Having joined the business in April as Group Head of Private Wealth, we sat down with David Foster to find out more about his professional background, hear his views on the private client sector and what he thinks the top challenges are for wealthy families.
What are your current views on the private client sector?
It is by far the most exciting space in financial services. Wealthy families need us now more than ever. The complexities of being of above average net worth are not getting any simpler; having a partner like Equiom along for the ride frees up families to really enjoy what they have. It’s no longer simply about dynastic financial planning, there is so much more to consider.
What is your professional background?
I started serving high net worth clients thirty years ago when I joined Coutts in London as a relationship manager. I had great experiences there and was exposed to a broad range of client scenarios. I entered the international wealth management side of the business covering the US and Caribbean and before long was mandated to focus on the international entertainment sector which led to me spending a lot of time on the west coast of the US. Subsequently I moved to the Cayman Islands, initially for Coutts as Head of Private Banking and then to RBC to lead their private client business in the region. I arrived in Jersey to head up the RBC fiduciary businesses in 2016.
What do you see as one of the most significant challenges emerging for wealthy families?
None of the traditional challenges seem to go away, but new ones emerge. I would call out cyber security as being a significant risk with all the implications that carries. This is not only from a privacy point of view in a world where there is a big fascination in people of wealth, but also from a real theft of liquid assets and compromise to personal security of families point of view.
Are you seeing more global movement among HNWIs as we approach post COVID life?
During COVID, private jet travel increased significantly for leisure use - with wealthy families often moving to homes where they could be together. I can’t see that changing really and expect that there will be a lot more leisure travel than we have seen for some time.
ESG continues to be a hot topic for private clients, what patterns or demands are you seeing of late?
Investing with the intention to support positive social or environmental benefits alongside a financial return is here to stay, but the supply side has a long way to go in terms of maturity. It seems to be a bit of a band wagon with many different interpretations still evolving and I think a lot of investors are a bit confused and would like simplification, clarity and a common language.
What attracted you to Equiom?
In simple terms, an excellent executive team with a clear vision for the business, brilliant client facing talent who are genuinely passionate about serving clients and a fantastic broad palate of services built around the practical needs of wealthy families.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Working alongside like-minded people with a common intent of excellence in serving the most demanding client base in financial services - the wealthy and the wealth creators - those who are more than capable of pushing us to the limit of our knowledge, skills and talent.