Jersey-based private wealth experts GlenQ reflect on 2020’s challenges and reasons to be cheerful
How do you normally see things?
Glass half-empty, or half-full? Reasons to be cheerful, or causes for concern? Grounds for optimism, or feelings of gloom?
Whatever your normal outlook, it must be fair to say that for most of us, 2020 can at least be characterised as a very peculiar year. Presumably, one that most would rather not go through again.
Most, but not all. For global private wealth experts GlenQ, 2020 turned out a remarkably positive year. New markets, new clients, new opportunities. And a prospective new year promising more of the same.
But surely this wasn’t the outcome expected as the company, their Jersey offshore finance centre home, and the wider world plunged into unprecedented, enforced lockdown.
‘I can honestly say we didn’t know what to expect when the sudden spread of Covid turned everything on its head in March,’ reflects GlenQ principal Iain Quenault. ‘There had obviously been troubling signs something was looming during what was a very bullish first quarter. But few could have anticipated the global impact. Then suddenly, I found myself on a rescue mission driving through France to collect my son stranded in the French ski resort of Tignes – borders shutting all around, and lights apparently going out.’
Back in Jersey, the GlenQ team faced putting the lights out on normal office life following a ‘work from home’ order. Fortunately, the transmission was remarkably smooth, notes fellow principal Paul Glennon.
‘We’d made significant IT infrastructure investment during 2019,’ he recalls, ‘not anticipating a pandemic, of course, but to reinforce business continuity plans. It allowed a trouble-free transition to remote working, helped by Jersey’s world-beating fibre-to-the-home network. The team quickly found its feet. I’m proud to say that our clients would have hardly noticed any change in service.’
GlenQ’s client base is mostly global, located in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. How did they react to the crisis and their dramatically changed circumstances?
‘Our experience is that the pandemic and associated lockdowns have led to many high-net-worth individuals and families stepping back and considering what they really want from both their work and private lives,’ reveals Iain. ‘Some clients have taken the opportunity to review their whole approach to private wealth management. And as a result, decided to simplify financial arrangements and structures. Others have re-evaluated what future they want for themselves and their families, and decided on a more effective use of trusts, foundations or other investment vehicles. And GlenQ has been fully able to support them every step of the way.’
There’s clearly been a change in the way that support is provided, as pandemic travel restrictions limited face-to-face meeting opportunities. Has this affected client relationships in any way?
‘Not noticeably,’ maintains Paul, ‘as we’ve been able to keep in touch with all our clients and intermediaries through video calls and other forms of electronic communication. An important enabler has been the solid level of trust, built through years of dedicated relationship-building. We pride ourselves on always delivering on promises and meeting expectations. It’s a reputation that’s paid dividends during 2020, both in terms of retaining existing clients, attracting new ones and even allowing us to expand into exciting new markets.’
So, despite all the challenges, 2020 has been a cheery year for GlenQ. Staying true to its core values of integrity, accessibility and professionalism has provided the platform for continued business success. And upon which to look forward to an even more successful 2021, when hopefully the world can begin putting this cruel and disruptive pandemic behind us.
Let’s raise a very full glass of cheerful optimism to that.