London becomes safe haven for worried Eurozone investors

Wealth managers and advisers in London are reporting an up-tick of business from wealthy clients seeking to move their eurozone-exposed assets to a relative safe haven.

London has a long-established role as a destination for assets fleeing other troubled markets, as investors from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe have temporarily moved their wealth, as well as their families, to Britain.

Specialist wealth advisory firm Berkeley Law says it has seen a significant uplift in enquiries from high net worth individuals (HNWIs), especially those from mainland Europe, the Middle East and North Africa this year. Many have been seeking advice about how to relocate their families to a jurisdiction outside of the troubled eurozone and MENA region, and how they can diversify their wealth out of these regions.

“The Greeks have been flooding into Britain since the cracks began to show in their economy,” a statement from the firm noted. “Wealthy Greeks have been seen to pump £250m into the London property market in the past year. The Greek share of prime central London property has trebled to 1.7% in the last two years alone, according to industry statistics.

Wealth managers say it is not simply financial safety that drives the view of the UK as an attractive destination. Political stability, a highly cosmopolitan capital, excellent schools, convenient time zones and its status as a travel hub have all drawn individuals and families from throughout the world. 

Private investment offices and others are set to meet the demands of the new clientele, with new structured opportunities offered to target partners. “It is a two-way street,” noted one adviser. “Here, we can offer temporary shelter to friends and assets from other markets, but as they recover, we would expect investment opportunities back in those home markets to be offered to clients from here. Wealthy investors play the long game, and they play it globally.”

In October, six family offices from around the world announced the formation in London of the Wigmore Association, a collaborative agreement enabling partners to share investment management research, strategies and contacts. Members of the group are HQ Trust (Germany), The Myer Family Company (Australia), Northwood Family Office (Canada), Pitcairn (US), Progeny 3 (US) and Sand Aire (UK).

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