Rebecca Durrant, partner and national head of private clients at Crowe tells Citywealth that senior women have a responsibility to help the next generation of women. Read on to find out about her role, typical client instructions and her Plan B.
Tell me about your role.
As national head I am responsible for Crowe’s private client practice across the country. I have a strong team of specialists nationally that really work hard to deliver exceptional service and quality to our clients and intermediary contacts. It can be challenging, particularly at the moment as private client by its very nature is about relationships and we are all struggling to retain that connectivity, but we are being innovative and trying different things which seem to be working. It is also very rewarding for the same reason. When you achieve a good result for a client or help them through a difficult period in their lives that is a great feeling. I’m also very proud of our team, we have some very talented individuals and I couldn’t do what I do without them.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I always say my job is very different now than it was 12 months ago and I know I am not alone. I have replaced trains and travelling with Teams meetings and zoom calls which is very efficient, but equally very intense. My day now starts with breakfast while I run through my emails and calendar, I can then typically be on calls for the rest of the day unless I have specifically booked out time to catch up on technical work or strategy. I also try and take some time out to get outside for a walk or a run just to clear my head and alleviate the craziness!
Tell us about an interesting client instruction.
All my clients are interesting for very different reasons, often the personality rather than the technical side. One of my favourites is a client we have assisted for a number of years now just on advisory work. He is an UHNW non-dom client with a wide variety of investments both UK and overseas (mainly Australia). This includes a valuable UK residential portfolio which he operates through an offshore company which we set up with our Global network. He always has some interesting questions and investment opportunities for me to consider. He also has four adult children whom he is very keen to ensure make their own way in the world which can make Inheritance Tax planning interesting.
What challenges do your clients face and how are you helping your clients to overcome them?
Succession planning and Inheritance Tax are very prevalent at the moment I think COVID-19 has focussed the mind somewhat on the future. We also see a lot of property investors struggling to maximise yield and value now with the restriction on interest and also the possibility that Capital Gains Tax rates may change in the future so we have been talking to clients about corporate structures and trusts. My business clients have faced the same challenges as everyone else through the pandemic but there is a resilience there which often comes through with an entrepreneur. Innovation is key and businesses that have been able to do this to some extent will thrive after this is over. With these clients it has been a case of managing funding and income levels, changing remuneration strategies and just generally being a sounding board whilst they talk things through.
What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?
Good leadership is really important, and a good leader should be a role model for the next generation. This is particularly important for women. The lack of senior women in our profession makes this difficult sometimes which means that in my view those of us in a position to help have a responsibility to do so. A good leader should communicate well with their team, be visible and accessible, collaborate and include the team in the growth of the business but equally be able to have difficult conversations and deal with the challenges as well as the good stuff. Lastly, be real and authentic - people will see through you otherwise.
Who do you most admire and why?
I have a long list but at the moment it has to be Kamala Harris. She has achieved so much through her own hard work and determination but hasn’t closed the door behind her. She will be a great role model and champion for generations of women to come. She has also taken on a very difficult job, but I’m sure she will do great!
If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?
I have two career alternatives, firstly I would like to have been a family lawyer. I know from some of my professional friends that this is not an easy job, but it is incredibly rewarding. Other than that, I would like to think I could be a novelist. I love to read, and they do say everyone has a book in them so who knows, I may just do it.