The Mishcon Private ecosystem and its benefits for clients 

Mishcon de Reya and its private division outline their strategy and offerings, as well as the clients' mindset. Anika Sidhika writes.

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Mishcon de Reya is a British international law firm with offices in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Singapore, as well as a collaboration with Karas So in Hong Kong. Since its founding in 1937, it has employed more than 1450 individuals, including more than 650 lawyers. Mishcon Private has a secret weapon; its ecosystem. 

Themes that frequently appear in people’s private lives include family politics and dynamics, family businesses, interpersonal relationships, reputations, property, assets, and legacy. These are all components of the Mishcon Private ecosystem. 

Though it concentrates on wealth and money management, Mishcon Private understands that their customers’ lives are about much more than simply their financial status and provides a range of legal services to families, corporations, and high net worth individuals. 

Private Banker International speaks to the chair of Mishcon Private Nick Davis, managing partner James Libson, and partner Marianne Kafena about Mishcon Private’s offerings for affluent clients, as well as their investment approach. 

Client centric 

Speaking with Kafena, who was just hired and is a partner in Mishcon de Reya‘s private team at the company’s London headquarters, she states that one of Mishcon Private’s distinguishing features, according to her, is its “client-centric” approach.  

‘‘The organisation of private certainly feels to me and delivers as what is it you have been asking for and what is it you need? And that is from how we collaborate to the language of the material we provide to the mindset around client service and the nimbleness of how we handle things and how we work together. I do not feel that I am in a little silo. I feel that I am in a place where the right people need to be doing the right work, so that the client gets what they need,” she explains. 

Davis adds that what you have with Mishcon Private “is not just the traditional trust and estate tax and wealth planning, but also art law, and we have family, immigration, luxury assets, private wealth disputes”. 

All in all, Mishcon Private ecosystem addresses all potential topics. 

Typical subjects include tax and wealth planning, trusts, wills, and probate, as well as resolving a family feud or relocating to another nation. 

When customers require information outside of the legal profession, the ecosystem can direct them to a network of additional specialists, such as strategic communications advisers, private bankers, private investigators, educational consultants, accountants, family offices, counsellors, and therapists. 

Libson goes on to highlight how diverse private client firms are, yet there have been more entrepreneurial and foreign-based approaching Mishcon Private, resulting in less conventional UK inherited wealth

He states: “We are now getting more of that more traditional client base. Traditionally, and over the last 15 years, it has been those clients who are touching the UK, or coming into the UK, and have made their wealth entrepreneurially rather than inherited it. But definitely looking at generational challenges, how to pass on the wealth, how to do their philanthropy, how to structure stuff, how to make sure their children remain engaged with the firm in the business and that sort of thing. So that I think that would be the traditional profile.” 

Davis adds that Mishcon Private intends to continue expanding their offering. he says: “Family offices are an area where we are building more families coming in offices needing our service, which are corporations that need governance and structural advice, which is something that we’re building on.” 

Mishcon Private’s future focus 

Despite the fact that the pandemic has altered our way of life and work, many advancements in technology, like as the rise of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the internet of things, have been made possible. 

Davis goes on to underline Mishcon’s focus and the current developments in the private capital market, which include an increase in technology investment

The potential of the technology sector has resulted in several investment opportunities and substantial offerings from companies such as Mishcon. This comes after Mishcon de Reya and Taylor Vinters joined in 2023 to become a single entity. 

Libson states: ‘‘We spent the last 10 years, committing ourselves to being digitally transformed within the business and employing lots of people, we never thought we’d be employed in a law firm people like data scientists and other people with technology skills. We created our own sort of startup fund incubator, to invest in legal technology companies. And have an ability now to invest in some of the tech businesses that come under our radar. 

“We also have a consultancy, MDRx, which is the interface between regulation and advanced technologies, and engineering solutions for clients. So, we have gone all in for a period of time on technology transformation.” 

Both companies’ goals of fostering the innovation economy and expanding their market share of legal and consulting services for technology, media, and life sciences in the UK and other major international innovation hubs across the world are fulfilled by the merger

Money and the millennial generation 

Not only is responsible investment becoming more popular this year, but Kafena’s field of expertise also addresses the younger generation’s growing desire to understand more about their wealth, and where it has come from. 

She says: “They are very interested to know and are very responsible – when it comes to wanting to understand where it comes from, and wanting to be actively involved in where their money is going. On the other hand, in the Middle East, which is also where I focus, there is a lot more focus on really active engagement of younger generations, coupled with the usual impatient about, let’s make this work. And if it does not, how do we get out?” 

While Kafena is not as involved in active investing, she typically answers inquiries from clients seeking to increase their voice in family offices or to persuade the older generation that young people should aspire to do good deeds in poverty alleviation and environmental conservation. 

Moreover, Davis notes that there is an increase in ESG investment, with certain families seeking investments that are sustainable and ecologically beneficial.   

‘‘If you compare it to where we were 5 to 10 years ago. We are on a different level now, in terms of where those investments are coming in. So yes, there is definitely a grow towards that. Is it still mainstream, I don’t think it is still yet. At the level, you would see traditional sort of technology or business investment, but it is definitely a big part of investments that are being made today.’’ 

Likewise, Libson mentions the significance of establishing charitable foundations and contributing to them. 

Approach and attitude to investing 

Based on the World Economic Forum, each generation approaches investment differently. 

This is partly because every cohort is at a different point in their life path. As baby boomers consider retirement, those from Generation Z are considering further education and professional pursuits. 

Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that different age groups may have distinct investing objectives. However, according to Libson, the emotional impact of representing a family during a transaction or litigation differs from that of representing an organisation. 

“I deal with institutions versus families and individuals,” he says. 

‘‘It can be a far more emotional exercise to interact with your lawyers than if it is just done through an institution, and that emotion can be good or bad. One significant difference is the dynamic of how a family or family office works as opposed to an institution and how they instruct their lawyers.’’ 

Furthermore, because Kafena primarily focuses on the Middle East, she communicates the same correlation that Libson identifies between individuals and their investment attitudes. 

Similarly, when adopting Shariah and their methodology, there is a discord between the need for a profit return and the nature and manner in which that has been created, will be, or is hoped to be, which often aligns with ESG. 

‘‘We advise a range of businesses and families connected to all kinds of jurisdictions. Often, a person’s faith is very important in the way that they structure their lives and their businesses. And one of those is Islam.” 

”Emotional investing is ramped up even more when you introduce an element of faith where perhaps intergenerationally and even among siblings, and family branches, the degree of compliance is different. The interest in the level of education, you have to have to invest intelligently and get a yield is also different,’’ says Kafena. 

Mishcon de Reya‘s next move

Davis defines Mischon as constantly ‘reviewing and seeking’ for new methods to improve their services. 

He says: ‘‘I think that we will be looking to add on services that our clients need. We have two great offices in Cambridge and Oxford, important places, and we will look to grow our offerings there.’’ 

“We have done so much stuff in recent months, we have had Marianne and Idina join in London, Tim, and Wei, join us in Hong Kong,” adds Libson.   

Finally, Mishcon is gearing up to establish a foothold in Saudi Arabia, mostly through structured private services for sizable families all complementing Kafena’s area of capacity.  

Libson concludes: “The new stuff is going to be enjoying the benefits of all of the recent developments and people joining us over the past year, so there may be new and unannounced stuff, so 2024 is going to be about enjoying the company and benefits of all of these new people joining us.”