Locally based trust company, Hawksford, has acquired L-S&S GmbH, based in Zurich, Switzerland and its New Zealand trust company. The acquisition forms a significant part of the company’s growth strategy and follows its recent move into the Middle East where it opened a Dubai office in May.

Hawksford was established in 2008 following a management buyout of Rathbone Trust Company Jersey Limited, backed by UK private equity company, Dunedin. Since this date, the company has been focused on growth, both organically and through global expansion. Acquiring L-S&S GmbH, which specialises in capital tax and estate planning, private and estate administration services, trusts, wills and probate, makes significant strides to achieving the company’s growth targets.

‘Our recent acquisition in Switzerland will ensure that Hawksford’s clients, and those of L-S&S GmbH, will have access to an even wider resource pool of experts across multiple jurisdictions – an opportunity we view as a great positive. As the firm’s global footprint increases, so too will awareness of our unique service offering. We are delighted to welcome Geoffrey Shindler, Tim Urquhart, James Norman and Nicole Noti to the team,’ said Peter Murley, chief executive, Hawksford.

‘L-S&S GmbH will continue trading in Switzerland under its existing name, as the brand is already well established,’ continued Mr Murley.

L-S&S GmbH is a boutique private wealth law firm, which was founded in Zurich by English lawyers Geoffrey Shindler, Roger Lane-Smith and Tim Urquhart. The firm provides specialist advice on all aspects of wealth planning and structuring, particularly using international and offshore trusts, private trust companies and other asset-holding structures.

Nigel Bentley, managing director at Hawksford International, will have initial responsibility for the running of the Zurich office and will be working closely with directors Tim Cartwright and Julian Hayden to integrate the teams and grow the Swiss business.

Geoffrey Shindler OBE, consultant, will continue to specialise in wills, trusts, capital taxation and estate work. He has a degree and postgraduate degree in law from the University of Cambridge and is a solicitor and registered trust and estate practitioner. He was one of the founder members of STEP and its chairman between 1994 and 1998. He was chairman of its education committee when its diploma examination was developed and introduced. He is now its world president.

Mr Shindler is also a member of the International Academy of Estate & Trust Law and is consulting editor of Trusts & Estates Law & Tax Journal and a member of the editorial board of Wills & Trusts Law Reports. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007 for services to the administration of justice.

Tim Urquhart, consultant, specialises in private wealth structuring and on cross-border aspects of taxation. He practised as an English solicitor for 22 years before retiring from practice in 1994 to join Rothschild Trust Group in Switzerland where he became CEO and a member of the executive board of Rothschild Bank in Switzerland. He joined L-S&S GmbH in 2008.

Since its management buyout in October 2008, Hawksford has gone from strength-to-strength and was recently crowned Trust Company of the Year at the 2011 Citywealth Magic Circle Awards and has been recognised as a Top 25 Trust Company by Private Client Practitioner for the second year running. Last year Hawksford was awarded the title of Independent Trust Company Team of the Year for 2010/2011 at the STEP Private Client Awards.

Hawksford is a leading independent funds and fiduciary services provider with a range of differentiated product offerings, which include investment fund administration, employee solutions, law services including wills and probate, family office and the management of image and royalty rights. Newly appointed Hawksford chairman, Philip Taylor, has been assisting the board with its accelerating growth strategy.