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  1. Wealth
August 14, 2012

Advice for the Bayfords: What to do when you win £148 million

By Spear's

Once the hangover has worn off – I’d be having Dom Perignon flashbacks for days – you can’t think soon enough about how to deal with a fortune of that size. Luckily, Spear’s knows a little about this

It’s perhaps unforgivable to be serious after Adrian and Gillian Bayford have won £148 million in the Euromillions lottery, but needs must. Once the hangover has worn off – I’d be having Dom Perignon flashbacks for days – you can’t think soon enough about how to deal with a fortune of that size. Luckily, Spear’s knows a little about this.

First thing’s first: you need advice. You can’t sit on £148 million: leaving it in a current account only means depreciation. Luckily for the Bayfords, their phone will be ringing off the hook with wealth managers and private banks who have tracked them down. For people who have just come into money, this is no doubt overwhelming and fraught with potential problems.

So who might they consider to manage their fortune, at least in the interim? The best thing to do immediately would be for them to talk to their high street bank, who probably have a wealth division, for example RBS and Coutts or HSBC and its private bank. Staying where you are gives you some time to adjust while a bank which already has your money in its accounts upgrades you to the fawning level of service.

Pictured left: Gillian and Adrain Bayford, who won £148 million in the Euromillions lottery

After that, a lawyer. Newspapers will be crawling all over the couple, dredging up old enemies and unpaid parking tickets, so you want someone who can keep the press at bay. Plenty of people are also going to be asking you for money and before you start dishing it out, you need an experienced hand to steady you, warn of the unintended consequences.

The person who did your conveyancing or your will is unlikely to have much expertise in this area, so your bank can recommend someone from a private client firm. (You could, of course, refer to the Spear’s Index of top lawyers.)
ONCE YOU’VE PUT in train these basic things, you need to start considering how you want to live. Some people say ‘it won’t change us’ and really mean it, but even among them it does wreak change (or havoc) – the fabulous possibilities it opens up can hardly ever be resisted.

Start thinking about what you want from your wealth: do you want to live a grand life? pass it on? give it away? You can do any and all of these, but not alone – people with experience, who’ve seen this before and know the pitfalls, can light the way. The best to talk to are your fellow wealthy: if they’re entrepreneurs who sold their business, they’ve been through this sudden rush of cash. Learn from them.

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Your bank will be able to hook you up with advisers of all stripes – philanthropy, art, luxury, succession – and they may be initially fine, but scepticism in the long term is required. You have to work with people you like and feel you can trust, and this only comes over time and by seeing a lot of people, many of whom will be charlatans and incompetents.

Don’t feel that you have to stay with your bank: there are platoons of top-rate advisers out there (again, see our Index). Indeed, banks will often try and sell you their own investments so an open-architecture house, ie they don’t have a vested interest in what they sell you, may be better.

When selecting them, don’t necessarily go with the one who has made the most money in the past few years – think about things like their attitude to financial planning for fixing and meeting long-term life goals. Make sure they interact with your lawyer so your advisers are not working against one another.

It sounds ridiculous to say it, but wealth of this size does not just free but also entraps: you can spend your life considering how to keep hold of your money and forget to enjoy it. With some sound advisers and some serious thought, you can make your wealth work for you, rather than the other way round.

Read more from the current and previous Wealth Wednesdays here

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