Name: James Halliday
Title: Manager, Private Client Services
James joined JTC in 2017 as part of the acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s trust business and, in 2021, he played a key role in establishing the GEIM (Geneva & Isle of Man) team, which supports the Swiss client administrators. As a child James travelled frequently, so perhaps a Gateway opportunity was always on the cards! Growing up in Johannesburg and moving to the Isle of Man (IOM) where he has lived for 26 years, taking the step to set up in Geneva was an opportunity of a lifetime.
SO TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR MOVE…
I have lived on the IOM for 26 years now, which definitely has its perks but also left me feeling like maybe it was time for a change of scenery. I’d been to Geneva a few times in the past, once with Merrill Lynch in 2017 where I spent two weeks getting to know the team, then spending 2 months in 2021 to help set up the GEIM. So you could say that I have slowly built up the time – two weeks, two months and now a full year secondment!
WERE YOU NERVOUS OR EXCITED?
I was lucky enough to have visited in the past and the office is super friendly which made me feel a lot more relaxed about the move. It was good to have visited before moving and just know the local area a bit better. The hardest part was waiting for my permit, which the Swiss Authorities kept hold of until three weeks before my move date!
WAS IT HARD TO PLAN THE MOVE AND GET SETTLED?
We are really lucky to have a great team at JTC who help with all the logistics (thanks to HR and Travel!) making a cross-country move much easier. I had previously looked at an opportunity to move to Jersey which sadly didn’t come to fruition but, every step of the way, JTC has supported and guided me through the process. I have to say my Gateway to Geneva was pretty seamless, apart from British Airways losing one of my bags on the flight over!
SO WHAT’S GENEVA LIKE?
It’s great, very different from the IOM but there is such a buzz in the city and lots to do. There is an amazing cultural side with museums and art galleries – a real mix of French, Swiss and German cultures, food and language which changes as you move around the country. Obviously being close to Lake Geneva gives some scenic backdrops of the snow-covered Alps and I would definitely check out the Jet d’Eau (a giant water fountain!). I was really lucky that some of my new colleagues took me on some trips to go skiing and tobogganing, which meant I also got to experience life outside of the city centre. It’s an all-around great location to be in as you can easily take a trip to neighbouring countries or go further afield for some sunshine!
ANYTHING THAT SURPRISED YOU?
Everything is closed on Sunday! And I mean everything – I once had to take a trip back to the airport to buy some food as it was the only place open!
The food is also as good as they say, nothing can beat some Swiss chocolate or my new favourite dish, Raclette. If you are a lover of cheese or chocolate I would definitely book a visit.
ANY ADVICE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING A GATEWAY EXPERIENCE?
Go for it! It’s a great opportunity to be able to have and JTC is there to support you every step of the way. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and I have experienced a new culture and way of life that is so different to the IOM. It’s been a great learning experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my trip brings.