Nick’s article emphasises the numerous complexities facing wealthy families, which are only growing as time goes by. Keeping up with tax, regulatory and compliance changes can be onerous, time consuming and costly.

I have a slightly different perspective, having worked in-house for a trust company in Zurich and then London before returning to private practice.  However, I have had many of the same thoughts and conclusions about how clients tend to want to be assisted, the pitfalls and costs that can face them when their affairs are complicated and where gaps tend to exist in providing them with workable solutions.

Dealing with many different lawyers around the world to effectively manage trust structures for beneficiaries whilst I was in-house gave me an insight into the varied approaches taken by law firms. There were those who would take great care to ensure that advice was carefully joined up with other advisers involved (for instance in other jurisdictions relevant to the trusts), recommend and bring in other experts when advisable, and add practical and commercial insights. On the other hand, there were those that appeared to have copied text directly from tax statutes into an email, sent this to me and considered this to be the end of the advice. 

The latter approach, whilst probably cheaper, adds little that could not be done by a client themselves and leaves them to navigate all the practical and implementation issues. I actually enjoy taking a commercial approach, analysing complex issues and implementing solutions and so was happy to have a more prominent role when necessary in dealing with these issues in-house (and now) but I could easily see how things could go wrong when inexperienced or busy clients were left to fend for themselves (and had consulted an expert so that they would not have to).

Ince’s broad range of expert advisory and support services mean that Ince’s clients may be offered much more than those of traditional law firms, when this is of interest to them. On the legal side, I can still advise clients on a broad range of UK tax, succession and estate planning matters, pulling together legal and tax advice across relevant jurisdictions and project managing asset management and structuring issues as necessary. However, the possibilities to help clients beyond this, where it adds value to them, are exciting and mean that we will be able to provide solutions in a much broader range of circumstances.