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END OF WEEK 4 OF THE UK LOCKDOWN: DEFINITELY NOT “BUSINESS AS USUAL”


Here in the UK, we are ending lockdown week 4 so I thought I’d reach out to those across my social media platforms – with apologies if some of you are on more than one, so are seeing this twice.


Most importantly, almost everyone I know is following the rules, safely social distancing and all are well. Some are better off than others but wherever we are, we’re all in it together – and must make the best of it.


I’ve had enough invitations to guess things, find out what certain celebs are up to etc. to last a lifetime. Neither do I need any more laughably crude attempts to extract money from me – I mean would the real Tesco use an .edu email address? I think not.


But the message that irks me most? Those from companies, some of whom I do not know and most who seem to think GDPR is just another acronym they can safely ignore, telling me that I needn’t worry. For them, it’s business as usual they crow. What utter codswallop (this is a family show so I’ll be no stronger).


Of course it’s not business as usual so stop telling me it is. Even if you are one of the fortunate ones (or brave ones) for whom the lockdown is a case of “Keep Calm and Carry on” remember that for most if not all of your audience they are definitely not in the same position.   


I am self-employed, answerable to no-one else, so although isolating, truthfully I am working more or less as usual. Many people at the other end of my line or email chain are to a greater or lesser extent at sixes and sevens, if not the end of their tether. At the same time however, as for everyone else, I am stuck at home not able to go anywhere, getting under my fiancé’s feet - so no, it’s not normal life, and let’s not pretend to anyone that it is.


At the end of UK Week 4, talk is turning inevitably to the relaxation, at least in part, of some of the restrictions. In my world of trusts and international companies (read “offshore companies” if you prefer), I have noticed during this last fortnight in particular a more serious effort by many I know to review individual personal or company structures. What was put in place some years ago may not be valid today. The carefully planned schematic may now be out of date - key players may have changed, fallen out, or whatever.


My bit of the trust and corporate space is to provide two separate things: knowledge and solutions. The former includes sourcing and providing information about compliant structures, jurisdictions, compliance and banking to name a few key areas. The latter is my chance to introduce a potential client or their advisers to carefully selected trust companies and corporate service providers around the globe.


But an increasing part of the consultancy business now concerns either reviewing or amending an existing structure and in some cases the closure of all or part of the arrangement. It’s not necessarily what providers want to discuss as they seek to grow not reduce their business but I am happy to do so. After all, new rules were already in place before the lockdown affecting areas such as substance, common reporting standard and yet another EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (the 5th no less!) making life challenging enough. Doubtless, more will follow post-lockdown.


Who can say when business life will return to normal? And to what extent will normal mean, well, normal? It’s perhaps wise to get ahead – or at least not get left behind – whilst we all have just a little more time to review and consider rationally anything that needs to be done. I suspect that once we are all let back into the world, we are going to be over stretched simply catching up – a bit like returning from the long school summer holidays of our youth.


Working from home means we are all up to date with our emails, right? For now, perhaps. There will be a lot of competing distractions when we are allowed to come out to commit business once again. Some things will take time to grasp whether it be the eye-watering debt levels already built up, or dealing with businesses large and small that have not survived the crisis – including those, already appearing, where the owner simply closes up shop.


As we enter (UK) Week 5 – the number varies depending where you are in the world – I’d love to hear from you. Not (thank you) to tell you how many triangles I see, or reveal my ten top LPs from yesteryear nor even to see the cutest animal pictures (and please I’ve seen enough home cooking results too) -    


But if it’s to consider your private or corporate structure – either to look at existing arrangements or set up something brand new, do get in touch. Any initial consultation is free of charge and without obligation; fees thereafter are deliberately modest, agreed in advance and moreover, fair. It’ll beat some of the alternatives competing for your precious time. This lockdown will be over, in parts possibly sooner than we may imagine. And we won’t be getting this time back. What did you do during the lockdown? is a question that will inevitably be asked.


Stay safe, keep your distance and in the meantime, do contact me at will. Just please don’t send me snaps of you on an ocean-going yacht for the time being...

As we enter (UK) Week 5 – the number varies depending where you are in the world – I’d love to hear from

25 April 2020ven to see the cutest animal pictures (and please I’ve seen enough home cooking results too)

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