Taurus Wealth Advisors’ Unni: “Higher regulation offers protection to wealth owners and family offices”
Hrishikesh Unni, managing director of Taurus Wealth Advisors, discussed the evolving global family office landscape and how private investors are increasingly seeking help for wealth management services through independent advisors.
Unni said “some clients consider impact as the first objective and returns become secondary”. Due to increasing focus on the private wealth space following the Archegos Capital Management’s debacle in March 2021, he expects greater scrutiny on both single and multi-family offices at the global level.
During the pandemic, Taurus Wealth’s strategy was risk management first, followed by returns this resulted in favourable outcomes for their clients says Unni. He shares that family office as an institution is gaining traction in Asia, especially in Singapore, which currently hosts around 200 family offices. He qualified the process of institutionalisation of family office setup in Asia as an “educational process”. Since more people are taking interest in this space, it has further augmented learning and has resulted in increased knowledge sharing among stakeholders. He emphasised that the next generation of wealth owners are heavily involved in their respective family business, resulting in an efficient family succession plan.
Taurus Wealth with its headquarters in Singapore also has operations in Zurich and Dubai.
The following key points were discussed:
- Taurus acted swiftly and lowered the risk rate for their clients to 8-9% as compared with the market rate of 30-40% during the pandemic in 2020.
- Alternative products can help manage volatility of financial portfolios.
- Private investors and families are being more conscious and are investing in impact opportunities with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG).
- Succession planning is a critical service offered to families as they tend to forget about it.
- Family charters and family constitutions help address some of the anxieties around succession planning and help mitigate issues while managing family business.
Below is the edited transcript of the interview.
Foo Boon Ping (FBP): Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to another instalment of the leadership interview at Wealth and Society. This afternoon, we are very happy to be speaking with Mr. Hrishikesh Unni, who is the managing director of private wealth and best practices at Taurus Wealth Advisors, which has been in Singapore since 2008. In 2017, it expanded its operations in Dubai where it focused on the Middle East and African markets. Mr. Unni covers some of these markets. We're very happy to be speaking with him to talk about the latest developments when it comes to private wealth management, especially with the creation or setting up of family offices. I’d like to get us started on an overview of Taurus Wealth Advisors. You're setting up in Singapore, in the Middle East and Africa through your operations in Dubai. Tell us, what are the trends that you're seeing in terms of private wealth formation and the creation of family offices as a vehicle to manage private wealth and other family-related services, like running of the family businesses, succession planning, graph reporting?
Hrishikesh Unni (HU): We started in 2008. Our founder, Mandeep Nalwa, left the bank that he was at to set this at the heart of the financial crisis and this was in Singapore. Over the years, we've set up in Dubai and as of last year, we've got a Zurich office as well. We've branded ourselves as Taurus Wealth. The primary driver in doing this is there’s a growing need from clients to see their wealth from an independent lens. That’s number one. Number two, people are getting to understand that no one bank or private bank can cater to all the needs for every client that they have. The third is, which you touched on, is generally the rising number of millionaires, billionaires, in other words, the wealth. That at any point in time, there are people falling into this bucket and it's a growing industry. So when you put all these three things together, the sweet spot is a family office model. We started our journey in 2008 and we're about 60-plus people in these three offices in total. What we offer clients is we look after their portfolios. We do help them with their succession planning needs, and so on, depending on their appetite for investments. We have access to certain private equity deals, ad hoc-type of deals. It's a very cliche term saying that it's a holistic solution. The way we like to see it is that anything and everything related to their personal wealth, we tell them, please ask us and we will try to get a solution for you. If we can't do it ourselves, we will rope in the right team. So that’s the story around Taurus. The family office concept is a relatively young and budding concept in Asia. The US and Europe have had it for a long time. We still find people here – wealthy individuals, some people who've been in the financial industry – who are not really sure what this this model is, what is a family office. There's a lot of noise around it. So people are seeing the value of it, not only the clients, but even the players like private banks. When you couple it with the rise and wealth here, it's definitely a space to focus on. So we're seeing private banks beefing up their external asset management team, which cater to family office clients. We're seeing a lot of people leaving banks to set up their multifamily office (MFO). I think there's about 200-plus single family offices because Singapore's given a lot of incentives to attract people to set up base here. So clients are also riding on this wave and seeing the benefits. So that is another trend. A number of family offices are being set up or people leaving the banks. It is a growing trend. I would say the fourth, what we're seeing is when more people talk about this model, it's an iterative process and there's an inherent educational angle to this. So there are more articles on it, the more people are talking about it. Wealthy clients are a little bit more curious about what this is about. So we're seeing an inherent educational process happening here to tap into a very large – probably $47-48 trillion – wealth market here in Asia. These are some of the trends that we're seeing in the family office space, particularly in in Asia.
FBP: Some recent news also brought the whole notion of family office into the spotlight. It’s not that positive. We're talking about Archegos. There were some kind of misdealing in terms of investments with Credit Suisse. So just to clarify in terms of the regulation of family offices as a multifamily office, how are you regulated? What kind of financial licence do you need to have? And are you supervised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore?
HU: Yes. We have a capital market services licence in Singapore, and hence, we are regulated by the MAS. I guess you can look at it in two ways. The first is, you can say that because you're in a heavy-regulated environment, there's going to be more rules and more regulations to adhere to, which then sort of bleeds into potentially making the client servicing experience not as smooth. There's more paperwork and more questions. If we look at why we are being regulated, it's actually to protect all of us: protect the client, protect the firms like Taurus and other players in the space. It's because there are a few bad apples out there. Just one bad move, like Archegos or any other fraud, it's a domino effect and impacts all of us. So we should not forget that it's actually a good thing. Second is when we're talking to prospective families who want to consider Singapore as a place where they will either engage in multifamily office like Taurus or set up their own, it gives a lot of credibility, transparency, and safety. Singapore is a great place. There's stability and they know there's a lot of credibility. That's two ways of looking at being heavily regulated. Now, taking a step back because family offices, relatively speaking, is a new trend, there is no regulation per se for single family offices. And there’s the Archegos issue. Now there are a lot of lights being shown to figure out what do we do about it? I wouldn't be surprised if at a very global level, there are more stringent do's and don'ts that are brought upon on family offices and single-family offices. But when it comes to Singapore, I think because there is the MAS operating here, you're expected to adhere to certain rules, especially Taurus since we are a licensed firm.
Taurus Wealth Advisors and their services
FBP: Tell us more about your multifamily office business. You have total assets under management (AUM) between $1.9 billion to $3 billion. In terms of the clientele that you have, from what regions are they? From what industry? These are multifamily offices? Your clients would have assets, typically smaller than single family offices. Are you also helping them create their own single-family office? How do they choose between outsourcing it to setting up their single-family office? Tell us more. And a big part of single-family offices are embedded within the family structure business whereas multifamily offices mainly deal with the investment, the wealth management part of that requirement?
HU: We're close to $3 billion under advise across the three offices and clients in about 25-plus countries, primarily in Asia. But we have the Middle East, we have Africa. Then we also have in Europe now with the Zurich office. Now, this $3 billion the bulk of it is – we do have a few billionaires – is in that sort of $3 million to $5 million to $20 million-$25 million space. The average AUM per client is lower than a single-family office, say $200 million-plus. Now the industries that they span is very varied. We ourselves don't particularly target any particular industry. They’re family businesses in manufacturing, sometimes in property. They're professionals in certain financial institutions or other industries, chief executive officers (CEOs) of certain companies. So it's a nice mix. The second question was about helping clients decide to go to a multifamily office route or a single family office route. Like anything, when you have a choice, there are pros and cons and it's our duty to be neutral and put everything on the table for the client. Let's just take a case where the size is 100 million-200 million. It doesn't necessarily mean okay, go for a single-family office. Yes, with that size and with the right advice, you can actually set up and stomach the costs that are involved in setting up a single family office. But why not, in that same scenario, look at the multifamily office where the costs are much more reduced? That particular family can leverage off of the multifamily offices licence. The entire suite of whether it's product offering or advice is already there. So it's lower cost to outsource to multifamily than set up. So at a cost perspective, it makes sense. One other things that we could also consider is if they say we like your services, let's go with the multifamily office model. But you know, we really want to pick and choose the kind of people that will be involved in our affairs. So we can do a plug and play where the family can take on two or three people and say, these guys and girls can sit at Taurus and just leverage off of what we have – our experience – and services we offer. That is another way to balance this where they don't want to go purely one way, which is MFO, but neither do they want to go and set up the single-family office because of the high costs. Finally, there are people who say, ‘We do want to set up our own single-family office’. We are happy to guide them and help them find the right professionals to set up structures here. That is very much part of what we also offer. We have had these requests in the past. We work with a wide range of professionals here in Singapore where if the family wants to set up here, we're very happy to point them in the right direction. It's not that if they don't engage us, then we don't offer this help.
Clients are free to either set up their own family office and seek guidance from Taurus
FBP: So you do multiple services. You can set up a multifamily office or where they have their own single-family office where you provide them advice or help set up a single-family office, or if they are not really sure about having a multifamily office, they can have someone sit with them from Taurus?
HU: Option one, we're a multifamily office. You become our client and we can look after you. Second is you outsource to us but in addition, you can select one or two people that you would want to sit in Taurus, who are part of Taurus that are dedicated to you. We can just guide them in setting up this family office. As a multifamily office, it's not that we only get involved in their investments. We have clients in areas other than investments as well, such as areas of family governance, succession planning, and really looking at all the potential areas when you're dealing with a lot of money, the pitfalls, not just from an investment perspective. For those noninvestment areas, we work with various professionals, tax advisers, lawyers, accountants, corporate service providers to structure a solution for them so that they can then – under that structure or that vehicle – do their investments right. So there's no point in just doing a great job on the portfolio's generating returns but then you're hit with a big tax bill at the end. Right now, we obviously cannot give tax advice, but that's what I'm saying, we get the right people around the table, advisors to help them structure the solution. So it goes beyond just investments that we are offering.
FBP: Beyond investment, beyond wealth management, it can also go into helping them with their businesses in terms of fundraising or terms of exit strategy, whether it's initial public offering (IPO) or some other alternative.
HU: So on the corporate side, we're not a corporate advisory. But because they live and breathe their business which is what keeps them on their toes, we sometimes help connect different clients together if we feel that there is a need. We have done that in the past but we are not a firm which can offer corporate advisory, mergers and acquisitions (M&A). But if there is a need in that space, we have a network of people we can bring to the table to assist them.
FBP: Tell us a bit about some of the key achievements in the past year, compared with this current year and also in terms of the outlook, in terms of total assets under advice. Did you see an increase over the last year? And next year, how do you see it?
HU: If I can start with last year because that's the year that a lot of people are going to talk about for many years to come. We did three things that we’re extremely very proud of. As I said, our bread and butter is managing portfolios and managing the nest egg of clients. So when the virus was in its early stages, because we focused on risk first and then return as early as February, we had put out a note to everyone, to clients saying, ‘The virus is outside China now and it could eventually spread, we could get into a calamitous situation’, without knowing where we were going to go. So we started de-risking the portfolio, raising cash and so on. That then led to a very favourable outcome for our clients because at the end of March in the first quarter, most of our portfolios, 90%-95% of portfolios, were down less than 8%-9%. In a market which fell nearly 30%-40%, I think that was a great performance. So we managed the risk very well. The second thing is just focusing on that nest egg. I think it was the 23rd-24th of March when things sort of bottomed out. Since then, it went up, it skyrocketed. For certain clients, depending on their appetite for risk, we participated on the upside well. We restructured certain solutions, which then allowed them to benefit on the upside. The third element is the January-December portfolios. So you’ve got to cut it up into three buckets: managing risk on the downside from January-March, then participating from April-December and then looking at the end-to-end.
FBP: The US is calling for a global tax parity in terms of rates. So it doesn't make sense for you to have all your assets in one market where tax might be lower. I think those are very positive impacts in terms of levelling the playing field. It creates opportunities for a new wealth hub like Singapore that is leveraging on the need for full disclosure at the same time. So what about going forward 2021 and beyond? The markets have reached heights with low interest rates. What are the challenges in terms of investment?
HU: To sum it up in one word: uncertainty. In any condition, there are opportunities, there is uncertainty. Maybe the levels are different. So we want to make sure that we're managing risk appropriately, that's one. Now to capitalise and to navigate the uncertainty in the markets, we've been focusing on smart money that's going to more of hedge equity exposure, long-short funds, money managers, merging managers that regardless of market conditions, still deliver on returns. That is something that has been an area of focus. Those returns that I talked about earlier, in 2020, most of these came from the selection that we had made into the alternative space. It doesn't necessarily have to be for every client. All asset classes have a room in the portfolio. When you look at alternatives and these types of funds, they can help manage this volatility. The other thing that we've seen as a trend is investing in impact opportunities, environmental, social and governance (ESG). People are being a bit more conscious. We have worked with one or two players to structure funds where clients have the option to add to their portfolios, where there's an impact angle. So that is a trend that's relatively new. The clients, though not all clients, are asking about this space. The fund managers who operate in the space are knocking on our doors. We have accordingly come up with solutions in this space, but this is the tip of the iceberg. I think there's more that we can do in this space.
FBP: There's a huge focus on ESG right now. There's a lot of investment and because it's driving a lot of interest, it’s driving up the market as well. In 2020, a lot of investment priority is still in the alternative investment space, private equity, venture capital and real estate.
HU: I did mention private equity before. We have a focused area within the firm that is just responsible in sourcing these type of deals for clients. There have been several good deals that we've been able to get access to which we've brought forward to our clients. It’s usually for families with a certain level of size and understanding. Explaining the client what it is, it's part of our role as well, how it can operate, how it can potentially be part of the portfolio keeping suitability and appropriateness in mind and then accordingly position to them. We're seeing a lot of interest from clients and we've participated as well in terms of bringing solutions to them in these areas.
FBP: Earlier you mentioned in terms of your clients, the average asset under advice for a typical multifamily office client is upwards of $20 million?
HU: I think it's a little lower than that. On average maybe around $10 million. But most of our clients fall in that $5 million to $25 million space, but then we have clients above that.
FBP: A lot of the value is in terms of managing and consolidating all the assets that could be sitting in different parties.
HU: Yes, absolutely. We do consolidation of the bank statements. So every month, we produce a statement. It can be produced on an ad hoc basis, as well. So at any point in time, they know where everything is and what there is into this consolidated statement. We can throw in the insurance policies, anything that's also not in their private banks. They can request us to put whatever they want in that so that they have a full view of what they have.
FBP: Most of the clients that you work with are the first generation. Give us a sense of who the typical Taurus client is.
HU: Most are first generation. Sometimes we have entrepreneurs who've made it big in the early 30s. That's the first generation to some extent. But we have a nice mix of entrepreneurs, family businesses that are three-four generations. Age profiles can range from 30s to 80s. There's gender diversity. Age covers a wide spectrum. Industry-wise, there are different professionals. So, yes, it's a nice mix.
FBP: Very often, you have multiple contact with the client or the family? Is it usually just one, the patriarch of the family?
HU: At the outset, we will ask the level of engagement. What are your expectations? This has nothing to do with how old you are, what profession you're in, even though there might be a pattern. Some clients will have weekly updates. Others will say, ‘I just want to see you once a month’. There are some that say, ‘Just give me a quick update once a quarter. But in the interim, if there's anything, let us know’. So we try to make sure that we have the flexibility to cater to all levels of service expectations and frequency of engagement. It really depends on the client, what they want and if we can cater to that need.
FBP: A bit about your own investment team. What's the structure like in terms of having a chief investment officer who has a house view on portfolio?
HN: So yes, we have a global investment officer, Haren Shah. He has a team that sits in all three offices. Most of them sit here in Singapore but there are a couple in Dubai and one or two in Zurich. Within that team, we have specialists in areas of equities, fixed income, funds, FX. As a team, we cover all the asset classes, so we have that expertise to touch on a wide area within the investment space. The team works very closely with the financial advisors. They're the ones who are the relationship managers with the client, in devising portfolios or doing reviews. It could be internal reviews with the advisors, and of course, with the client as well. So that falls in Haren’s world. Given we're talking about investments and private equity and other ad hoc-type deals, we do have a desk that focuses on that space trying to source from our access partners, various deals in that space. So that’s the setup that we have internally.
FBP: Earlier you mentioned that your overall investment strategy is more risk first. As a result, is it more balanced, more skewed towards preservation as compared to growth?
HU: Both are important. But because we are dealing in a lot of cases, the nest egg of a client, let's just say that we should outperform when there's a collapse in the market or when markets have gone down. We may underperform a little bit when things are going up. Of course, we want to generate returns and we have generated great returns for clients but keeping that risk management hat and thought process with any idea that we come up with, we first ask what's the risk of this going wrong? Accordingly, the idea is then sized appropriately into client portfolios. We do have an investment committee meeting that we do weekly. Not only the investment team but even the advisors come together and share their inputs and ideas. And we have a balanced model portfolio that we use as a guide to capture all our ideas. So, it's not a cookie-cutter solution, it's not that we then go to the clients and say let's put it into this balanced mandate. Each portfolio, each client's needs, are taken into account. And the portfolios are customised accordingly.
FBP: Obviously, as an advisor, you work with external asset managers and to the client both discretionary and advisory.
HU: So, the mandates that we offer our clients, these are quite flexible. We have discretionary mandate or we can do an advisory, or somewhere in between where it's like a semi-advisory or semi-discretionary. They give us a limited power of attorney (LPOA) to place trades on their accounts, subject to their approval. So that's the semi-advisory mandate. Advisory is where we just advise them and then if they like the advice, they will execute at their banks. Discretionary is where we still keep them informed of what's happening. They know exactly what's being done. It's just that the reason they give us discretion is one, they may not be as savvy for them to call their own shots; two, they may not have the time to do it themselves; third, depending on certain clients and the roles that they have in their companies, it's more of a headache in terms of steering their own investments in certain positions, in certain banks. So, by giving a discretionary mandate, they can raise their hand and say, ‘I'm not calling the shots, it's Taurus’. So, there are different reasons why people choose the various options we have.
General rule of thumb is not to leverage nest egg
FBP: Are you also involved in helping with liquidity management? With clients who need financing liquidity leverage?
FBP: Especially during an uncertain market time to enter liquidity bite.
HU: While there is a case to leverage, we generally try and caution leverage. Because if you were heavily leveraged in the first quarter of last year, you lost a lot of money. So we always say this is your nest egg, it's financial assets which have market every day, so be very careful leveraging. So we generally caution that and we try to discourage leverage. However, there are some clients who say ‘I'm aware of the risks but maybe we can look at it to enhance some returns, while also managing the risk. When it comes to leverage, it's a couple of things. What are you leveraging? How much are you leveraging? Then the cost of leverage. These are the key three areas that you need to keep in mind. So, provided we have explained the risks and we've kept these three things in mind, if the client still insists, we will walk them through these scenarios and say, ‘We can probably add a little bit’. But our general rule of thumb is not to leverage your nest egg. You can leverage your assets like property, which doesn’t have a market so the likelihood of a margin call happening is more in your financial assets. So, that's our view on leverage. It’s all tied into that whole risk management.
It is important to understand the objectives behind a trust before setting it up
FBP: Beyond wealth management, what are the important family office services?
HU: Beyond the financial assets, there is succession planning. In fact, we're working with a couple of families, helping them set up their trust structures, working with corporate service providers. Insurance also falls into that succession planning mode. There are various reasons why people take life insurance. So, we do work with insurance brokers to bring solutions for our clients. Things like family governance, that's also a topic we brought with clients. We have a few specialists that we work with. Most people will ask, what returns can you get me? That's usually the starting point. But we try to make sure that they also take a step back and understand that sometimes planning for succession, planning for those unfortunate events is equally important. Hence, insurance, succession planning, we do governance, we do help clients with those.
FBP: Does every client have a succession plan?
HU: Unfortunately, Boon Ping, there are some who don't even have a will. It's our duty to make sure this area is covered. We have some clients who really think ahead. It's an easy discussion to broach with them and get the nuts and bolts in place from a succession planning perspective. I think everyone, if you tell them, they will say ‘Yes, I need to do something’. But they table it for a little later. But again, it is our duty to remind them about very obvious and simple things that they tend to forget. Then we've got the other folks who are in the process of actually implementing structures and solutions that tick that succession planning box.
FBP: And the reason that most of them hasn't had succession planning is that they haven't prioritised it? They’re leaving it for later?
HU: It all comes down to the personality to some extent. It's not right or wrong. We had a client two years ago. We had been telling him, please look at this. He was trying to sort out succession planning for all his other partners in the business. Unfortunately, he passed away. The son had to go through a probate process and we were helping him with that. Some people know they need to do it and they procrastinate. It's not a blaming exercise by any means but we have to make sure that we are reminding them of all these concepts, especially succession planning so that they don't get into these pitfalls.
FBP: How many of them have an actual formal written plan? And from what you say, the solution that you will advise is a family trust?
HN: A trust is a fairly robust succession planning. It's got its pros and cons. It's not for everyone, to be honest. So we don't go straight into ‘We need to do a trust’. It's important to first understand what are their objectives? How do they think? What are their plans? Then bringing the appropriate solutions. Even if it could be for a billionaire, it might just make sense to just write a will. So it really depends, first we have to understand them then we propose a solution.
FBP: What benefit would a trust have over a will?
HU: A will, obviously, you have to go through probate – God forbid something happens – to process the will before the beneficiaries can get access to the assets. In a trust structure, that's not there. Because you've already captured it in the letter of wishes and so on. So that's one advantage of having a trust over a will. The other is in terms of protection, depending on the type of trust and how you set it up, protection from creditors and so on. Third is tax planning because in a trust structure, you’re actually giving up the legal ownership of the assets. This is not avoiding tax. It's just planning for tax. So these are some of the things why people gravitate towards trust versus will. And also, the will is quite public. Anyone can attack a will. You can attack assets in a trust but then you got to deal with the trustees and there's less likelihood that you're going to have any chance when you've got trustees that are bound by a trust deed and were regulated.
FBP: In some markets, the price structure is not assessable, right? Even countries in the region do not have proper trust law.
HU: I think it's important if you're selling a trust to go with centres, where there is regulation. Being in well-regulated places. It's better to go with well-established centres.
FBP: For clients that are residing outside of Singapore, so some of the advice or solution could be setting up an overseas trust in Singapore.
HU: We have some clients who are in Singapore, who might have a trust outside Singapore. We have some clients outside Singapore, who might have a trust in Singapore. We also have an interesting one where we have clients outside Singapore, where the trust is accessible but it's administered out of Singapore. So I think that speaks well of the corporate service providers that we deal with. They are flexible because they also understand that it's a growing area and offering multiple offices and the flexibility for clients. All these are on the table on what the final structure can look like.
HU: We've got trust structures where clients have it in Jersey, we have it in Singapore, we have it in the Isle of Man.
FBP: Those are popular destinations for tax planning? They have better tax regime regulation?
HU: They offer certain incentives. And I think Singapore is, I'm sure you know, they put a lot of schemes here like the 13R, 13X and so on where tax efficiency, if you're structuring through companies, they're giving a lot of incentives to have to help set up here. Singapore is quite a popular place where they feel that they make it easy for people to set up here from a tax efficiency perspective.
FBP: What's the best kind of vehicle that they look for to do philanthropy? Philanthropy is actually very different from impact investments, because philanthropy is a commitment to just give whereas with impact, there’s expectation of returns?
HU: So they could be setting up a foundation or an entity that's focused on just giving, pure philanthropy for education and so on. Impact investing, it's still early days relatively but it's like a nice sweet spot because they are actually helping and there's a social impact and there’s a better benefit. There's an inherent skew towards the developing countries because that's where the opportunities are. You don't have to put that much capital relative to say, developed markets in getting an impact. So more opportunities on this side, if I can say, in Asia and Africa.
FBP: So impact investment, it will come under your wealth management solution, whereas philanthropy will come under other services?
HU: Exactly. I think because there is a return element to that. And some say it is kind both, isn't it? It falls in giving it away but also there’s a return side. Some clients see the first objective as impact and then return. If you look at impact investing, it can span different asset classes. We structured a solution in the space where somebody is operating in Asia in microfinance-related debt financing and so on that's spanning a lot of countries in Asia. So that is something that we have also in our solutions for some clients. It’s a fund where the underlying has a sort of an impact angle rather than philanthropy.
FBP: The last area I would like to cover is around succession planning around the business, not so much the wealth management. We are seeing a trend talking to an expert like yourself that the next generation of wealth owners may not necessarily want to manage the business anymore. But they still own the business. So the setting of holdings company to separate the ownership and the running of the business, what are the trends that you're seeing in that area? What kind of solutions are you offering for businesses where it's important to retain ownership, but not necessarily the management of the business? Or permutation of that.
HU: What we're seeing here is when you got the second generations to come in – some are heavily involved in the business – so there is a fairly inherent planning there already, succession in terms of because they're genuinely involved in taking the business to the next stage or continuing with it. It all depends on the size of the family and who's involved. When you have multiple people in a subsequent generation, sometimes you get it that this person wants to go and do something else. Others want to stay in the business. But where I'm going with this is in the end, we’re trying to put up a governance structure around this so that it can cater to both parts in terms of the member and the successor generation that he or she wants to take so it doesn't disrupt the business or the ownership. Things like conflict resolution are handled in a fair way, in a non-disruptive way. Who's going to be involved if something happens to this person? What's the succession plan? I think it can nicely be captured in a sort of a family charter, family constitution, which is not really a legally binding document, per se, it's really ethically binding. We've worked with certain families where we've done charters or helped them do charters and there's no airtight solution. But it does mitigate and address some of these anxieties in managing family businesses through structures and their ownership. Others will go more into a corporate vehicle where there's directors and a board will formalise that. Then you've got the robust cases where business assets are managed under a trust. So you've got trust, like the STAR Trust out of Cayman rightfully withholding business assets, or even the trust for that matter. The choice is there. The more robust it is, the higher the cost obviously, but perhaps the solutions are more airtight and then planning.
FBP: Great, thank you Hrishi for spending your time with us and walking us through the landscape as well as your own path of the private wealth business at Taurus, the clients that you deal with and the issues and challenges that you see with them.
Keywords: Family Offices, Wealth Management, Asset Management, Impact Investing, ESG, Sustainability, 13X, 13R, Trust Structures, Succession Planning, Next Generation, Will, Regulation, Microfinance, Single Family Office, Multi-family Office
Institution: Taurus Wealth Advisors
Country: Singapore, Dubai, Cayman, Zurich
Region: Global, Asia Pacific, Africa
Guest: Hrishikesh Unni, Mandeep Nalwa, Boon Ping