2015 – In like a lion…out like a lion.
The onset of 2015 saw the New England area deep in the grips of one of the worst winters on record; the Boston area and its environs were paralyzed by the most snow in a century, and local residents shunned the evening news out of fear of yet another impending storm.
Similarly, as 2015 drew to a close, we were again in the grips of another maelstrom. While December proved to be unseasonably balmy, the public was paralyzed by a different storm; in this instance, an economic one, which like its climatic brethren, brewed overseas and unleashed its fury on our shores. Once again, residents were fearful of the evening news’ reports of tumbling oil prices, economic slowdown in China, and the general malaise of the looming presidential election.
While southern New Hampshire is not immune to these storms- climatic, economic or otherwise- Perspecta Trust weathered the year quite well given all that took place in a tumultuous year. With such, the firm accomplished a number of significant milestones over the course of 2015.
For Perspecta, the year started out on a positive note, as our firm was named a finalist for Best Independent Trust Company in North America by the noted UK-based publisher Family Wealth Report. Two months following, in early spring, Perspecta won the award at an upscale gala hosted in New York City.
Over spring, and into mid-summer, Perspecta, working with New Hampshire’s Banking Department and other industry participants, further modernized the State’s banking and trust company statutes by incorporating many enhancements and refinements. As the trust industry had grown so much in the last decade, Perspecta and state representatives felt compelled to further customize trust company statutes to ensure that trust companies are regulated and administered as such, instead of as commercial banks, which had been the paradigm prior to the changes. To put the state’s trust industry’s growth into perspective, New Hampshire-based trust assets have growth four-fold over the last decade, increasing to $400 billion from $80 billion.
While there is no triple-crown within the trust industry, Perspecta did vie for yet another award in mid-summer. In July, the Society for Trust and Estate Planners named Perspecta as a finalist for the Best Independent Trust Company, Global. Alas, at the awards ceremony in London, we learned that we did not receive the award, however, we were consoled by the fact that we were the only finalist in North America, rationalizing to ourselves that we earned “Best on the Continent” honors once again.
As we transitioned into autumn, equipped with retained snow plow contracts in hand and a healthy supply of rock salt (getting ready for the next winter onslaught), we were fortuitous to have stumbled across a great new hire who had been operating just up the coast from us. Stephen Tall, formerly the President of Acadia Trust in Portland, Maine was brought into Perspecta’s ranks to serve as Chief Operating Officer in September. Stephen’s 20+ years of experience within the trust industry has proven to be invaluable for a small, but dynamic and growing operation such as ours.
As our search for talent continued unabated, we were fortunate to find the right person at the right time; in this instance, just to our south in Boston. Angus West, who had been the Executive Director for the Cabot-Wellington family office joined us as a Senior Wealth Strategist just recently, and will be focusing his efforts with Massachusetts-based and other New England families, educating them on the benefits afforded under New Hampshire trust law. Again, timing is everything, and we were fortunate to have found a 30+ year veteran advisor to high net worth families.
As if the staffing gods were smiling upon us, we recently brought in-house some local talent in Glenn Perlow, former Commissioner for the New Hampshire Banking Department. Glenn’s new role at Perspecta will be Vice President – Government Affairs, and he will concentrate his energies on interfacing with industry and regulatory constituencies. In addition to his Perspecta Trust duties, Glenn will also become the new Executive Director of the New Hampshire Trust Council. In this capacity, Glenn will coordinate the ongoing directives of the Council by working with industry participants on fostering the growth of the state’s trust and trust company activities. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have discovered all this great talent, right in our own backyard.
Lastly, from a growth perspective, and as a proxy to represent our progress, our firm’s assets under supervision grew from $5 billion in 2014, to $8+ billion by the end of 2015. Moreover, we have been engaged by a number of new families to review their current wealth transfer plans, and to make recommendations for the improvement of their outdated and perhaps long-ignored existing plans. We attribute most of this growth to simply having a broader audience that is aware of the benefits afforded under New Hampshire law, as well as the revelation that you don’t necessarily have to work with a large, inflexible, and bureaucratic institution to find a good trustee these days. Perspecta is forging a path to create the model for the trust company of the future, and red tape, rigidity, and righteousness have no part in that model.
On behalf of the entire Perspecta team, we wish you the best in the New Year and thank you for your continued support.
Scott T. Baker, CFA, CFP®