Leaders List interview: 60 seconds with Matthew Sperry, Katten Muchin Rosenman
Citywealth speaks to Matthew Sperry, partner, US private client lawyer at Katten.
Citywealth speaks to Matthew Sperry, partner, US private client lawyer at Katten who assists clients with all aspects of their interactions with the US, including structuring US investments in a tax-efficient manner.
Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.
- I am a US private client lawyer who focuses on making it easier for UHNW individuals and families to access the United States.
- I assist clients with all aspects of their interactions with the US, including structuring US investments (including in real estate) in a tax-efficient manner, while also fulfilling their existing family wealth planning strategies.
- Based in London, I am able to work more closely with European, Middle Eastern, Asian and African families from both a time zone and travel perspective.
- When global families end up in disputes related to wealth, I advise them on the U.S. aspects of potential litigation.
What are the most pressing issues you are dealing with in your role at the moment?
- Continued global investment and structuring involving the US, most notably from UHNW Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American families.
- Helping families manage constant change in the global tax and regulatory environment.
- Working with families on the transfer of significant wealth to the next generation, often involving US resident family members and/or US-based assets.
- Continued emphasis on ‘institutionalising family wealth’ and developing efficient but flexible dynastic family wealth structures.
If you could change an existing piece of legislation, what would it be?
I have a long list, but I believe that certain penalties that US tax law imposes on clients that innocently fail to make certain tax filings are absolutely draconian in relation to the damage caused to the US government (to the point that these penalties are, in my view, unconstitutionally excessive). Unfortunately, penalties like these are becoming the rule, rather than the exception, in jurisdictions throughout the globe.
How would your clients describe you?
As a lawyer who listens to his clients and invests in the relationship. Someone who understands family dynamics and is adept at navigating the challenges of different personalities and cultures. A lawyer that can explain complex tax and legal issues in a manner that is understandable, and who embraces the intersection between personal wealth and the family business.
What does it mean to you to be a member of Citywealth’s Leaders List?
It is an honour to be listed among the most gifted attorneys in private wealth. Citywealth does a tremendous job in identifying talent in the private wealth world. I refer to the list often when refining my business development strategy and seeking to strengthen my network of potential referral sources.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?
As a young attorney, a senior partner emphasised that to be truly great, you must put faith and family first, followed by your career. And that it is hard to fit much more into your life (like a great golf game!) if you want to grow and maintain a robust legal practice, while also being a good father and friend to those close to you. I guess one takeaway from this is that your readers should not choose me for their foursome!