60-second interview with…

 Alexandre von Heeren TEP

What does your firm do?

Mandaris offer Tax and Legal advice, accounting services, trust and company administration as well as financing and fund solutions.

What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?

STEP is the only body providing specific professional education in the area of trusts and estate planning. The courses offered by STEP are therefore a key element for the education and continued development of our employees.

Private client practitioners comprise a broad spectrum. What do you think links practitioners around the world?

Families and their wealth almost always have an international element. All planning revolves around taxation rules. The individual situations, goals and ways to achieve them may differ, but the key questions to resolve always have to do with international taxation.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners in and around Switzerland at the moment?

Switzerland has been under political pressure for some time now. Partially, this is absolutely justified. However, foreign states as well as international competitors may also have an interest in weakening the position of Switzerland. In this context, some actions of the Swiss government can be perceived as pre-emptive obedience, going beyond existing or planned regulation abroad. Switzerland clearly should be amongst the best regulated financial centres, but may also expect the ones putting the pressure on Switzerland to practise what they preach.

How will you deal with these challenges?

Challenges are part of business and those mentioned above are not new. Private client practitioners have always been working in an evolving world and dealing with regulatory changes is part of their business profile. However, this includes the responsibility to be involved in the legislative processes to the greatest extent possible. In Switzerland, the Swiss Association of Trust Companies (SATC) and STEP are successfully cooperating in this area.

You will be speaking at the STEP Geneva Conference in April. What have you chosen as a topic and what are the key issues in this area?

My topic is SATC and regulating trustees and financial intermediaries in Switzerland. Mark Barmes and I will speak about SATC’s initiative to regulate the trustee activity in Switzerland and current legislative projects that may affect trustees.

What jurisdictions/regions are currently important to your work and why?

Due to the fact that wealthy families usually have assets and interests around the world, the questions around these assets can take us almost everywhere. However, Switzerland remains very important to us.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Usually, a good piece of advice is to keep it as simple as possible.

What’s been your career highlight?

Definitely the acquisition of the shares of Mandaris in a management buy-out.

Who has been your greatest mentor and why?

I probably benefitted most from the lessons learned from my first boss. This was in a pharmaceutical company.

 

Alexandre von Heeren TEP is Partner and Head of Private Client Services of Mandaris AG and serves as the Executive Chairman of the board.  He is also Chairman of the Swiss Association of Trust Companies. He has worked for Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) and Dexia. He holds a law degree and a LL.M. in international business law specialising in banking, financial markets and insurance law.

The 2013 STEP Geneva Conference ‘Opportunities for the Wealth Management Industry in Switzerland: How trustees can assist wealth managers in Switzerland in addressing the needs of families’ will be held on 29 April 2013 in Geneva. For more information on the event, please visit www.step-geneva-conference.ch/

Would you like to be interviewed? Email [email protected]

Article posted on 28 March 2013

 


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