A webinar addressing the topic of cross-border wealth structuring for global Indian families alongside the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the uncertainty that international families are facing and the need for advisers to provide clear guidance and flexible wealth structuring options.
Co-hosted by Michael Powell, Head of Hawksford’s India desk, and Edwin Coe’s Tax Partner Hetal Sanghvi, the webinar shone a light on to the most critical questions asked by global Indian HNW families planning for succession, particularly in light of COVID-19.
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“When Hetal and I co-hosted an event in Mumbai in February, COVID-19 was on the cusp of becoming a global issue and India would subsequently be dramatically closed down. As advisers, we have had to accept that uncertainty is a new certainty and recognise the insecurities that many clients are facing whether on a personal, corporate or commercial level. It has become strikingly clear that clients need their advisers to add value by anticipating what will happen next and offering wealth management and structuring that allows maximum flexibility and enables clients to transition between global borders effectively,” said Mr Powell.
Ms Sanghvi said that the pandemic has caused many Indian clients to consider their own health and the long term planning of their assets and structures: “From speaking to clients based in India, I have had many conversations about what structures are already in place and families are starting to think about how future generations will be able to access and manage this wealth. Many families have members living in different parts of the world and consideration must be given to how the structures that are in place will be perceived in those jurisdictions; I have worked with a South African family of Indian origin relocating to the UK whose structures held in Liechtenstein did not stand up to scrutiny. Getting structures in order with a thorough health check is a priority. Global families are having to think about their residency in greater detail and the pandemic is bringing these issues into sharper focus.”
Both Mr Powell and Ms Sanghvi agreed that rigorous corporate governance and basing structures in robust jurisdictions, such as Jersey, were vital to providing a justified sense of security and ensuring global families are able to preserve and grow their wealth for future generations.
“There are many options available to Indian and other globally-minded families, but timely planning and communication with regular reviews and updates are essential, as is accessing detailed specialist advice at an early stage,” added Mr Powell.
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