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Leaders List Interview: 60 seconds with Gillian Ralston Jordan, JTC

7 December 2021

April French Furnell

Gillian Ralston Jordan, head of JTC’s private client team in Guernsey, tells Citywealth about her non-typical clients and the increasing cost of doing business in the IFCs.

Tell us about your role.

I am fortunate to head up JTC’s private client team in Guernsey. It’s a job I love. It is so varied and interesting and even after all these years I am constantly learning new things. I have had a very varied career, starting as a criminal defence and matrimonial solicitor and it is extraordinary how often that early background comes in very handy in my current role. My current role, however, is by far my favourite of all time.

 

Describe a typical (or non-typical) client.

We really don’t have a typical client base for the most part. Many of our bigger clients are self-made with very complex multi-jurisdictional structure that house operating businesses below.  These span into some very interesting places and businesses. Right now, one of our special focusses is the luxury asset classes, from aircraft (where we can register on the Guernsey 2REG registry) to classic cars to art and jewellery collections.

 

What is keeping your clients up at night?

Probably the increasing cost of doing business in international finance centres. The intensification of regulation makes it increasingly costly to comply with ever changing rules.  Often clients are not ‘au fait’ with the scrutiny imposed upon Trust and Company Service Providers (TCSPs) and time needs to be invested with them so they understand the rigorous processes we go through.

 

How has your business been affected by the COVID pandemic?

Our business has been extremely robust and, in no time, throughout 28 offices worldwide, we had over 1,000 people working full-time and very effectively from home. If anything, business development was affected most as the pandemic crept well over the nine month mark.  Transactions started to be delayed and I personally think much of that was due to uncertainty. With the advent of vaccines things started to improve and have really picked up. We are now mostly back in our offices but with more flexible working arrangements open to employees.

 

What are the necessary skills and qualities for a successful leader?

I think a couple of the main skills you need to be a really good leader is to be able to empower your team but at the same time work collaboratively. I also always deal quickly with any negative issues that might arise within my team. That helps resolve them without fuss and “nips them in the bud”.  It is very important to me though, that my team feels that they can trust me and that they find me approachable. I think they know that I will support them in any way that I can and I have a furious loyalty to my team; they are hand-picked and highly valued.

 

Best and worst parts of your job.

One of the most wonderful parts of my role is the breadth of incredible people I am so fortunate to meet. I have always been a “people person” so this huge part of my every day comes very easily to me. On the flip side, there are times I have to tackle difficult moments with some clients. One example is often having to explain the cost of compliance with our ever increasing regulatory burdens (as I mentioned above) – these are not always immediately apparent to clients. It can be difficult but I find that once fully explained, clients have a much better understanding of the hurdles high quality international financial centres face when it comes to being fully compliant with our ever increasing and demanding rules and regulations.

 

How do you keep abreast of the fast-paced developments and changes within the industry?

Within JTC we have a realm of specialist groups that concentrate on certain areas that affect us day to day. In addition to that Guernsey has a strong breadth of industry bodies such as STEP, Guernsey and The Guernsey Association of Trustees. All of our teams are qualified or working their way towards a relevant qualification. All of JTC has access to the JTC Academy, a network of training modules on a huge variety of subjects; it is immensely valuable and available at our finger tips every day.

 

Most memorable work moment?

When I applied to become a Notary Public in Scotland I had to choose a motto by which I could stand and be proud.  After much searching for Latin mottos (Latin is very often used for these mottos) I happened upon “Nosce Te Ipsum” which translates as “Know Thyself” and I have proudly lived up to this every day of my career.

 

Best piece of advice you have been given?

Many years ago my father told me: “when you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. The answers will come to you.”  Sage advice.

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