Russell Cohen - Spear's Magazine

Russell Cohen

Farrer & Co

Russell Cohen
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‘We’re seeing the work become really international,’ says the affable, thoughtful Russell Cohen, a long-standing partner at Farrer.

Increasingly, his clients might not ‘necessarily have anything to do with the UK. They just think there’s expertise here in truststructuring and an instinct for tax.’

Cohen works with a number of Middle Eastern families on international structuring, family succession and family governance. A typical piece of work might allow for the fact that a client has six daughters and wants to control the allocation of assets among them, in a manner that might not usually be possible under sharia law.

‘Clients are now getting to grips with transparency,’ he says. ‘There’s no longer an expectation that affairs will be kept completely private.’

New regulation, he warns, ‘isn’t always done correctly, by people who understand trusts and the consequences that the loose dissemination of information might have for very wealthy people’.

‘There are some very real issues behind this,’ he concedes. ‘People with bad motives have been using structures, therefore there is kind of civic duty to have some reporting.’ However, he adds: ‘Getting the balance right is another question.’