Alan Milgate is acclaimed by peers across Europe and North America who admire his 20-plus years of experience in the financial services industry.
Alan is a partner with the Cayman Islands firm and specialises in private client services including family offices, international trust structures, private trust companies and purpose trusts, estate planning and wealth management. He is a qualified CA (Canada), TEP and a CFA charter holder. He is a past-chairman of the Cayman branch of STEP, a member of STEP Global Council, past-chairman of the Cayman Chapter of AIMA, a director of Cayman Finance and member of CIIPA.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the private client field and what do you enjoy most about your role?
My path to private clients was accidental, starting initially to pursue audit and accounting, with a tax focus. When I was introduced to the private client space, I saw the need and opportunity to help families with their sophisticated wealth planning, succession and family governance needs. Essentially, to be of added value and create, rather than to be a required necessity of reporting was compelling to me and gives purpose to what I do daily.
What qualities do clients look for in an effective private client practitioner?
With our focus on HNW global families, we find that they are looking for a long-term, stable relationship, with an advisory focus on assisting them with problem solving. This involves dealing with both threats and opportunities that present themselves. To remain adaptable to their evolving situation and to be innovative in helping them with their specific needs are both key to building and maintaining the trusted advisor role over many generations.
How has wealth structuring evolved since the beginning of your career?
Structures now have become a lot more sophisticated in their approach to appropriate family governance and focus more on the opportunities side, with new investment options and philanthropic giving. We have seen many first-generation structures making the evolution to second and third generations and needing to adapt to these needs.
How does Rawlinson & Hunter distinguish itself from competitors?
Rawlinson & Hunter is unique in its commitment to being privately owned and truly independent. We do not provide any investment management or legal services and are focused solely on the fiduciary roles that we excel in, and that our clients need from us. This allows us to be decision makers, involving other experts where required and exercising our discretion effectively and efficiently. The partners’ commitment to maintaining a lead with each client and having direct interaction, rather than relying on relationship managers or a rotating allocation of staff is our strength.
In what ways has covid-19 affected your practice, and what long-term effects do you see it having on the private client market?
Covid-19 has seemed to result in a flight to quality by private clients. Our proven capabilities and effective business continuity plans have allowed us to work without disruption and to provide stability to our clients who have faced many disruptions. Private clients are reassessing their residence, both physical and for their wealth, as well as their structures with a renewed focus on how quickly the world can change and the threats that are exposed.
What challenges does the global drive for greater financial transparency pose to trusts specialists like yourself, and how can they be addressed?
Global transparency requires a growing effort and investment into our compliance and reporting efforts. Procedures are more detailed and documentation improved to meet the highest global standards. Coming with this are new risks also, as many unauthorised requests for information are received with ill-founded purposes. We focus on vetting any requests to ensure that they are legitimate and in accordance with global standards and protocols. The balance of transparency and rights to privacy require more focus and substantial effort to maintain.
How do the demands of separate generations of clients differ from one another, and what challenges do they pose?
Many! Communication styles and timing expectations are two that require adaptability, recognising that we must adapt to the specific needs of each stakeholder, while considering the needs of all. Generational shift has brought a rapid change to views on definitions of family, philanthropy, ESG requirements and how best to measure investment returns, using qualitative as well as quantitative measures. Applying a G1 approach to a G3 relationship guarantees failure and a breakdown in the relationship.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Find your group of relevant, trusted peers to grow alongside with in your career and focus on forward looking innovation in how we can all best serve our clients.
Take care of the industry, your jurisdiction and your business, in that order, invest in development of new products, legislation and a healthy, competitive environment and you will have all of the opportunities for your career to thrive and to help your clients in the best ways possible. Focus on looking for quality ways to say “yes” and make it happen, take every conversation and always, always, be responsive.
Alan Milgate is acclaimed by peers as an “outstanding practitioner who is highly recommended” for his work on international trust structures and estate planning.
Alan is a Partner with the Cayman Islands firm and specialises in private client services including family offices, international trust structures, private trust companies and purpose trusts, estate planning and wealth management.
He advises on the establishment and ongoing administration of Cayman Islands trusts and companies including acting as a director of a number of private trust companies, other regulated entities and client companies. Alan is a director of The R&H Trust Co. Ltd. and The Harbour Trust Co. Ltd., duly licensed Cayman Islands trust companies owned and operated by Rawlinson & Hunter in the Cayman Islands.
Alan has over 25 years of international experience in the financial services industry and joined the Cayman practice in December 1997. Prior to moving to Cayman, his career included experience with the taxation practice of Deloitte in Canada and audit and assurance services in Canada, New Zealand and the Cayman Islands. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (Canada), Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder.
He is a Past-Chairman of the Cayman branch of STEP, a Member of STEP Global Council, Past-Chairman of the Cayman Chapter of AIMA, a Director of Cayman Finance and member of the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants.
Rawlinson & Hunter is an international grouping of professional firms specialising in financial advice and fiduciary services. The Cayman Islands firm owns and operates The R&H Trust Co. Ltd. a duly licensed Cayman Islands trust company which provides a full range of trust and corporate services including the provision of corporate trustees, directors, enforcers and protectors, advisory services to private trust companies, family governance committees and contentious trusts.