International Women in Wealth five minute interview: Christine Green, partner, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Date: 02 Dec 2011


What signature taxation, laws, trusts or investments do you think really work for uhnw clients and why?

Trust law has taken something of a beating in the UK since the Finance Act 2006 and many of our uhnw clients are seeking alternative solutions. The Family Limited Partnership and Family Investment Company structures are quite exciting but they need to be refined for the UK market.

Are there any private clients in the world you would like to work with?

Well, if George Clooney was looking, I would be interested! But actually, for me, part of the pleasure of private client work is the diversity of interests and personalities and I find 95% of my clients charming people to work with.

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

I am not sure I would want women to “take over” the world. I think that all areas of business benefit from having a healthy mix of male and female players and the Private Wealth market is no exception.

What size of client do you generally work with?

I work exclusively with individuals and their average net wealth is between £5 -£10million. There are a number of wealthier ones and some less wealthy. In an average year, I see about 150 to 200 clients.

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

I am administrator in a large disputed estate with assets all over the world, a range of very colourful personalities and interesting works of art.

What lessons have you learned that you could share with women starting out in the finance industry?

As far as possible, start planning your career as early as possible, particularly if you are thinking of having children. You need to give careful thought to how much time you will want to take out of your career before you have them and whether job sharing with your partner will be a possibility.

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

I think that the single biggest hurdle remaining in the workplace for women to overcome is the childcare trap and as a society, I believe we should address this urgently.

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

I am not in favour of legislation generally to impose systems on business

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

Most of my wealthy clients do not want to be impressed. They come to me for legal advice rather than for wining and dining and so I would tend to see them in my office and hope to impress them with the quality of the advice.

What are your 3 USPs for working with uhnw clients?

Discretion, excellence and accessibility.

What is the best thing that has ever been said about you or you have done or won?

“We trust Christine implicitly and her advice is always communicated in a way that is readily understood”.

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

I work exclusively in England and Wales.

What is the next big thing in private wealth management?

I do anticipate that the UK may profit eventually from the eurozone crisis by being seen as a safe haven for wealthy individuals wishing to put their funds outside the eurozone and this may have a beneficial effect on the property market here.

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

I don’t think success and dress sense are linked but I do think that a smart appearance in the workplace is important for men and women as it shows respect to the clients and creates a professional image. There is nothing sexist in that.

What would you tell a divorcing woman in the UK whether she was British or international and why?

Get good financial and legal advice. It may also be worth doing some jurisdiction shopping if this is a possibility.

Is the glass ceiling still with us?

I think so but perhaps one reason for this is that many women themselves believe in it. There is absolutely no reason why women should not occupy top roles in every area of business. We need to create strong role models so that the next generation are empowered.

What charities do you admire and why?

I particularly admire those small charities where funds are tight and where they manage to make a difference despite this.

What is the dummies guide to making it to the top in finance or pwm?

I don’t think I have a simple answer to this one! I do think it is important to have confidence and to believe in yourself. Self doubt and negativity are always the enemies of success.

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