Five-minute interview Belinda Ferré, managing director and team head external trusts, UK and Far East, Bank J. Safra Sarasin

Date: 01 Dec 2016


Belinda Ferré talks to Marcela Kunova about remaining confident in the UK’s ability to continue to remain a global financial power in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Tell me about your time at Bank J Safra Sarasin?

I have been with the bank nineteen years and the majority of my team members have been with me anywhere between eight and fifteen years. This stability enables us to work closely with our clients and trustees with a long-term objective.

How has your work changed over the years?

Originally our team’s main focus was private UK and Asian clients, but as many of the clients and families we looked after had trust structures, we added an additional part to the team in 2003. This enabled us to offer a team of experienced staff dedicated to trustees wanting custody in Switzerland. Even the best trust structure can be weakened by a banker who doesn’t truly understand trusts.

Are your clients concerned about Brexit?
Generally our clients have been very calm with the subject of Brexit, remaining confident in the UK’s ability to continue to remain a global financial power.

What other concerns do your clients have?

Clients have become comfortable with transparency, however with the Common Reporting Standard there are a lot of concerns about who will report what to whom, and how in the end this information will be protected from misuse.

What’s the secret to your professional success?

Hard work, tenacity, and always knowing who is better than me in something and going to them for their support and guidance. You can’t rush experience but you can definitely benefit from the wisdom of others

You lived in the US for a long time. What major differences do you see between the US and Switzerland?

In Switzerland we have a global approach to service and investments, whereas the US banks are often more USA investments and US Dollar focused.

Do your clients get involved in philanthropy?

Yes. Philanthropy is also an active part of Swiss culture, so we see many charities, as well as clients preferring sustainable investments.

How do you unwind after a long day?

Homework with my thirteen-year-old daughter and cooking.

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