Our clients have complex lives. Families are becoming global and with increased mobility comes additional challenges. Clients rely on us to stay abreast of changes in tax, immigration, investment and fiduciary arrangements internationally. In this digital age, information is readily available but being able to bring all those data streams together and make sense of the wider picture is where we offer true value to our clients.
Reputation management is one of the biggest challenges for international families today. Perceptions are changing and families don’t necessarily want to be known for being wealthy. They do however want to be acknowledged for the good they do with their wealth – their commitment to philanthropy and communities. How families express this ‘social capital’ has changed too. It is different to the under-the-radar philanthropy of the past.
We are seeing a change in how the Next Gen perceive wealth. It is essential we have the right services and people for this evolution. In the past, there was an expectation that clients would deal with people with grey hair; that’s gone. The next generation wants to talk to people of a similar age who speak their language. They also want to be able to go online and check reports in real time. As a group we have embraced this.
The interest in sustainable investing is growing all the time. Second and third generation family members are challenging their parents’ decisions, translating a family’s social capital into their investment portfolios. People want to know how much a portfolio reflects their values and how those values might influence wider society.
We are reaching a watershed moment in bringing through new management for the business. Over the past thirty years, we have achieved strong organic growth, developing departments such as law, art and property in response to our clients’ evolving needs. Today, our focus is strategy. Part of that is to equip the next generation of leaders with the tools to attain our ambitious targets for global growth.
The Stonehage Fleming culture is family centric with strong values. It is dependent on employing and retaining the right people. As an island, Jersey is fully employed. With that in mind, I am proud of the long-term service of our staff here. I think they stay with us because we treat people with respect, build an encouraging environment and maintain high standards. We have to work to keep that magic – we must never become complacent.
Ian is Head of Group Legal, Corporate, Risk and Compliance and Chairman of Stonehage Fleming Jersey. He joined the firm in 1995 and in 1998 established the Group’s Jersey office. Over the past twenty years, the office has grown substantially, now employing over 120 people and providing a wide array of client services.