Jessica Morris, Director, Private Clients Guernsey, Carey Group
Five minute interview
What signature taxation, laws, trusts or investments do you think really work for uhnw clients and why?
We consistently experience the need for uhnw clients to maintain a certain level of control over the business assets held within a structure, especially where they wish to bring in junior members of the family into the business to manage succession in a controlled manner. This can be achieved through the use of a limited partnership to hold the business assets with the client as the general partner and the Trust holding the majority of the limited partnership interest. This also allows for a certain segregation of risk within the family wealth structure, where the potentially higher risk business assets are separated from the lower risk long term investments held for the benefit of future generations. The Guernsey Trust law offers excellent planning opportunities and the planned changes to the Guernsey limited partnership laws will also allow unlimited perpetuity periods for such succession planning and the management of risk.
Are there any private clients in the world you would really like to work with?
Our client base mainly consists of entrepreneurial business owners based in Europe and the Middle East. We want to work also with these types of client in Asia and South America.
Are women really going to take over the world, if so how?
I don’t believe that the majority of power should lie either solely with women nor with men. From experience a balance of men and women in any power structure seems to bring the best results. On the board of directors at Carey Trustees Limited, we have two men, with one being the MD and two women and each of us brings something different to the table, which is as much to do with our character strengths as our sex.
What size of client do you generally work with and how many do you have or what AUM do you manage?
Carey Trustees Limited work can set up a structure which at first appears to be a small business venture that experiences excellent growth, all the way to a structure run for a family office, worth approximately ‚Ç¨5bn. Our total number of client relationships currently stands are approximately 350.
What is the most interesting or unusual private client deal you have ever been involved with?
I have a client that purchases land or defunct developments in Eastern Europe, he is very demanding and works incredibly quickly. One day he called me from his car as he was travelling through Romania and gave me the GPS co-ordinates of some land that he had driven passed and wished to purchase through the business structure. Before he arrived at his destination, I had managed to confirm that the land was for sale and that it had planning permission, had set up a conference with the lawyers and various advisors, ensuring that the property was purchased quickly and efficiently. I have derived great job satisfaction in knowing that this land has been developed into a popular commercial hub, which employs over 400 people, bringing real economic benefit to the area and also provides good quality private accommodation and of course has made a super profit for the structure itself.
What lessons have you learned that you could share with women starting out in the finance industry?
Be honest, open and friendly, again this doesn’t necessarily apply only to women. Another client of mine mentioned only last month during a meeting in Geneva that he had never had a woman managing his affairs before and much preferred it. I believe that this is really only because I am absolutely honest with him in all things, there is no bravado or bluster, just calm management of the facts. Also, not to be always focusing on the bottom line, sometimes helping people out without chasing the business for oneself is remembered and can produce good business opportunities in the future.
What initiatives do you have or do you think there should be for women?
I have never felt my sex to be a barrier to my progress within the finance industry but perhaps that has more to do with the people that I have chosen to work with than with a fundamental shift in the perception of women in the work place. If there is to be an initiative, it should be to educate people as to the strengths and weaknesses in both sexes and in all personalities, ensuring that a board can spot the need for a certain personality type and appoint the right person for the job.
What are your three USP’s for working with uhnw clients?
We have a commercial risk based approach to any new business proposition and do not have to operate under prescribed restrictions on the type of client or nature of asset held within a structure. We have extensive experience in managing personal/family assets and business assets in a cohesive manner.
Our administration team has an average of over 15 years’ experience per person, this coupled with a static staff turnover rate ensures we have the quality and continuity in administrators necessary for servicing the complex nature of our client base.
We are a truly independent fiduciary group who have had the same ownership for over 40 years and thus are not conflicted in terms of making investment decisions or suffer the risks brought about by changing ownership issues.
What is the best thing that has ever been said about you or you have done or won?
Being asked to join the board of Carey Trustees Limited in 2009 when I was only 33 and with the backing of all the shareholders was a great surprise and honour.
What is your individual focus in terms of countries and uhnw clients?
Our main geographical focus is on the CIS/Eastern Europe, Middle East and India (including non-resident Indians where such planning proves beneficial). We tend to attract entrepreneurs and business owners introduced to us through referrals but of course are equally as happy to manage less complex structures.
How much do you travel on business and where do you tend to go?
I travel mainly to London every other month at the moment but also to Switzerland or as client needs dictate.
What charities do you admire and why?
I support Amnesty International. I believe everyone must have the freedom to express themselves without fear of intimidation, imprisonment or death.
What is the dummies guide to making it to the top in finance or pwm?
Firstly, you must be truly interested in what you do. This certainly helps you get those qualifications and gives you the drive to excel. You must care about your clients and their families. They will pick up on this and a true symbiotic relationship will develop. Be open and good natured to your colleagues but don’t be afraid to put your point across if you believe you have a really good idea. Lastly, if no one is listening to you and you really believe you are being ignored by those in power, look elsewhere. There will be a place for you somewhere where your specific talents will shine and be truly appreciated.
Citywealth has a Women in Wealth event once a quarter. See the latest event on this video.
Citywealth also has a business development club meeting once a quarter called Citywealth YP. See latest event on this link http://vimeo.com/50921538
For new joiners in the wealth industry we have the Tomorrow Club. See more here. http://vimeo.com/46811686