Unique ownership structure helps Accuro champion clients' interests
Natacha Onawelho-Loren, Managing Director of Accuro Switzerland, tells WealthBriefing about its award-winning achievements.
What sets you apart from your peers this year and why?
2020 has been our best year ever since the launch of Accuro despite the pandemic. This was made possible by switching in early March seamlessly into remote protocols, before lockdown had even begun in Switzerland. Client service continuity was assured and new business development initiatives were launched, like virtual meetings with potential clients and their advisors, and the release of a series of short films made in-house on core know-how and private client innovation topics. We received tens of thousands of views for these across social media channels. In this way we maintained our visibility in the market and won significant “virtual” pitches from leading law firms and private banks around the world.
In addition, we effected some very fundamental changes to our group ownership structure. It started in January when management re-invested in Accuro, following the buy-out of our 30 per cent investor in order to secure complete ownership of our firm for the long-term. Subsequently we launched a new Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) for the benefit of all our staff. Nowadays, we are proud to be 100 per cent owned by our management and staff alone. We have no outside investors. This empowers us to agile decision making, entrepreneurialism and putting our clients’ interests first. This unique ownership structure will ensure stability of staff, continuity of client services and the future succession of our business from within.
Concurrently, we redefined our purpose as being a positive force for families, society and the environment, by protecting legacy and wealth.
How have your colleagues contributed towards the success of your organisation?
Their individual and collective contribution has been phenomenal throughout the year. They are the business! Each of them is a proud ambassador of the Accuro brand and culture. This is why investing in our staff through our EBT and developing them through our Accuro Academy is so critical. At Accuro, we are firmly of the view that happy employee make happy client.
What are you going to do to stay on the front foot in a fast-growing but also challenging region such as this?
We believe in purpose-driven growth inspiring our staff and clients alike, built on strong foundations and with a clear sense of direction. We follow carefully world mega-trends and geopolitics impacting us as a firm, but more importantly our clients, and these inform our strategic direction. We are keen to learn from other industries, sectors and the academic world, in areas like leadership and organizational development, mental-health which was a key factor in 2020 and well-being, so that we can constantly stay ahead of the game.
Of course we keep at all times the clients and the staff at the heart of our business model, whilst taking into account other stakeholders like our local communities, the environment and the society at large.
What have been the challenges you have had to overcome to reach such a standard?
We strive to be the best trust company in Switzerland, whilst at the same time being a force for good for the planet and the society. Doing both is a journey that hasn’t been easy. As a firm operating in the offshore trust industry and dealing with wealthy families, our search for a sense of purpose in the way we deploy our core activities hasn’t been obvious. But we are getting there and have launched a fascinating project last year for that purpose. Hopefully I will be able to tell you more about it in the course of this year. Our colleagues are very engaged in this process, which makes me happy.
Whom do you look to for inspiration and ideas?
No one in particular, in our industry you have to keep on being curious, passionate. I am always looking for something new to learn and potentially integrate in my thinking to advance Accuro and the manner in which I can service my clients and lead my team.
What do you hope will be the result of receiving this accolade? How does it help your business in this region?
Further strengthening our brand recognition and trust, leading in turn to new mandates. In a virtual world, trust is more than ever the key component of doing business in our space.
Published in Acclaim Magazine, February 2021, P.7