needs and regularly advise on solvent restructuring by way of merger, consolidation, continuation or balance sheet optimisation as well as court based corporate procedures such as schemes and plans of arrangement.

Specific regulatory compliance
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Regulation proliferates in all aspects of corporate life these days. We have proven subject matter expertise in specific regulatory fields.

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Islamic finance and structuring
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Demand continues to rise for legal professionals with a strong knowledge and understanding of Shariah law concepts continues, a reflection of the growth in Islamic finance products and services for institutions and private clients. Our team of experienced finance lawyers regularly works with onshore law firms, banks, managers and service providers to assist clients in the UK, the Middle East and Asia, as well as trust and corporate service providers servicing clients in this area.

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10 Apr 2024

The "BVI Advantage": A 2024 perspective

Once upon a time, half way across the world and well over a decade ago, I gave my first client presentation on the merits of the BVI for cross border structuring to a roomful of bankers and onshore lawyers in Hong Kong. Various key factors had positioned...

19 Feb 2024

Chambers Global 2024 Guide: Collas Crill's growing reputation the Caribbean is recognised

Collas Crill's rankings in the Chambers & Partners Global 2024 Guide underpin its focus on client service.The directory and client testimonials highlight the firm's growing reputation in in the Caribbean.In the Chambers dispute resolution category, t...

7 Feb 2024

Successful succession: Personal investment holding companies in the BVI

In addition to the many purposes for which a BVI Business Company limited by shares (BVI Company) is used, eg as a fund, co-investment vehicle, joint venture vehicle or listing vehicle, many BVI Companies are used as personal investment holding companies...

13 Dec 2023

End of year administration for BVI business companies

As we near the end of the year and the introduction of new legislation it's a timely reminder to ensure that, firstly, your company has paid its latest annual BVI Corporate Registry fees (if due) and secondly, you consider your company's first annual ret...

8 Dec 2023

In conversation: Angela Calnan on Collas Crill's trip to the Middle East

In November a team from Collas Crill travelled to the Middle East to meet with clients and intermediaries, taking in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and culminating in Riyadh. Collas Crill has a long history of serving clients in the MENA region with a region-s...

6 Dec 2023

Reflections on Collas Crill's first sojourn to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

In early November a team from Collas Crill travelled to the Middle East to meet some of the firm's key clients and intermediaries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the trip culminating in Riyadh. One of the party was Ellie Crespi, British Virgin Isl...

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Event 19 Apr 2023

BVI: Unlocking opportunities

Event 27 Apr 2023

Webinar: A BVI Update

Event 25 Apr 2023

Webinar: A BVI Update

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