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TP Bites: Family offices – How coronavirus disrupted the sector

In this podcast, we discuss how coronavirus has challenged the family office sector. This discussion puts a spotlight on family office recruitment, trends in family office investment, ESG investing, the importance of succession planning, and reputation management.

Family offices coronavirus Transmission Private

In this podcast, we discuss how coronavirus has challenged the family office sector. This discussion puts a spotlight on family office recruitment, trends in family office investment, ESG investing, the importance of succession planning, and reputation management.

Our host, Kumutha Ramanathan, speaks with Matthew Braithwaite, Partner at Wedlake Bell; Vikash Gupta, founder of VAR Capital; Diana Anderson, founder of Anderson Hoare, and Jordan Greenaway, Managing Director at Transmission Private.

Full transcript

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Kumutha: Thank you and welcome to this Zoom webinar hosted by Transmission Private. I’m Kumutha Ramanathan and I will be moderating this session. This is going to be a great conversation, lots of insight is going to be made around what is happening to family offices with the Coronavirus, how it has upended the operations within these offices, and what can be done to create innovation at moving forward.

Now, progress of course has been made in the days that just passed on the vaccine front. But we know that there have been some social, economic and political frontlines that have all been laid to bare in the months that have passed since the pandemic was fully up in swing. So, we want to talk about what this means for traditional family offices and where they are heading now.

Firstly before we begin, I want to point to one specific bit of fact that I thought was really interesting while researching for today’s session. According to a UBS latest global family office report that said 121, among them family offices, weathered the 2020 storm in financial markets. 56% of them remaining were involved in strategic asset allocation, 39% also intended on allocating most of their portfolios to sustainably sourced projects over the next 5 years. Why is that important to note? Well, it shows us that the bellwether that existed has moved slightly and so let’s talk about where exactly those movements have gone amongst family offices.

Now, without further ado, let me introduce my panellists: we have Matthew Braithwaite, he is a partner at Wedlake Bell and chair of STEP's Business Families Special Interest Group. We also have Vikash Gupta, founder of VAR Capital and a board member of Monument Bank. Diana Anderson, founder of Anderson Hoare. Finally, Jordan Greenaway, founder of Transmission Private.

Thank you to everyone who is joining me today. Before we get into the questions that we talked about around innovation and where the companies that you represent are heading that, let’s start with some of the most significant concerns or issues your family offices have been dealing with. Let’s start with Jordan.

Biggest challenges facing family offices today

Jordan: I'm going to pick one that I didn’t first expect actually. Originally, I was going to go with rising anti-wealth sentiment, but I think I’ll talk a bit about that later. But one of the unexpected challenges that I found families discussing with us is as more people have more meetings over Zoom and as more business is done virtually, I think more people are starting to think about their digital profile quite seriously. Before you go onto Zoom, maybe before people connected here today, they probably stuck people’s names into Google to read about them. And business is done on the basis of trust and credibility. I’ve had lots of questions from next gen members actually a lot too, who want to be taken seriously and as things go more digital, as things go more online, they’re asking how can I ensure that my profile is credible and supports the business that I'm doing.

Kumutha: Very interesting. Diana?

Diana: Yes, I mean we’ve been looking after family offices with their recruitment needs for over 25 years, but this has been an unprecedented year in terms of the changes that they’ve had to go through. Not least the very short notice of lockdown and having to move everybody out of the office; start a remote working platform for all of them. Some found that harder than others, there’s no doubt about it. Particularly in some of the offices where there are multi-generational family members involved, that presented challenges. Nobody is trying to make sure everybody’s wellbeing is good now that they all work remotely.

I think generally one of the attractions of family offices always has been that sense of community, that sense of being together. I think suddenly overnight everybody was thrown apart. And I think some found that hard, but we are where we are now, the genie is out of the bottle so to speak. I think we’ve seen a huge change in terms of how people adapt and actually I’d say for the family office side, compared to some of the other companies, they’ve adapted very well, very well indeed. But yes, some big challenges.

Kumutha: Definitely. Vikash, what are the challenges you’ve faced?

Vikash: Yeah, I mean traditional asset classes are no longer relevant. Typically, family offices were looking at hotels, commercial properties, offices etc. as safe and income producing assets and suddenly they have been very badly challenged. So now they are rethinking their own assets, saying “Look, are these the right asset classes for us to hold in the long run?”. On the flip side, it’s also presenting some great opportunities for family offices who have the capital and the patience to pick up businesses on a very discounted rate. I would say from a financial perspective it’s presenting a challenge and an opportunity to family offices.

Kumutha: Very interesting mixed picture there. Matthew?

Matthew: I would say in the context of my area of practice, which is succession and estate planning, I think COVID has proved a catalyst for families to move the dialogue in terms of where they are with their succession planning. And that’s either through a necessity of business need, particularly in the family business context, where you have businesses that in order to survive need to develop an online profile and operate online - and who better to be able to facilitate that but the tech-savvy next generation. So there’s been a real sense of purpose of the next-gen coming on board to be able to facilitate that. Again, that coming together of families, people are more connected - albeit not personally, but certainly through technology - and they are having more deep and meaningful conversations. Which often means that we can get beyond the traditional stalemates of having those discussions around the succession of wealth.

ESG investing: How the next generation are challenging family offices

Kumutha: Matthew, that’s a great point to bring up around technology, innovation and viewpoints that have evolved. I think it goes nicely into our next point, which is about ESG as well as pay disparity and some of the other evolving issues that the next generation are bringing up with their parents and with the leaders of their families.

Tell me a little bit about how you’ve been engaging in those conversations around some of these issues?

Matthew: I think ESG and the conversations around that are almost a meeting of two worlds. You have the current generation holding the wealth who might typically be the baby boomer generation. They’ve accumulated the wealth and are looking to succeed that wealth to their children who are typically millennial. Just through profile, and particularly in western jurisdictions. And succession planning in itself is nothing new, we’ve been doing it for centuries. But it’s different this time around, there’s a greater divide between the generations. Millennial perceptions of wealth and values are very different to their forbearers and I think there’s no coincidence that ESG is becoming an increasingly popular subject of discussion. If you also think about COVID, that general outpouring of doing good in society makes it more acceptable and more accessible for people as well.

I think if we take a look back and think about what is a typical millennial in terms of values and vision, and of course everybody’s different, but they’re typically highly educated, we touched on the tech-savviness, more attuned to impactful issues - particularly climate change and gender / racial equality. I think it’s the next generation who want to see that coming through in the investment portfolios that the family offices are managing. I think ESG investments offer the family offices that ability to do so, they are increasingly broad in their nature, the actual underlined businesses are more attuned to becoming socially aware. The ability to try and match yield to social good means that you are appeasing both the current and the next generation and I think ESG is a way of doing that.

From my perspective, I've been working with a member of generation three of a family business, who sold that business and restructured the liquid wealth into three foundations - all of which have an ESG focus. What it really represents is the enablement of keeping that wealth together. That member of that generation is working with his cohorts, with his generation to bring those projects to life. To be on the ground and be able to report about what good the foundations are doing, and what that’s done is ensure that the wealth has stayed together rather than fragment. Because typically by generation three you start to find that the wealth does fragment, and you are looking at ways to try keep the wealth together and give a sense of purpose.

I think ESG investment for them as a family means that the next generation have accepted the purpose of the wealth. For the generation of their forbearers, they can still see the yield and the economic good by what’s being done by those investments.

Could coronavirus be a trigger for succession planning

Kumutha: Very interesting. Jordan, how do you begin to guide these conversations?

Jordan: It’s an interesting perspective from Matthew and I think it dovetails quite interestingly with Coronavirus in the last 3 or 4 months. Whereas 12 months ago, 18 months ago, lots of business operators and CIOs or principals of family offices would have had their head down in the business. I think the last 4 to 5 months, which have perhaps been less busy for some families, have given them more time around the table; bringing multiple generations together. I think it’s triggered a discussion within families around their purpose, what they want to achieve, what they want to do. Maybe the next generation is starting to take over the business, as was always intended, but there’s never been the time and breathing space to discuss that properly. So, I think it’s given many families an opportunity to discuss these issues properly.

In fact we’ve had, over the last 2 or 3 months, 4 or 5 calls from different families saying that this has been a polarising moment for them. That they are discussing sale of the business, discussing setting up a family office for the first time, and that starts some triggers and discussions around “Okay, so what’s this family office going to say?”. Or if a next gen member is starting to take a more prominent role in the family office, what does the family office say about that next gen member and what they are bringing to that family office? So actually I think in many ways Coronavirus has given many families a pause to reflect and think about these issues more seriously.

Family office jobs: How family offices are going remote

Kumutha: Very interesting to hear that the topic around ESG is no longer one that remains on the side-lines, not on a fringe anymore, but very much part of the wider strategic thinking. Diana and Vikash, do you have anything you want to add?

Diana: Yes, I think I chime with what you’ve said before Jordan and Matthew. This has been a big change, there’s not doubt about it. I think change brings good opportunities. I think those family offices that have relied on a certain business model are now looking at it in more detail and perhaps thinking this is a good time to change. Interestingly, where there’s been succession change with a principal passing on to another family member, we’ve also seen a perhaps larger than average number of retirements going on with key people in those offices. These could be operation directors, chief of staff for example, who’ve been very loyal key people within the family, and they’ve decided to step down for various reasons. Maybe it’s difficulties adapting to the changes that they’ve had to go through. That again presents an opportunity for fresh hires, a diversity of thinking coming through and a different approach to how people look at things.

That has also led, in some cases, to the traditional office model changing into a much more of a hybrid set up, where they accept that people will be working from home. Again, it’s not for everybody, but there’ll be more opportunity for flexi-working, more digital enhancement and more investment into those areas. In some cases, travel has been cut back. Do we need to travel as much as we used to for meetings and things? Let’s scale back a bit, but they might then have a key person representing them in Europe or wherever their businesses lie. So yes, it’s been a fascinating time, quite interesting. Some interesting projects have come out over the summer.

Kumutha: It is an interesting time to see how a lot of businesses within the family office world, but also wider corporations, are now saying indefinitely if you want to work from home, it’s a real viable option. Whereas even a few months ago we couldn’t even have this conversation.

Vikash, is there anything else in terms of innovations that have been forced upon us or come about in the wake of COVID?

Vikash: I think people are definitely a lot more aware of their mental and physical health as well. Both for themselves, but also their partners, their employees and so on. So definitely a lot of people had time to reflect and see what is really important to them and what is really important in life.

But one thing I will say on ESG, just bringing it back, is family offices should be aware that it is very much an evolving topic. So rather than trying to emulate others, they should develop their own strategy. And that’s absolutely fine - find their own way of doing things.

We are a large asset management firm for family offices and we have evolved our thinking. When I spoke to some of the larger firms, they were exactly at the same stage as us, which is that we are all exploring. So, they shouldn’t be afraid to have their own method of doing things. Some people prefer to invest in old school business, take the profit, then re-invest in new businesses and vice versa. I would say one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to ESG, because there are so many standards and so many ways of doing it.

Reputation management: The importance of digital reputation for family offices

Kumutha: So as family offices increasingly become more of a hub of innovation, as it sounds like all of you are saying, how do you then deal with reputational risk as well as anti-wealth sentiment?

These are issues inevitably any family office, no matter the size and stature, is going to deal with. Jordan, please weigh in.

Jordan: This is where we focused with many of our clients and families over the last 3-4 months. I think if you’re a family and you’ve been flicking through newspapers, flicking on the news, watching arguments in the House of Commons or on Twitter, then you’ll recognise or feel that there has been a bit of a sentiment shift.

There was a period during the last 3 months where I was getting calls quite reliably from the press every other day, asking questions around the moral duties of business owners and family offices in contributing to the recovery - and I don’t think those questions are going anywhere soon. This is not just a sense that we’re feeling, there’s strong evidence to support this too.

I read an interesting research note from Crimson Hexagon about 2 months ago that showed that anti-wealth sentiment and anti-wealth comments on social media are now at their highest since the financial crisis. I actually think we risk turning the whole generation against wealth too. We have people between the ages 25 and 35 who entered the workplace in 2008-2009, during the midst of the financial crisis, and felt that their job opportunities were narrowing down. Now they’ve reached the point when they’re potentially at their peak earning potential and they’ve been hit by yet another financial crisis. So, I think there is a feeling amongst the younger generation that they’re trying to find someone to blame. Inevitably that’s going to come back to business owners, family offices and investors.

Now, there’s going to be a number of different practical ways that you can deal with that. And I always say, make sure, given that these risks are ever-present online, you have monitoring in place. So that if anyone mentions you or your business, you’re immediately alerted. There are all these very practical things that you can put in place.

But I also think it’s important for the families to realise that this is not a discussion that they can necessarily duck out of. When I speak to some families, I think their instinctive response is to say “We are not like that”. Or more to the point, “We don’t have a profile, nobody knows about us”. I think that a possibility of staying under the radar is going to narrow.

We’ve recently done some research to show that if you are a wealthy business owner and someone in the financial institution or in the public searches you and they can’t find anything at all (because you’re so below the radar that you’re invisible), then it’s an active harm to your reputation - 40% of the people think of you negatively. So, this is not a conversation or issue that families can duck out of. Which means that you all have to get around the table and have a proper discussion around “All right, we have to communicate something, so what’s it going to be?”.

Kumutha: So, this sounds like preparedness is really the name of the game. Because if you are thrust into the spotlight in relation to something your business has done, you need to already have a brand profile that exists.

Vikash, how do you help your clients navigate through difficult periods?

Vikash: In terms of just client profile: traditionally as digital became more prevalent, a lot of families have chosen to have less profile on internet or rather they have cleaned up the internet - had lawyers and other advisors cleaning up all their presence online. I’d say that has become a bit counterproductive because if you are opening a new account with a bank or if you are dealing with a large institution, they would expect each and every investor to have some kind of digital footprint. Otherwise the concern is that they trying to hide something, or that they are a front for someone else, where’s the money actually coming from. That’s become very important to anyone dealing with their clients. I would say don’t be scared of a digital profile, but manage it, control it and let it be there. Because if it’s not there then, especially in countries like UK and other advanced countries, you’ll have difficulty dealing with larger institutions.

Family office recruitment: Attracting the right talent to your family office

Kumutha: So, in the process of building a brand strategy you also have to maintain a brand.

Diana this might be a good place for you to come in and talk about how do you attract and retain a strong team to be able to advance whatever your mission is as a family office?

Diana: It’s very interesting listening to everybody here, because again the profile footprint (or your organisational persona if you like) is really important to get right. Obviously a lot of people are on LinkedIn now, that’s a big presence in everybody’s lives and some are more active than others. But if you don’t have a good footprint, if people can’t find out about you, and you want to attract people through that medium, then it’s very, very hard. there’s a natural suspicion, why can’t I find any information? So we support family offices with that and have worked very closely with them.

We ourselves obviously spend a lot of time on LinkedIn and we have research teams that provide information on where everybody is; the key players. But also, to give you an example, somebody we worked with recently was a Belgium based family who was working on a large scale project to set up an academic institution in London. They’d already identified 2 key members for the board they wanted to form and they asked us to approach them. They themselves couldn’t have done that. I think it would have been very hard as these were highly influential people who would naturally have been suspicious.

So, we got involved and we were able to partner with them. They knew who they wanted to get, they knew the talent they wanted to acquire. But for themselves to do it, they didn’t have the profile to enable them to do that. So we worked with them. It can work in good ways, it can work in bad ways. But some clients prefer the recruitment to be kept highly confidential. There’s also that fear of failure if you approach somebody and then they don’t want to come forward, you can’t then open that door again, it’s shut. So again, we help companies and family offices with that.

Kumutha: Vikash, how do you go about attracting the right talent for your clients?

Vikash: I was just going to add to what Diana and Matthew was mentioning earlier. There’s an immense amount of wealth transfer happening from the founders of the businesses to their children - who are more in the wealth preservation mode rather than wealth growth mode. I think traditionally founders have been making all the decisions, they’ve been analysing their business and investment opportunities. But as the children are taking over, I think it’s very important that they professionalise their family office rather than relying on some old accountant who’s also become the chief investment officer, for example.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, Coronavirus has given a good opportunity to pick up talent. We are seeing some of our family office clients hire people from big institutions and banks, which they would have never hired from earlier because large organisations are struggling. People are now re-setting their expectations of money versus flexibility / chilling out in the job a little bit rather than being constantly on the call 24/7. So, we are seeing lots of investment bankers, hedge fund managers, VC and PE managers being hired into family offices because family offices are realising that rather than putting money in a fund, they can directly buy those businesses. But in order to do those things, they need to have the talent in-house. Because otherwise they can easily be blindsided by the opportunities.

So, we are seeing a lot more hiring. Obviously, there are specific recruitment firms which they are using for very specific searches, but there are now new digital avenues to hire people. I mean, LinkedIn, which Diana was talking about is, one such avenue. You can put an ad on LinkedIn and target specific firms you want to hire from and LinkedIn will do the job for you. So, I talk to my clients and I tell them look, if you need to hire, don’t think short term, think long term. This is the right time to pick up talent.

Succession planning: The importance of communication

Kumutha: Lovely. Matthew, has there been any innovation around how you advise your clients?

Matthew: Going back to my point before about succession planning being nothing that we are not familiar with already. It comes back to the basics of communication. If you are going to look at attracting talent, then you need to be having conversations with the family to decide what’s the direction of the wealth in the future, who wants to be involved, to stay in the family business, if at all. Address the elephant in the room: is there an assumption that the eldest son will succeed the business? Maybe they don’t want to, maybe the conversation has already passed and they’re forging their career elsewhere.

As soon as you have an understanding about the future, you can start to put the infrastructure in place to ensure the smooth transition. Whether that’s a exit, a sale, an IPO etc. Is the family business going to morph into liquid assets, which the family office will then hold and start putting that infrastructure in place? It’s better to do so whilst the current wealth holder is still around to be able to part of that architecture, rather than having a fire sale in a time of crisis. So I think effective communication is key to all of this.

Jordan: I have something to add to this Kumutha. It’s quite interesting that we are seeing this wealth transfer to the next generation and how that changes what the vision or plan of the business may be. From my experience, I find that - and I don’t think it’s a conscious decision, I think that it’s families forget to do it - the next generation members of that family are not part of that family business brand or family office brand. Especially if the business or the family office was set up by a first-generation entrepreneur - they become so highly identified with the business.

You suddenly open yourself up to potential risks. For example, the worst happens to the founder or suddenly there’s a crisis in market confidence in that company. But also you’re missing a great opportunity to bring up these next generation members, who have completely different skills and who can reassure partners, customers, etc. that you as a business or a family office are fit for purpose for the next generation as well.

Kumutha: Very interesting. And using the skills of that next generation, ideally you would be then growing the family pool of wealth and opportunities through new business deals.

Vikash let’s talk about how you help your clients find the right opportunities that are out there. As you said, M&A activity and all of that, we are in very fertile ground right now.

Family office investment: Wealth management in a downturn

Vikash: COVID has definitely created a lot of opportunities for family offices to pick up assets on the cheap. Whether it’s real estate or whether it’s companies. For example, a fast-food chain which was sold for £200 million a couple of years ago was then available for 5-6 million pounds. So, amazing opportunities for people to pick up assets which are highly valued.

But on the flipside, it also brings a lot of challenges. For example, if you are in a motor parts business and your want to pick up a restaurant chain - that’s not necessarily your forte. So you have to have the right people to run it and manage it for you. Going back to reputational challenges as well, the newspapers are very hot. You might buy a retail-type business and you may be involved in restructuring, layoffs, closing branches or closing shops. Then the newspapers will very easily pick up the family name and say so-and-so family has laid off 500 people etc. So, there are lots of opportunities and very good assets to pick up, both on the real estate side, but also on the operating business side. But they all come with challenges.

I always advise our clients to work with teams who have done that and to work with other fund managers as co-investment partners. Not only does it reduce their own capital risk, but also reduces the execution risk. Have the right people in-house, pay them the right amount to run that process for you and, as much as possible, stay as an investor rather than an operator. Especially when it’s a sensitive sector where job losses could be involved. So lots to think about, but I will say we probably have once-in-a-decade opportunity to pick up some very good assets in the market.

Kumutha: Matthew, how do you help your clients from a legal perspective in trying to identify where those opportunities lie?

Matthew: Well, there are 2 points to pick up on. I think building on what Vikash has said, it’s about safety navigating and finding those opportunities, as well as making sure that what you’re investing in is fit for purpose. So, we would always advocate naturally strong legal and tax due diligence around any target acquisition to avoid any nasty surprises. I think, building on the point around professionalising the actual family office, being able to leverage off of those professionals within the family office; their own reputations and their own networks, will open the doors and opportunities for family offices to make those big ticket acquisitions.

Kumutha: That’s lovely. Jordan, I’m sure this is an issue that you’ve had to often deal with for your clients. Can you tell me where the opportunities have been and if there have been any surprises along the way?

Jordan: Yeah, I think this is a really interesting and timely discussion actually. Because there are opportunities in the market and I think more families and family offices are awake to those opportunities.

I had an interesting call yesterday from a family in Europe who said that they were low profile as a family, but they saw that the market was right for potential acquisitions and were thinking for the first time of setting up an investment vehicle to invest and buy SMEs. It was not something that they’d been actively involved in before. They are property guys and they’re relatively low profile, but known as a name in property. Suddenly they are going to start trying to deploy their family capital to acquire stakes in SMEs. The first question that occurred to the new principal of that family office was: we are not a known brand, the family are very cautious and worried about being identified. But when we approach people we want them to know that we are credible and serious. So how do we have the balance between showing credibility and at the same time protecting the privacy and the profile of the family principals? I think that actually there’s going to be more of those discussions over the next 12 months as more families recognise that there are some interesting opportunities, but perhaps they are not quite putting their best foot forward to actually access those in an efficient and effective way.

The importance of having a family office website

Kumutha: Can you give me some examples of what some of the leavers might be then to enable a smaller player to appear larger and be taken more seriously than perhaps they would?

Jordan: I don’t think it’s a matter so much of appearing larger, because many of these family offices that are being set up are actually well-capitalised. It’s primarily ensuring that you are bridging the credibility gap on suspicion.

If you are a fund that maybe has 300 million or a billion in investible capital under a name that’s not very well known, and you’ve accessed your deal flow already through your personal networks. But you then spot an interesting opportunity and your family office principal then makes contact and says “Look, we’ve got investible capital of 300 million and we’d like to have a discussion about striking a deal”, these people are worried that the SMEs haven’t even heard of you and that you actually sound like a bit of a scam artist. How do they access that discussion? I think it all starts and ends with online visibility, ensuring that the search for that family office is controlled, managed, and communicates the right messages.

Now of course there’s a slight descale here. Some families are going to be at the very greet end. They need to have that digital profile, but at the same time they don’t want any additional support in terms of communicating to the media. Other families may have exited and they are completely repositioning the family itself, they are perhaps reimagining themselves as technology investors and they welcome that strategic help on securing some allied media coverage around it. But the way I put it to someone over the phone is it’s like having a speaker besides you and there’s a volume dial there. If you leave the volume dial on zero, then it’s going to be impossible to do that job that you want to do. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to turn the volume dial up to 9. You can even get up to 1 at the start and see if it works, then 2, and then 3. You can even align this with putting in place risk and mitigation strategies as well, such as monitoring. So that’s the way I’d answer that, Kumutha.

Kumutha: That’s great. Diana, we’ve heard about bridging alliances from Vikash, we’ve heard some of the legalese around some of these deals from Matthew, and now Jordan talking about building a profile. Anything else you’d like to add?

Diana: Yes, I mean everything that everybody has said feeds into the recruitment side. Vikash, you are right to point out about LinkedIn and placing ads yourself. Again, be very aware that in this crowded market now, you will be inundated with response.

I think the question is: what is your profile and is it strong enough? But also, have you got the manpower to actually deal with all the responses? If you can't respond, is that going to go against your reputation? So, these are all things to think about.

But to summarise from my side, it absolutely has been a fascinating 6 to 9 months. We didn’t think it would go on for quite so long, but it’s been a fascinating time and very excited for all the changes that are going on that affect us all - good times for opportunity.

Kumutha: Absolutely. Was there someone else that wanted to speak?

Matthew: I’d just like to add to Jordan’s point about that example he gave regarding the setting up of that investment vehicle as well as the brand and the reputation of the family office. It’s also being careful with the choice of jurisdiction where they establish that vehicle to fund those SME projects. Because obviously different jurisdictions have different perceptions and their own brands to navigate. So, it’s a very joined up process that needs to occur there.

Kumutha: So not an overnight process, but definitely one that can take place over weeks or months. Do you have a timeline of how long it usually takes when you engage in those sorts of negotiations?

Matthew: Well, that’s probably the role and job of my contemporaries in our corporate and fund structuring teams, but it can be as long or as short as it needs to be. I think we can be very reactive, but building a brand obviously takes longer to achieve. ut putting a deal in place can be done relatively quickly.

Kumutha: Very nice. Well, I want to thank everyone who took part in today’s session. I'm going to hand it over to Jordan now, who will handle the final words.

Jordan: Thank you everyone on the panel for contributing all those various views and thank you to everyone who’s viewing this for finding the time in the day to listen to us speak. As people were speaking today, I was trying to find some umbrella concept that joins it all together. I think it’s that Coronavirus in the last 6 months has not only thrown up new opportunities, but new risks as well. I think the world is perhaps more turbulent and changeable as never before.

I remember last year reading the newspapers and thinking this cannot get any more rapid and turbulent, and then it has. I used to think during times like these that the importance of effective expert advise and guidance from the legal side with someone like Matthew, or the HR side with someone like Diana, or the financial side with someone like Vikash is just so important, more so than ever before. So I just wanted to finish with that message, Kumutha.

Kumutha: Great. Well, thank you again everyone who has joined today’s session. Hopefully we will have many more invigorating opportunities that lie ahead. Especially now with the vaccine, hopefully we are on our way. So thank you again everyone.

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