International Women in Wealth five minute interview: Ann Northover, Head of Family Group Forsters LLP

Date: 02 Dec 2011


What signature taxation, laws, trusts or investments do you think work?

I strongly believe that in the future we will see far more family wealth held in corporate rather than trust structures where circumstances are appropriate.

Are women really going to take over the world, if so how?

As women appear to be the more peaceful of the two sexes, if they are to take over the world, then we can all look forward to better times ahead! Far more women hold wealth in their own names which creates a large level of freedom.

What is the most interesting private client deal you have ever been involved with?

In family law, the range of interesting and unusual circumstances is never-ending.

What lessons have you learned that you could share with women?

Always be yourself and never do anything with which you do not feel comfortable.

What initiatives do you have or do you think there should be for women?

One of the most difficult areas has to be for working mothers and the lack of and expense of good quality child care. Otherwise, there should be no difference for women in the workplace.

Do you think the British government should legislate to bring women on boards?

The counter argument for this is that women of inadequate standard become promoted to fit quotas. However, as more women work in these previously male-dominated areas, one would hope that there is no need for legislation.

If you had to win a wealthy new client where would you take them to impress them?

To my office at Forsters LLP, in Hill Street, Mayfair. The town house is the former home of Elizabeth Montagu, a celebrated London hostess who became known as ‘The Queen of the Bluestockings’.

What are your three USP’s for working with uhnw clients?

1) Understanding the uniqueness of the client 2) Being understanding of their circumstances, and drawing on the expertise of the other individuals at Forsters 3) Commitment to the client with honesty and a sense of humour.

What is the best thing that has ever been said about you?

“she has a great bedside manner because she truly understands the human and psychological aspects of family law”.

What is your individual focus in terms of countries and uhnw clients?

By the very nature of family work and the fact that clients increasingly have complex international arrangements for their finances, we will deal with a very large number of countries throughout the world, and a client’s wealth can be in any number of complex structures – be it old or new money.

What is the next big thing in private wealth management?

As a family lawyer, setting up structures that have intelligent regard to the possibility of future marriage and divorce.

Will you still be successful as a woman if you don’t dress the part?

I would like to think that women are successful based on their brain power and rapport with clients and not on their shade of lipstick.

What would you tell a divorcing woman in the UK?

We have one of the best legal systems in the world and one of the most generous.

Is the glass ceiling still with us?

I do not think it is in the area of law, where promotion is very much based on ability.

What charities do you admire and why?

Guide Dogs for the Blind and emotional support dogs for people with a range of disabilities including post traumatic shock disorder.

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