60-second interview with Partner, Clare Stirzaker - Boodle Hatfield

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02 Jan 2024

60-second interview with Partner, Clare Stirzaker

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Private Wealth Partner, Clare Stirzaker speaks to STEP about winning the Family Business Advisory Team of the Year award in 2023.

What is your role within your firm?

I am a Partner in the Private Client & Tax department at Boodle Hatfield. I advise on a wide range of tax and legal matters, but I particularly specialise in advising UK and international individuals, their families, their family businesses and family offices to develop wealth planning strategies. I have a passion and focus on the topics of succession, family governance and philanthropy.

How did it feel to win a STEP Private Client Award (PCA)?

We were really thrilled to receive recognition from STEP and are delighted that the wide range of work Boodle Hatfield undertakes for family-owned businesses has been acknowledged, given our longstanding support for this sector. There were a number of celebratory Whatsapp messages being shared with the broader team that evening who were unable to attend, and lots of selfies with the awards!

Why is winning a STEP PCA important to your firm?

Having been advising family businesses, across multiple generations, for over 300 years now and recently celebrating our anniversary in 2022, we have taken time to pause and reflect on the concept of legacy both from our own and our clients’ perspective.

Our ‘Lessons in Legacy’ series explores what legacy means in the twenty first century and looks at the evolution in the approaches, attitudes and adjustments successful individuals and families are taking to plan for wealth transfer.

For a firm with such a rich history, we never take status for granted and are always looking at how we can evolve our role as advisors and look ahead at shaping legacies of the future. To continue to receive recognition from STEP is a great testament to the fact that after 300 years we continue to succeed.

What are the main challenges facing your organisation/ practitioners at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

The upcoming generation within family businesses are challenged with finding new ways to utilise and transfer their wealth. Following numerous changes to our world, including the recent pandemic and current climate crisis, it is imperative that we continue to be forward thinking and strategically able to assist those family businesses for generations to come.

What do you like best about your job?

Working alongside some of the leading minds in the industry. I take great pleasure in developing, supporting and encouraging the exceptional pool of talent we have amongst the next generation of lawyers, as well as navigating new terrain for the next generation of clients.

…and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Working with my clients to make a difference in the future, whilst working on innovative solutions to complex problems. I enjoy being kept on my toes by both my clients, and my colleagues!

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

The responsibilities of being a private client lawyer can seem overwhelming at the start, particularly from a technical perspective, but if you fundamentally enjoy working with entrepreneurs and families then stick with it and enjoy the challenges and development opportunities. You will find your sweet spot!

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

It is clear that legacy is no longer just about wealth preservation, and wealth holders are focusing increasingly on philanthropy, sustainability and impact investment to help give back to society. These topics still feel relatively niche to many in our sector but will become much more mainstream over time and we need to become more skilled up in advising on these topics as part of our private client advisory work.

From a jurisdictional perspective, I think geopolitical risk factors will continue to drive work from countries where there is instability. We still see clients considering whether they should relocate to the UK, as it is seen as a safe haven for their families and wealth, despite our own economic and political challenges and competition from other countries.

This article was first published by STEP in December 2023.

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