Citywealth speaks to Stephanie Auferil, founding partner at Arkwood
Stephanie Auferil, founding partner or French law firm Arkwood which was founded in 2015, tells Citywealth about the steps France is taking to benefit from Brexit.
Tell me about your role at Arkwood
I am a founding senior partner and I manage the office with the three other founding partners. On the client side, I do cross-border work assisting US and French entrepreneurs who sell their businesses, particularly in the telecom sector, and relocate in either country.
How has the private client industry changed?
Apart from the new reporting obligations, we have also witnessed a stronger stand against tax competition between states, leading to measures from governments designed to make cross-border tax planning more difficult.
Are UHNWs returning to France?
There has been a positive impact on France’s economic attractiveness since Macron was elected. Entrepreneurship has been re-encouraged thanks to the abolition of some corporate wealth taxes. The thirty percent flat tax on investment income has also been beneficial. Overall, there has been a simplification to tax rules, which has been effective.
Will France benefit from Brexit?
Yes, we are doing everything to benefit from it. The result of the vote in favour of Brexit was immediately followed by a reform of the impatriate tax regime, which has been extended to eight years. The reform will generate significant tax cuts for employers and employees, which everyone hopes will have a positive effect, particularly on our capacity to attract jobs from London. There is also a five-year plan to increase the number of international schools, including English-French bilingual institutions in Paris.
Tell me about an achievement you are most proud of?
The creation of Arkwood, and the recognition that we have gained in a very short time. My team and I took a big risk when we left Baker McKenzie back in October 2015 to set up our own firm. But we were happy to have the trust of many clients. In addition, as a firm, we successfully argued before the French Constitutional Court that public access to the registry of trusts in France infringed the right to privacy protected by the Constitution. This successful victory has made us thought leaders in the area of trusts with interests in France.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
One of my mentors once warned me against reaching a point of no return when getting angry. This is an advice that I often give to clients who get embroiled in disputes with family or business partners. We never know what the future holds and whether we will come across these people again in different circumstances.
How do you relax?
I play piano every day if my agenda allows it. We also have a yoga teacher who comes to the office twice a week.