Shan Warnock Smith QC; 5 Stone Buildings’ London/Cayman

Date: 16 Nov 2011


“Five minute interview”
Shan Warnock Smith QC; 5 Stone Buildings’ London/Cayman

What signature taxation, laws, trusts or investments do you think really work for uhnw clients and why? A properly-drawn trust tailor- made for the client – no standard forms.

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

What size of client do you generally work with and how many do you have? All shapes and sizes. As a barrister I am dependent on referrals from other lawyers so it depends on what they think I can help with which varies from huge cases involving billions to more modest fortunes.

What is the most interesting or unusual private client deal you have ever been involved with ? The IPO of a large European private company against the background of highly contentious trust litigation which could have scuppered the deal. Fortunately all went smoothly in the end but not before many anxious moments.

What lessons have you learned that you could share with those starting out in the private wealth management industry? Never believe your own publicity.

What initiatives do you have or do you think there should be for women? That’s a difficult question for someone of my generation for whom no concessions were made to gender. I have been very lucky – a barrister, whether male or female, has the opportunity to shape his or her practice to suit a chosen lifestyle much more readily than those who are not as independent. That flexibility has proved enormously useful in combining work and family and must be the key to enabling more women, and men, to stick at their careers for longer.

If you had to win a wealthy new client where would you take them to impress them? Calypso Grill in Cayman – not grand but charmingly Caribbean.

What are your three USP’s for uhnw clients? Sympathetic understanding of the client’s needs, technical ability to meet them and insight in relation to what might go wrong and how to prevent it.

What is the best thing that has ever been said about you? Professionally, that I can make difficult issues comprehensible to clients. Personally, that would be telling.

What is your individual focus in terms of countries and uhnw clients? Any place in which trusts are recognised or form part of a structure plan for clients. In terms of litigation, I am currently involved in cases in Cayman, BVI, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Jersey and Guernsey and the UK and am excited about my new set of chambers based in Cayman, International Chancery and Trusts Chambers, which are intended to act as a hub for my global practice in addition to my London base at 5 Stone Buildings.

How much do you travel on business and where do you tend to go? One of the fascinating things about my practice is the opportunity for frequent travel to meet clients and to litigate. Part of my stock in trade is the claim that I am ready and willing to be anywhere in the world within 2 days if required.

What is the next big thing in private wealth management? Managing China’s huge and growing private wealth.

Citywealth Offshore Awards 2012 – 25th January 2012
Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2012 coming up for their seventh year – 10th May 2012.
Citywealth Leaders List 2011 – the annual printed guide to the leading advisors in private wealth management –
Citywealth – Women in Wealth – a club for senior women in the wealth industry
Citywealth Shanghai Delhi Club – for UHNW clients active in the Asian markets
Citywealth – YP – a club for today’s new leaders
Citywealth Tomorrow Club – for the industry leaders of the future
Citywealth – website featuring global, archived news, features and profiles from October 2005 –
Citywealth PR – introductions, publicity and features through Citywealth outlets and contacts

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