Withers, the private client law firm, are launching Withers Consulting Group, a new non-legal consultancy offering advice and support to HNWs, family businesses and entrepreneurs, in a surprise move which may herald similar developments among its rivals.
According to Withers’ managing director Margaret Robertson, the new consultancy has sprung up due to demand from HNWs for a broader, more structured advisory service: ‘In recent years, as our clients’ personal and business lives have become more international and complicated, we have had an increasing number of requests for advice that falls outside the realm of legal services, in particular, questions and concerns that clients need to resolve in order to deliver their future vision of success.’
WCG, which launches on 2 April, will assist HNWs with issues such as protecting and sharing family wealth and the transmission of family values from generation to generation, and offer guidance to entrepreneurs starting their own businesses.
They have picked a good time to launch this multi-service bolt-on, as family offices in the UK are increasingly focused on discretionary investment management, rather than offering a wider range of services. And, importantly, WCG’s offering seems different from that of its nearest competitors, concierge services.
‘Unlike concierge services,’ says Robertson, ‘this type of strategic advice is still rare and is generally provided by individuals, rather than on a more structured basis at an institutional level. And when combined with Withers’ international offices in the world’s key wealth management centres, we believe that this delivers a unique and much-needed service.’
Withers Consulting Group will initially be run by two leaders in the consulting field, Kenneth McCracken and Amelia Benkert-Thomas, but Robertson expects that the team could grow to ten consultants in the next five years.