One size does not fit all

Date: 24 Jun 2015

Bumblebee Design

James Howe, director and head of private client at Hawksford, says clients are increasingly comparing multiple jurisdictions and take time to review tax and legal options.

Tell us about some interesting cases of succession planning you have been dealing with recently?

We have recently set up two private trust company structures for clients. What is interesting is how similar the motivation was in both cases and yet how different they were in some ways.

In the first case, a family held international assets via a local company, and they wanted to segment their local and international assets.  They were also looking to separate the family personal assets from the family trading assets. 

The family wanted to thoroughly compare numerous jurisdictions and options for structures.

The second case involved a HNWI with an existing trust structure.  The client was concerned that with the rapid turnover staff at the office of the current trustee, that his information was no longer confidential, and that due to his status, both he and his family were likely to be targets of the relationship managers who had moved onto new firms. 

In both cases, Jersey was a jurisdiction of choice.

What lessons we can learn from them?

One size does not fit all. To really give clients the best possible service and build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, and to be of benefit to the client for the long-term, it is important to understand their rationale and philosophy fully, and their criteria for making a decision. Clients are increasingly comparing multiple jurisdictions and will take time to review tax and legal options, so it is more important than ever that we, as professionals, are on top of the international changes in regulation.

What are the particularities of succession planning in Jersey?

With regards to our Jersey proposition, Jersey private trust companies and Jersey foundations continue to have an excellent reputation for acting as succession planning vehicles.

Ever more so, the stability and reputation of Jersey means that clients are appreciating the benefits of consolidating jurisdictional reach into one, and replicating it through the wider structure.  This means they are only responsible to one competent jurisdiction’s financial services authority and legal system.

What trends are you seeing in succession planning you can tell us about?

Succession planning is being increasingly prioritised by clients for the purpose of protecting their private and business wealth. Tax is less important that it used to be, and clients are using a much wider set of criteria for their decision-making.  For example, clients are looking for security, political stability and a fair legal system.