Wealthy clients in Asia face a lot of questions and challenges when it comes to managing and passing on their wealth.
For example, says Nigel Rivers, they need to consider whether they should establish a family office or a multi-family offices, or segregated or consolidated trusts; they need to understand the impact of structuring; they need to know their options in terms of service providers, as well as the onshore-offshore and regulatory considerations.
With these in mind, he set up Capital Solutions in 2016 to cater to HNW individuals and families – with the idea to advise and guide these clients on the need for succession planning and the tools available.
The objective also includes offering them a full and independent overview of what is available to them for effective wealth and succession planning.
Having worked in the industry for some time, Rivers says he realised that although there is a broad range of service providers that cater to the needs of these clients, these firms tend to operate very independently.
Often, he adds, they simply look at their own service options, rather than at a broader spectrum for the client.
“There was no real overview for clients about the various service providers and the rationale for these choices,” he explains. “I saw a big opportunity to advise them in an independent way.”
This also involves using his knowledge and experience of the tools available to families to provide them with advice and guidance on what is best for them, and then ensuring this is properly implemented.
Capital Solutions is among one of only a few providers looking to bridge the gap in the market.
“There are only a few other competitors, let alone larger firms, which provide and cater to clients the way we do,” says Rivers.
More specifically, he looks to the variety of structuring and wealth planning tools available to assist clients.
He uses, for example, a range of solutions from trusts and foundations, to SPV structures, funds, insurance, gifts and wills.
There are also differences in the nature of service providers who offer these services, adds Rivers. For instance, there are banks that own trust businesses, independent trust companies, and trust units which are part of offshore law firms.
There are also different dynamics involved when choosing a service provider. And he says that families should consider how the choice they make will impact the structure that the family is looking to put in place.
They also need to bear in mind how that structure gets administered over the decades of its existence.
Unique value proposition
Although Rivers practised law in the UK focusing on corporate and commercial matters, he says that he was always inclined towards entrepreneurial clients from the beginning.
“Their private wealth and business wealth are intermingled,” he explains. “This is an overlay that is very relevant in Asia where wealth is generally generated from family businesses which can be partly or fully listed.”
Understanding the interaction between the family and business wealth is important, he adds.
This is particularly the case when looking at solutions which are potentially available and when determining the issues that clients may come across.
Understanding these dynamics can also help in advising on the best suitable solutions for the client to address their issues and achieve their end-goals, says Rivers.
He also has an entrepreneurial background himself – having been involved in the set up a motor racing business many years ago.
Having seen that company rise from a pile of papers to a living organisation to ultimately being acquired by a motor manufacturer, Rivers has a unique perspective in being able to understand the mind-set of entrepreneurs.
“That experience has helped me acquire a skill-set to appreciate how other entrepreneurs think, and how they come to believe in their business operations, the future of their businesses, and their psychology in running and owning their businesses,” he says.
This, combined with running the private client business for a major independent trustee previously, has given him a broad range of knowledge and experience which is rare to find in this field.