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  • Riches and Risk

    15 May 2017

    Andy Wood

    Around this time each year, eyes are widened and bank accounts scrutinised by the publication of the Sunday Times’ ‘Rich List’.

    This year’s edition has elicited much attention, not least because of the fact that last June’s vote to exit the European Union appears not to have damaged the fortunes of Britain’s super-rich.

    The very richest 1,000 who make the list have seen their wealth increase by more than 14 per cent since the 2016 ‘Rich List’ saw the light of day.

    I found myself being drawn not just to the sheer amount of wealth which they have but by the proportion of those entrants who could be described as self-made rather than the beneficiary of generations of family assets.

    A considerable number of the clients with whom myself and my colleagues at Enterprise Tax Consultants work have similarly capitalised on their ingenuity and industry.

    One thing which is common to discussions with many of them is the degree of concentration demanded of them in order to ensure that their ventures remain on-track, especially when confronted by evolving commercial challenges and broader economic pressures.

    They describe how they dare not take their eyes off the ball by plotting the future finances of themselves and their families but need to remain very much focused on the here and now.

    Most often, their interest in wealth management coincides with the completion of each successive tax year.

    That is not necessarily a failing, just an occupational reality resulting from their being so busy running a company on a day-to-day basis.

    However, wealth generation is usually one of the reasons for setting up an enterprise in the first place. By only returning to it as a priority once they have begun turning a profit, there might well be significant negative implications, particularly in terms of potential tax liabilities.

    Making tax planning as much a part of the business plan on which a firm launches means not being taken by surprise when the bottom line of accounts starts looking healthy, a company is sold or, indeed, acquisitions are made.