‘A safe pair of hands either side of the ocean’Published on 06 Oct 2020
Two minutes with Layve Rabinowitz – Head of Family Office Middle East & Africa
Our South African client families are increasingly global. Be it family members living overseas or the externalisation of assets and structures, our model offers a safe pair of hands either side of the ocean.
We have seen a rise in the number of clients emigrating over the past year - often to the UK, Israel or Australia. It is a trend likely to continue. With strong teams both locally and around the world, we understand their concerns and can provide the continuity of advice from pre-emigration planning, through to arrivals and on-the-ground support in their new destination.
There is no ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to international tax planning and structuring. It can be a challenge for clients to obtain a consolidated picture of their structures, particularly when family members are located across multiple jurisdictions. We have international specialists who understand the wider implications of country-specific advice and are cognisant of any knock-on effects that guidance may have.
Covid-19 has increased cross border challenges, impacting international families. Those who have recently emigrated are bound to stringent tax residency requirements, dictating the number of days they spend in or outside a given jurisdiction. Travel restrictions and quarantines have interfered with this. It has also been responsible for clients postponing offshore private equity transactions where they were unable to travel to carry out due diligence. On the other hand we have seen a wider acceptance of carrying out due diligence over video. As advisers, we have to be ready to help clients find solutions in a rapidly changing environment.
Continuity, communication and implementation. These are at the heart of our onshore Family Office offering. Many advisers design great solutions but either don’t implement them or walk away once they have. Our service centres around regular contact with our clients and the provision of synchronised, coordinated advice – be that from in-house specialists or third party advisers. It is critical that we stay up-to-date with the family environment and proactively respond to their changing needs.
Succession planning and next generation education are key concerns for families. Many of our South African clients are first generation wealth creators so these concepts are relatively new. Poor family dynamics are one of the biggest risks to wealth and that a ‘head in the sand’ approach does not work. We encourage families to start planning and engaging the next generation early. Spending time agreeing values and a purpose for their wealth by which future decisions can be made, is one of the surest ways of avoiding conflict in the future.
Layve is Head of Family Office Middle East and Africa and serves as an adviser to a number of ultra-high-net-worth South African and Israel based families.