Safe not sorry

When I was a child, my mother took me to the kerb on a quiet road and I was told to look right, then left and right again, listen, and only when certain that there were no cars to walk, not run, across the road. She seemed to be very serious about this exercise and so I accordingly took it seriously.

Two weeks ago I flew to Geneva, before the aircraft took off, the air hostess told us what to do with the oxygen mask should the cabin lose pressure and where to locate the life jacket if the aircraft landed on water. I sometimes wonder what people would do if such a catastrophe happened would they remember – or just panic?

Yesterday, my daughter phoned me – should she take travel insurance for her forthcoming ski holiday? Yes of course, and she should check whether it included helicopter rescue, medical treatment and return flight home in an emergency. But it costs £25 she wailed – nothing like the cost of emergency medical treatment.

In October 2016 Camden Wealth published a Personal Security Report on its research of UHNW people for Sec Tec, the leading personal security protection firm. A staggering 58% had never had a personal security review. This is alarming given that all the people interviewed were rich and therefore much more vulnerable to kidnap, extortion, and burglary.

Even for those of us who have less money to lose, most of us are blissfully ignorant of the dangers. If I were to go to a remote part of Tanzania on a safari with my family, how would I get out if I needed to, or what would I do if I needed urgent medical care miles away from the nearest doctor?

When I hired Christina a few months ago to be my housekeeper, what checks did I do before I happily gave her the keys to my home?

When the house burned down across the road firemen put in for me fire detectors as a free service, but I still do not know how to operate the fire extinguisher I bought.

I travelled recently to Cyprus and was met at the airport by a stranger holding a board with my name on it. I gave him my suitcase and he led me to a car. I did not give a second thought to my safety as he put my suitcase in the boot, and I got in. Did I check his name and ask him for personal identification?

When I went to the market last Saturday, I blissfully wore a fur gilet – it was cold, it did not cross my mind that in a market full of devout Muslim Arabs, that a white woman wearing a fur gilet would stand out from the crowd and could be a target for theft. 

We are led to believe that our world is low risk – but is it? The Sec Tech Report revealed that 27.8% of people interviewed globally have been burgled in the last five years. A further staggering 42.2% of people have had a mobile device taken – how many people keep their pin numbers, and other highly sensitive information about their personal and private lives on their mobile devise without installing a means of wiping such information should it be stolen?

It is true that residents of emerging or less secure countries are more aware of the dangers than we are, living in ‘civilised’ countries, but we should all be vigilant and know the dangers of what is going on – and do something about it before disaster strikes

A friend of mine was caught in a terrorist attack, he had no idea what he should do. Some people tried to run away – many were gunned down. He was lucky he stayed calm and still, and was not injured, but many others were killed.

The automatic exchange of personal financial information next year will be a threat to the personal safety of anyone who has a foreign bank account or an offshore trust. A client of ours who has had first-hand experience of the Italian mafia says ‘It is imperative that sensitive financial information is kept secure at any cost. You risk the safety of yourself and your loved ones to allow it to get into the wrong hands’

There are things which can be done. Just as SecTech can provide for you a personal security review, we can review your assets offshore and review what you could do to give you greater control, reduce the risk of wealth erosion, and improve the privacy of your offshore financial information. But time is of the essence. Privacy planning needs to be in place as from 1st January 2017 to be truly effective.

If you would like to comment please do so, or if you would like to book an appointment to see Caroline or any one of her team for a review, please contact Svetlana on 020 3740 7423 or write to her