60 second interview with David Dorgan, Appleby

Date: 25 Feb 2020

Bumblebee Design

As part of our 60 second interview series, Citywealth spoke to David Dorgan, a partner in Appleby’s private client and trusts team, based in Jersey, about passing the Jersey bar, inspiring his team to perform, and taking advantage of Jersey’s coastline at the end of a long day.

Tell me about your role.

I am a partner within Appleby’s Private Client and Trusts team based in Jersey. This is a global specialist team focusing on private wealth structuring, employee benefits and pensions. My role is a combination of advisory work, compliance and the supervision of trust lawyers in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. I am often instructed by professional trustees on complex structures, which often involve various jurisdictions, and so my objective is to advise clients with a pragmatic solution-oriented approach, so they have a clear direction to follow.

Walk us through your daily routine.

No two days are really the same to have a daily routine. There are many days sat behind a desk advising clients, many other days doing business development and other days involved in partnership matters. It is often the case of being interrupted with other matters meaning planned matters are not progressed that day. Probably the only identifiable daily routine is the underlying pressure of being a lawyer and all that encompasses.  

Tell us about a recent client instruction.

Due to the confidentiality of the work, I am not at liberty to disclose specifics. However, one interesting case I recently worked on involved acting for a professional trustee being asked to enter a settlement agreement whereby it would receive less than 1% of the debt it was owed. This was a high value matter involving a very complex structure inter-linked and impacting upon another separate structure and involved 14 advisers across five jurisdictions.  

What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping your clients to overcome it?

For clients looking to structure their wealth for the first time, there are four principal issues we help address: (1) the choice jurisdiction which depends on a number of factors; (2) the identity of any professional trustees; (3) the ever increasing transparency requirements and the sharing of information between authorities; and (4) information needed to be compliant with international standards of regulation. Often this requires careful and patient guidance.

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

This might sound trite but passing the Jersey bar exams back in the old days of a 29% pass-rate with conveyancing being in a dialect of medieval French. For me, I don’t think any award, promotion or other professional achievement can match the relief of passing those exams back then.

What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?

Leadership is ultimately about inspiring people to perform in a context and the attributes needed will differ on the context.  In my role, I would say the key attributes to demonstrate are integrity, confidence, good communication, listening skills, decision making capability, the ability to delegate, approachability and accountability. It’s important that team members take responsibility themselves, but ultimately know there is someone to turn to for support.   

Who do you most admire and why?

My fiancé is definitely one person I admire. In the last ten years, she has been a full-time single mother, worked a demanding job and successfully undertaken a doctorate. She is an everyday hero. 

Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?

The last work destination was London and before that Dubai, Kuwait and Qatar. The last pleasure destination was Venice by the Orient Express, which was not too shabby at all.

If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?

Expedition leader. In my youth (admittedly some time ago now), I travelled to places which were not then on the commercial adventure path including five deserts, the Arctic and staying with a first world tribe on the black waters of the Amazon. Probably the stupidest idea I exercised was being in the lava tubes of an active volcano which went off some months later.

How do you relax after a long day?

I like to think it is taking advantage of Jersey’s beautiful coastline, doing a bit of sailing and enjoying the beaches. The reality of a long day means relaxation is really a combination of exercise; then eating and drinking to undo the exercise and then sleeping.

Best piece of advice for Generation Z?

Life is short so do something you enjoy; do not live with regret and do the things you want whilst you can; and make sure you are adaptable to the rapidly changing world.