60 second interview with Stuart Platt-Ransom, Oak

Date: 19 Mar 2019

Bumblebee Design

In our 60 second interview series, Citywealth speaks to Stuart Platt-Ransom, CEO of Oak, the recently launched private client, corporate services and fund administration group on the challenge of leading a group of recently acquired businesses, while recovering from broken ribs from an unfortunate ski accident.


Tell me about your role

I am CEO of Oak, the recently launched private client, corporate services and fund administration group, so provide leadership to the business and am responsible for the strategic direction, financial management and day-to-day oversight. 


What are the challenges of leading a group of recently acquired businesses?

Getting everything aligned right down to the tiniest of details which can sometimes be cumbersome. You have to think about everything from IT infrastructure and aligning systems to new branding and developing relationships with new colleagues. It’s rewarding but there’s a lot of things to think about and act on in order to make the process as smooth and as unsettling as possible for everyone.


How has the private client industry changed?

The last 10 years have seen much change to the offshore private client world. Most of the changes have been around transparency from a tax (for example FATCA and CRS) and beneficial ownership perspective. The data leaks of the Panama and Paradise Papers have increased the scrutiny of the offshore world and the judgement of those utilising structures offshore. This has led to an increase in compliance requirements and more regulation particularly in the AML and CDD space. There is still a demand for offshore structuring for private clients and families for the purpose of estate planning.


What lessons have you learnt?

I hope I’m still learning but work hard, play hard, take risks, learn from mistakes, be courteous, be compassionate, have moral courage and have fun.


Tell us about interesting client instructions

Probably the most difficult and challenging instructions are often where family members have fallen out. While it is never easy and can sometimes be quite unpleasant, it can certainly be interesting and rewarding when a solution is found and agreed by all parties.


What challenges do your clients face?

I think the most challenging issues private clients face are wealth protection, succession planning and the transfer of wealth to the next generation. Future generations often have different views, ideas and requirements to the previous generations.


What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Witnessing team members succeed and seeing them grow in their careers and as individuals.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Probably three pieces of advice have served me well:

1) Trust your intuition – if it feels right then do it and if you have any doubt – don’t

2) Believe you are capable of so much more than you think possible

3) Always treat those you meet as your social equal


What was the last book you’ve read?

A Brilliant Little Operation by Paddy Ashdown – a very well-written account of probably one of the most audacious commando raids of the Second World War, Operation Frankton.


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

Pleasure:  Norway for skiing although I came home with broken ribs at the back and popped ribs at the front as a result of being wiped out by an out-of-control skier. Work: Mauritius.


How do you relax after a long day?

With my family over dinner and a glass of red.