In our latest Q&A, Senior Director of Private Client Services – Karen O’Hanlon, who is responsible for overseeing the growth of the company in the UK and Europe as well as being an integral member of the Asia and Private Office team discusses JTC’s offerings in multiple jurisdictions, the knock on effect of COVID-19 and the present-day view of the private client landscape.
How have you seen the private client landscape develop over the years amongst high net worth clients?
Pre COVID-19, the landscape was quite fluid in the private client sector, filled with M&A activity, private equity investing and real estate (private and commercial) still dominating a client’s portfolio.
Without an end in sight for COVID-19 the world looks very different, with clients reconfiguring their business strategies and looking for opportunities. Protecting their assets and considering their own health and mortality is also very high on their agendas.
Technology has been an essential tool for all during these unprecedented times, and new entrepreneurs and wealth creation will surely follow. Notably, Intellectual Property registrations have increased exponentially, with more and more investment into the healthcare sector being a key to fighting back against deadly viruses. With the current travel restrictions imposed it has been difficult but not impossible for real estate transactions both residential and commercial to continue and this asset class still sits at the top of a client’s asset class wish list.
How do you ensure that the service offered is tailored to these jurisdictional differences between clients?
JTC has 23 offices in 19 countries across the globe and our growth has been driven by our client’s needs for Private Client, Corporate and Fund services.
Clients tend to have a global footprint, therefore it is essential that their fiduciaries have physical presence and a sound understanding of the regions, as well as an excellent network of top intermediaries including lawyers, accountants, tax advisors and the like.
More than $15 trillion in assets is expected to be passed to younger generations in the next decade. How are the new generation of wealthy clients dealing with the ‘Great Wealth Transfer’ and the responsibility that comes with it?
Clients are looking to JTC for guidance on bringing the next generation to the table. The old adage of ‘clog to clog’ in three generations still rings true. To support our clients, JTC Private Office developed the award winning online technology platform “Edge” that consolidates clients’ wealth and personal structures and assets, both financial and non-financial. It helps clients to create order out of what is often difficult to manage. Harnessing this technology has allowed clients to create ‘data rooms’, allowing family members to view specific asset classes to integrate and educate in a measured way rather than overwhelming. Philanthropy and sustainability is at the forefront of the next generation’s priorities, and we are already seeing these changes being made.
How have asset allocation trends changed in the private client sphere, across both Europe and Asia?
Asset allocations are changing continually with so much global turmoil. Bricks and mortar will always be the number one asset class for Asian investors, with Europe continuing to look very attractive even with all the cooling measures imposed specifically in the UK. Europeans are leaning more towards gold, healthcare and technology.
Globally there has been a turbo charged leap into impact investing, sustainable investment and general philanthropy since the onset of COVID-19.
At JTC we have also seen more Family Offices coming together to co-invest and looking to us to provide our services for the most appropriate vehicle to do so, such as the Jersey Private Fund.
How is the private client space developing in line with digital advancements?
Embracing technology is something JTC has placed even greater focus on in the two years since our listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Most recently we acquired NES Financial in the US. Their technology platform is innovative and cutting edge, and it will be used to further enhance our existing technology led offerings. Clients want it and need it, however it also goes without saying, clients still need people and their trusted advisors too!
How do you see the private client landscape evolving in the coming years?
Turmoil always brings opportunities, however we are heading full throttle into an economic downturn. It is very hard in these unprecedented times to give a real estimate on the impact COVID-19 will have in the months and years to come, however, what we do expect is that we will need to buckle up for this roller coaster ride and work with our clients to provide innovative and pragmatic solutions whilst providing continuity and peace of mind. The world will continue to turn, and now that the positive impact on the environment has been proven during lockdown, we expect to see new wealth being generated from sustainability and ecological sectors.