Globalisation shines a light on international service providers

Despite an increasingly fragmented geopolitical landscape, global expansion remains vital for many corporations. To stay relevant in this environment, it is essential that service providers match their international capabilities with the expanding needs of globally focussed clients, writes Gavin Wilkins, Group Chief Commercial Officer at Hawksford. 

While the macro trend of globalisation has been shaping our corporate landscape for a while now, in recent years it is has not only gathered pace but has also become more nuanced.

Geopolitical uncertainty, disrupted energy supply chains, war in Europe and the Middle East, and unprecedented inflation have undoubtedly flipped the dial on global market forces. Widespread digital adoption and an appreciation of the need for sustainable, resilient, and long-term growth, however, have brought about a metaphorical chipping away of borders, whereby businesses are adopting a truly global – but balanced and more sophisticated – ethos to their strategies.

A survey by HSBC found that although 51% of global businesses expected international trade to be more difficult, 76% still expect to grow, targeting growth by entering at least one new foreign market (Business Balancing Act, 2022).

This trend will present both opportunities and challenges for financial service providers, with those capable of accurately anticipating their clients’ future needs likely to emerge on top.

Evolving needs

Increasing globalisation has prompted an evolution, not only in the type of work service providers are seeing but also in client expectations and how advisors can fully meet their needs.

Recently, we have seen corporate growth and investment patterns evolve further. While “West to East” remains strong, Asia-Pacific firms across the retail, fashion, logistics, manufacturing, professional services, and tech spaces are increasingly exploring new market opportunities in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

In this regard, London remains an essential hub providing capital and expertise to enable investment in the UK and across the globe. Cross-border growth strategies, however, require significant investment and expertise because of increased regulatory complexity at a domestic and international level, as well as complex (and constantly changing) reporting and tax implications.

Success requires specific and first-hand knowledge of each country’s laws, regulations, language, and business and cultural nuances.

In tandem, businesses are placing greater emphasis on governance and tax substance, wanting to ensure their affairs are watertight and that they thoroughly understand the obligations of implementing their growth plans.

This can be particularly acute in the case of family or privately-owned businesses, where corporate plans need to align comfortably with personal structuring and family governance requirements.

Consequently, service providers must demonstrate multidisciplinary capabilities and genuine international reach to nurture the strong, long-term relationships, which are vital to supporting their clients’ sustained growth plans.


As a result of this evolution, enhancing footprint and connectivity across borders will likely remain high on the agenda for most financial services providers.

Our business is no different. Jersey, as our headquarters, plays a critical role within our network. The island’s robust legal and regulatory environment, deep financial expertise and proportionate, forward-thinking approach ensures it is well positioned to support cross border corporate growth.

Beyond this, we have placed considerable emphasis on ensuring that our growth strategy is clear and perfectly aligned with the evolving needs of our clients.

In doing so, the past 18 months have seen Hawksford acquire businesses in Ireland, the Netherlands and Mauritius, the latter enabling us to support clients with both inbound and outbound African business. Boosting our Asian connectivity, Hawksford also acquired Healy Consultants, a global corporate services provider based in Singapore. Healy has a hub in the Middle East which provides us with a greatly enhanced global reach and the ability to help clients achieve their growth plans in almost every corner of the globe. And, most recently, we acquired Cayman and US-based firm Paradigm Governance Partners, which offers governance solutions to global alternative fund managers, enhancing our visibility in the US.

Our strategy, supported by our private equity partners STAR Capital, has enabled us to strengthen our teams and enhance our global reach and connectivity across time zones, from Asia – where Hawksford already has a considerably scaled operation with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Changshu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen – to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Hawksford supports firms operating in a broad range of sectors and varied sizes, from global banks and listed companies to start-up and early-stage businesses. These businesses have bespoke strategies and wide-ranging needs, driving demand for support in multiple locations and specialist disciplines, from tax and structuring to regulation and compliance.

Diversity and complexity will remain critical watchwords in the global corporate growth space. We, therefore, remain committed to strengthening our proposition in key markets and establishing a footprint in the locations where our clients need us.

Thinking beyond tomorrow

The trend towards increased globalisation is unlikely to abate, with international connectivity, global reach, and specialist knowledge all rising in importance for clients as they pursue growth strategies in an increasingly complex landscape.

Service providers need to anticipate the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ of their clients’ needs while being cognisant of opportunities to provide comprehensive support from multiple service lines and locations.

Being able to ‘think beyond tomorrow’ is our mantra at Hawksford. As the world continues to open up for clients, it will be the providers that can remain agile and demonstrate real global reach and expertise that will crystalise value for clients and remain relevant. 



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