The move reflects a growing trend by private banks to instruct larger firms with a capacity to deal with increasingly complex trust work. Offshore firms mainly provide a full service to clients, but can lack the strength in depth to handle evolving and complex areas of international tax and trust law.
Richard Williams, the relationship partner at Lawrence Graham, said his role will be to service wealthy clients of ABN Amro who have offshore trusts in an array of jurisdictions. This includes advising, for example, a Middle East client of the bank subject to special rules due to their nationality. A City firm with a large private banking practice is considered better equipped to handle this than a full-service offshore firm.
“The private banking and offshore trust companies have come of age in terms of covering more complex client matters. They now have a need to look outside the islands for very specialist tax advice,” said Williams. “Also, international banking groups instruct us for their trust company work in order to bring consistency. Instructing offshore firms means they might get different styles of advice from their counsel.”
Instructing a London practice also brings ABN Amro within closer proximity to English barristers, who are often required for international trust work.