Why reputation is your greatest but most vulnerable asset

Digital media and the demand for greater transparency are putting the reputation of wealthy families and individuals under increasing scrutiny. Accuro’s Katrina Williams and Paul Douglas examine how to stay one step ahead.

Reputation rarely appears on a spreadsheet, but it is nonetheless an important asset. In business, it builds trust and opens the doors to new opportunities. On a personal level, it is key to social interaction and can be the glue that binds families together around a common set of values.

It is also an asset that is increasingly under threat. In today’s age of instant news and unfiltered online information, the dangers to reputation have never been higher, more multi-faceted or so rapidly moving. At the same time, regulations requiring greater transparency are providing journalists and members of the public with greater access to information about individuals and their business interests.

The dangers are particularly relevant for wealthy individuals and families. Firstly, they have more to lose from reputational damage because of the value of their financial interests. Secondly, it is now more difficult for the wealthy to separate their personal and business worlds. In the past a family name was often disconnected from the ownership of the family assets but, with the inexorable drive towards greater transparency, it is becoming increasing difficult to maintain that financial privacy.

Regulation increases transparency

In the first few months of 2024 alone, two UK regulatory developments have accelerated this trend. The expansion of the Register of Overseas Entities (ROE) requires non-UK companies that hold land in the UK to register with Companies House and provide details of beneficial ownership. In addition, a new consultation process is paving the way for changes to the Trust Registration Service, which could potentially widen the scope of transparency of non-UK trusts holding land and public disclosure disclosure by default.

This greater access to personal and professional information, allied with an online world where anyone can create content, brings with it increased vulnerability to a range of threats including cyber-attacks, blackmail, physical security risks, press intrusion and smear campaigns.

While traditional media typically provides the person named in a news story with a right to reply and a clear route to take legal action against false claims, this is not the case in so-called new media. In an online world where anyone can create content and ‘troll’ with anonymity, such routes are far less clear, or likely to achieve recourse. Even if the perpetrator is found, having the inaccurate information removed can present further challenges.

Taking action to protect your reputation

For those who have so far managed reputation largely by maintaining anonymity, it is important to accept that an online profile is now inevitable, but what really matters is who controls it. So, the first step is to own and carefully manage your online presence, typically with the help of specialist support.

The sheer pace at which news stories break doesn’t provide much time to prepare, so the next step is to put in place plans for a range of reputation-related scenarios. This will require pre-set relationships with key professionals including lawyers, security advisors and digital experts to have expert and objective input instantly available.

It is also worth considering the upside of reputation management. Are there ways to not only protect reputation but actively enhance it? Many families have charitable or philanthropic projects, but they are not always shared publicly. This could present an opportunity to show how a family gives back to society, thereby also generating a protective shield against potential adverse publicity.

How Accuro can help

Firstly, through our networks we help clients access trusted public relations, cyber and legal experts who can advise and act on reputation management. Secondly, we prioritise confidentiality, keeping your personal information safe through our strict data security and cyber protection standards. Finally, we believe that our holistic approach to clients generates reputational benefits. Family dynamics and inter-generational friction can sometimes fuel adverse publicity and often lead to significant cost. A crucial first step in avoiding such situations is often surprisingly simple: starting conversations, between partners or across generations, so that all parties can feel that they have a voice, and any issues can be tabled, addressed and the desired outcomes documented in letters of wishes, family charters or constitutions.

It is worth bearing in mind that older family members are well practiced at staying below the radar, and the younger family members are more likely to be prolific users of social media and thereby in danger of unwittingly exposing their family to unwanted attention. Here again, having an independent, familiar, and trusted advisor can help bridge generational divides and put clear guidelines in place. Such an approach may prevent the need for expensive lawsuits or PR strategies and help you to protect one of your most important assets – reputation.

We work in tandem with leading reputation lawyers, cyber security experts and risk specialists to help bring all rounded solutions to clients that can be monitored and managed on a proactive rather than reactive basis.

New year, new resolution? How our private office services will be helping clients to get ahead in 2024

As 2024 begins, continuing conflict in Europe and the Middle East, trade tensions, slowing economic growth and the prospect of a downward correction in interest rates are all key concerns for investors. For those managing family wealth, greater regulation and adjusting to the differing investment needs of younger generations add further pressure. As a result, wealthy individuals and families increasingly require holistic and real-time reporting, diligent oversight and accurate, constantly updated records.

These demands are not only making the work of existing private offices more complex, but they are also making some clients consider, for the first time, setting up a private office or joining a multi-family office. However, doing so can require a significant investment of time and money, when a simpler and more effective option is available.

Accuro offers discrete, bespoke professional services specifically for private clients. These are designed to help those who wish to either outsource their private office requirements or build on the capabilities of their own single-family office. In either of these two cases our aim is to act as a seamless extension to our clients’ own team. Rather than replacing any existing advisors or arrangements, our private office services support, strengthen and deepen existing capabilities.

In short, clients receive all the specialist and personal attention they need, but without the cost and complexity of setting up or expanding their own private office.

Services that support and strengthen

Examples of Accuro’s services range from helping with setting up bank accounts, with all the KYC coordination that it requires, to the computation of personal expenses and assistance with the implementation of property transactions. Typical services include:

  • Consolidated reports for different asset classes;
  • Private accounting, liquidity and budget planning;
  • Expense reporting, receiving and paying invoices;
  • Opening and closing of bank accounts and maintain relationships with banks;
  • Coordinating the salary payments of private staff;
  • Safekeeping of legal documentation;
  • Compliance coordination with financial institutions; and
  • Assistance with the implementation of personal transactions (such as purchase of property or other assets)

We also provide clients with access to specialist legal, financial, or other advice. For example, for a client having to navigate complex cross-jurisdictional tax issues, or a family wishing to purchase foreign real estate, even the best resourced private office may not have the niche expertise required. Here, Accuro’s network of trusted advisors can be called on.

Independent, specialist and sustainable

While providing individual, high-quality services to our clients is vital, it’s clear that joined-up, long-term thinking is also paramount to the success of any family and therefore the cornerstone of the private office. The so-called 3Ps are paramount here: preservation of family wealth, preservation of family harmony, and preservation of family legacy and values. Key to these is creating a dialogue that engages all within the family. For example, while older generations may be satisfied with a quarterly report on financial performance, younger generations may find that it is the social or environmental impact of investments that will engage them and make them more likely to play an active part.

As entrepreneurs and business owners ourselves, we promote responsible enterprise and growth that benefits current and future generations. It is our holistic view of our clients’ wealth and evolving needs, combined with our sense of responsibility to people, the planet and our industry, that makes Accuro an attractive choice for families globally.

An added advantage is that, because we are not asset managers, our clients can avoid any potential conflict of interests that may arise from having investment professionals also overseeing the administration of their wealth. Our independence, objectivity and private wealth expertise enables us to fulfil this key role.

New year, new resolution

With the latest research by investment firm UBS expecting global wealth to rise by 38% over the next five years and geopolitical risk predicted to replace recessionary fears as the number one challenge for family offices, the pressures mentioned earlier show no signs of abating. So, make 2024 the year to strengthen your private office capabilities by relying on a trusted partner who can help you make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.

For more information about our bespoke private office services, please contact [email protected].

Industry Challenges

Mustafa Hussain

A potential collision course

Renaissance thinking amongst vanguard families who plan for both their legacy and their wealth is inspirational for the professionals who engage with them. But this new approach also comes with challenges.

In this two minute video, the third and final in a trilogy, Mustafa Hussain considers a number of challenges including how we balance the potential collision course between the need to preserve capital and the sacrifice of income in favour of social returns.

Legacy Evolution

Mustafa Hussain

The new living legacy blueprint

It is unusual but refreshing to see governance documents that use words such as “love, respect, humility and fun” as measures of progress and success.

In this two minute video, the second in a trilogy, Mustafa Hussain explains how the traditional view of family legacy is evolving, with vanguard families providing a blueprint for new living legacies that demonstrate a shift away from status, towards growth, change and values with emotions.

Private office: preserving your family’s legacy and embracing sustainability for generations to come

Private Office

Families are remarkably diverse in terms of history, vision, culture, size, interests, mission and values. The landscape for wealth-owning families is also rapidly evolving and becoming more complex and volatile. Mega-trends like climate change, globalisation, and increased wealth inequality have brought adverse economic, social and geopolitical consequences. This challenging context is front of mind of many wealthy family members who are looking to sustain and grow family wealth in a responsible manner across generations.

Different by Design

Accuro’s purpose is to care for families and their wealth responsibly across generations. Our Private Office offering has been designed to assist families in achieving their financial and non-financial objectives based on their collective vision for the future. Whether you wish to outsource your Private Office requirements (saving time and costs) or to build on the existing capabilities of your family office, our team of 150 specialists is available to help you do so. Acting as a seamless extension of your family and advisory team, Accuro Private Office works collaboratively with your vision in mind.

A trusted extension of your team

Our knowledge and expertise enables us to assist families in navigating through the complex issues of today, including geopolitical risks, legal, tax and regulatory risks, technology-driven change, financial and succession planning.

By engaging our Private Office, individuals and their families can outsource the administration of their personal assets in the knowledge they are being cared for, in line with their family’s values, freeing up their time and providing peace of mind.

Built on the unique needs of each family

We administer a wide range of assets and offer simple or more bespoke solutions depending on your unique requirements, providing you with a single dedicated point of contact who will ensure and oversee seamless delivery.

We are well versed in collaborating with clients’ existing advisors to provide coordination where needed to ensure roles do not overlap unnecessarily.

Our services include:

  • Asset and wealth owning structures’ review
  • Wealth structures for long-term wealth preservation and needs of global families
  • Wealth administration, reporting and consolidation across financial and non-financial assets
  • Family governance
  • Compliance
  • Next generation education
  • Cross-border planning, reporting and information exchange
  • Estate planning
  • Document safe storage
  • Charitable giving and structuring

Why Accuro?

  • Experience built on nearly 50 years’ experience of servicing high net worth international families.
  • Being owner and staff managed allows independent thinking and objectivity which enables us to take a long-term approach to wealth planning strategy and support clients according to their needs on a bespoke basis.
  • Access to Accuro’s carefully selected network of wealth advisors based on established and trusted relationships.
  • We address fundamental questions and achieve clarity for family priorities, defining and executing a clear strategy to preserve wealth across generations. We ensure personal vision and financial objectives are met.
  • We understand the sensitivities and cultural differences of each family. We are thoughtful in our approach and transparent, when quite often there may be diverse interests which can lead to overwhelming complexity and differences.
  • We are trusted by our clients to be progressive in our thinking and have extensive experience of working alongside families to balance their desire to preserve wealth alongside the sustainable ambitions of the younger generation.

Accuro London expanding its offering to regulated Trust and Fiduciary services

Team of 5 people

Accuro is continuing to grow and define itself as an innovator in the private trust sector by expanding its London offering to regulated trust  and fiduciary services and bringing on board a Chief People Officer for the Group.

Mustafa Hussain has been appointed as Managing Director of the Accuro London office, having joined Accuro in January 2019 from Taylor Wessing LLP, where he was a partner specialising in private wealth. Mustafa will also continue to bring his strategic insights and legal expertise to corporate governance, and will continue to co-chair the Accuro Group Board.

The appointment of Rebecca Hone, as a Chief People Office, underlines the growth agenda and the importance of people. Rebecca Hone has joined Accuro, in London, from Bupa where she delivered HR and people strategy within the insurance business, and led on a number of change and transformation projects. She brings extensive HR and management consultancy experience in financial services. Rebecca will also be joining the holding board to bring an additional perspective to strategic prioritisation, execution and decision-making for the group.

CEO and Co-Founder, Xavier Isaac commented, “Our people are our greatest asset, so the time is right to invest in a Chief People Officer to further integrate our people strategy with the business strategy. Rebecca brings a strong track record of strategy development and execution. Investing in Accuro’s London offering is a natural evolution of our organic growth strategy, and enables us to better serve our clients in this key location. I am delighted to confirm that this will be delivered under Mustafa’s leadership. This is a very exciting time for Accuro.”

Rebecca Hone

Rebecca Hone

Mustafa Hussain

Mustafa Hussain