GLOBAL BUSINESS: A VIEW FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
• family wealth • fintech • esports • real estate • crowdfunding
Culture club How to build, manage and measure culture in your business
ISSUE 69 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020
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Lessons learned “THERE IS NO education like adversity.” Though spoken more than 100 years ago, these words – delivered by two-time British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli – will likely resonate with many of today’s business leaders, as they emerge from the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic. At the height of the crisis, organisations faced extreme adversity: in the form of disruption to their business models, loss of physical workplaces and market crashes of levels not seen in decades. Now, however, they are absorbing the learnings of the crisis, to understand the impact on their businesses and markets, and so they can stride forward. As such, in this issue we explore the outlook for a variety of sectors – assessing the learnings they can take from the past six months, asking how well positioned they are to recover from the disruption they have experienced, and looking at the opportunities available to them in the so-called new normal. We begin by looking at the wealth sector, where a key message emerging from the pandemic is a need for service providers to reconnect with their clients. As our feature on page 24 explains, lockdown thrust many wealthy families together for a prolonged period of time. With the future uncertain and thoughts of mortality at the front of many people’s minds, many took the opportunity to discuss the future. This, combined with the $15trn predicted to be handed down to the Millennial generation by 2030 – a generation increasingly focused on ‘purpose’ and ‘greater good’ – means the private client sector must reconnect with its clients if it is to service their new and changing needs. “There is a sense that recent events have opened up not just immediate opportunities for the private client sector in the Channel Islands, but some new challenges that practitioners would be wise to address without delay to bring greater value to their clients and their own organisations,” our article explains.
REAL ESTATE ISSUES Another sector with lessons to learn and new trends to grasp is the real-estate sector (page 36). On the face of it, property markets could well be hit hard. Companies are deciding they no longer need as much office space, employees are lobbying to move to permanent homeworking, lending rates are falling and people rethinking
their lifestyles – there’s plenty to worry about for those in the corporate and residential markets. However, things may not be quite so straightforward. Sales of distressed assets could also mean keen pricing for those who have cash. Meanwhile, those with a foot in logistics real estate, such as warehousing and storage, could also benefit: retail sales have continued their shift from the high street to online, and that means delivery and fulfilment have become even more important. In addition, of course, real estate investment tends to be, generally, a longer-term asset – investors will look beyond the immediate shocks and short-term analysis that comes with the equities markets, giving further cause for optimism. Other sectors are benefiting more directly form the lockdown period. The esports industry, for example, has for some time been touted as one of the next big investment opportunities – as the professional gaming circuit grows in popularity (page 49). During lockdown, esports businesses have seized an opportunity to provide live sports when others have been hampered. One channel ran virtual Formula One races with real F1 drivers, attracting huge audiences. The big question for the sector now will be whether it can also attract the big investors. Many believe it can – with PwC estimating the industry will be worth $2bn by 2023. Finally, we also explore how fintech is helping support the opportunities and demands of the new world (page 20). It is often also said that, in times of adversity, we find out who we really are. Our feature finds that what the fintech companies and the traditional financial services players are realising is that they are partners who can support one another in taking advantage of new opportunities, rather than the threat they once saw each other as. The world has changed a lot in six months. But it’s clear there is already a big appetite to learn from the experience and adapt to the demands of the new world. Enjoy the issue. n
Organisations are absorbing the learnings of the crisis so they can stride forward
Jon Watkins is Editor-in-Chief of Businesslife
August/September 2020 3
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49 6 News
20 fintech to the fore
The latest Channel Islands business news
How fintech’s ability to help traditional banks meet today’s challenges may finally see it fulfil its potential
8 Appointments Recent people moves across Jersey and Guernsey
Changing attitudes to wealth – fuelled by the lockdown period – mean service providers in the wealth space need to reconnect with clients
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jon Watkins ART DIRECTOR Angela Lyons SUB EDITOR Kate Wheal ADVERTISING firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS AND EDITORIAL email@example.com GENERAL ENQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org
24 wake-up call
30 purpose drive 14 Interview Farah Ballands, Group CEO of Ocorian, on the business’s continued expansion, opportunities in the trust sector postCovid, and helping more women reach the top
Why wealth holders are increasingly searching for meaning and purpose
36 real estate The ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic on the real-estate market aren’t quite as
straightforward as they seem. So who are the winners and losers?
42 Crowdfunding Equity crowdfunding has made becoming a beneficial shareholder easier than ever. But is it a worthwhile alternative investment?
10 comment Amid the many negatives of the pandemic, a positive spotlight has been cast on ESG investing
46 culture club Every business says it wants the right culture. But what is it? And how do you measure it?
49 game changer?
Having attracted bigger audiences than ever during the lockdown period, esports businesses are now looking to attract more investors
How to recruit remotely, attitudes to vaccines, the rise of mobile payments solutions, plus much more
contributors The BL Global Discussion Forum
Follow us @blglobalnews Office: Meadowlands, La Rue a la Dame, St Saviour, Jersey JE2 7NQ © Chameleon Group Limited, all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Chameleon Group. While every effort is made to achieve total accuracy, Chameleon Group cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions.
With businesses no longer needing the same levels of office space and many businesses folding, you’d think the real estate sector would be in turmoil. But, as Alex finds, it’s not quite as simple as that.
James explores how the fintech sector and traditional financial services firms are waking up to the fact that they can work together to meet the challenges of the new world – and drive combined success.
Another sector facing change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is the wealth sector and, as Sophie finds out, the changing wealth demographic is fuelling a search for ‘purpose’ among wealth holders.
Meanwhile, Imogen asks whether the recent turbulence has had an impact on people’s desires to invest in businesses through crowdfunding. The answers make for interesting reading.
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020 5
in the NEWS JERSEY UPDATES ECONOMIC FORECAST Jersey’s Fiscal Policy Panel (FPP) has published an updated forecast for Jersey’s economy. It foresees a steep contraction in the economy this year, in common with many other jurisdictions, as a result of the global disruption caused by coronavirus. The forecast is for a slightly sharper contraction this year, due to the weaker outlook for profits in the banking sector following the cut in interest rates. The key points include: • Gross value added falling by 7.5% this year, then a gradual, partial recovery • A fall in employment, particularly in hospitality and retail • A sharp fall in profits in the banking sector, retail and hospitality • Inflation increasing, but remaining subdued this year and next. The FPP acknowledges Jersey’s success in controlling the spread of the virus and implementing measures to support the economy, which has reduced the long-term damage to the economy. But the Panel expects the economy to be smaller in the long run as a result of the pandemic. As a result, the Panel anticipates that public finances will be in deficit this year and that the pandemic is likely to lead to a permanent imbalance of revenues and spending – a structural deficit. It does not recommend the quick introduction of large cuts in expenditure or of new revenue streams as this could jeopardise the economic recovery. The government should aim to close the deficit by 2024, it said, while remaining open to revising the
pace in response to economic conditions. The Minister for Treasury and Resources, Deputy Susie Pinel (pictured), commented: “The updated forecast comes as we define spending plans for the next four years. The performance of the economy will inevitably have an impact on our public finances. However, we entered this crisis in a strong position with significant reserves and a strong balance sheet, as reaffirmed by Standard and Poor’s credit rating in July.” GFSC CONSULTS ON FEES The Guernsey Financial Services Commission has launched a consultation, until 15 September, on proposals to increase the licence fees paid by firms. It proposes an increase of 2.1% across all sectors, based on Guernsey’s RPI, and a new £500 fee for fast-track applications. According to the GFSC, it has not raised its fees for the past two years and has absorbed its increased costs during that time from reserves. This was not sustainable, given the increasing expectations placed on small country regulators. Fast-track applications required the same level of regulatory scrutiny to which all applications are submitted but over a much shorter timeframe, the GFSC said. Those who wished to have their applications fast-tracked should be prepared to pay an additional fee in recognition of the special treatment they received at the expense of all other applications.
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Done Deals Ocorian has assisted Australasian private markets fund manager Pacific Equity Partners in the closing of its 6th Core Fund (Fund VI), with A$2.5bn of commitments. Ocorian assisted with the establishment, launch and closings of Fund VI and will continue to provide administrative, depositary and governance services in Jersey and the Cayman Islands. Walkers has represented Chrystal Capital Partners in relation to the registration of Guernsey’s first healthcare cannabinoid investment fund, Verdite Capital Fund I, by the Guernsey Financial Services Commissions. The Walkers team included Partner Kate Storey, Senior Counsel Stephen Ozanne and Associate Adam Pickering. The fund will focus on investments in businesses across the legal cannabinoid market worldwide. Appleby has acted in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man on behalf of FRP Trading, the joint administrator for UK fashion retailers Monsoon and Accessorize. The Appleby insolvency and restructuring teams in Jersey and Guernsey have obtained orders of recognition for FRP’s appointment. Partner Jared Dann, supported by Senior Associate Gemma Whale, delivered Jersey legal advice. Partner Anthony Williams, assisted by Senior Associate Andrew Murphy, provided Guernsey legal advice. Saffery Champness Fund Services has advised True North Real Estate Partners (TNREP) on the launch of its first fund, the Forestry Carbon Sequestration Fund. Saffery Champness will also provide administrative and accountancy services to this Guernsey closedended Private Investment Fund through its Guernsey office, led by Saffery Champness Fund Services MD Ian Powell. Carey Olsen acted as lead counsel to TNREP. Bedell Cristin has advised Munich Re on a £1bn longevity swap arrangement with the Willis Pension Scheme, in a longevity hedging deal that covers some 3,500 pension scheme members. The longevity risk was transferred to reinsurer Munich Re using a Guernsey-based captive insurer fully owned by the trustee of the pension scheme, established under Willis Towers Watson Guernsey ICC, the broker’s incorporated cell company structure. The Bedell Cristin team was led by Partner Richard Sharp, who worked alongside Sidley Austin. Collas Crill has acted for Guernsey airline Blue Islands on its £10m loan facility with the States of Jersey, which aims to safeguard the Channel Islands’ air connectivity with UK regional airports and European hubs. Collas Crill also advised on a security package consisting of Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney security as part of the transaction. The Collas Crill team was led by Jersey Partner Matthew Gilley and Guernsey Partner Wayne Atkinson, assisted by Of Counsel Christine Fox and Associate Ben Le Page. n
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MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS Equiom has acquired HF Fund Services, which provides non-executive independent directors to alternative investment funds and investment management companies. Founded in 2007 by Sean Flynn and Patrick Harrigan, the business operates from the Cayman Islands and Ireland, and intends to fully integrate with Equiom in the coming months. Equiom has also acquired Netherlands-based Borean Corporate & Financial Services, which works with private equity firms to provide directorships and technical accounting and support to ensure clients comply with regulations. Its entire team will join Equiom but continue to operate from its offices in Amsterdam. Borean founders Rob and Sander Harmzen will continue as joint Managing Directors leading Equiom’s business in the Netherlands. Global wealth management group Blacktower and Guernsey-based investment management firm Nova Wealth have launched a joint venture discretionary fund management service. Nexus Portfolio Management, founded by Blacktower MD John Westwood and Nova Wealth MD Ross Preston, is incorporated in Guernsey. It will use Nova Wealth’s investment management and custody platform. Following receipt of regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Zedra has completed its acquisition of BNP Paribas Singapore Trust Corporation, announced in January. BNP Paribas Singapore Trust Corporation, which will be renamed Zedra Trustees (Singapore), serves the Asian ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth markets, with clients typically families and entrepreneurs. JTC has completed the acquisition of Sanne’s private client business, announced in March. The acquisition expands JTC’s presence in Jersey, with Sanne’s clients and staff from the private client services business transferring to JTC. Ravenscroft Holdings is to acquire WHIreland (IOM), the Isle of Man subsidiary of UK financial services business WHIreland, subject to approval from the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. WHIreland (IOM) provides investment management services to a largely institutional international client base, with assets under management of more than £300m. Its six employees will all join Ravenscroft. The Isle of Man business will be known as Ravenscroft (IOM). n
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GARRY LYONS RIP Garry Lyons, a former Art Director at Businesslife, passed away on Saturday 19 July after a short illness – he was 60 years old. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Garry worked as a designer and art director across business, finance and retail, for clients including Barclays, Nasdaq, EVA Airlines, the Chartered Management Institute and Wetherspoons. Titles included Real Deals, IP Review and New Scientist. In May 2009, Garry took on the role of Art Director on issue three of what was then businesslife.je. He worked on the magazine until October 2011, a total of 15 issues, and saw the title expand across the Channel Islands. Nick Kirby, former Businesslife Editor-in-Chief, said: “I worked with Garry for 20 years on and off, and it was great to be able to bring him on board in the early days of the magazine. It was his skill and vision that established the design-led ethos that can be seen in the magazine to this very day.” Carl Methven, Co-founder of Businesslife, said: “Garry made a huge difference
to the look and feel of the magazine at a time when we were still establishing ourselves in the Channel Islands. As we approach our 70th edition, some of Garry’s covers are still among my favourites. I’ll always be grateful for his contribution to our success.” LP MIGRATION CHANGES Guernsey has introduced regulations that will allow the migration of limited partnerships into the island. The move follows Guernsey’s adoption in June of a fast-track regime for the migration of investment funds and managers, and the new regulations are similarly structured. The Limited Partnerships (Migration) Regulations 2020 will allow limited partnerships – commonly company structures, private equity vehicles or collective investment funds – seeking the security of a jurisdiction such as Guernsey to move quickly and easily. The island’s limited partnerships law was introduced 25 years ago and has proved a popular, flexible, limited liability vehicle for the Guernsey financial services industry. “Companies and fund managers today are looking to jurisdictions that have met new global standards on economic substance,” said Rupert Pleasant, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance. “Guernsey has always had genuine substance in financial services. Our whitelisted position sets us apart from other jurisdictions that have not met these criteria, and we will continue to build on this position of strength.” n
august/september 2020 7
Appointments Guernsey-based Avenue Trust Company (ATC) has appointed Sian Staples as its Managing Director. Sian has served as ATC’s Client Services Director for the past year, during which time she has also joined the board of ATC’s lead licence holder, Lince Salisbury. Earlier in her career she spent four years with Moore Stephens and two with Richmond Fiduciary Group. She has also served as Secretary of the Guernsey Association of Trustees. In her new role, working alongside ATC Director and owner Matthew Godfrey, Sian will take responsibility for the ongoing operation and management of the business.
The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment has appointed Christopher Jehan as President of its Guernsey branch committee. Christopher brings to the position more than 25 years’ experience in financial services. His career began at the Bank of Bermuda, prior to moving to Guinness Flight (later Investec Asset Management and now Ninety One) in 1994. In 2016, he founded Midshore Consulting. He has recently started his second year as Chair of the Guernsey Investment & Funds Association and is also a Council Member of the Guernsey International Business Association.
Evelyn Brady (pictured) has taken over the role of Managing Partner of PwC’s Guernsey office from John Roche, who has held the position for the past six years. Evelyn will continue to help lead and shape PwC’s strategic direction, as she has since her admission to the partnership in 2009. She commenced her career with PwC Channel Islands in 1993. In addition to her Audit Partner role, under which she focuses on London-listed clients in the UK’s South East, Evelyn will now be the main point of contact for PwC in Guernsey. She will also lead all the teams based in the Guernsey office.
Jersey-based Altair Partners has appointed Mike Farley as its Client Director. Mike joins from Zedra Fiduciary Investment Services, where he has held the position of Managing Director for the past four years, overseeing financial assets across Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. He started his career as a discretionary manager, with responsibility for the offshore fund selection of Barclays Wealth, before moving into the fiduciary sector to lead investment oversight and monitoring for Barclays Global Trust division. Following the sale to Zedra, he evolved his team into a regulated fiduciary investment services business.
Rhona Humphreys has been elected as the new Chair of the Guernsey Association of Trustees (GAT), the representative body for fiduciary licence holders in the bailiwick of Guernsey. Rhona brings with her 25 years’ experience in the Guernsey fiduciary sector. Holding the dual role of Operations Director and Compliance Director at Imperium Trust Company, she joined the committee of GAT in 2010 and has previously served as both Deputy Chair and Secretary. Rhona has taken over as Chair from Paul Hodgson, who is Deputy Group Head of Trust at Butterfield Group.
The International Stock Exchange has announced that Charlie Geffen (pictured), Chairman of The International Stock Exchange Authority (TISEA), will succeed Jon Moulton as Chairman of The International Stock Exchange Group in January. Charlie has been TISEA’s Chairman since January and will remain in that role until the end of 2020. He previously worked at law firm Ashurst for 32 years, the past five as the firm’s senior Partner. More recently, he has been with US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Cutcher as Chair of the Corporate Practice in London.
12 march/april 2017
Santander International has appointed Richard Settle as its Chief Risk Officer, based in Jersey. Richard, who joins from Euroclear UK and Ireland, will oversee operational and credit risk, compliance and financial crime compliance for the Jersey and Isle of Man branches. With over 25 years’ experience in credit and operational risk, Richard has held senior roles with Deutsche Bank, Citi, UBS and Credit Suisse. As well as acting as the Money Laundering Reporting Officer for Santander, Richard will serve as an Executive Director on the Santander Financial Services board and be a member of its Executive Committee.
Jersey fiduciary and fund services provider Highvern has promoted Julie Gallon to Associate Director within its Funds team. Julie joined Highvern in 2018 with 15 years’ experience in the sector. She previously held management roles at Elian and Intertrust and prior to that more than 11 years with Aztec Group. Having administered a variety of funds across private equity, venture capital and fund of funds during her career, Julie will now lead a team responsible for administering a portfolio of private capital structures. Emma Syvret has also joined the firm as a Manager for a portfolio of private equity and venture capital clients.
The Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA) has appointed Stephanie Liston as its Chair. Stephanie has worked in the US, the UK and British Virgin Islands, providing strategic, legal and regulatory advice in relation to projects and transactions across multiple jurisdictions and sectors. She currently serves as Senior Counsel to Mishcon de Reya; CEO of management consultancy Sequoia Way; Senior Adviser to Frontier Economics; Associate Director of Innovation Advisors; and Founder and Director of Women in Telecoms and Technology. She has also held key roles with BT and Ofcom.
The Guernsey Chamber of Commerce has elected Elaine Gray (pictured) as President, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the organisation’s 212-year history. Elaine replaces Barrie Baxter, who had held the position since 2018. A Partner at Carey Olsen, Elaine leads the firm’s Guernsey dispute resolution and litigation team. She has served as Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce for the past year. The Chamber’s new-look executive also includes Treasurer Graham Rabey (Head of Finance at BWCI) and Industry Heads Representative Rupert Dorey (Director at Cinven).
IQ-EQ has named Paul Rogers as a Client Services Director in its Private Wealth team in Guernsey. Paul will manage a mixed portfolio of international high- and ultrahigh-net-worth clients while driving business development in the jurisdiction. Paul brings to the firm 35 years’ experience in financial services, spanning the banking and fiduciary sectors. For the past four years, he has served as Deputy CEO and Head of Trust Administration within the Guernsey arm of Standard Chartered Trust. Prior to this, he spent 19 years as an Associate Director with RBC Trustees (Guernsey).
Ogier has promoted Bryan de VerneuilSmith (pictured) and Paul Chanter to Partners in its Guernsey team. Now the third Partner in the Guernsey Dispute Resolution team, Bryan joined in January 2019 as Managing Associate, having worked for Babbé. His practice includes trusts, insolvency, investment fund disputes and property disputes. Paul, who has been with the firm for six years, becomes a Partner in Ogier’s Guernsey Banking and Finance team, having served as Managing Associate for the past three years. He advises a broad range of clients on complex finance-related work.
www.blglobal.co.uk march/april 2017 13
ESG bucks the trend
CO M M E N T
DAVID STORM Head of Multi-Asset Portfolio Strategy, RBC Wealth Management International
Amid the many negatives of the pandemic, a positive spotlight has been cast on ESG investing
hile most asset prices took a beating during the initial phase of Covid-19, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments did better than most. The pandemic has not only caused a global health crisis, but also sent financial markets into a maelstrom in early 2020. While the outbreak is undoubtedly a tragedy of epic proportions, it has also highlighted the importance of maintaining investment exposure to companies that pursue sustainable goals for ESG factors. The ESG investment theme isn’t new. Even before the virus crisis hit, sustainable investing was becoming a hot topic with investors across the board. It has been in the RBC ethos for a long time and our central mantra has always been to help our clients thrive and communities prosper. A focus on sustainability is central to this. Recent experience also shows that stocks with stronger ESG characteristics are more resilient during bear markets. While almost all asset prices experienced sharp downfalls during the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic, ESG investments in February and March did better than most, according to recent analysis by Morningstar. Furthermore, between mid-February and mid-March, 66% of ESG funds ranked in the top half of their categories.
INFLUENTIAL YOUNGER GENERATION
Even during the crisis, clients wanted to talk about ESG investing. One client was interested in ensuring their entire portfolio had an ESG stance. They were doing this at the insistence of their young daughter, who had asked them what they were doing to save the planet. The focus of the younger generation on sustainability is a common topic in client conversations. According to research from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 76%
10 August/September 2020
of younger* generations in the UK say it’s increasingly important to consider ESG factors when investing, compared with 37% of older* generations. In addition to discussing portfolio management, these discussions also allow wealthy individuals and their families to talk about how they can address their non-financial goals, such as fighting climate change or supporting social agendas.
ESG INVESTING TENDS TO OUTPERFORM
While investing in companies with sustainable business practices is worthy on its own, there’s a long-held misconception that doing so comes at a price of lower investment returns. That would seem to have put the daughter’s goal at odds with the parents’ in the example cited earlier. The client had previously put off making ESG investments because they believed the performance of their portfolio would suffer. But in truth, the opposite is the case. Portfolio managers that embrace sustainable investment factors have significantly outperformed their peers. Companies that strive to adhere to ESG principles tend to score highly on other metrics as well. Lots of portfolios that have high ESG scores perform strongly financially. Invariably, the companies that do well on ESG measures are of a better quality.
SUSTAINABILITY CHEAPER FOR LONG-TERM INVESTING GOALS
Until the pandemic hit, the superior financial results from companies with good ESG ratings attracted huge investor interest, pushing up stock prices and making the shares expensive. However, the recent market pull-back in most asset prices has made ESG stocks better value for long-term investors such as those around health, clean energy, water, waste and food. Indeed, across the 10-year investment horizon, they’re relatively cheap now, so this could be a perfect moment to add some quality ESG companies to a portfolio. While some investment fads come and go, the trends driving the need for sustainable business practices are here for the long term. Embracing investments in these forthcoming trends is a way of readying a portfolio for the coming changes in the global economy. Obvious long-term themes include the move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but there is also the increased use of artificial intelligence and new technology to help care for both an ageing population and the environment. Investors can benefit from these trends and use them to future-proof a portfolio. n * ‘Younger’ is defined as Generation X or the
Millennial generation, born between 1965 and 2000. ‘Older’ is defined as Baby Boomers or those in the Silent Generation, born in 1964 or earlier.
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August/September 2020 11
BL BY NUMBERS
“ESG stocks are more resilient during bear markets. While almost all asset prices experienced sharp downfalls during the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic, ESG investments in February and March did better than most…”
$15TRN will be handed down to the next generation by 2030, creating a sweet spot for the private client sector – but is the sector ready for it?
ESTIMATED VALUE OF THE ESPORTS INDUSTRY BY 2023 PAGE 49
“[Esports] is supported by a huge base of hundreds of millions of spectators and amateur participants.” Ed Cave, Relationship Manager at HSBC Private Banking, on the rise of esports
“During the global pandemic, the number of [crowdfunding] deals closed dropped by 15% in Q2 compared with the previous five quarters. But the number of investors actually went up – by almost 10,000 since Q4 2019.”
CROWDFUNDING PAGE 42
David Storm, Head of Multi-Asset Portfolio Strategy, RBC Wealth Management International
“Ten years ago, words like ‘happy people’ and ‘kind leadership’ were signs of weakness in business. Fast forward to 2020 and the effect of Covid-19 has thrust corporate culture into the spotlight, creating an unprecedented need for a compassionate, people-focused approach to management.”
“COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INVESTMENT IS WHERE THE GREATEST PAIN IS BEING FELT. IN MARCH, SOME 50% OF RENTS WERE NOT PAID BY THE RENT PAYMENT DATE.”
BUILDING CULTURE PAGE 46
88% $4.9BN of surveyed Channel Islands business leaders believe fintech innovations are an opportunity for their business.
of capital was raised by UK fintechs last year, up on the $3.6bn of the previous year.
12 August/September 2020
“I think it’s no surprise in our sector that consolidation is a real trend right now – and that it will continue to be…” Farah Ballands, Group CEO, Ocorian, on future trends in the funds space
“At the height of the lockdown, an unnamed Russian billionaire paid £15.45m for a fivebedroom townhouse overlooking London’s St James’s Park. The impact of the pandemic on the real-estate sector might not be quite as straightforward as many think.”
The Funds Issue 2020 Publishing in october FOR EDITORIAL QUERIES, CONTACT email@example.com FOR ADVERTISING, EMAIL CARL.METHVEN@BLGLOBAL.CO.UK
As a lawyer plying her trade with some of the Channel Islands’ best-known law firms, the ‘bright lights and excitement of running businesses’ lured Farah Ballands into the trust sector. Now, Ocorian’s acquisition of Estera has seen her become Group CEO of one of the biggest players in the market. She tells us about her plans for the business, expectations for the sector, and helping more women reach the top Words: Jon Watkins Pictures: John Liot
How did your career in law take you into the trust sector? I had actually joined what we now know as Appleby as a Partner in 2003 – when it was still Bailhache Labesse – and was pretty quickly asked to lead its trust company. Although I was a lawyer by profession, my interest in that area had been stirred when I was at Mourant. I had seen the trust side of the business in action and it was like a light went on for me. I found it fascinating. I thought: ‘I just get this and it excites me’. I loved being a lawyer and the work was obviously interesting. But it isn’t as satisfying for me as running a business. I love the engagement you get with lots of different people when running a business. I love juggling lots of different issues and spinning different plates. And what was the progression that led you to become the CEO of Ocorian? When Bailhache Labesse was looked at as a potential merger partner for Appleby, one of the things that was of interest to Appleby was the overall business and the success we had seen with the trust company. Appleby didn’t have a presence
14 August/September 2020
in Jersey at the time – so it was a sensible move on that front too. And, as a result of all those things, when the merger took place in 2006, I was asked to lead all of Appleby’s non-legal parts, becoming Global Head of Fiduciary, which was a pretty big business. In 2015, we decided to sell the trust company – so I led the management buyout of that part of the business, which was backed by Bridgepoint and became Estera. That saw the creation of a separate, standalone and independent business – which was really exciting for me as someone from a traditional legal background.
If Ocorian hadn’t wanted to buy us, we would have wanted to buy them. That’s how compatible the businesses are
Then, last year, we were acquired by Ocorian and, as part of that transaction, I was asked to lead the combined business – meaning that I now find myself as CEO of the much bigger business, which is backed by Inflexion Private Equity. How did the acquisition come about and, as someone who was a part of the acquired business and is now the head of the merged entity, why was it the right deal? What’s really interesting is that if Ocorian hadn’t wanted to buy us, we would have wanted to buy them. That’s how compatible the businesses are. Both businesses had very similar beginnings in law firms. Both firms were also rooted in that technical space, focused on client service delivery, long-standing client relationships and long-standing employee relationships. And we were both working through ambitious growth plans. So it was an incredibly good fit. I would say that legacy Estera probably had a broader and more diverse footprint, because it had been a global practice group previously. But then legacy Ocorian had also achieved greater international reach through its more recent acquisition activity. So, in many ways, we were made for each other. Of course, there are plenty of things to iron out from any acquisition – the need to integrate processes and systems; and the need to iron out overlaps. But being so similar in our approaches is making that easier. We are dealing with like-minded people and, while we may have been at slightly different points in our journeys, that helps make the integration easier.
Tell us about your early life and what brought you to the Channel Islands? I was born in Hertfordshire in England – but we moved to Jersey when I was just two. My father was a consultant psychiatrist in Jersey, so I’ve lived here practically my entire life. Having studied law at university, I became an English barrister and I am a Jersey lawyer by background, a role that eventually took me to Appleby.
interview Farah Ballands www.blglobal.co.uk
August/September 2020 15
FACT FILE Name: Farah Ballands Position: Group Chief Executive Officer, Ocorian Home: Jersey Studied: Exeter Family: Married, with two children Hobbies: “I’m not one of these people who simply can’t switch off from work, but my work and family life keep me busy enough that I don’t really have any major hobbies!”
How did going through the buy-out of Estera from Appleby influence your handling of the acquisition of Estera by Ocorian – and the work you’re doing now to establish the new organisation? From a personal point of view, it certainly gave me much more awareness of what to expect, having been through the process before – albeit in the form of a buy-out rather than being acquired. As somebody from a legal and financial background, I have of course always had some insight into what to expect and into the various stages of the process. But it’s very different when you’re in it and living it. It’s fairly scary the first-time round, if I’m honest. You have to do lots of things outside of your comfort zone or your usual repertoire. And it’s very different to being a leader in a law firm – in a sector that has traditionally been very linear.
16 August/September 2020
If you embark on a career in law, it’s a very clear trajectory – you start off as a lawyer, you make it to partner and, at some point, you retire. Our trajectory has taken me off that path, which brings with it plenty of challenges. I enjoy lots of that – but I am also a naturally introverted person, so some of the challenges the M&A process throws up can be pretty daunting. So, having been through the process previously put me in good stead for this time around. How has the acquisition of Estera changed Ocorian’s business proposition? The obvious thing it brings for us at this point is scale. The platform we now have delivers real credibility and justification to our aspirations. We’re now 1,200 people across 16 locations; we have assets under administration of more than £260bn; and we’re now well inside the top 10 in terms of revenue, if not the top five or six. We are now one of the players of scale in our sector. The really exciting thing for us – and
therefore for our clients and our people – is that, in coming together, we can better deliver on our commitment to putting our clients first. And we don’t expect to stop there. We still have sizeable ambitions. We want to double in size again in the next three to four years, which will take our revenues up enormously again, and we’re unapologetic about that. For me, it’s really simple. Our scale will help us attract the best people, and allow us to develop them to be even better and even more focused on delivering for clients – and in turn, that will help us deliver on our commitment to putting our clients first. How do you plan to instigate that growth and how quickly do you see it taking place? It stands to reason that if we want to achieve that level of growth over the next three to four years, we will need to acquire further businesses. In the timeframe we have to play with, it certainly won’t be possible to deliver all
that growth purely organically. We will need to look at further acquisitions if we are to achieve the growth we want so quickly. Both the legacy sides of our business are seasoned and considered acquirers. There are businesses out there that would definitely welcome being part of a platform like ours – with the sorts of aspirations and values we have. We’re good people, we want the best for our people and our clients, and I think we’re a good home for businesses in our sector. What are your three biggest immediate tasks or objectives as CEO? Clearly, growth is at the forefront of what we want to achieve, because we want our business to be evolving and doing more high-quality work for the best clients. So the growth piece drives everything – and I am clearly focused on that. The second area of focus right now is the integration piece. We have come together as two separate businesses and we want to look at our systems, our overlaps and our processes, so we can take the best of those and use them for more effectively servicing our clients. And the third area is setting the roadmap for where we go next in a geographical sense and the territories we might want to explore. The US is highly attractive, we just have to think about how we enter. We’re also a bit underweight in Asia compared with some of our peers, so we are looking at that and moving ahead as well. And we will explore other areas to enter too. How do the Channel Islands fit into this expansion into other jurisdictions? I’m hugely biased, of course, having been brought up in Jersey. But even those who were not brought up here couldn’t fail to recognise that it offers a really high-quality experience for clients. As a jurisdiction, it has been regulated for a long time. It is very evolved and sophisticated and, in comparison with some of the more recently regulated jurisdictions, it has greater maturity in relation to the tax system, the legal system and the regulatory framework. That is very confidence-inspiring. Jersey has a reputation for excellence in a number of areas, including in the fund space and the private client space, and it is very well regarded generally. And I don’t see that tailing off.
I was given the chances others had and I took them, even though I didn’t always think I was capable. We have to make sure that happens for everyone – regardless of race and gender
What trends and developments do you think we will see across the fund, corporate, capital market and private client services space going forward? Are the transactions you have undertaken representative of the wider sector – and do you think we’ll see more of that type of activity? I think it’s no surprise in our sector that consolidation is a real trend right now – and that it will continue to be. Another thing we can be sure we will continue to see is the increased use of tech to enhance the client experience. Digitisation for efficiency will continue to be an area of focus for the sector. We have a number of Lean project specialists to ensure we can improve and enhance processes and the client experience – and that will be a focus for the sector as a whole. What we probably should expect to see is a difference in the way we work. As businesses like ours inevitably become more global, I think we will increasingly see them using their centres of excellence as their base, with expansions into hubs elsewhere. The sector hasn’t really gone down that route yet – but we have seen
others doing it and it’s the route the big banks have taken in the past, so I think we may well see more of that. Of course, the challenge that Covid-19 threw up was huge for everyone in the sector too. The remote working aspect was challenging for us, coming as it did at a time when we were bringing two business together and introducing people to work together who had never met. But we did it – and it showed we can work well remotely. Do I expect we may see more remote and flexible working across the sector as a result? Given that people have proved they can work in a mature, dedicated and professional way from home, I do think that’s something we will see more of. As a high-profile female leader in a traditionally male-dominated market (especially at board level), I understand you’re passionate about helping to redress the balance and encouraging gender equality. Can you share some thoughts on that – and your own approach? The thing for me is to focus on the excellence of individuals. As business leaders, whether male or female, we have an obligation to bring people on through the business – to help them develop and evolve, and to help them be the best they can be. I would say we do that really well in our organisation and I would hope more and more organisations are doing the same. What I think is really important is ensuring everyone has the same opportunity to do that. Whatever your gender or race, we must work hard to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to fill a role, to develop into the career they want, and to climb up organisations. I was very fortunate in that I was given that opportunity. I was pushed when I didn’t always believe I could do something. I was encouraged when others were more vocal than me or perhaps more high profile. I was given the chances that others had and I took them, even though I didn’t always think I was capable. We have to make sure that happens for everyone – regardless of race and gender. That’s what I am passionate about – and I hope to encourage other organisations to do that also. In terms of our business, we have an above-average proportion of female leaders. Women make up a really important part of our business and we need to make sure they continue to get opportunities. n
August/September 2020 17
Where next for investors? Michael Bull, Executive Director at Quilter Cheviot Investment Management, attempts to throw some light on a highly uncertain future for the marketplace post-coronavirus
WE MAY ALL be suffering from ‘Covid fatigue’ but the pandemic will remain critical for investors well into 2021. Attempting to resume economic activity while suppressing the virus will be the main concern for governments until a vaccine arrives. Complicating this dance between Covid-19 and humanity will be the gradual unwinding of emergency economic support from the government. There are plenty of other events for investors to focus on, however. The 2020 US presidential election is almost upon us and could have significant implications, particularly if the Democrats prove willing and able to implement a radical policy agenda. If the Democrats win control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate – a definite possibility – we will see a much less business-friendly administration, even if some executives would welcome a less erratic presidency. There will also be plenty of attention on the nascent recovery. Following the
end of lockdown measures, we saw a sharp rebound in economic activity, which appears to have stalled in recent weeks, particularly in the US, where we have seen a resurgence in coronavirus cases. For the meantime, much depends on how successful efforts to combat the virus are.
THE OUTLOOK FOR COVID-19 While Covid-19 appears to be under control in much of the world, including most of Europe and the Asia Pacific region, the pandemic continues to be a major problem globally. The total number of confirmed cases is still rising, most notably in the US, although there are some signs of stabilisation in states such as Arizona. America may be better at identifying cases due to more widespread testing than countries such as India, Brazil or Mexico but – to President Trump’s consternation – its high positive test rate suggests the virus remains widespread. The mishandling of the virus appears
Complicating this dance between Covid-19 and humanity will be the gradual unwinding of emergency economic support 18 August/September 2020
to have stalled the economic recovery, with real-time surveys showing that the unemployment rate has stopped falling. If people do not have the confidence to resume more normal spending patterns – such as going out to eat – then this will ultimately hurt the wider economy. Some countries have had success in suppressing the virus and opening up their economies, however. This is true of much of the Asia Pacific region, while Europe has also done well. Nevertheless, the past few weeks have demonstrated how difficult it will be to keep on top of outbreaks, with Spain in particular seeing a renewed upsurge in cases. The broader message from the first half of this year is that the virus can be controlled (even with a more normal level of economic activity), but effective government leadership is critical.
A V-SHAPED RECOVERY? Economic activity has recovered strongly from the lockdown, as one might expect given that many businesses are effectively no longer banned from trading. A strong initial bounce in PMI surveys, particularly for the US and France at the beginning of June, appeared to confirm the v-shaped recovery narrative that has taken hold across markets. While there are grounds for optimism, we do not expect a v-shaped recovery, especially given that the full effects of Covid-19 are only likely to be felt in the next six to 12 months. We expect the world to largely follow
China’s recovery path, with manufacturing tending to bounce back stronger and a weaker recovery in the retail, travel and leisure sectors. This is more of a problem for developed markets, where these sectors account for a larger proportion of the economy than in China. The potential for lockdown measures to be re-imposed, even if for shorter periods of time, elevates the risks to the service sector in particular. Individual countries will face their own circumstances of course. Nowhere is this more true than in the UK, where transition arrangements for leaving the EU are due to end on 31 December. Even if – as we suspect – a deal is agreed, UK businesses will face increased regulatory costs when trading with the European mainland, and this is likely to hold back the UK’s recovery.
THE MARKET REACTION For some readers, all this may lead to a puzzling question; if we are not out of the woods yet, why are markets behaving as though we are? A large part of any answer must be the response mounted by governments and central banks, which have collectively pumped trillions into the global economy. Throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021, there will be a rolling debate about whether to provide more support – and whether certain measures are simply delaying an inevitable economic reckoning. This debate can be seen most obviously in the US at time of writing, where some Republicans argue that proposed additional
stimulus simply keeps jobs alive that will eventually be lost once support is removed. The risk for investors is that a lack of further fiscal stimulus triggers a renewed sell-off. At the very least, markets are going to have to relearn how to climb the wall of worry over the next six to 12 months, rather than being propelled up it by a rocket ship of fiscal and monetary support. Aside from the clear winners in the digital/technology space, many companies will be relieved to survive relatively intact from the pandemic. The same might be said of individual countries such as Italy, where government debt to GDP is expected to reach just under 160% of GDP by the end of 2020. It remains to be seen whether certain responses to the crisis, such as tentative steps towards greater government burden sharing between EU members, become more permanent and take on broader historical significance. All this has clear implications for investors. Companies with strong balance sheets will ultimately be able to weather the crisis more easily and may emerge stronger in some respects than before if competitors are forced under. More broadly, governments across the world will try to follow a policy of financial repression, keeping interest rates below the rate of inflation to help repay the debt. This leaves few attractive areas for investment in the bond market. Similar to much of the past 10 years, investors will likely be forced further into the stock market if they want a return. n
Companies with strong balance sheets will ultimately be able to weather the crisis more easily and may emerge stronger
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For more information, contact Michael Bull at Quilter Cheviot Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
August/September 2020 19
Fintech comes of age Long seen as the next big threat to traditional financial services businesses, fintech – along with an increasing demand for more nimble, convenient services – might now be the enabler they are all looking for Words: James Tall INVESTMENT IN FINTECH is breaking
all records. According to industry title Finextra, the sector raised $4.9bn of capital in the UK alone last year, surpassing the $3.6bn of the previous year and moving the UK to second in the global rankings for venture capital (VC) investment – after, of course, the US. Meanwhile, a local survey by EY, Fintech in the Channel Islands, showed that 88% of respondents viewed fintech innovations as an opportunity for their business. Fintech is embedding itself
20 August/September 2020
across the Channel Islands’ core sectors. Family offices want ‘always on’ digital accessibility to advisers, institutional investors are demanding up-to-the-minute reporting, and banks and other institutions are remotely onboarding clients through digital ID checks. This year will clearly be shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated economic impact. And Covid-19 has provided fintech with what many consider its first true test: a severe economic downturn. The burgeoning sector has responded impressively so far, stepping up to the plate and often outperforming incumbent financial institutions. Funding Circle, Starling Bank and several other neobanks and fintech lenders have received accreditation from the British Business Bank to take part in the UK government’s Coronavirus Business
Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). They are also performing well in administering the government’s financial aid programme. CBILS lending data earlier this summer showed that the incumbent banks had only approved 50% of applications, while Starling Bank had reported an 84% acceptance rate. The reasons for this are rooted in the fact that new entrants aren’t hindered by older legacy technology and processes. In addition, they are able to benefit from Open Banking to access customers’ realtime data and make better credit decisions.
PRODUCTS SWIFTLY BROUGHT TO LIFE Open Banking, implemented across the UK in 2018, allows banks to share customer data – with their permission – with trusted third-party providers. It has been a catalyst for progressing and accelerating fintech. “Following PSD2 [the EU’s revised Payment Services Directive] and the UK’s Open Banking Standard, a number of fintechs have built new opportunities, both within financial services and crossindustry,” says Simeon Moss, a Director in Deloitte’s Jersey office, who focuses on digital services for operations, risk and compliance. “Fintech is very focused on customer experience and has the mindset to exploit the benefits that Open Banking can bring to the end-consumer.” The growing fintech movement is
lending technology to meet CBILS demand. “But there is a genuine appetite there. We’re seeing increased interest in robotics and automation from ‘intrepreneurs’ as they seek to keep up with new entrants and customer demand. “We’re creating bots that can act as a gobetween, pushing and pulling data between APIs [application programming interfaces] and a financial institution’s legacy systems. “With one client, we’ve recently built a smart onboarding system based on one simple form and automated processes that check multiple sources, with bots conducting governance and risk checks in the background. This reduces costs and cuts out human error, while also simplifying the customer journey.” Chris Griffin, a Partner at Carey Olsen, has been at the forefront of major corporate fintech initiatives in Jersey, advising both Binance and Cryptique on the launches of their cryptocurrency exchange platforms. He sees the potential in Open Banking, but believes it’s crucial to apply it to the right cases. “One good, genuine case is leveraging Open Banking to access realtime transaction data to help lenders better assess affordability and help consumers to improve their credit rating,” he explains. “Traditional credit rating agencies lack transparency and operate in a very analogue way – you have to write a letter to state your case if you’ve lived abroad
Covid-19 has provided fintech with what many consider its first true test: a severe economic downturn
and so have a thin credit file, or if you’re a student that misses a payment. Open Banking can provide a more accurate picture of someone’s ability to repay a loan.” Griffin also highlights the downside risks of Open Banking, including data protection and cyber crime. “A consumer has a relationship with their bank, but when third parties get involved, we do need to be aware of the risk of sophisticated criminals interposing themselves into APIs.”
August/September 2020 21
also creating a more fertile ground for innovation and collaboration. According to Richard Field, Guernsey lead for Appleby’s Technology and Innovation Practice Group, it’s the collaborative nature of Open Banking that explains why things are progressing so well. “Even the bigger institutions, which have traditionally built moats around their intellectual property, know they need to open up.” One of the most significant fintech contributions to the fight against Covid-19 has been Covid Credit. Brought to life over a weekend by UK fintech firms Fronted, 11:FS and Credit Kudos, this platform helps self-employed workers prove the loss of income needed to claim new government benefits. The thinking was that if the UK government could be persuaded to provide financial support to the self-employed during the pandemic, then Open Banking technology could be used to self-certify lost income, and overcome one of the main hurdles of providing compensation. It’s not only start-ups that are making headlines for progressing fintech. “The larger institutions have embraced agile processes and technology more in the past six months than they had in the previous 10 years,” says Martin Keelagher, CEO of Agile Automations. “Covid-19 has forced their hand in many ways – for example, the need for better
THE AGILITY TO PIVOT As well as being able to roll out new products efficiently, fintech can quickly pivot and refocus its solutions as needed. International income management app Wagestream, for example, released a number of updates to ease financial difficulties during the pandemic. These include immediate overtime payments for under-pressure healthcare workers. Any shift logged as Covid-19 is eligible for enhanced payment limits, and staff who complete these shifts can access 80% of wages earned immediately upon completion of work. “Fintechs can move fast; they’re nimble, agile and tend to have the ability to refocus their solutions quickly, and as needed, to respond to market demands. In a rapidly evolving international financial services context, that’s really important,” says Karolina Pilcher, Senior Strategic Projects Manager at Jersey Finance. And as Griffin points out, the overheads are minimal. “Fintechs don’t need to rent an office,” he explains. “They just need a good idea and a good developer, and they can come up with a novel solution to a new problem.” A lot of fintech start-ups are successful because they introduce a frictionless process from the outset, adopting a flexible approach to test new ideas and then scaling them faster. “Larger businesses can take six months to even get to the stage where an idea is tested,” says Field. “Good start-ups succeed because they can start with a view of what the customer wants and then work backwards to get a solution that’s truly customer-centric.” Such agility is a big draw for incumbent organisations, and it’s no surprise that partnerships are increasing. In a 2019 study by Finextra, 81% of bank executives surveyed said collaborating with fintech partners was the best strategy to achieve digital transformation. “We’re likely to see an acceleration of partnerships within the financial ecosystem as incumbents combine their own benefits of distribution, access to capital, and risk and compliance infrastructure with innovative digital solutions,” says Deloitte’s Simeon Moss. “We see fintechs and ‘traditional’ institutions as being symbiotic and complementary to each other,” agrees Pilcher. “The finance sector in Jersey has been
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Fintechs don’t need to rent an office. They just need a good idea and they can come up with a novel solution to a new problem
established for almost 60 years and the fintech scene has emerged to support the incumbent industry. “Jersey is all about connectivity and working together to find solutions, and doing so provides positive solutions in both B2B and B2C contexts.”
ROLE OF THE REGULATOR Moss believes regulatory engagement is a critical component of how fintechs can grow and meet regulatory standards while continuing to inform the regulator’s perspective and innovation. This has certainly been the case for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and London’s lauded fintech ecosystem. The Jersey Financial Services Commission’s innovation hub is another strong example of a local regulator working collaboratively with industry and sector bodies, in this case Jersey Finance and Digital Jersey. “Digital Jersey operates Sandbox Jersey, the island-wide sandbox for a broad range of innovative endeavours,” explains Pilcher. “The idea is that Jersey’s diverse combination of industries, including financial services, tourism, agriculture and digital – together with internationally recognised rules and regulations, worldclass IT infrastructure, and cyber security controls – provides the perfect testbed for concepts and ideas before they are scaled up internationally.” The aim is to offer companies a representative environment that can help them with the development of fintech solutions, to help bring high-quality products and services to the market. Guernsey is also taking this approach, with the Guernsey Financial Services
Commission keen to attract the right people and businesses. “We’re a small island with a highly regulated business community and a limited marketplace that acts as a great testing ground,” says Field. “Fintechs can roll out their product and get a better understanding of it, evolving quickly in an environment that provides regulatory certainty.” Griffin also believes that Jersey is a good base for fintechs and highlights the death of blockchain vanity projects. “The days of looking to make a quick buck are gone,” he says. “There is now more emphasis on resilience, good people and financial backing – there’s a leaner, fitter blockchain community now than there was during the initial gold rush.”
NEXT STEPS Agile fintechs, and incumbents boosted by fintech, can more easily absorb the plethora of new data available in the Open Banking environment. This can be harnessed to meet raised customer expectations, provide personalised services and combat the new risks thrown up by Covid-19. It also puts them in a good position for growth, both within the financial services space and in adjacent industries. “Our feeling is that, post-Covid, there will be an increased demand for fintechs to assist other industries and support new working patterns, including working from home and the cybersecurity considerations that go with that,” says Pilcher. Fintech has moved into the mainstream and offers a way forward for businesses to meet the many demands and pressures of the 21st century. n
Setting a new course: rethinking health and wealth post-Covid
Paul Raphael, Client Advisor at UBS Jersey, shares the latest UBS Investor Watch research results, which give a valuable insight into the effect that Covid-19 has had on investor sentiment
AMID THE CONFINEMENT of the pandemic – and facing threats to their lives and livelihoods – investors have looked inward. Most rediscovered the joy of family, the importance of feeling safe and secure, and the value of health. Now, emerging from lockdowns and still grappling with Covid-19, investors find themselves in a world that may have changed forever. In May, we surveyed more than 3,750 investors, split across 15 global markets. Our results indicate that the pandemic and its aftermath have inspired investors to focus on the things that truly matter to them – spending more time with family, protecting loved ones and safeguarding their health. In the wake of the global pandemic, 75% of investors have concluded that life will never be the same again, with investors in Latin America and the US believing most strongly in permanent change. To accommodate the new normal, investors are already planning to adjust their lifestyle. Seven in 10 will reduce travel and trips to the office going forward. Half intend to move closer to family, and 46% may forsake cities for less populated areas. Many investors emerged with greater clarity, and a renewed focus on the most important things in life. A full 88% say staying healthy is their top priority and eight in 10 want to spend more time with
family, and shield themselves and their loved ones from harm. Undoubtedly, Covid-19 inflicted hardship on many – 70% of respondents confirmed that they have been financially impacted by the pandemic, one quarter significantly so. Unfortunately, 81% also expect the fear that took hold during the pandemic to remain for the foreseeable future. Millennials in particular have been affected financially. But despite their concerns – job security, declining income and potentially delayed retirement – they are still intent on making a difference for others. One third have increased their financial support to family members affected by Covid-19. Many are also interested in philanthropy and sustainable investing. Looking ahead, investors globally feel a mix of hesitation and anticipation. Eight in 10 see both risk in the current environment and opportunity as well. The uncertainty is driving an increased need for advice. Among investors with an advisor, for example, 83% are seeking more guidance than usual. With the pandemic not yet in the rearview mirror, investors are navigating a changed world. Most will find their way with clear priorities, trusted guidance – and a continued appreciation for the most important things in life. n
UBS Global Wealth Management provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide. As part of our leading research capabilities, we survey global investors on a regular basis to keep a pulse on their needs, goals and concerns. Since 2012, UBS Investor Watch has tracked, analysed and reported on the sentiment of high-net-worth investors. UBS Investor Watch surveys cover a variety of topics, including: • Overall financial sentiment • Economic outlook and concerns • Personal goals and concerns • Key topics such as ageing and retirement For this edition of UBS Investor Watch, we surveyed more than 3,750 investors in May 2020. They were made up of 25- to 30-year-olds with at least $250,000 in investable assets, 31- to 39-year-olds with at least $500,000 in investable assets,
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You can view the full Investor Watch report via the following link: shorturl.at/uvKP4 If you would like more information on how UBS Wealth Management in Jersey can provide you with advice and support, please contact: Paul Raphael, Client Advisor UBS AG, Jersey Branch 1, IFC St Helier, Jersey JE2 3BX tel: 01534 701135 email: email@example.com
and those aged 40 or above with at least $1m in investable assets. The global sample was split across 15 markets: Argentina, Brazil, mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UAE, the UK and the US. www.ubs.com/global/en/wealth-management/our-approach/investor-watch UBS AG, Jersey Branch is authorised and regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission for the conduct of banking, funds and investment business. UBS AG, Jersey Branch is a branch of UBS AG (a public company limited by shares, incorporated in Switzerland whose registered offices are at Aeschenvorstadt 1, CH-4051, Basel and Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8001 Zurich) with its principal place of business at 1 IFC, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3BX. Terms and Conditions are available upon request. © UBS 2020. All rights reserved. www.ubs.com/jersey
August/September 2020 23
Wealthâ€™s wake-up call The enforced hiatus during lockdown resulted in a flurry of enquiries from wealthy families wanting to create or revisit their wealth structure. It also highlighted that service providers need to reconnect with their clients 24 August/September 2020
Words: Steve Falla
DEATH REMAINS TABOO – rarely discussed by most people. And wealthy families are no exception. However, as the novelist Haruki Murakami once wrote: “Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of it.” That certainly rings true when it comes to handing down wealth to successive generations. The coronavirus pandemic, with its infection rate and death toll making headlines daily, has focused some highnet-worth individuals on revisiting their succession planning and, in some cases, contemplating it for the first time. Lockdown resulted in many families spending more time together, physically and virtually, prompting more conversations about the future. And it also led to something of a wakeup call for parts of the fiduciary profession, which has been over-reliant on decades-old vanilla structures remaining fit for purpose
and continuing to generate repeat fees. The outcome has been a resurgence of interest in wealth planning structures. According to the Wealth-X Family Wealth Transfer Report 2019, $15trn will be handed down to the next generation by 2030, creating a sweet spot for the private client sector. So is the sector ready for this? Channel Islands practitioners agree that there has been an uptick in business in the past few months. But it comes with a challenge. The sense is that there will be fewer clients but of greater value, disrupting service providers’ traditional business development pipelines. At a local level, there was a flurry of activity from individuals wanting to make or revisit their wills and some interest in setting up enduring powers of attorney, while international clients were seeking to stress test arrangements already in place.
A SHARPER PERSPECTIVE Edward Bennett, Head of the international private client team at Bedell Cristin, says: “Covid-19 brought into sharp focus that an individual could die next week. [In the past] they may have talked about giving away their wealth – but now they may actually have to do it. It got people’s
perspectives sharpened. For those with existing structures in place, the message was very much one of ‘don’t panic’. Nobody knew which way the pandemic was going to play out, but knee-jerk reactions are not the best response.” Paul Hodgson, Deputy Group Head of Trust at Butterfield Group, agrees that it was surprising how many wealthy families did not have adequate succession plans in place. “A lot of high-net-worth people had time with their families, holed up somewhere, and I think that brought it home to them that these conversations needed to be had. “For patriarchs and senior members of the family, it was a time to re-evaluate a lot of things, and succession became much more front-of-mind. We had one client family where there was a planning opportunity that required a grandmother of 90 to set up a structure.” It is also clear that, with an enlightened new generation of beneficiaries coming through, this is no time to be complacent – which may make some trustees vulnerable if they do not change their approach. Some structures have been in place, unchanged, for 30 or more years – established in an era of one-size-fits-all.
August/September 2020 25
Since then, alternatives such as foundations, private trust companies and family limited partnerships have emerged. Henry Wickham, Counsel in the private wealth team at Ogier, adds: “The awful nature of Covid-19 certainly sparked conversations about succession and the potential impact of incapacity. If people had become incapacitated, the structure would have come to a halt. “Looking at how it works, and thinking about how it’s going to work in terms of future generations, may require some tweaks to provide for longevity.”
TIME TO RECONNECT To meet this challenge, service providers and their clients need to communicate more, according to Harry Lawson, Senior Tax Manager at Deloitte in Jersey. “I have heard fiduciary providers express the thought that Covid-19 is going to make them sit back and think there is an awful lot they need to do to reconnect and become more proactive with their clients. “Things had become disconnected and allowed to drift – playing safe with investments, leaving things as they were and taking monthly fees. It is not the time for a vanilla service.” There is a view that as well as a more proactive approach from wealth managers, some creativity is needed to provide solutions that better fit a family’s needs. Family members are now better informed, with access to more information than ever before – and they are asking probing questions. Edward Bennett at Bedell Cristin cites the example of a family in which there had been some fallings out. What started out as a reasonably sized trust fund was being diluted by the growing number of potential beneficiaries over the generations, and the patriarch wanted to hold the family together. It was agreed that funds would be put aside to buy health insurance for the whole family, which would continue from generation to generation. That effectively removed tension and suspicion among family members. “If you say you are engaged and
26 August/September 2020
The sense is there will be fewer clients but of greater value, disrupting traditional business development pipelines
proactively coming up with ideas, you become trusted and integral to the way that family operates,” he adds.
DIRTH OF SOFT SKILLS There are many problem families where emotion and sensitivities need to be considered – and this calls for softer skills alongside technical fiduciary knowhow. The label ‘trusted adviser’ has been over-used and over-promised in the past. Fiduciaries of the future will have to back up their professional knowledge by genuinely acting as a mentor, sage and counsel for families. Hodgson explains: “We are at the top end of planning. The structural issues are relatively straightforward but what is difficult is to focus on a plan and move forward with it without breaking eggs in terms of family relationships. “It’s got a lot of psychology in it as well as pure human interaction and relationships. By and large, the super-rich have no better insight into that kind of stuff than Joe Average. In fact, in some cases, they are a lot worse.” Hodgson says that support in these areas will be an important consideration
when training the next generation of service providers. And Wickham believes the increased use of digital meetings could mark a breakthrough in improved communication. “Advice needs to be given in an appropriate way, respecting the wealth that has been created and the success of the individual involved,” he says. “Communication through trustees and advisers is often the forum for families to encourage sensible debate. “During lockdown, people became more comfortable communicating through video conferencing, which has taken away some of the logistical issues of encouraging focus. “Conversations like that are really helpful because when a pivotal family event happens, there will be fewer surprises and less chance of a dispute.”
WHAT TO TELL THE KIDS New dialogue among members of wealthy families raises questions about what and when to tell the next generation about the extent of the family’s worth. Transparency and managing beneficiaries’ expectations are particularly important. “There’s a huge vested interest in having a conversation or not having a conversation,” Hodgson says. “People quite regularly speak about not telling their children what’s in their will in advance of the solicitor’s office, which is not something that you would ever recommend.”
A lot of high-net-worth people had time with their families, and that brought it home to them that these conversations needed to be had
Emma Turner, Director, Philanthropy Service, at Barclays Private Bank, believes that it’s never too soon to start involving young family members. “You’ve got to accept that children will want to do things differently to you. There’s room for them to continue your legacy but also to develop their own,” she says. Turner has worked with a family in which a four-year-old was encouraged to start giving to their charity of choice. In addition, an eight-year-old influenced his siblings – who were in their 20s – into joining him in giving a substantial amount to a charity set up by the mother of a school friend who had died.
NEW CAUSES DU JOUR The generations in receipt of the huge amount of wealth being handed down hold a lot of influence as to how it is spent, and are often inclined to want to use more of it for good. As a result of Covid-19, 70% of charities are in danger of failing and the next generation will seek out what Turner refers to as “causes du jour” – which may include homelessness, addictions, mental health and prison reform. However, Wickham notes that the reputation of some leading charities has been tarnished, losing the confidence of supporters. “Individuals are wanting to do good but they want structures and projects where they feel they are going to achieve a real impact – and it’s often the areas they are passionate about that they want to get involved in,” he says. Hodgson believes trustees need to wake up a little more to the idea that the next generation is coming along and will have the ability to influence, rather than saying: “Your grandfather wouldn’t have wanted it to be done in a particular way”. There is a sense that recent events have opened up not just immediate opportunities for the private client sector in the Channel Islands, but also new challenges. Practitioners would be wise to address these without delay in order to bring greater value to their clients and their own organisations. n
August/September 2020 27
A new chapter for BDO Guernsey BDO is encouraging its member firms around the world to #Rethink and harness key lessons that emerged from operating during a pandemic. As Guernsey exited lockdown in June, BDO Guernsey’s board put the important lessons it had learnt into action to progress its corporate culture. Chapter one is the development of its flexible working policy. Managing Director Richard Searle shares how BDO Guernsey is approaching the #Rethink
A LOT CAN happen over 120 years. Since GN Read, Son & Cocke was established in 1900, the world and Guernsey have seen seismic social, economic, political and technological changes. BDO has a rich history here; we’ve always looked forward and planned how to continue to grow and thrive. Planning and forecasting is essential, but recent events have reinforced that the unexpected is, paradoxically, the only thing to be expected. Covid-19 certainly falls into the ‘unexpected’ category. Globally, the pandemic continues to transform how we work and live. In Guernsey, homeworking, the grounding of travel and restricted movements prompted us to move quickly to ensure our people were able to adjust into remote working patterns as individuals and teams, and to ensure we looked after our clients and their priorities too. Straight away we appreciated the need to take care of our people as people, and to offer as much flexibility and control as possible while the boundary between work and home life blurred. Our people policies were quickly refreshed to relieve as much tension as possible. For example, if employees cared for other people in their households or needed to flex their working days and hours for other reasons, we put in place ways for this to happen. Crucially, we were also operationally fit, which meant people could transition easily into homeworking. The expertise and support of our technology, corporate
28 August/September 2020
communications, human resources and financial operations teams allowed our people to work seamlessly and stay connected, and ensured that we could maintain our culture. The experience offers a chance to do something different – to affect a significant culture change and write the next chapter in BDO’s long local history.
COLLABORATION LEADS TO CHANGE One reason we’ve been so successful in Guernsey for so long is our collective sense of identity. The culture we have carefully fostered was proven by our teams
we appreciated the need to take care of our people as people, and to offer as much flexibility and control as possible
embracing new ways of working together, devising creative approaches to challenges and adapting quickly and readily to totally unprecedented circumstances. Inevitably, there were challenges during lockdown, but there were positive aspects too, and we wanted to keep hold of these plus-points while reinforcing our cultural identity and ensuring that our people continue to be proud to work for BDO. We regularly asked our people about their experiences of working remotely so that we had a firm finger on the pulse of the business and could improve things. The feedback indicated that there was an appetite for a new style of working and that this could be good for BDO. Our leadership team agreed the key elements of our flexible working policy based on our core purpose and business values. Through the policy, which we launched in July, our people can explore the opportunity to work when and from where they are most productive, while upholding team collaboration and excellent service to our clients.
A CULTURE SHIFT Our policy is a radical one; it is a culture shift that reinforces BDO in Guernsey as a modern organisation that’s in step with the expectations of our current employees and the future workforce. We’ve abolished the traditional typical working day and opened up a 7am-to7pm day instead. We have also introduced ‘regular’ and ‘occasional’ options for
homeworking as part of the updated policy. All of these options are geared towards offering a working solution that suits a wide range of roles. They take into consideration various preferences in relation to how our people work at their best, ultimately leading to wider options in terms of work/life balance. Clients’ needs remain paramount; meeting and exceeding these is a key component of our professional culture. So the policy hinges on collaborating with our clients in the way they prefer to work with us. Calls, meetings in person and video conferencing are all available. Part of writing our new chapter is planning to write the next one. As part of BDO’s global commitment to carbon neutrality by 2025, we have already begun a new travel programme locally, which is exploring how our people travel to,
from and for work. During lockdown, we all enjoyed less road noise and pollution caused by travel and traffic volumes, which had benefits for our community and environment. As an employer of more than 80 people on island, we want to explore how we can all play our part. Clearly, working practices require movement – collaborating as a team and with clients and contacts still has a place but we do recognise that we can re-evaluate how, when and why we travel for work. We want BDO to have a positive and broader impact and this was a valuable opportunity to put the foundations in place to achieve that.
The essence of our purpose is to help people and businesses succeed, and our values remain the same. Trust in our people is a foundation at BDO. Empowering our people and encouraging personal responsibility are part of what we value and are crucial to how we approach change. This next chapter is the latest evolution of BDO’s culture in Guernsey and ensures we will be a strong presence that has a meaningful impact on our island in both the short and the long term. n
A CHANGE FOR THE LONG TERM
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A lot has changed over 120 years, but one constant theme during my 30 years with BDO has been the importance of culture.
For more information, contact Richard Searle email: Richard.Searle@bdo.gg tel: +44 1481 746067
August/September 2020 29
The days when family governance related solely to the running of businesses are behind us. Instead, there’s been a stark shift towards the management of wider wealth – including a focus on vision and values – and the recent crisis has fuelled profound thinking around intergenerational collective purpose Words: Sophie McCarthy
THE JAPANESE WORD ‘Ikigai’, pronounced ick-ee-guy, roughly translates to ‘reason for being’. Essentially, it is what gets someone out of bed in the morning, their passion or calling. Establishing individual Ikigai – understanding what it is that truly drives what we do – is taxing enough and can take years of gruelling self-examination. But that task is multiplied exponentially when it comes to a collective family purpose. Suddenly, stewardship becomes less about developing a modus operandi and more about rumination. More and more high-net-worth families are being drawn to this idea of an agreed set of principles that guide their joint behaviour and shape the future of their dynasty and, while it’s growing in popularity, it’s not a new phenomenon. Richard Joynt, Executive Director – Private Client, at Ocorian, believes its foundations can be traced back to the business world. “In the 1980s and 90s, we saw almost a growing-up of corporates,” he explains. “Companies have always had governance; they’ve always organised themselves and decided who is in charge. But a few decades ago, a more commonplace model came into play – for example, around the separate roles of the chairman and the CEO, audit committees that report into these
30 August/September 2020
individuals, annual reports and so on. “And then 10 years later, we started to see something similar in the wealth space. Again, they’ve always run themselves – it’s clear who’s in charge, it’s usually a matriarch or a patriarch – but suddenly there was a desire to write this down, to codify it.” He continues: “They’re essentially saying: here’s a set of rules – we all need to not only abide by them but also understand why they are there. “More and more families are buying into this idea, because they’ve witnessed what bad communication can do to their wealth. It can erode and ultimately destroy it.”
MEANING OF WEALTH The concept of wealth itself is a curious one, not least because it can mean different things to different people. “For some,
wealth equates purely to financial assets,” says Matthew Fleming, Head of Family Governance and Succession at Stonehage Fleming. “But for many multigenerational families – and this is something we’re all much more cognisant of given the recent crisis – wealth is much more than just monetary capital. It is impetus and intentions, legacy, even leadership style. “It encompasses the way family members behave externally within their community, the networks they keep, the responsibilities they accept and even the way people communicate. “All this combined,” Fleming continues, “provides a framework to achieve a successful intergenerational strategy. “And that successful intergenerational strategy can be anything you want. It doesn’t have to be the transfer of financial capital. It can instead be focused on the transfer of a set of values or purpose.” Russell Clark, Guernsey Managing Partner and Head of Trusts and Private Wealth at Carey Olsen, shares a similar outlook. “I firmly believe in looking beyond the governance of wealth in isolation and that instead, people should consider how best to build a framework for the future of the family as a whole. “The management of family wealth will be a key part of this, of course, but I encourage a much more holistic approach.” Fleming explains that in his experience, the most successful strategies come from families who recognise this shift – away from an emphasis on pure financial capital towards the widest possible sense of wealth – early in their journey. “Every lineage is of course subtly different, but that for me is the common denominator,” he says. “And this has been discussed more, in my experience, over the past 20 years or so. “There is also a generational influence on the amount it is discussed. Leadership is one of the great threats to families, so having the right leadership at the right time is integral. “A good example of this is if you have a set of values that you all live by. These will give younger people, the next generation, the confidence to open up and to know they’re going to be taken seriously.”
When it comes to family governance, what exactly are we referring to when we talk about values? Fleming explains: “‘Duty’ can seem like a very old-fashioned word, but for many members of multi-generational families with traditional assets or businesses, duty is actually a very positive, powerful influence on their lives. And for me, your duties
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VALUE OF VALUES
Wealth is much more than monetary capital. It is impetus and intentions, legacy, even leadership style
dictate your values. That said, families like the idea that there’s a set of duties or values that underpin the way they live their lives. It’s just that for most, it’s implied. They don’t necessarily sit down and talk about them.” So, what impact has the recent pandemic had on high-net-worth families and these discussions? Has it encouraged more frequent and transparent conversations? “Although Covid-19 has been a destructive force of nature, it in fact facilitated important conversations within families around death and incapacity,” says Simon Lofthouse, Associate in the Jersey Private Wealth team at Ogier. “It also provided clients with time to reflect and consider their affairs.” “What’s more, for many, it has brought home the fragility of life and has provided an opportunity to take stock and then take steps to ensure a robust estate plan is in place.” This, however, hasn’t been the case for everyone. “Somewhat surprisingly, most of the families we deal with didn’t actually use the current crisis to reflect upon their wealth and its purpose,” Carey Olsen’s Russell Clark states. “There was, admittedly, an initial flurry of activity at the start of the year with families focusing on revisiting out-of-date wills and powers of attorney – issues which for many languish at the bottom of to-do lists – but not much more than that.” He adds: “I suspect many already have very clear views of what their wealth is for. Instead, they have been focusing on the
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impact of the crisis on their investments and businesses, as well as the tactical opportunities it has presented. “Some of these families tend to take an extremely long-term view. One talks about investment horizons measured in centuries, so for them, the impact of Covid-19 is likely to be minimal.” Like Lofthouse, Fleming has come across families who have used the lockdown period to regroup and reflect, albeit often unintentionally. Families have made the most of what he calls “the privilege of time”. Several generations may have found themselves hunkered down together, spending unusually prolonged periods of time in each other’s company. Unable to travel or socialise, conversations would have organically turned to aspirations and personal goals. In this more informal environment, unlike a forced retreat or family council session, individuals felt more inclined to articulate themselves openly and honestly, expressing their own wishes for the collective wealth.
OPEN FORUM It’s worth remembering of course that these circumstances are exceptional and that families rarely experience this length of time in each other’s company. Encouraging an open and regular forum, and doing so early on, is therefore a preferable option. Andréa Daley Taylor, Director of Trust Corporation International, espouses the importance of engaging the entire
family, and not being afraid to raise difficult questions. “Opening a discussion around developing a family charter to define wider aspirations can help highlight not only each individual’s sense of purpose, but perhaps the difference between the generational outlook and potential misalignments,” she says. “Although it can sometimes be difficult to bring the next generation onboard within this process, recent events have served to inspire people of all ages. “This should help trustees to engage those younger family members who may have previously struggled to personally relate to their family’s wealth.” But what does this look like in practice, and how can families involve children in decision-making from a young age? Joynt cites the example of a family’s holiday home and the question of whether the property would stay in the family. So, when the children were still in their teens, they were asked to go into the kitchen, just the three of them, to have a mini board meeting about the future of the much-loved house. The thinking was very much “You’re going to have to make this decision one day”, but they also had to figure out if they would accept a majority, or if they needed a unanimous resolution. The idea was to get them used to approaching large-scale decisions, and to think about how they would do so, especially while there was no pre-existing conflict. Fleming echoes this school of thought around collaboration. “For me, the imposition of values or purpose slightly misses the point because something that is imposed has far less chance of being sustainable. It depends on obedience. “Sitting down as a family and engaging all relevant parties means you get a shared outlook. You understand where each other is coming from, and everyone airs their views. That’s incredibly powerful. “Governance is extremely important because every family will be tested by something unexpected and unplanned; they will at some point face challenges and crises. As we’ve seen this year, no one is immune.” Fleming adds: “A framework that helps families make decisions and collectively face up to both responsibilities and challenges, as well as new opportunities, is critical to cohesion. “Governance underpins that framework and it acts as a really sensible way for families to give themselves the best chance of success – both collectively and individually. “I think the pandemic, and the chances it has presented to reboot and reprioritise, has really helped shine a light on this. It’s also made this way of thinking and acting more acceptable.” n
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Profile: Meg Faure
34 August/September 2020
Advertising feature, in association with Locate Jersey
Having moved to Jersey from South Africa just before travel and work restrictions were introduced earlier this year, occupational therapist, bestselling baby-and-parenting author and serial entrepreneur Meg Faure found her move stress-free – and believes that in Jersey she has found a platform for evolving and growing her new digital venture that just makes sense
Can you explain a bit about your business in Jersey? In a nutshell, I work with parents and their babies to give them support and guidance through the early years. After qualifying as an occupational therapist in Cape Town, I wrote Baby Sense – a best-seller that helps parents with nurturing their little ones. In 2004, I founded my company, Baby Sense, manufacturing and distributing baby products. After selling Baby Sense, I launched a new venture, Play Sense, an educational platform for two- to four-year-olds. The content from Baby Sense, and the subsequent seven parenting books, are being made accessible through my Jersey company. Sense-IT focuses on creating digital platforms to make my various parenting and education businesses and the content from my books accessible to the global market.
I became attracted to Jersey because of how it was positioning itself as a centre for digital businesses
What made you consider Jersey as a place to move to? I was very aware that parents were becoming increasingly interested in accessing information in so many new and different ways, so I started to explore how I could use all of the content and work I had done over my career so far and digitise it. The idea was to create something that could be tailored to the needs of different parents and give them access to what they wanted, when they wanted it and in a way that suited them. While I was looking at ways to get this new venture under way, I became attracted to Jersey because of how it was positioning itself as a centre for digital businesses. That really resonated with me – and so I got in touch with Digital Jersey, who provided me with the information I was looking for and convinced me that Jersey was a good option. My focus here now is to grow my new app development company and build the digital parenting platform. In April, I launched Parent Sense, an app that brings together all of my experience and knowledge and aims to provide parents with access to bespoke advice. Was the set-up process straightforward? There’s no doubt it was a challenging time to move to a new place, given the circumstances – but really, of all the places we could have moved to, Jersey was really quite stress-free. What I have found about Jersey is that there are always people who are happy to hold your hand and guide you through the necessary processes. After my initial conversations with Digital Jersey, for example, I was put in touch with Locate Jersey, who were able to help me through the logistics of relocating. It’s an impressive infrastructure and journey – you don’t get that everywhere. How is Jersey suited to you and your business? From a business perspective, as well as the digital ecosystem and expertise that
Jersey offers, the overall ‘open for business’ approach is really important to me at this stage of a new venture. As well as Jersey being an Englishspeaking location – so there are no language barriers – the island offers me the scope to grow, with specialist expertise readily accessible and an investmentfriendly environment. In fact, I have already secured some start-up funding from venture investors. I feel that the platform I have found here is a perfect fit for evolving my business. From a personal perspective, too, the overall lifestyle proposition has really added to the appeal. In many ways, Jersey’s outdoors lifestyle is pretty similar to life in South Africa. We feel really lucky to have found a location that can offer such a rewarding environment, both in supporting my business goals and in providing a rich work/life balance. How do you see your business evolving? My potential market is global, so really I’m aiming to grow both Play Sense and my new Parent Sense app globally. Remote working and all the pandemic restrictions we’ve seen over the past few months have really drilled home how important digital accessibility is, and I think there will continue to be huge scope for bespoke, digitally delivered support and advice for parents. With that in mind, I’ll be exploring all sorts of digital avenues to reach that audience. And as the business grows, I’ll be looking to upskill people locally to support me on the development side. I’m sure that I’ll find time to carry on writing too…! n
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This advertising feature was produced in association with Locate Jersey. Visit www.locatejersey.com
August/September 2020 35
Real opportunity or real risk? The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the property sector as companies decide they no longer need as much office space, staff call for permanent homeworking and lending rates fall. So what are the immediate ramifications for the corporate and residential real estate markets? AT THE HEIGHT of the lockdown in May, Words: Alexander Garrett
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an unnamed Russian billionaire paid £15.45m to buy a five-bedroom townhouse overlooking London’s St James’s Park, complete with – as you might expect for that money – rooftop terrace, champagne store and private rear garden. It was the biggest single residential transaction to take place during the lockdown. And it showed that the impact of the pandemic on the real estate sector might not be quite as straightforward as many think. In real estate, when there’s a crisis, one person’s distressed asset often turns out to be another person’s buying opportunity – as investors and asset managers may well be finding out in the coming months. And while some sectors of the property market have undoubtedly been hit hard by coronavirus – think retail and
hospitality – others, including much of the residential market, may come out looking relatively unscathed. Commercial property investment is where the greatest pain is being felt. “In March, some 50% of rents were not paid by the rent payment date,” says Simon Burgess, a chartered surveyor who leads Ocorian’s real estate funds business globally. “In some sectors, no rent has been paid. That’s led up to the June quarter and even worse non-payment, with over 11% lower average collection rates than the previous three months. “We had one case involving an investment in the leisure sector where, on the June-quarter day we received no rent when normally we would have seen receipts of £1m. “The UK government’s moratorium
on landlords’ ability to take recovery action has given business tenants who can pay permission to ignore their contractual obligations. “And as a landlord, like any business, when you have no income, all of a sudden you have a problem of how you are going to pay your debts.”
Businesses that find themselves in that position risk insolvency, says Burgess: “And that’s the issue that’s going to be vexing landlords.” Landlords may as a result find themselves in breach of their own covenants to their lenders, which may result in them defaulting on their borrowings, sometimes when they are in the midst of construction work to improve the property. “There’s a triple whammy, and that’s the question of valuation,” Burgess says. “A landlord may have secured the lending on the value of his property, which is based on the assumption that it’s incomeproducing now or in the future. “If that income stops, or at best is now
People will be looking further out in cities and they will be looking for more outdoor space
highly uncertain for a short period until the economy recovers, how much will the value have fallen and how does it compare with the amount you’ve borrowed? “If the landlord is in the middle of refinancing his business, this could stop the lender in their tracks.” Over the next three months, these problems will crystallise, says Burgess – first with tenants’ businesses getting into trouble, as many retailers already very publicly have. Oasis, Carluccio’s and Cath Kidston are just three examples. Even blue-chip retailers such as John Lewis and Boots, which have decided to close stores, will create a knock-on effect for landlords. Retail was already facing structural change, Burgess points out, and Covid-19 has simply hastened the journey.
OUT OF OFFICE Investors in offices face a different issue. With millions of staff working from home since lockdown began, offices have been sitting empty. Richard Daggett, a Partner at Ogier, who specialises in real estate, says: “The shift to working from home is as much a mental change as a physical move. Even as offices are now gingerly allowing staff to return, staff aren’t necessarily wanting to do so – and all research in this area points to this new-found desire to work remotely being a lasting impact of lockdown.
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“Owners of office buildings will be looking at how they can effectively change the manner in which such assets are used – to allow more flexible use, accommodate lower occupancy and to change offices to mixed-use buildings as and when existing leases come to an end and renewals look unlikely.” Paul Welch, CEO and founder of Largemortgageloans.com, has personal experience of this situation. He’s been working in Guernsey since lockdown began and says his office in London’s Canary Wharf, for which his company pays £250,000 rent annually, has only three people working there. “The world has changed,” he says, “and I don’t see how it can go back. My staff prefer working at home, they perform better and they are happier. So if I could get out of that lease tomorrow I would, because I don’t need it anymore.” Burgess takes a more sanguine view, insisting that people have always needed places to meet other people, and will continue to do so. He thinks demand for office property will “moderate” in the near future and anticipates a flight to quality – which means the prime locations will fare best. The indirect impact of softening demand, he says, will be delays in construction, since it takes several years in the pipeline for new office space to come on stream.
AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY The coming months will be a time of opportunity for some in the commercial property investment sector. Sales of distressed assets will mean keen pricing for those who have cash, so long as they can find tenants who can pay in future or find a different use for the building. There are areas of commercial property that may even benefit from Covid-19. Logistics is the obvious one: retail sales have continued their shift from the high street to online, and that means delivery and fulfilment have become even more important. “Hubs that supply the ‘last mile’ of the delivery chain are one such example,” says Burgess. Daggett adds: “Logistics-focused REITs with strong rental flows, such as Urban Logistics [which purchased a portfolio of seven warehouses in April] and Segro [which acquired an urban warehouse estate for more than £200m in June] are seeing their share prices reflect the strong demand in that sector.” The move towards working from home, meanwhile, also has significant implications for the residential housing market, with
a widespread expectation that it will lead to people looking for different kinds of properties in future. “People will be looking further out in cities and they will be looking for more outdoor space, and possibly for properties that have an office where you can work,” says Jack Goguelin, Principal Representative in Jersey at mortgage broker Enness, which specialises in high-net-worth clients. “They won’t necessarily move out of cities like London, but certainly if they have a second home they are more likely to look outside city centres.” Welch says: “People are making lifestyle decisions based on the new world order. For many that means they don’t have enough space, so we’re seeing a lot of interest in ‘let to buy’ – where you let your existing home and buy another one that suits your new needs.” The Channel Islands could be a beneficiary of that shift, he adds, since the incidence of coronavirus has been low and they offer an exceptional lifestyle.
RESIDENTIAL UPS AND DOWNS Initial expectations at the outset of the pandemic that residential property prices would crash seem to have been confounded so far. Part of the reason for this is that the experience of lockdown has made ‘home’ much more important for many people. But a lot will depend on the nature of the recovery, and whether there is a prolonged recession. Daggett says: “Obviously, the lockdown – and the government prohibition on actually moving house – ensured that residential transactions ground to a halt. “While the UK housing market is coming out of its deep freeze and estate agents talk in buoyant terms of huge demand triggered by the ease in restrictions, the nervousness of homeowners wondering whether a house price crash will follow the looming recession means that sales are still slow. “Whether UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday, announced in July, will stimulate the housing market to overcome such nerves remains to be seen.” In the super-prime segment of the market, says Goguelin: “Some people were expecting to benefit from mega-discounts, but they won’t. The best property, with all the security and other features that entails, won’t be reduced.” So what does all this mean for how real estate is viewed as an asset class? “Every wealth manager will review their
Time to borrow? Most property commentators agree that with central bank lending rates at record lows, now is a good time to remortgage. In the residential market, says Jack Goguelin from Enness, high-net-worth individuals from around the world are remortgaging their trophy assets in cities such as London. “With 60% loan-to-value (LTV) you could probably get a mortgage of less than 2% at the moment, which means someone who wants to release equity from their property could walk away with millions of pounds to invest in something else. “We would place many of our clients with private banks, and they have been lending throughout the pandemic.” Paul Welch, CEO and founder of Largemortgageloans.com, agrees. “For a sub-60% LTV mortgage, you can get a tracker at 0.84% or a five-year fixed rate at 1.39%. And that could become even cheaper if we talk ourselves into a recession.”
exposure and for some that will mean that they will switch some of the assets they manage from commercial real estate to technology,” believes Welch. At Ogier, Richard Daggett is less convinced. “Real estate is generally a longer-term asset,” he says. “Investors will look beyond the immediate shocks and short-term analysis that comes with the equities markets. “Covid-19 flare-ups or stories regarding hope for a vaccine will impact hugely on those invested in the stock markets (both positively and negatively), but they’re unlikely to have much bearing on the value of a real estate asset three years from now.” Simon Burgess is equally upbeat. “I’ve been involved in real estate since 1985 and I’ve never seen a serious change in sentiment towards real estate investing as an opportunity to get good risk-adjusted returns,” he says. “Canny investors will see the current situation with Covid-19 as an opportunity.” Well-capitalised investors will win through, he says, and for the Channel Islands firms that look after them, demand will continue. n
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Plotting a course for the future As the Channel Islands enter the fifth month of lockdown in a less restrictive environment, there are cautious notes of optimism about the resilience of both islands in how they have coped with the pandemic, says Ed Shorrock, Director, Compliance and Regulatory Consulting, at Duff & Phelps (Channel Islands)
DURING THE LOCKDOWN period, much of the focus of regulated firms and the regulator to date has been on ensuring that the operational aspects of their activities can continue without material disruption. From businessesâ€™ perspective, this has largely centred around making sure working-from-home arrangements have been able to continue in a secure and logistically efficient manner, including continuing with business-as-usual compliance arrangements. Regulators have responded with various initiatives, such as deploying virtual examinations, providing guidance on electronic customer due diligence (CDD) measures and moving towards online submissions of returns and notifications. In short, projects that, in all likelihood,
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had featured in longer term planning have now been brought to the forefront of c-suite thinking due to necessity. The islands, however, do not operate in a separate bubble economically, even if they have largely been successful implementing social distancing measures.
RESILIENCE STARTS AT HOME In our view, there are likely to be three key drivers of how the regulated sector responds. First, firms are likely to be reassessing how their commercial strategies have been impacted by events. The past few years have witnessed a seemingly unstoppable appetite for mergers on a global scale. This has been driven by capital provided by external investors who are seeking efficiencies of scale and
increased bandwidth in terms of services available to clients. The integration of businesses on this scale has always proved challenging, even in pre-Covid times. We anticipate the level of transactions, already reduced in light of the current restrictions, will be subdued as firms consolidate their position and seek internal efficiencies through a more focused application of technology. Although investors have always sought to increase their top-line revenues, our sense is that a new period of cost-cutting through the use of regtech, remote working and a reduction in physical premises costs is near at hand. We do not discount acquisition and merger activity in totality, but we believe
The irrepressible drive towards globalisation has been thrown into sharp relief, politically and economically
that the focus of senior management will change to cost control. Second, this is likely to be coupled with a retrenchment by regulators to ensure that their ‘home’ territories are robust and can withstand any future shockwaves. This points towards an increased amount of attention being paid to day-to-day frontline and compliance activities, business continuity planning and financial liquidity. As the pandemic has shown, for ill or for good, the apparently irrepressible drive towards globalisation has been thrown into sharp relief, politically and economically. Much like governments whose first duty is to protect citizens from harm, so too regulators will want to make sure their own community is capable of survival and, hopefully, growth. However, and as the third driver, we cannot ignore how clients’ business models and underlying demands will be affected. As support measures provided by governments gradually unwind and the scars on economies are revealed in the form of debt levels that exceed those witnessed after the financial crisis, clients will be asking fundamental questions about their arrangements and whether they are sustainable economically. For example, much has been written about the impact on the demand for prime
real estate in city centres and also on the residential property market. This change will cause investors to reassess their exposure to whole sectors and, implicitly, the corporate structuring that underpins them. In the medium to longer term, this will feed into the corporate service providers and the network of professionals who support their activities.
will be on preserving existing business models as far as possible but with efficiency as a renewed point of focus. The pandemic has exposed the frailties of international commerce, for all its advantages, and until that ecosystem can be restored on a robust footing, we are likely to be seeing a more localised approach on many fronts. n
AGILE AND OPPORTUNISTIC Unfortunately, planning for what may or may not happen has proved to be extremely challenging as we are only at the beginning of life in these new political and economic conditions. As such, firms, regulators and clients are likely to want to remain flexible in order to be able to respond to the changing landscape rather than committing to a strategy that proves unsustainable. While growth and expansion may have been a given in the past, we believe that the future will be characterised by commercial opportunism in some quarters with a more home-grown, self-sustaining approach to regulation. Inevitably, there will be structural shifts in some sectors. However, until the planning horizon becomes more stable, our view is that the emphasis
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ed Shorrock is a Director in the Jersey office of Duff & Phelps, delivering regulatory services. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a Big Four firm and specialised in forensic, regulatory and insolvency services. More recently, he spent eight years at one of the islands’ leading law firms, specialising in dispute resolution, providing regulatory and other litigationrelated professional services. He is a regular speaker at conferences on regulatory topics relating to offshore financial centres and is co-editor of a leading textbook, Jersey Insolvency & Asset Tracking 5th Edition, published by Dessain & Wilkins.
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Strength in numbers
Equity crowdfunding has made becoming a beneficial shareholder easier – and more democratic – than ever. But does that mean it’s a worthwhile alternative investment? We asked four people from across the sector to share their insights Words: Imogen Rowland The platform founder: Luke Lang, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder, Crowdcube Like many of the businesses it now helps fund, equity crowdfunding was born as a solution to a problem. “After the 2008 financial crash, start-ups were finding it acutely difficult to secure funding from more traditional avenues, such as venture capital and angel investors,” explains Luke Lang, Co-Founder of equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, which he set up with business partner Darren Westlake in 2011. “We both had a passion for entrepreneurship and around that time a new raft of businesses was really striving to make a difference and disrupt existing industries. So we had this idea: ‘What if we could enable ordinary people to support the companies they really believed in by offering them the opportunity to buy a stake in those businesses alongside traditional high-net-worth and professional investors?’” The advantages, they believed, were many. “Not only would start-up businesses get access to the funds they needed to grow, but they would do so by building their community and engaging with their customers. Shareholders would not only be more loyal, they would also
“FOSTERING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS AND BRAND ADVOCATES IS REALLY POWERFUL, BECAUSE THEY’LL RALLY BEHIND YOU IN TIMES OF CRISIS”
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become powerful brand advocates,” says Lang. Their hunch proved correct. Nine years on, Crowdcube has helped fund more than 1,000 campaigns, 168 of which have raised more than £1m. Among them are fintech unicorns Monzo and Revolut, both challenger banks valued as multibilliondollar businesses, and UK craft brewery Brewdog, which is now worth around £1.5bn. These success stories also show impressive returns for equity holders – and while the majority of those are on paper, there have also been a number of notable exits or returns. “Some £42m has been returned to investors over the years from exits, secondary share sales and bond repayments – some receiving a 30-times return on their investment,” says Lang. Although the pandemic has inevitably had an impact on Crowdcube’s growth in 2020, business has not ground to a halt. “We’ve been buoyed by the courage and determination of the entrepreneurs we work with,” Lang adds. “Chip, a fintech app that helps people save money, raised £2.5m in April, despite coinciding with the height of the crisis.” According to Lang, these successes exemplify the business case for equity crowdfunding. “Raising capital is always important. But increasingly, fostering your relationship with your core group of customers and brand advocates is really powerful, because they’ll rally behind you in times of crisis,” he says. “And the favour is returned – they feel that your business is a safer investment, that there’s that extra level of accountability because your investors are also your customers, family and friends.”
“THE CROWD OF FOLLOWERS THESE CAMPAIGNS ASSEMBLE COULD PROVE EQUITY CROWDFUNDING’S BEST ASSET”
The market analyst: Etienne Paresys, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Equity Crowd Expert As in most new business markets, the truth about the potential for equity crowdfunding is in the data. However, until 2019 there was little to come by. That’s what motivated Etienne Paresys and business partner Nick Arnott to launch Equity Crowd Expert, which helps investors track the crowdfunding market and monitor a portfolio of investments, including through daily news and filing updates. “We met when I was Head of Data Content and Quality at Preqin, the alternative assets information authority that Nick cofounded,” explains Paresys. “We’d both been intrigued by equity crowdfunding’s potential as an alternative investment since the launch of Seedrs and Crowdcube [the UK’s two dominant platforms, which between them account for 95% of the market], but because it deals with private businesses, there was very little in the way of tangible performance data. “Equity Crowd Expert was born out of a desire to understand more about how the companies involved were performing – the successes and failures – and to give investors a means to track their portfolio of investments.” The 2020 data Paresys and his team have gathered so far shows that, during the global pandemic, the number of deals closed dropped by 15% in Q2 compared with the previous five quarters. However, the number of investors actually went up by almost 10,000 since Q4 2019 – suggesting there’s a growing appetite for this type of investment. “The 86 successful campaigns in Q2 raised £54.1m between them, most of them far exceeding
their original targets,” explains Paresys. While those businesses included wellness food brands and online health and fitness programmes, tellingly, the biggest was Freetrade, a free stock investing app, which attracted the highest number of backers – 5,989 – and capital hitting £6.7m, 695% of its original target. Paresys is, however, a realist. “Many investors are attracted to crowdfunding campaigns thanks to the EIS [Enterprise Investment Scheme] and SEIS [Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme] tax incentives their investments offer, and targets are set low to ensure most campaigns easily exceed them.” He adds: “It’s worth remembering that a lot of crowdfunding businesses go on to collapse – it’s quite an early-stage investment. But, alongside the smoke and mirrors, there are investors who are genuinely excited about the products and projects that these businesses are creating. It is this – the crowd of followers these campaigns assemble – that could prove equity crowdfunding’s best asset.”
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Crowdfunding The network pioneer: Ed Prow, Co-Founder, Tekex, and Managing Director, Potting Shed In business, a problem-solving attitude is key, and that’s what led Ed Prow to develop Tekex, a network designed to bring together entrepreneurs, investors and like-minded business people from across the Channel Islands. “We had been seeking funding for a business our firm was incubating and quickly realised that the islands weren’t a particularly open or abundant environment when it came to fundraising for enterprises,” explains Prow, who is also MD of Jersey and Guernsey-based design and digital firm Potting Shed.
“At the same time, through my day-to-day role I was meeting with start-ups and scale-up businesses that needed funding to take them to the next level, as well as private investors who were interested in diversifying their portfolios.” In setting up Tekex, Prow aimed to boost entrepreneurial spirit in the Channel Islands’ digital sphere by making connections between these groups via an ongoing series of events and webinars. Taking place every few months, the events allow local business owners, thought-leaders in the tech sphere and investors to present their ideas and share opportunities to collaborate. “Because of the complexities of regulating a crowdfunding platform, none yet exists in the Channel Islands, and start-ups from the islands are often ineligible to fundraise through UK-based platforms that will only accept applications from UK or EU-incorporated companies,” explains Prow. “While we hope that those regulations will evolve in the future, in the meantime we’re working on creating a more formal incubator for local start-ups and fostering a more supportive ecosystem. “The Channel Islands are world leaders in other areas of business and finance – I can’t see any reason why, in time, that might not also be true for equity crowdfunding.”
The entrepreneur: Kike Oniwinde, Founder and CEO, BYP Network For Kike Oniwinde, equity crowdfunding isn’t just about raising capital, it’s also a vehicle for education and social change. Oniwinde was inspired to start BYP Network – a platform that empowers black professionals around the world to connect with each other and global corporations – when she found she was consistently “the only black person in the room, whether that was on an internship at an investment bank or an interview for a business role”. Three years after launching, BYP Network works with corporations including Facebook, Accenture and Netflix, boasts 40,000 members across 65 countries, and has led to Oniwinde being named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. She previously funded growth through start-up competitions including The F Factor and the Sky Women in Tech Scholarship, which led to a pre-seed round of £150,000 in January 2019. However, when it came to her next funding drive, Oniwinde wanted to try equity crowdfunding. Why? “I wanted there to be a way for my community to buy into
“THE CAMPAIGN WAS HELD TO RAISE FUNDS AND AWARENESS, AND TO EMPOWER PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T KNOW THEY COULD BE INVESTORS”
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“THE ISLANDS ARE WORLD LEADERS IN OTHER AREAS OF BUSINESS AND FINANCE – I CAN’T SEE WHY IN TIME THAT MIGHT NOT ALSO BE TRUE FOR EQUITY CROWDFUNDING”
the business. I was seeing a lot of start-ups turning to donation-based crowdfunding – very few people realised that, for as little as £10, you could become a beneficial shareholder. “I wanted that buy-in, especially because BYP Network is all about community. It felt like the community should own it, too.” Having originally planned to launch a campaign in March, Oniwinde’s plans were put on hold when Covid-19 hit. However, when events in the US brought about a new momentum in the Black Lives Matter movement, and a long-overdue focus on black businesses – from consumers and corporates – she decided it was time to act. In the space of just two weeks, a BYP Network campaign went live on Seedrs. Five days and 711 investors later, it had already exceeded its target. For Oniwinde, the success and prominence of the campaign was especially important because her industry is still woefully lacking in diversity, she says. “There are very few funded black founders and, in an industry that’s fuelling innovation for the future, we’re being left behind as a race. “So the campaign was held both to raise funds and awareness, but also to empower people who didn’t know they could be investors.” One advantage Oniwinde didn’t originally foresee was the added value that working with an established crowdfunding platform like Seedrs would offer. “A big part of my decision to go with Seedrs for the campaign was its proactive attitude. The people there instantly saw BYP Network as a prospective business partner,” she explains. “So, alongside their expertise and their business acumen for the campaign, they also proposed an ongoing collaboration between BYP Network members who have promising start-ups. That’s exactly why equity crowdfunding is so exciting: in its community lies its potential.” n
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Culture club As the financial services sector – and the world around it – continues to feel the aftershocks of the pandemic, smart organisations are no longer viewing culture as a tick-box exercise but as imperative to their survival in the new normal. So how do these forward-thinkers measure it?
Words: Alexa Robertson
TEN YEARS AGO, says Elvina Aghajanyan, Head of HR for HSBC Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, words like ‘happy people’ and ‘kind leadership’ were signs of weakness in business. Fast forward to 2020 and the effect of Covid-19 on the global workforce has thrust corporate culture into the spotlight, creating an unprecedented need for a compassionate, people-focused approach to management. “We’re all human,” she says. “People
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are more likely to share and be themselves if you are willing to be yourself and be vulnerable as a leader. A crisis has hit us, and some of our people have never seen anything like this before. We could only achieve results if we acted together.” The benefits of building and maintaining a positive working culture are plentiful. From attracting talent and retaining staff to improving customer satisfaction and achieving growth, a committed focus on company culture that aligns with its values is integral to an organisation’s success. Cultural deficiencies are regarded as one of the root causes of major conduct failings that have occurred within the industry over the past two decades, so regulators are urging organisations to prioritise their
internal working culture. Yet despite this, there are still many companies treating culture as a tick-box exercise for their HR managers – many of whom don’t have their feet under the boardroom table. And they’re failing to integrate it with their core business values.
THREADS OF STRENGTH Chris Clark, CEO of Prosperity 24/7 and former Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Jersey, understands the difficulties. “It’s often challenging for leaders to engender transformational, empowered, diverse and inclusive cultures, especially within mature businesses, unless they lead by example,” he says. “Often, culture is
PEOPLE POWER So how can organisations develop and maintain a strong working culture, and ensure company-wide support for a cultural shift? The answer, says Crowder, lies among its people. “You should confirm a culture champion within the organisation – ideally the CEO or another board member. Human behaviour right from the top is vitally important because that person can allocate the time and resources required to drive a cultural revolution, regardless of sector.” There should be company-wide commitment to inclusion and wellbeing, says Aghajanyan, as well as a more
forward-thinking attitude to company culture. “If you’d asked me 20 years ago what was most important for attracting talent, I would have said compensation and equality of job opportunities,” she says. “But it’s not enough anymore. Now it’s about inclusion, it’s about wellbeing. “The requirements of millennials are quite different to those of previous generations. They want flexibility of work, equality of opportunities and diversity. “Now, when we interview, we are being asked about the values of the organisation, about whether we have culture programmes, about the development opportunities. “You have to do these things if you want to attract the right people with the right values and principles and retain them.” A strong culture, adds Paul McAvoy, Chief People Officer at Ocorian, is driven by diversity within the management team. “We are constantly trying to ensure that we are identifying and promoting diversity,” says McAvoy – who has been spearheading the creation of a new culture within Ocorian following the investment firm’s merger with Estera earlier this year. “We need to bring in enough change agents who understand our ambition and who can help drive us towards that goal,” he says. “It’s really important that diversity is part of the culture.”
Organisations have started to wake up and smell the coffee in ensuring they have a long-term culture strategy, but it’s taken a lot of mistakes to get here
SIMPLE MEASURES The million-dollar question when it comes to company culture and cultural change is how you measure it. In recent years, Grant Thornton has invested significantly in helping
perceived as a new initiative rather than the pervasive thread that an organisation needs to permeate all aspects of its business. “If you sincerely focus on people and culture, this has a direct correlation with performance and prosperity. Productivity is the byproduct of us looking after our three key stakeholders – our clients, our colleagues and our community.” “Many organisations have started to wake up and smell the coffee in ensuring that they have a long-term culture strategy, but it has taken a lot of mistakes to get here,” adds Susie Crowder, Director of Human Capital, at Grant Thornton. “A lot of organisations continue not to do it or to treat it as an HR matter. But it’s a leadership and management agenda item. It requires someone at a strategic level to really understand the importance of it and take accountability for it. It’s the number one thing that can attract clients or lose clients, attract staff or lose staff. It’s much more than an HR exercise.”
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Often culture is perceived as a new initiative rather than the pervasive thread that an organisation needs to permeate all aspects of its business
organisations to more effectively manage and measure cultural initiatives, and to make the transition from survival mode to thriving mode. Crowder says: “Measuring the success of culture can be much easier than most people think. I’m a huge fan of keeping things simple. If you keep it simple, you can carry people with you, set out smart KPIs, and keep your team motivated to help achieve those.” It’s particularly important to focus on employee turnover, she says. “One of the indicators that something isn’t quite right is high staff turnover. “This is a great metric to understand how stable the organisation is. It helps with managing workload to ensure you’re not overburdening people, and it allows for more effective and efficient planning.”
CUTTING THE COST Capturing customer satisfaction is also important, as is implementing and monitoring employee and manager satisfaction scores, the latter of which can save organisations significant costs in terms of human capital. “Having a look at what that bottomup feedback is telling us is important,” Crowder says. “People will often leave a role because they’ve fallen out with their line manager, not because they’ve been attracted by more money or a different role.” He continues: “Having a look at how
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that relationship can be maintained or improved is vital, because the cost of replacing staff can be high. Holding onto human capital and ensuring the cultural fit is aligned is really important.” McAvoy agrees, adding that the connection between each individual and their manager is a great starting point for gathering data on the wider culture. “A manager’s ability to inspire, support and provide clarity is essential,” he says. “Performance reviews should be quarterly at the very least. The quality of these will drive the quality of the culture you’re trying to create.”
CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION Keeping channels of communication open and implementing tools through which employees can provide honest feedback can also provide solid, actionable metrics for improving the working culture, particularly in the post-Covid-19 age. “We recently sent a survey to 1,200 Ocorian employees, 83% of whom responded,” says McAvoy. “We wanted to ask how we could best support them as lockdown continued, how our communication had been, and what they’d learned from it. “What we found is that our employees are asking for much more flexibility going forward. We’re now looking at how we can show that we’re listening to that.” The global pandemic has created an opportunity for businesses to embrace
cultural change, says Richard Searle, Managing Director of BDO, and it is essential that organisations take on board lessons learned. “There’s no point going through an experience if you don’t learn from it,” he says. “Before lockdown, many companies were saying people couldn’t work from home, that you had to have them in the office. We’ve proved that it just isn’t true. “We’ve always had flexible working, but now we’ve updated our policy so there’s no limit on it. “We’re empowering our people to figure out how to work productively while also taking personal responsibility to ensure they’re not putting unnecessary pressure on their teams.” Aghajanyan believes the struggle to juggle the logistical challenges of the pandemic could break down barriers between leadership teams and their employees in a new way. “The main thing that we have noticed is that people really like the virtual working and Zoom calls. You’re sitting in your house in your sportswear and your child is running around behind you. Suddenly you’re authentic, you are more visible. It really has helped give leadership presence beyond the boardroom.” It seems there has been no time like the present for building authenticity in business, increasing adaptability and ensuring an environment of support and collaboration. n
Powered by rapid technological developments and ease of accessibility, esports is moving from the bedroom to the mainstream – complete with large-scale events, professional players and opportunities for investors who want in on the game
IT IS A TUESDAY evening in Jersey and something quietly revolutionary is happening. A team of six local gamers are playing Super Smash Brothers at esports.je, a gaming hub in St Helier co-founded by aficionado Ed Peck. The team is competing with other gamers on Guernsey and the Isle of Man. And the action is being watched by several hundred fans on video game streaming channel Twitch. This sounds a far cry from kids holed
ESPORTS GAINS TRACTION “Competitive gaming isn’t exactly a new thing,” says Kevin Cheung, a lecturer at Staffordshire University. Ever since the earliest video games came out 40 years ago, it’s been possible for people to play one another competitively. “However, technological improvements have made it much easier for people to play and watch graphics-intensive games. These advances have laid the foundation for gamers to play one another live or watch competitions hosted online.” As more people have begun watching other people play, a whole ecosystem has grown up around esports. Video game publishers now host tournaments of popular titles, grassroots leagues run their
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Words: Len Williams
up in their rooms playing games alone on a console, but it’s merely a grassroots example of esports – which is fast becoming a popular global phenomenon, with large-scale interest and large-scale investment opportunities to boot. Esports, which sees professional gamers compete for cash prizes in titles such as Fortnite, League of Legends or CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), has blossomed in recent years. Players with lightning-fast reactions can rake in millions of dollars from winnings and sponsorship deals. Global tournaments are able to draw in tens of thousands of fans; and media companies compete to broadcast the content to home viewers.
Image: OHishiapply / Shutterstock.com
own events, and websites such as Twitch – which is owned by Amazon – and YouTube stream matches. In many ways, the esports sector is comparable to its physical counterpart. Most gamers play casually in local leagues or with friends, and the best might have the opportunity to go professional, joining a team where they receive a salary or tournament winnings. Going pro requires a lot of dedication. Gamers must spend hours each day practising and Cheung – a former gamer himself – notes that today’s pros are embracing help from sports psychologists, nutritionists and coaches. On the organisational side, David Powell, Insight and Analytics Director at consultancy Landor, explains that there are two key actors in the sector – teams and game publishers. “A major publisher creates a game, then either the publisher or a promoter creates an organised league or tournament. Esports teams then sign-up to the leagues, typically with an entry fee, a broadcast relationship is agreed with an online stream, and live events and competitions are then created.” And the interest is global, although it is particularly popular in North America, Europe and certain Asia Pacific countries, notably South Korea.
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PAY AND PIXELS When it comes to monetising esports, Powell believes that revenue generation is similar to traditional sports. “Money is made from broadcast, sponsorship, event tickets, merchandise, advertising and so on,” he says. “Broadcast revenues are still key, as with most sports, but for esports they are working with streaming partners rather than conventional broadcasters.” And the revenues involved are not inconsequential. Individual players can net upwards of $1m in winnings from some tournaments, and PwC estimates the industry will be worth $2bn by 2023. Investors in traditional sports, such as Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke or Andy Miller of basketball’s Sacramento Kings, also now own esports teams and leagues. However, esports is different to traditional sports in one key respect. “If FIFA [football’s governing body] collapsed, you would still be able to play football,” explains Andy Miah, an academic at the University of Salford. If a gaming publisher such as Activision went bankrupt, however, competitions based around games such as Call of Duty would disappear. Miah notes that in many ways, gaming competitions are essentially marketing tools
for the publishers’ games – the more fans who watch World of Warcraft tournaments, for instance, the more people are likely to spend on the games themselves, or the ingame purchases available. Ed Cave, Relationship Manager at HSBC Private Banking, believes there is an important distinction between esports and video games. The computer game industry generates some $150bn in revenue annually – esports represents less than 1% of that total, he says. Nonetheless, the sector is undermonetised and certainly has scope for growth. “It is supported by a huge base of hundreds of millions of spectators and amateur participants,” says Cave. “This creates an opportunity for investors who are willing to take the risk to get involved at such an early stage for the industry.” Miah agrees that the potential is enormous, adding: “Gaming is one of the most prominent forms of cultural experience we have in the world today.” You only have to look at the level of games downloaded to mobile phones every day to see that.
COMPETING WITH THE REAL THING During the coronavirus lockdown, when all physical sports events had been cancelled, Formula One fans were still watching world-famous drivers like Belgium’s Max Verstappen competing in front of huge audiences. This was possible thanks to a company called Engine Media, a media and events business active in both the physical and esports auto racing sectors. Darren Cox, the company’s CEO, explains that Engine Media had been preparing to cover the physical Australian Formula One Grand Prix just before the lockdown cancelled the race. So the company responded quickly to set up esports competitions, bringing together professional F1 drivers and the world’s best esports players in races in front of live audiences. “Over the following 16 weeks we held live races, and the first one received some 500,000 viewers,” says Cox. What’s more, Engine Media’s races went out live on ESPN and Eurosport. Cox explains that part of the appeal of esports can be attributed to the fact that it allows younger players to become more engaged with the sport. “We see many people playing a Formula One racing game at home, then switching
Images: Roman Kosolapov / Shutterstock.com
New arenas, designed specifically for esports, are now being built
off before the physical or esports race, to watch the professionals,” he says. The esports community also provides a way for fans to interact with their heroes in a way they never could in the exclusive world of motorsports. And many professional racers, like Max Verstappen, are also big gamers themselves. It might seem extraordinary that people would, fundamentally, pay to watch other people play video games, but, like other sports, the game itself is only part of the appeal. Andy Miah points out that attending a stadium event is all about “community and celebration of excellence in something you value, as well as the desire to ‘be there’ when something historic happens”. Kevin Cheung adds that esports events have “a great atmosphere” and that being “surrounded by people who share the passion” is unique. As the technology improves, the experience will get better as well. Imagine using a VR headset to be able to follow your favourite player, or to choose your own view of the action?
And, in a sign of things to come, Miah reports that new arenas, designed specifically for esports, are now being built.
ESPORTS CONTROVERSY Of course, like all sports, esports is not completely free of challenges and controversies. Cheung says there are a number of issues facing the elite game, including the use of performance enhancing drugs, worries about gaming addiction and a tendency for esports to be male dominated. He adds that in the UK there is a propensity by teams to exploit young gamers – many work for free in the hope of getting into the big leagues. There is also plenty of boorish and misogynistic bantering between gamers online. As esports becomes more professionalised, David Powell believes it is likely that games publishers will set up governing bodies to regulate rules around behaviour in the sector. That said, Miah notes that publishers may not be especially motivated to impose
regulations, since their main aim is to make money from esports. As the rise of esports shows, computer games are no longer simply something to be played for fun at home. Millions of fans tune in to watch competitions that feature talented gamers, and serious money passes hands. And its potential is considerable. As David Powell says: “Every major sport in the world is terrified about what’s happening at a grassroots level. Youth football and cricket clubs are struggling because of a lack of cash and a lack of kids, and baseball’s ability to identify new talent out of the US has collapsed in the last 20 years.” Meanwhile, he adds: “Esports has never been stronger at a grassroots level.” n
August/September 2020 51
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Knowledge Brain food for the busy business professional
The Knowledge is compiled by Alexander Garrett Going vegan
points Up North
Northern accents are becoming more similar, according to research by the University of Manchester. A team led by linguistics specialist Dr Patrycja Strycharczuk set out to find out if there is such a thing as Great Northern English and used machine learning to analyse the voices of people from several major cities across the north of England. The computer struggled to distinguish between the accents of people from Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – suggesting they do speak in a very similar way – while accents from Liverpool and Newcastle were a lot more distinct. They also found that some traditional dialect features are no longer present, but most speakers still sound distinctly northern – which suggests that a general northern accent is emerging.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the trend towards vegan diets, according to a new study by Mintel. The market intelligence agency reports that 25% of UK citizens aged between 21 to 30 said the pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing. And the research shows that a vegan diet is proving more attractive to 12% of Brits overall, with numbers rising to 22% of Londoners. Some 23% of consumers said they had been eating more fruit and vegetables since the start of the pandemic. Alex Beckett, Associate Director of Mintel Food & Drink, commented: “People want the world to change for the better right now and they are searching for ways to show compassion.”
Buying and owning an electric vehicle (EV) is now more cost-effective than getting a new petrol or diesel car, says insurance company Direct Line, which calculates that EVs now cost an average of £107 a year less to own over their whole lifetime. The average total cost of buying a new EV and driving it for about 14 years has been calculated as £52,133, compared with £53,625 for an equivalent petrolfuelled model. This means the EV would cost the owner £3,752 a year during the course of its life, while the annual total for a petrol car amounts to £3,858. The running costs for an EV are 21% lower, with an average of £1,742, or £33.50 per week, compared with £2,205 per year or £42.40 per week for a diesel car.
More than one in three women has been told by her manager to “dress sexier” for video calls since the start of the pandemic, according to a survey by law firm Slater and Gordon. Reasons were that it would “help to win new business”, it’s important to “look nicer for the team” and “it would be more pleasing to a client”, said the survey. Most women told to dress more provocatively did not report their boss to their HR department, and one in four actually agreed to change the way they looked for fear of a negative impact on their career. Slater and Gordon employment lawyer Danielle Parsons said: “It is categorically wrong for a manager or anyone in a position of power to suggest, even politely, for a woman to be more sexually appealing in the workplace.”
People who work during weekends and holidays feel less motivated, according to a study in the Harvard Business Review. The research, by authors at London Business School and Cornell University, and involving 1,298 US employees, found those who worked weekend days felt less intrinsic motivation for work. This was in spite of the widely held assumption that more flexible working hours boost motivation. The researchers found motivation could be boosted by telling workers the weekend was a time they could catch up on their work and plan ahead, rather than treating it as leisure time.
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New in… BOOKS
Making it count
How to make the world add up: ten rules for thinking differently about numbers by Tim Harford (The Bridge Street Press, £17.60, hardback) This is the latest tome from the Undercover Economist of the Financial Times and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s More or Less. As always, the subject is statistics, and Harford approaches it in his usual engaging style, describing the book as “my effort to help you think clearly about the numbers that swirl all around us”. The book is about overcoming biases, setting aside preconceptions and being open-minded without being gullible – and will look at “heroes and villains of statistics, from Florence Nightingale to John Maynard Keynes”. Also promised are strange cameos from an art forger, an erotic dancer, several alchemists and a whole phalanx of storks.
Women and leadership: real lives, real lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Bantam Press, £14.99, paperback) A series of conversations with some of the world’s most powerful women – New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Theresa May – explores leadership and why women are so under-represented. The discussions cover gender bias, sexism and even having your ideas stolen by male colleagues. Gillard has, of course, been among this club herself as the first female Prime Minister of Australia, while co-author Okonjo-Iweala is an economist who has served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Who better qualified to delve into this topic?
the german question
Health heroes: the people who took care of the world by Emily Sharratt (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK, £6.99, paperback) As citizens around the world discover a new-found respect for the health workers who have saved lives during the pandemic, this book tells the stories of those from previous eras and our own who have broken new ground in the pursuit of human health. These range from Florence Nightingale and Alexander Fleming to the unsung midwives, doctors, paramedics and carers who dedicate themselves to looking after patients every day. And yes, it’s a children’s book – but no less worthwhile for that.
Why the Germans do it better: notes from a grown-up country by John Kampfner (Atlantic Books, £16.99, hardcover) This tells the story of Europe’s economic and manufacturing superpower, from its emergence as a collection of city states 150 years ago, through two world wars, to its coronation as de facto leader of the European Union. The central question posed in the title is: why, in spite of or because of its turbulent history, has Germany become a model that so many other countries would like to emulate? The irony is not lost that, from being the birthplace of Nazism, Germany has emerged as a bulwark of stability and democracy in the world. And the comparisons are obvious, not least with the UK and its nostalgia for the Second World War.
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In numbers: Vaccines RESOURCES
Percentage of people worldwide who believe vaccines are safe Source: Wellcome Trust
Get WIRED This weekly podcast from US digital technology magazine WIRED promises to “pull back the curtain on the ways technology is changing our lives – from culture to business, science to design”. Hosted by WIRED and former Wall Street Journal writer Lauren Goode, it aims to cover all the big stories in tech. www.wired.com/story/get-wired-podcast-launch/
13.5m Estimated number of children not vaccinated in 2018 Source: World Health Organization
V-Hub Vodafone has teamed up with entrepreneur and past investor on Dragons’ Den Piers Linney to launch V-Hub, a support platform that aims to help small businesses work more efficiently and safely online. Offering an online knowledge centre and one-to-one support from dedicated business advisers, the service will be free throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. www.vodafone.co.uk/business/sme-business
Blue Islands/LoganAir Channel Islands airline Blue Islands and Scottish carrier Loganair have launched a partnership to provide air connections on routes between the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Customers can buy single tickets and benefit from guaranteed connections between the two carriers. Following the collapse of Flybe earlier this year, Loganair has taken over several of its routes, while Blue Islands has added two UK bases, with services including Manchester to Exeter and Southampton. www.flyblueair.com
The number of cases of polio, close to worldwide eradication, in 2018 – in 1988 there were 350,000
Source: World Health Organization
$59.2bn Value of the global vaccine market Source: Statista
Beyond Crisis Germany’s government has launched a platform for coronavirus-inspired business ideas. Beyond Crisis is a web-based platform run by the “Germany a land of ideas” partnership to which new ideas and business opportunities are submitted and reviewed on a daily basis. The organisation is designed to respond quickly if an idea has potential. One idea involved inflatable ‘isolation tents’ that could be ready to use in minutes and produced at scale. The site is also showcasing ideas from the Netherlands and Austria. land-der-ideen.de/en/competitions/beyondcrisis-time-for-new-solutions
Percentage of Americans who say vaccines do not cause autism in children Source: Gallup
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...recruit remotely ONCE upon a time, you used to actually meet prospective new staff before you hired them. But for now at least that may not be an option. Travel restrictions, quarantines and office closures mean much of your recruitment process will have to be handled remotely. So, how does that differ from the conventional process, and how do you make sure you’re getting the best person for the job?
Attract the best candidates You can only hire the right people if they apply for your job vacancy in the first place, which is largely a question of advertising. But even more important is to continue to invest in and support your employer brand. “More than ever, the best talent is looking for a company that will not only help them achieve their career goals, but also align with their personal values and beliefs,” says recruitment consultancy Michael Page. “This is still pertinent, even at a time of global crisis. Indeed, it may well be that for many, the lockdown has offered the chance for a period of reflection on what truly matters to them and the direction they want to take their career from here on in as a result.”
“An additional ‘home task’ as part of the interview process will give you a better understanding of how they work”
Review your job descriptions These are unusual times, and the job you are offering today is unlikely to be the same as the one you offered 12 months ago. You need to make it crystal clear what the job will entail in the immediate future, and how it might change as Covid-19 measures are eased or tightened. “In some instances, it is worth spelling out how the role will work if the successful applicant is expected to work remotely for the first
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few weeks and months while social distancing restrictions are in place,” says Michael Page. “However, a job description should also sell your longterm strategy and overall goals and objectives, as candidates will still be paying attention to this as they look ahead to a life outside lockdown.”
Choose your technology You will certainly need a video platform to conduct interviews. However, this might be the time to embrace technology more broadly in your recruitment process, with a system that manages the entire process and has features that enable you to get the most out of a remote approach. Modern Hire is a US platform that not only lets you qualify candidates, schedule interviews and collect data, but helps you to predict how well a candidate will do in the job, through a combination of AI analysing their interview responses and a Virtual Job Tryout feature.
Get your whole team involved At a distance, it’s harder than ever for one person to see if a candidate is the right fit for the business. “Interrogating soft skills like intuition, self-motivation, time management and so on is difficult at the best of times,” explains consumer sector recruitment firm Nigel Wright Group. “Getting the views of colleagues early in the process will give you a detailed and diverse assessment of these qualities – and better results.”
Look for cultural clues When you interview candidates, focus not just on their responses but also on what you can learn about them from
Business leaders on making it to the top
visual evidence. “Pay attention to how they communicate: do they speak in a professional manner or are they more informal?” suggests recruitment consultancy Hays. “Look at their body language and how engaged they are. Consider what they are wearing and the environment they have chosen to be interviewed in.”
Verify your choice Be prepared for the process to take longer than normal as you attempt to ‘get to know’ your prospective employee from afar, advises Nigel Wright Group. “An additional ‘home task’ as part of the interview process will give you a better understanding of how they work,” says the recruiter. “Or offer a ‘trial day’ to really test compatibility. Candidates should enjoy multiple communication touchpoints to keep them engaged. And longer interviews will help you get to know people better.”
Induction more important now Without an office to turn up to on their first day, it’s vital that you have a well-thoughtout onboarding process to introduce your new recruit to the organisation. Aim to “overcommunicate”, says Nigel Wright. “Assign a work buddy or mentor to the new starter to help them through those early stages of their tenure,” suggests Michael Page. Make sure their homeworking set-up is up to scratch before their first day and set up calls or video meetings with all the key people they’ll need to know. Who knows, you could even make a better job of recruitment than you did in the past?
Getting ahead Mark Forster, Client Lead, Financial Intermediaries at Butterfield Bank, Jersey How did you get into banking? At school, maths was one of my strongest subjects, so working with numbers was always going to suit me. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with people too, so a career path that combined finance and relationship management was a perfect match.
Did you have a career path mapped out? I wanted to be a racing driver, so a career in finance was certainly not a path I had in mind early on. Building up Channel Island Money Brokers was my first career, before moving into a treasury role at the end of the 1990s and progressing into my first role in the intermediary space. So my career was not mapped out, more of a gradual journey.
What’s the secret to client relationships in your business? I often reflect on how I’d like to be treated if I were the client, and then I use this approach for how I interact with clients. Being genuine is important: take an interest in what the client wants, listen to them and be open and honest. You want to build a mutually beneficial and rewarding relationship for both you and the client.
What do you look for when you hire someone? People can develop the skills and knowledge for a role over time, but it’s much harder to change someone’s personality. Qualifications are important but I look for someone who has the ability to interact with people, put the client first and adapt to changing situations. The industry is evolving, so you need flexibility to move with the times.
What are the pros and cons of work in the Channel Islands? The pros and cons vary depending on the stage of your career. It often takes someone to leave the islands for travel or work to appreciate the draw and work-life balance of the Channel Islands. They provide many opportunities to work with world-class finance firms with global reach, and unlimited opportunities. So, at Butterfield, you can have a lifelong career exploring different departments, changing your career direction, or even seconding to another office jurisdiction, while growing with the company.
How do you unwind outside work? I’ve never lost my love of cars and mechanical objects, so I still enjoy tinkering with classics cars and engines in general. I also have a passion for gardening. For a less hands-on activity, relaxing with a good book or a glass of wine takes some beating.
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f you were looking for a financial knight in shining armour Fund, stepping onto the world stage and winning the support of to save the world’s economy in the coronavirus pandemic, the US, UK, Russia, China and India in doing so. Her ascendancy then Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde would probably to the presidency of the ECB last year simply confirmed her stellar be top of that list. As President of the European Central Bank status. Lagarde has said of her outlook that she is “with Adam since November 2019, and with spells as Managing Director of Smith – liberal”. But this advocacy of laissez-faire economics and the IMF (2011-2019) and France’s Finance Minister (2007-2011) free market capitalism is tempered by strong progressive leanings behind her, Lagarde is uniquely positioned to understand – she is a supporter of action on climate change, for example, the global economy. She has the stature and authority and a champion for women’s equality. to act effectively, not least when the US and China are It’s often been noted that, for all her Gallic elegance, “For all her pursuing their own versions of national self-interest. Lagarde is Anglo-Saxon in many of her sensibilities, Gallic elegance, Lagarde grew up in Le Havre. A lawyer by believing in globalism, meritocracy and minimal Lagarde is Anglotraining, in her early career she rose to the top state intervention. During the Greek debt crisis, she of Chicago-based law firm Baker McKenzie. She softened her stance from telling the Greeks it was Saxon in her was plucked from there to join the government of “payback time” in 2012 to later insisting Greece have sensibilities” Dominique de Villepin in France in 2006, becoming its debts written off in order to recover. Minister of Commerce, Minister of Agriculture and More recently, she has echoed her predecessor, Mario Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry in swift Draghi, who said the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to succession. She also won the FT’s award for the best finance save the euro. She announced a ‘pandemic emergency purchase minister along the way. programme’ for the ECB to buy €705bn of bonds, saying: “The In 2011, she succeeded the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn ECB governing council will do everything necessary within its to become the first female MD of the International Monetary mandate.” It’s a promise she may yet have to live up to.
If you say the wrong thing, or express certain political views, you’re increasingly likely to find yourself victim these days to the cancel culture. An idea that has gained traction in the last few months, cancel culture is where somebody – maybe a celebrity – is targeted on social media because of views they’ve expressed, and is either boycotted or denied a platform. Some see it as mob mentality; others as a way of speaking truth to power. It comes from the idea that a person can be ‘cancelled’ or have their career blocked if enough people decide to take action against them. JK Rowling, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie were recently among more than 150 writers who signed an open letter denouncing cancel culture. They argued that it is a symptom of a society suffering from a weakened tolerance of different opinions in favour of ‘ideological conformity’. Rowling herself became the subject of a campaign after she posted a series of controversial tweets about the transgender community.
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WFW Working from work – the new unorthodoxy
Splinternet The balkanisation of the internet
ALSO NEW IN THE WORLD OF
Top tech WHAT’S
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAS MARKED ANOTHER BIG STEP ON THE ROAD TO A CASHLESS SOCIETY. BUT WHAT’S THE BEST WAY FORWARD FOR CONTACT-FREE PAYMENT?
The amount of money you can pay contactless on your card has been extended in recent months from £30 to £45, and many retailers are refusing to accept cash altogether because of health concerns. The next step for many consumers will be to stop using a card altogether and embrace mobile payments for the first time, especially on small everyday purchases. But it’s a confusing area for novices. For a start, there’s a difference between mobile apps whose payments are widely accepted on the high street, such as Apple Pay, and those that are used mainly for making payments online or transferring money to friends, such as Facebook Pay. (And don’t even think about Facebook’s planned new blockchainbased currency Libra – that’s still very much on the drawing board). Most true mobile payment apps use Near Field Communication (NFC) – a method of data transfer that detects other devices in close proximity and enables small amounts of data to be sent without any need for an internet signal. So these are not ‘online’ transactions but rather a close-up payment that’s independent of other forms of connectivity and can be used in so-called ‘not spots’. The key advantage of mobile payments is that you don’t have to carry around bank cards, and payments are as simple as a tap and immediate in most cases. They are also considered as secure, if not more so, than cards. On the minus side, it’s a bit of a confusing marketplace. The most popular apps are only available on one brand of phone, and while many retailers accept at least one form of mobile payment, it’s not necessarily the one you’ve got. And does it make money? It would appear so, since Ant Financial Group – the company that owns Alibaba payment app Alipay – is preparing for one of the biggest IPOs of 2020, which is expected to value the group at more than $150bn. So if you want to go cashless and cardless, here are four of the best apps to choose from.
Apple Pay Launched in 2014, this is the first of the so-called digital wallets and arguably the most widely accepted among retailers. It has one big drawback, namely that it only works on Apple phones, but on the plus side, if you buy a recent iPhone, Apple Pay will already be installed. Apple Pay is free for debits and bank transfers and charges 3% if you apply your spending to a credit card.
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Google Pay Formerly known as Android Pay, Google Pay is designed to work on Android phones as well as iOS and arrived in the UK in 2016. It’s accepted by many big retailers (including Boots, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and McDonald’s). There’s no spending limit but many retailers apply the same limit as for contactless cards, currently £45. Free to the user for debits and transfers.
Samsung Pay The most recent of the phone brand payment apps, Samsung is limited to Samsung Galaxy phones and is supported by fewer banks and financial institutions – so less choice about what card you can link it to. On the plus side, it works with conventional card readers, and so does not require retailers to opt into its programme, which means it is accepted almost everywhere. It doesn’t work for online purchases, but it does have a loyalty scheme, which means you can earn points for your purchases.
PayPal One Touch
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This is the mobile payment app from the company that largely invented online payments. It doesn’t use NFC, so needs to have internet signal available, and also needs to be backed up by a PayPal debit card for in-store purchases. Its charging structure can also be confusing: PayPal charges 2.9% for debits, where other payment apps are free. But it can be used on Android and iOS phones, and also has the benefit of being widely known and used internationally.
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Directory To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Unleash the Power of Automations with Agile Automations Agile Automations specialise in developing bespoke Robotic Process Automations (RPA) and Robotic Desktop Automations (RDA), putting automation at the very heart of your organisation’s infrastructure. An organisation – where employees perform predictable, rule lead, highvolume, transactional processes and data manipulation – will boost their capabilities, increase accuracy, save money and time with RPA. Our robotics act with outstanding efficiency and accuracy, 24 hours a day, while offering enhanced Risk & Governance controls, sometimes eliminating the need for human engagement altogether. At Agile Automations, we do not use any robotics platforms, which allows us to offer a complete, yet flexible solution, for our clients; each automation is bespoke, designed to their unique individual requirements, without any need to compromise. This results in an enhanced Return on Investment. Just as we have seen robots revolutionise manufacturing – by increasing production rates, improving quality and cost savings – RPA is revolutionising the way we think about business processes. To find out how Agile Automations could automate your business, please do not hesitate to contact our CEO Martin Keelagher Email: email@example.com Website: www.agileautomations.co.uk Twitter: twitter.com/AAutomations LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ agile-automations/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/ AgileAutomations/
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Great learning boosts performance It’s a simple fact of business that people who know how to use their IT systems properly are more productive and happier at work. At ALX Training, it is our mission to ensure that every person we work with can use their essential applications properly, saving time, smoothing processes and creating a more productive workplace.
OFFSHORE LEGAL ADVICE & SERVICES
Appleby is one of the world’s largest providers of offshore legal advice and services. Uniquely positioned in the key offshore jurisdictions of Bermuda, BVI, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius and the Seychelles, as well as the international financial centres of Hong Kong and Shanghai. We are also the only firm to have offices in all three British Crown Dependencies. Our services include:
Our trainers are renowned for their product knowledge, and their friendly and energetic attitudes to training help them get the best from every person they teach.
l Corporate l Dispute Resolution l Private Client & Trusts l Property
Learning starts at induction We are well-known for our range of Microsoft Office courses which includes Office 365, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, Project, SharePoint and Visio but our clients know we can do much more.
Members of the Jersey and Guernsey offices regularly advise London City and international law firms on all legal aspects of offshore corporate, finance and investment fund transactions and arrangements in the Channel Islands.
Not only do we train on well-known accounting packages such a Xero and QuickBooks but we create courses on bespoke in-house systems. We design unique courses specifically for your organisation, so that your staff learn precisely the information they need to work efficiently and effectively.
For more information visit our website www.applebyglobal.com
We know there’s no better place for your new colleagues to start learning than during their induction programme, so we develop bespoke induction courses that give your new starters all the information they need to hit the ground running. We can even deliver content online, so training can be ongoing and continuous.
James Gaudin (Managing Partner - Jersey) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Berchem (Office Managing Group Partner – Guernsey) Email: email@example.com
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Independent and Professional We offer a full range of management and fiduciary services to our domestic and international private clients and corporate structures: Family office - bespoke assurance Wealth management - your strategy l Trustee - impartiality with vision l Corporate services - attention to detail l Good governance - a helpful eye l Strategic guidance - controlled ideas l
Our team has many years of experience dealing with a wide range of clients in different countries. We look to provide good corporate governance to achieve your aim. Contact us: Tim Cartwright – Director email@example.com Lisette Le Creurer – Associate Director firstname.lastname@example.org Wendy Warder – Associate Director email@example.com Áine O’Reilly – Director firstname.lastname@example.org www.baccata.co.je Tel: 00 44 1534 870670
Carey Olsen is a leading offshore law firm. We advise on Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey and Jersey law across a global network of nine international offices. We are a full service law firm working across banking and finance, corporate and M&A, investment funds and private equity, trusts and private wealth, dispute resolution, insolvency and property law. Our clients include global financial institutions, investment funds, private equity houses, multinational corporations, public organisations, sovereign wealth funds, high net worth individuals, family offices, directors, trustees and private clients.
Deloitte employs over 200 professionals in Jersey and Guernsey and is part of Deloitte North South Europe (NSE). The NSE firm brings together 13 countries and over 40,000 talented people, giving the firm the expertise to solve organisations’ most complex challenges and make an impact that matters.
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Deloitte LLP provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services, bringing world-class capabilities and high-quality services to clients. The company has the broadest and deepest range of skills of any global business advisory organisation and is a world leader in the professional services industry. We advise and deliver for the public sector as well as global and local businesses across every industry.
Alex Adam Partner, Guernsey D: +44 1481 703 214 email@example.com Martin Rowley Partner | Jersey D: +44 20 7007 7665 firstname.lastname@example.org Siobhan Durcan Partner, Jersey D: +44 1534 82 4274 email@example.com Theo Brennand Partner, Jersey D: +44 20 7303 0035 firstname.lastname@example.org www.deloitte.co.uk
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Fiduchi is a leading independent financial services company providing solutions to high-net-worth individuals and businesses around the globe. Our independence ensures we have the flexibility to deliver bespoke solutions - that’s what makes us different! Over 25 years, our director-led teams have built long-term valued relationships with clients and their professional advisors, ensuring a pragmatic and trusted approach to their wealth structuring needs. Using the latest technological cloud-based solutions ensures we have the flexibility to deliver timely and innovative solutions that our clients require. Visit our website to see the comprehensive range of services we provide in the following areas: l Private Wealth l Corporate Services l Fund Services l Yacht Services l Employee Services For more information, visit www.fiduchi.com Alternatively, you can contact: Robert Ayliffe - Executive Director Tel: +44 7700 349 750 Heidi Thompson - Executive Director Tel: +44 7797 966 408 Terry Northcott - Executive Director Tel: +44 7797 715 421 Follow us: Dubai / Jersey / London Fiduchi is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Full legal, data and regulatory notices are published on our website. Fiduchi® is a registered trademark of Fiduchi Group Limited.
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Highvern Trustees is a leading provider of wealth structuring, governance and advisory services to an international client base of high-net worth individuals, their families and businesses. It offers senior industry expertise and client focus, developing long term, sustainable client relationships by working closely with getting to know the individual ambitions of every client with whom it works. Highvern Fund Administrators provides a fully tailored suite of bespoke fund services to investment managers and family offices across private capital markets including renewables, private equity, real estate and debt. Both businesses are built on cutting edge technology, truly independent ownership and a team of experts with the shared vision of responding to clients’ needs in a flexible, timely and constructive manner.
Intertrust is a global leader in providing techenabled corporate and fund solutions to clients operating and investing in the international business environment. The Company has more than 3,500 employees across 30 jurisdictions in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle-East. Intertrust delivers high-quality, tailored fund, corporate, capital market and private wealth services to its clients, with a view to building long-term relationships. The Company works with global law firms and accountancy firms, multinational corporations, financial institutions, fund managers, high net worth individuals and family offices. In the Channel Islands we offer a comprehensive range of services to our clients and business partners:Corporate Services Fund Services l Real Estate Services l Capital Markets l Private Wealth l Performance & Reward Management Services l l
To discuss how Highvern can help you or your business achieve your goals please contact: Family Office Naomi Rive, Group Director +44(0)1534 480601 email@example.com Private Client Philip Carlton, Client Director +44(0)1534 480610 firstname.lastname@example.org Corporate Naomi Rive, Group Director +44(0)1534 480601 email@example.com Funds Aidan O’Flanagan, Head of Funds +44(0)1534 480690 firstname.lastname@example.org highvern.com Highvern is the registered business name of Highvern Trustees Limited & Highvern Fund Administrators Limited which are regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
We pride ourselves on providing professional, personal and cross-border services to our clients across the globe, enabling businesses to grow sustainably. For further information, please contact Jacob Smed Managing Director, Jersey +44 (0) 1534 504000 email@example.com Marie McNeela Managing Director, Guernsey +44 (0) 1481 211275 firstname.lastname@example.org Intertrust Jersey is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Intertrust Guernsey is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. www.intertrustgroup.com
www.blglobal.co.uk To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or email@example.com
Julius Baer’s origins date back to 1890. From that time the renowned Swiss private banking group has been dedicated to serving and advising sophisticated private clients and family offices from around the world – going on 125 years now. Julius Baer employs more than 120 personnel in Guernsey and offers a full range of financial services, including discretionary portfolio management, investment advisory, structured products and credit services. There is also a dedicated team that supports the needs of External Asset Managers and the Branch works closely with the wider Julius Baer Group through the provision of administration and support services that are delivered from its booking centre. Stephen Burt Branch Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Jean-Luc Le Tocq Head of Private Banking email@example.com Craig Allen Head of Investment Management firstname.lastname@example.org Shaun Kelling Head of External Asset Management email@example.com https://www.juliusbaer.com/gg/en/home/ Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd, Guernsey Branch is licensed in Guernsey to provide banking and investment services and is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
Ogier provides legal advice on BVI, Cayman, Guernsey, Jersey and Luxembourg law. Our network of locations also includes Hong Kong, London, Shanghai and Tokyo. Legal services for the corporate and financial sectors form the core of the business, principally in the areas of banking and finance, corporate, investment funds, dispute resolution, private equity and private wealth. Ogier has strong practices in the areas of employee benefits and incentives, employment law, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency and property. We are a registered listing agent for The International Stock Exchange (TISE, formerly known as The Channel Islands Securities Exchange or CISE) and frequently advise companies listing on other exchanges whether offshore or onshore. We also provide pan-Island legal services for local Channel Islands businesses and individuals. Contact: Guernsey Redwood House St Julian’s Avenue St Peter Port Guernsey GY1 1WA T +44 (0)1481 721672 E firstname.lastname@example.org Jersey 44 Esplanade St Helier Jersey Channel Islands JE4 9WG T +44 (0)1534 514000 E email@example.com Website: www.ogier.com
Specialty: Bespoke IT Development & Business Consultancy Puritas is an award-winning provider of intuitive software and business solutions for the financial services industry. Specifically designed to meet the increasingly complex accounting, compliance, and reporting needs of our clients, all software features robust audit and control capabilities which can be easily updated to reflect changes in the regulatory environment. Our products include: l PureFunds - a unitized product platform specifically designed to support many different types of asset class and fund structures and help fund administrators and portfolio managers better manage investor activity l P ureClient - an advanced customer due diligence/client management system which will maintain and update client records for any entity or relationship and provides the necessary transparency and look-through reporting that is needed to manage sophisticated structures l P ureManager - a bespoke software package for fund and investment managers which provides for effective control, analysis, reconciliation and reporting of daily trading activity. As well as software development, our services include: l Systems integration and implementation l Programme and project management l Project and business consultancy To find out more how Puritas can help your business. Contact: Mike Feighan - Director Phone: +44 (0) 1534 874100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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To advertise in the directory in print or online contact Carl Methven on + 44 (0)1534 615886 or email@example.com
Building trust in society and solving important problems We focus on three things at PwC in the Channel Islands: assurance, tax and advisory services. But how we use our knowledge and experience depends on what you want to achieve. So whichever one of our 390 staff in the Channel Islands you work with (or 225,000 people across the PwC global network of member firms), they’ll start by asking the following questions: Are you looking to build trust? Give your shareholders more value? Or do you want to do something completely different with your strategy? When we work with you we really listen, to understand you better. We’ll get to know you, your business and your goals. Then we’ll share what we’ve learned to help you get there. We want to deliver the value that you, our clients, our people and our communities are looking for. Talk to us about your issues and aspirations. For further information, please contact: John Roche, Partner, Guernsey Phone: +44 1481 752040 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Karl Hairon, Partner, Jersey Phone: +44 1534 838276 Email: email@example.com Follow us: @PwC_CI www.pwc.com/jg
About RBC Wealth Management For more than a century, RBC Wealth Management has provided trusted advice and wealth management solutions to individuals, families and institutions. We are truly a global organisation, bringing our diverse expertise and deep knowledge to the sophisticated financial needs of our clients around the world. As one of the world’s top five largest wealth managers*, RBC Wealth Management directly serves clients globally with a full suite of banking, investment, trust and other wealth management solutions, from our key operational hubs in Canada, the United States, the British Isles, and Asia. The business also provides asset management products and services directly and through RBC and third party distributors to institutional and individual clients, through its RBC Global Asset Management business (which includes BlueBay Asset Management). For more information, please visit www.rbcwealthmanagement.com Contact: Phone number Tel. +44 (0) 1534 283 000 Address Gaspé House 66-72 Esplanade St. Helier, Jersey Channel Islands, JE2 3QT *Scorpio Partnership Global Private Banking KPI Benchmark 2018. In the United States, securities are offered through RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. Member NYSE/FINRA/ SIPC.
Redcoin – Your Cyber Security is our Priority. Redcoin are a Jersey based IT Security Distributor, providing Cyber Security Solutions, Services and Support across the Channel Islands and UK markets, through our established Reseller Channels. Our objectives are to deliver guidance, education and support to the Islands businesses, to enhance their protection and understanding of the ever-changing Cyber Security Treat landscape. Our Independent security reviews are designed to give a baseline understanding of the Companies current IT position, supported by an informative and high-level report summarizing areas of strength, areas that can be improved by optimizing existing IT investment, along with key areas for consideration when planning future IT spend. Our technology portfolio provides Industry leading technologies, at an affordable cost, for all sizes and requirements of our Channel Islands clients. We can supply and support local resellers with the implementation of chosen solutions or make unbiased recommendations of other more suitable offerings outside of our portfolio. For more information please visit – www.redcoin.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Linkedin – Redcoin Limited
® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.
64 August/September 2020
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Wealth transfer by 2030, by region
Number of those worth $100m+ transferring wealth by 2030, by region
Number of $100m+ individuals transferring wealth by 2030
north america 9,920
Average estate of those worth $100m+ to be transferred (US$)
europe 4,440 $465m $402m
$395m $565m $397m
latin america & The caribbean 760
middle east 850
VARIATIONS IN WEALTH TRANSFER BY 2030
The impact of the pending transition of trillions of dollars of family wealth from baby boomers to their heirs has been well documented – as wealth professionals clamour to meet the needs and desires of the emerging millennial wealth holders. A recent report from investor services group IQ-EQ has set out the number of individuals predicted to transfer wealth by 2030 – by region – along with the average estate of those worth $100m+ to be transferred. It shows the average size of estate being transferred varies significantly between regions. While North America has more than 9,920 transferring individuals worth more than $100m, the average estate being transferred is $377m, below the $430m global average for this group. In Latin America & the Caribbean, which has just 10% of the number of $100m+ individuals that North America has, family office-tier ultra-high-net-worth individuals actually have an average estate size of $565m – far above the global average. Source: The Great Global Wealth Transfer White Paper, IQ-EQ, July 2020
The Asia Edition 2020 Publishing in November FOR EDITORIAL QUERIES, CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org FOR ADVERTISING, EMAIL CARL.METHVEN@BLGLOBAL.CO.UK
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Restructuring and Corporate Recovery Our expertise extends to all aspects of restructurings, from consensual workouts to contentious schemes of arrangement. Our team includes some of the foremost names offshore and our multidisciplinary approach enables us to offer a one-stop, costefficient solution that cuts through complexity to get to what really matters. Legal Services British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Guernsey Hong Kong Jersey London Luxembourg Shanghai Tokyo
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