Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Lost wealth in the economic downturn? Need some help?

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Citywealth is a wealth and philanthropy media company set up in October 2005. Karen Jones, the founder and Editor has spent many years gathering information about private investment and asset management; managing substantial wealth including charitable and philanthropy monies and issues around this.

She understands that sometimes, even if you have lots of money, you may have worries that are difficult to share. She also understands that sometimes your advisers or managers may be dealing with situations which are beyond their capability, meaning you could need help choosing new professionals to work with. And often even though you have substantial wealth, working out how to begin in the private wealth industry is like trying to scale a fifty foot wall - the challenge is so immense, you just might not bother but if you have more than £5million/$10million it is wise to upgrade from retail. Your entrepreneurial skill makes money but investments (believe it or not at the moment!) are the way to increase your wealth - a commonly known fact among the mega wealthy. And if you are more wealthy then we hope you will become more philanthropic - we can help you have a good experience in this world too. (It isnt quite as easy as handing over some cash).

Times are very difficult and we are not perfect at Citywealth but we do have a substantial information base to share about private wealth and philanthropy and a large, global network of people to check back with to try to help out, which we will happily do so.

We are friendly; don't sell any investments ourselves or take any commissions from anyone. Our opportunity is to connect anyone who needs help with wealth professionals, usually with someone we think is suitable - and we do so with integrity and with personalities considered. We can also help manage that situation if you wish. Beauty parades sound fun, but are filled with jargon and schmoozing. We hope to be a comfort in a trying or unknown situation.

Whether you want to change a philanthropy consultant; have no idea why you need to know what your risk profile is; want to change your private bank; are worried sick by the turmoil; don't know what to do about a trust; want to ask us what the heck you are going to do about a wealth problem; need help picking an adviser or manager for a specific issue (we know what people specialise in); are considering calling someone you can see we are connected with - then we can give you our view for free (we are not regulated by any financial authority nor professional investment advisers or managers - we simply offer a view). We want to make your experience in the private wealth industry more pleasant and we hope more profitable or at least what you expect. It isn't easy to get information in the private wealth industry - it is closed door - simply because the world by its very nature is filled with niche and very private issues.

If you are having problems in the industry we can also help, just let us know and we will try and use our influence with financial authorities to make issues known.

Ultimately we have discovered that the wealth industry is vast and confusing and a gentle hand holding from us, helps you and the professionals in the industry work better. We dont dazzle with brochures filled with volumes of words or spin - its just us making suggestions based on what you say.

We may not be able to help, but if we can we will.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those in Palm Beach who have lost money in the Madoff fraud. We understand this is a very distressing time and it will affect your retirement experience and charitable works. If we can help by promoting any charitable works to our readers who are a host of global uhnw individuals and their wealth advisers and managers then please contact us below. In terms of recouping money in this instance, I suspect we will be of no help as it is a major fraud and perhaps one for the criminal courts.

Our speciality is dealing with individuals with more than £5million up to tens and hundreds of millions and billions. We also know about margin calls (when loans get called in and how to manage it); Switzerland, offshore markets, new US tax rules/regimes, family fights and divorce. We also know that you could be considered difficult to deal with and may not have many people who can talk to you in a way that you may need to change or move forward with change.

We can also help with connecting you with our audience of uhnw individuals and their advisors and managers via editorial articles if this helps you gain business. All articles can be quote checked and our editorial policy is collaborative and not designed to embarrass or annoy.

And everything you say to us is confidential unless we agree with you otherwise.

We do not help anyone who wishes to perpetuate any fraud or tax evasion. Tax avoidance is another matter entirely - ensuring you don't pay twice tax on the same investments because of international tax rules.

Karen Jones
kjones AT j-p-c.tv

Tel: 020 7495 1697 (London, UK)

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“WealthWise”:Courses helping the rich become wise about wealth

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“Some of our clients have inherited wealth, others created it. What they all have in common is the need for real insights into different aspects of private wealth ownership, from first principles upward.

Many also recognise that it is important to go beyond the obvious issues of understanding markets or assessing the balance between risk and reward.

WealthWise™ have devised courses that include sessions on how to maximise the usefulness of professionals, cutting through the jargon – and opportunities for delegates to explore their personal lifestyle objectives in one-to-one counselling with our course tutors. We tackle such issues as how to evaluate advisors and build effective relationships with them.


Another interesting observation is that as wealth owners become older, they progressively divert more and more money into charities, foundations and philanthropic projects – and less and less to the next generation.

Typically, the focus begins with the basics of funding children’s education, medical and housing needs and starting businesses. But beyond that, the donors of wealth want their children to serve real apprenticeships and to develop genuine life skills, without becoming de-motivated from having no necessity to achieve anything.

It therefore becomes important to assist each successive generation to understand the merits and uses of philanthropy in a family wealth context, and how it can bring the whole family together through a shared, worthwhile cause.

Even the youngest can benefit: for clients with a private family foundation, a valuable technique is to create a junior board. This deft touch enables the children to increase their participation and understanding of wealth’s responsibilities – and so value them more.

I believe WealthWise™ is an essential step towards becoming comfortable with wealth ownership. Our purpose is to ensure that the wealth belongs to the individual rather than he or she belonging to it.”

Key Wealth Care is the Jersey-based wealth management group specialising in private client and family office services.

For information
brian.clarke AT key-trust.com

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Friday, 12 December 2008

Citywealth Wealth Management awards - the Magic Circle Awards Event 2009

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Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2009
Date for diaries: 14th May 2009
Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, London W1
Citywealth publishes Global VIP leaders list selection - release January 2009

Host to be confirmed is once again: Gyles Brandreth
British ballroom theme

For the past four years the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards has brought together the leading intermediaries and advisers in the UHNW space. This year’s awards, held in May 2008, were attended by nearly 350 of the key individuals from over 120 organisations representing the crème of the UHNW advisor group. They included the most influential trustees, lawyers, private bankers, family office executives and accountants who represent the world’s wealthy. The evening was a non stop opportunity for the top level of the wealth management industry to meet and network. 2009 promises the same.

The evening also marks the launch of The Citywealth Leaders List 2009 which will be focussing on those that have had a track record as being the best and most supportive advisers and best financial centres in difficult times. The focus is on those that will be best positioned for the upturn we all hope will come later in 2009. This is the message that clients have been telling us is important to them and the message that leading advisers wish to put across.

To add a bit of glamour, the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards also attracts a smattering of Rich List individuals there to raise awareness of the charitable causes that they support as well as to enjoy the evening’s entertainment. Each year we are delighted to support a major international charity and in May 2009, the charity will be the UN World Tourism Organisation’s foundation Sustainable Development for Eliminating Poverty. Ambassador Madame Young Shim Dho will be attending.

For further information on the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards, please contact: Joe Bell 01483 526445 jbell AT j-p-c.tv
For further information and nominations for the 2009 Leaders List, please contact: Karen Jones Tel: 020 7495 1697 kjones AT j-p-c.tv

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Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Guernsey and London connection: Rowlands single family office and Blackfish Capital Holdings

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Toby Birch, who departed a role as an investment manager in a well known private bank, took up a position with the Rowland family office based in Guernsey on their breathtaking estate at Havilland Hall and also in their London office in Saville Row.

Following Toby’s book, Final Crash (written under name Hugo Boleau), he found many of his views aligned with the Rowlands, particularly Jonathan Rowland one of the five children of David Rowland, who runs the family investment management arm in London, managing the reported £700million fortune, so when a position arose Toby jumped at it. Although Jonathan Rowland does say gently that his outlook isn’t quite as “doom and gloom as the Final Crash book.”

Toby, who has been with the Rowland family office for several months (he joined autumn 2007), has become Executive Director of Blackfish Capital Exodus Fund which has been launched to capture flight money leaving dollar investments with a plan to invest in gold and commodities. “Gold is like an insurance policy that you don’t claim on.” Says Toby. He adds that some are calling the current swing to gold: ‘the gold bug.’

The Exodus Fund named after the land of milk and honey, which is run with co-manager Martyn Konig CEO of Blackfish Capital and who has a CV that includes NM Rothschild, Goldman Sachs and UBS, launched with $20million of Rowland money has a $5bn capacity (soft close at $3bn) with a modest entry level of US$250,000. Target returns are 15% per annum with 8% volatility with fees at 1.5% (management) and a performance fee of 20% (high watermark and equalisation). There is also a joint venture with Investec called the Blackfish Investec Capital Management fund which Toby explains, from the elegant boardroom at the family office is because, “the family have a lot of experience with gold and commodities with silver mines owned by the fund in South America.”

Toby, who also has an Islamic finance qualification, predicts strong flows of money from areas like the Middle East out of the USA and into Europe and sees three areas that will benefit . “They will be precious metals, oil, food and non base metals and non US assets.” He is devoting his time to Bloomberg with Goldman Sachs who are prime broker and custodian, stress testing all their investment strategy.
Jonathan Rowland, has been with the family office for fifteen years and works with his siblings, in different areas of the investment office where Toby is. “We are primarily investment and financiers looking for opportunities globally in equities, debt, direct investment and trading opportunities. And as a secondary area we also look at emerging markets.”  He says.

Jonathan, who is down to earth and friendly, says they run a tight ship and keep costs in the family office low. “We bring in experience where we need it but generally keep our head count to around ten.” He says his golden rules for investment include: “If you don’t understand investments don’t do them.” And “moving and adapting quickly to how markets are moving.”

Having known Toby for five years , Jonathan confirms that the Rowlands family view is generally in line with his, so more pessimistic than optimistic which is why the Final Crash book resonated. “We’re always looking at the worse case scenarios and think Toby’s book has a significant place in the world.” He adds a surprising comment about their current policy. “We’ve liquidated everything we have and tightened our belts to take advantage of market opportunities that will arise with the economic instability.”

This is a trend that Jonathan says he is also seeing repeated with other “older and cleverer”  families. “Core businesses are being kept, but we are all awaiting the right opportunities now, whether value, miss priced or distressed particularly with institutions running for the hills after credit crunch losses.”

Sovereign funds are something the Rowland family office has dealings with so I ask for his view of them . “I think we’d be in a lot more trouble with out them so on balance they are good. They support the market, move quickly and are a lot smarter than they were thirty years ago.”

The vision for the Blackfish fund Management business is to build a brand owned by the family  which Jonathan plans to build into Fleming family office proportions. “With five to ten years we might do that.” He says. “We plan to support people, like Toby, who have interesting strategies to help us build a significant business.”

Of market conditions Jonathan shares the family view. “We are cautious but are starting to see close to the bottom of the market in some sectors. There are already some more interesting valuations for instance with British Land which we may look to buy as well as banking stocks. I think commercial property still has a long way to drop though and residential won’t see confidence back until well into 2009.”
David Rowland, his father, who is reported to have made his first million at twenty three, is still very active in the business and sits as Chairman although he has closed down all his former business operations.

The driver is to build the Rowland family brand rather that just focusing on individual successes.” He adds that as well as his father, he admires people who take risks like entrepreneurs.

Forward motion sees the family office looking at China, South America and the Middle East for investment opportunities but Jonathan says he isn’t jumping on planes all the time. “I need a reason to go somewhere these days and want my trip to pay for itself. I’m not interested in speculative trips.”

And with nearly all his dreams come true at thirty three, is retirement at thirty five an option? I have no plans to retire.” He says. “But I might take a bit of time out for a career break.”

Article re published from Citywealth from February 2008.

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Art insurance commentary

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EG Buhrle art theft, Aon Artscope/Specie & Fine Art Division comment on the recent robbery.

Although the recent heist of a number of paintings from a Swiss gallery ended happily with the return of the paintings, the brash move by thieves to just walk into a gallery and remove pictures left a question mark over the security of many fine art works lodged by private individuals in public spaces. Charles Hamilton Stubber, director of Aon Private Risk Management. give us his view of the implications to ultra high net worths, in question and answer style.

What could happen to paintings in a robbery? Paintings will never be able to be sold or exhibited in the open market. Bearing this in mind, the thieves often realize that financial gain is not an option and the art may reappear in a couple of years’ time. Paintings could be used as collateral for loans, possibly for below market value. The FBI estimates that the stolen art market is USD6bn annually. We are not aware the insurance market has ever paid out any ransom demands in an ‘art-napping’ case. Meanwhile, global law enforcement has become increasingly sophisticated in investigating and recovering stolen artwork. The police have linked into organisations such as the Art Loss Register, Trace and other international databases which has stemmed the flow of stolen art. For example, 2007 saw a police sting operation in Paris recover two Picassos, Maya with Doll and Jacqueline.

What could have been done to prevent this theft? Not much because you wouldn’t want a tragedy. However museums have an obligation to create a happy medium by displaying their masterpieces, rather than keeping them locked in a vault, while constantly reviewing and checking the effectiveness of security measures. Smaller locations tend to be at greater risk because exits are more accessible than in a multi-floored large gallery. This is demonstrated by the fact that it has been reported that the EG Buhrle theft took place in just three minutes.

Lessons learnt for other collectors? If loaning a piece to a museum, the collector must extend their policy for when the art is in transit and in its new location, or negotiate for the museum to arrange adequate cover if transferring the liability. From a museum's perspective, it must regularly review the series of events leading up to a loss to reduce their susceptibility. For example, the series of events could include access, number of personnel, a device on the painting and potential exit routes.


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