Richard Norridge, Senior Associate & Head of Private Wealth – Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills

Interviews - Delegates at Family Office Fourm

November 7, 2015

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Biz@India

March-April 2014



India is the key growth driver for UHNWIs

Richard Norridge, Senior Associate & Head of Private Wealth – Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills

Richard Norridge, Senior Associate & Head of Private Wealth – Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills

With an Asia-wide practice, Richard acts for high net worth individuals, their families, private banks and other advisers on a range of trust and probate issues together with charitable and family company matters. Since joining the firm in 2011, Richard has been working for the growth of the private wealth practice. He believes, India is the key growth driver for the UHNWIs segment with a growing number of high net worth individuals and their families.
 
• Tell us something about your organisation. When was it initiated and how has it evolved over the years?
 
Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is an international law firm with headquarters in London and Sydney. It was formed on October 1, 2012 following a merger between the UK-based international firm Herbert Smith and Freehills, one of the “Big Six” national Australian firms. The merged firm is now one of the Top 10 global elite firms.

Herbert Smith was established in London in 1882. Freehills traces its origins to the practices of Clarke & Moule in Melbourne (established in 1853), Stephen Henry Parker in Perth (1868), Bernard Austin Freehill in Sydney (1871), and John Nicholson in Perth (1896).

Herbert Smith Freehills has 2,800 lawyers and 460 partners in over 20 offices spanning Asia, Europe, Australia, the US and the Middle East. It is the largest, fully-integrated law firm in the Asia Pacific.

• What kind of services do you provide and how can these benefit the UHNWIs?

HSF is a full service law firm with specialist lawyers who advise on corporate structuring, dispute resolution, finance, tax and trusts. UHNWIs increasingly look to one group of advisers to assist them in the complex transactions that characterise their business in a global marketplace. Geographic coverage, coupled with a detailed appreciation of local and regional regulatory differences is a key factor for UHNWIs. As the largest firm in the Asia-Pacific, HSF is well-placed to assist the growing number of high net worth individuals and their families in Asia – the fastest growing private client market in the world.

• Are your existing clients single family units or multiple families?

We act for individuals, family and extended (multi-generational) families. The latter are particularly common in Asia where the tradition of family-based businesses is particularly prevalent.

• How are your teams structured to deliver services to the clients? Do you have different services for different UHNWIs – inheritors, selfmade and professionals?

Our teams are tailored to the individual needs of the client and are made of genuine specialists in the relevant fields. Naturally, the circumstances facing each client will differ, in many cases the services and support they require are similar, be it corporate transactions, establishing trusts, tax advice or, in some cases, advice in relation to potential disputes.

• What are the top three characteristics that distinguish your firm the most from your competitors?

Global experts, geographic coverage and a broad range of specialisms are the three factors that distinguish HSF from our competitors.

• What communication methods have you used with your clients?

Our firm utilises the full range of communication methods, including client seminars, training (in particular for the family offices of our larger private wealth clients), newsletters, webinars and blog posts.

• Do you provide any client education programmes? Please mention.

We hold regular seminar sessions which cover not only industry updates, but also innovative issues exploring cross-disciplinary subjects. A recent example of the latter is the impact of scientific advances in understanding the effect of memory and biases.

 

The private wealth sector in Asia is expanding and will shortly overtake the US to become the largest market in the world. India is a key driver behind this growth, with a growing number of high net worth individuals and their families

The private wealth sector in Asia is expanding and will shortly overtake the US to become the largest market in the world. India is a key driver behind this growth, with a growing number of high net worth individuals and their families

HSF is the only private client practice to have published a handbook – the “Guide to Private Wealth in Asia” – providing a detailed country by country analysis of the issues facing high net worth individuals and their families in 11 of the key jurisdictions in the region.

• Is there any impact of economic slowdown on the demand? Are clients more cost conscious or quality conscious in the times of slowdown?

The economic downturn has led to an increase in business for HSF, with strong financial performance across our offices. This is largely driven by the “flight to quality” with clients becoming increasingly risk averse as the business environment becomes more challenging.

• What kind of potential do you see for the Indian family office business? What is your outlook? What are the current trends and opportunities?

The private wealth sector in Asia is expanding and will shortly overtake the US to become the largest market in the world. India is a key driver behind this growth, with a growing number of high net worth individuals and their families. This group of sophisticated entrepreneurs and businesspeople have a global perspective and are increasingly looking to family offices to manage their affairs.

There is significant opportunity for law firms and other professional advisers to assist in putting together family office structures which genuinely serve the family’s needs across the globe and integrate the various aspects of the family’s affairs. This can include investing personal wealth, effective tax structuring, interaction with corporate vehicles and philanthropic projects.

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