Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your expertise
I joined Wedlake Bell at the start of October from another top 100 London law firm. I specialise in advising international private clients although my practice is very broad given my previous experience in an accountancy firm and working as a high street private client lawyer in Bath. Generally speaking my clients have some connection with the UK, either through living here or owning property here and range from individuals, trustees, beneficiaries, and family offices. I have a particular interest in advising family businesses and I am a Deputy Chair of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) Business Families Special Interest Group.
Q: What have you particularly enjoyed so far?
Wedlake Bell for me so far has been a fantastic experience and there is nothing really I can say otherwise. I find the collaboration between departments a real attribute. It works well as the firm has identified three broad practice groups of Real Estate, Business and Private Client which reflects the needs of a modern private client. The ability to draw on the expertise of my colleagues means Wedlake Bell’s offering to clients is a strong and compelling one.
Q: What trends are affecting private clients?
Obviously we have had some long-standing trends in the Private Client field, particularly around transparency with the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and other such acronyms! One to watch at the moment is public registers of beneficial owners with pressure from Europe to make the recently introduced trusts register public. One public register we can be certain of is the one detailing the owners of foreign companies owning UK residential properties which is due to be implemented by 2021. Many clients who have so far retained their corporate ownership of residential property are concerned by the implications of this. In many cases these clients have made the judgement that the taxes are worth paying if it enables them to preserve their identity, particularly if they are from countries where corruption and personal security is an issue. Another concern from clients is the realities of a possible future socialist Labour government given the current balance of political power in the UK.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time is a rare thing in the Braithwaite household! I have two energetic young children, Daisy who is six and Noah who is nearly four. We enjoy family time together which is mostly around Daisy’s football and tennis clubs. If I am able to steal some time I enjoy running and can be pretty handy with a paintbrush, which I think my wife would agree!