Our customers feel that a trustworthy, reliable and stable partner is a real asset in difficult times – says Francis Parisis, Global Head of Private Wealth at Intertrust
We are pleased to introduce an interview with Francis Parisis, Global Head of Business Development Private Wealth from Intertrust Group company.
LPCC: Luxembourg-Poland Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organisation orientated towards its mission: “We are the business bridge between Luxembourg and Poland”. What made you decide to join the organisation as a corporate member?
Francis: In the past 10 years, I have had continued exposure to Polish clients wishing to find the appropriate investment structuring and opportunities. Very often, Luxembourg would be the preferred choice, and over time I have built very nice relationships in and outside Poland. During that time, I had also been introduced to LPCC and participated in a few of the events, which I all very much enjoyed in terms of quality and networking. It was then also a natural decision to become a member as it would continue to help me maintain and make new connections.
LPCC: Despite the year 2020, the economic situation in both countries is auspicious. Also, the business exchange is constantly growing, and the presence of both embassies and daily direct flights is, for sure a huge surplus. Where do you see the future potential in terms of increasing bilateral economic relations?
Francis: Both countries have had a great relationship over the past decades, and opportunities continue to build. Despite COVID business has continued and will surely pick up again to regain its pre-crisis pace. Luxembourg and Poland are complementary in many ways, especially as what concerns investment structuring, business optimisation will remain at the core.
LPCC: The private wealth service has been present on the market for several years, but it turns out that not everyone properly understands its ideas. How do you assess the current state of knowledge of investors/clients about this service?
Francis: Clients, businesses, managers continue to become more knowledgeable, grow more professional, and just simply smarter in the way things are done and business is conducted. Private wealth is a very large topic affecting both the personal and professional part of the business and people. All are interconnected, going from creating better, more efficient ways to run the business all the way to effective succession and new generation planning.
LPCC: Wealth management services for the affluent are quite a challenge for companies providing this service. The typical client is demanding and expects unusual investment solutions. Who is an Intertrust customer? Can we identify the profile of such a customer?
Francis: There is no typical profile. Our clients are very varied, looking for a wide range of different services. Some seek assistance in succession and next generation planning, and others need support to map and report their assets. Quite a few need an integrated solution to safeguard their companies and family fortunes for this and the next generations.
LPCC: What services are wealthy people interested in? What are the expectations of your customers, and how does your offer meet these expectations?
Francis: They come to us to solve the administrative burdens that usually come with investment and structuring solutions. We take away all of this through smart and efficient solutions to ensure our clients can concentrate on the essential matters; run their business and investments.
LPCC: Which investments are Polish investors interested in?
Francis: Most of my Polish clients are real entrepreneurs and investment managers and are always looking for opportunities. In the past years, that has been a continued focus on real estate, but traditional private equity and venture capital are also very often sought after.
LPCC: How knowledgeable are the Polish rich about investment opportunities?
Francis: Very. Polish entrepreneurs and investors are usually very well in the know on the do’s and don’ts. They will also not wait to seek guidance and advice. Speed and accuracy are key in their approach, and they will go with those who can adapt as quickly as they do.
LPCC: What investments do you recommend to cautious investors? What investments do you recommend for courageous investors?
Francis: We don’t make investment recommendations. We are a support services firm and will do all to cater to investments, but not advice.
LPCC: Let’s imagine that I have a tremendous amount of money and I come to you with it because I have heard about the Wealth Management service…
Francis: The first step is to understand what exactly you aspire to. The next step will be to involve some key trusted parties that I believe will be able to help meets those aspirations. Ultimately it will always be the client leading the exercise while we, together with some of our key advisors, challenge, propose, change where needed.
LPCC: An “affluent client” means…?
Francis: There is not really an answer to this. In my opinion, it could well be a client who can engage others to help him achieve his goals. It can also simply be a person or family who has multiple assets and who can afford to build investment structures that allow for their own and next generations.
LPCC: And how has the Wealth Management segment been affected by the pandemic?
Francis: The pandemic has certainly had an impact on how the future is viewed. Less certainty, more questions, seeking more stability. It has led to clients becoming more concerned about asset protection, and simultaneously keep things going, and ensure that they have a service provider and a trusted partner that allows them to find the comfort and guidance to do this. It has been a lot more sought after in the last year than the years before.
LPCC: What distinguishes Intertrust in the context of wealth management?
Francis: We have a very long legacy (over 50 years) in the private wealth industry. We are present in all of the most important jurisdictions and provide all services that the private wealth management business has to provide. We have the majority of the largest families and companies in our portfolio, and we can proudly say that we have always been known for our quality and agility to work with our clients and make the best out of our relationship.
LPCC: As technology and our finance approach have evolved, have our clients’ needs for help with, for example, succession planning also changed?
Francis: Solutions for succession plan change continuously. The governments continuously change tax laws, regulators permanently issue new regulations, and we, as specialist services providers, need to adapt at all times. It is essential to remain on top of the game, and that is now also very much helped and driven by technology, while experience, the specialist staff remains at the core.
LPCC: What are the trends for 2021?
Francis: There will be an increased number of M&A transactions, as well as a growing number of real estate opportunities. The market will suffer from a certain level of distress, and this is a great opportunity for many who have the investment capacity. This was already happening prior to COVID, which slowed down during the crisis, but which is certainly going to pick and even go into a higher gear.