An interview with Hanneke Farrand

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John Hunter at Finance Isle of Man talks with Hanneke Farrand about why the South African born boutique legal practice, Farrand Global chose the Isle of Man to establish their offshore base.

Hanneke, tell us about your career to date:

I was until last year with ENSAfrica for nearly two decades where I worked as a tax and trust lawyer. I was able to travel frequently to the UK and Europe, build an extensive professional network and grow a cross border Private Client practice there.

My dream was, however, to move with my clients and their interests abroad and have a boutique legal practice with a presence in South Africa and the UK. I have a strong team in South Africa, and we now focus on helping clients to establish an offshore base for personal investments and the global expansion of their businesses.

Recent legislative amendments relating to the exchange of information between revenue authorities and the development of economic substance rules in offshore financial centres made the move make commercial sense. The recent relaxation of exchange controls has made the decision even a better one, as South Africans can now more freely make investments into offshore structures with a link back to South Africa.

South Africans are amazing entrepreneurs, and I was also fortunate to have the ears and support of a few key clients who are remarkable business leaders, whom I could test my ideas with. They have carried me through this journey.

How did you find yourself working in the Isle of Man?

A couple of chance encounters in the first part of 2020 opened my mind to the idea of relocating here. I made up my mind when I realised that I found a fantastic school for my children.

I am now very happy living in a smaller community that has easy access to the UK and the rest of Europe. And when travel is readily available again, I am one overnight flight away from Cape Town.

And of course I have appreciated the support from yourself and Nick Preskey from the Isle of Man Finance and Locate Agencies who I first met in Johannesburg in 2019 and have helped me where they have been able to

So you made the decision to relocate with the children and start a new life here, how has that been?

Relocating here has been the ride of my life. The biggest lesson I have learnt is what wonderful opportunities come your way when you are brave enough to embrace uncertainty.  When nothing is certain, anything really is possible.

I left a secure position with a law firm who was my family, a support structure with friends at home, uprooted two teenage children and moved across hemispheres during a global pandemic.  Ironically, the uncertainty created by COVID made me realise that I could take the plunge into something new in a world that was upside down in any event. Now the next challenge is not that daunting.

It must be different here – what it is that strikes you about the IOM that makes it such a good place to be?

I was here on business trips before, but nothing could prepare me for the beauty of the island that awaited me. Running outside on my own while listening to music is bliss. The natural beauty is so varied - Marine Drive gives a fantastic view of the ocean and bird life and on some days, you can see parts of the UK. I am now discovering the various glens which make you feel like you are lost in a forest.

This is an inclusive community where people want you to achieve. The help I have received from friends in the professional and school communities has just been phenomenal.

How are you all settling into island life?

It would be naïve to expect a move on your own with two children to be easy.  I have had to navigate several issues ranging from switching on the heating in my home to intricate regulatory requirements for my business.

Every day has been easier and we have really enjoyed exploring different parts of the island. My children have been nothing short of remarkable though and have led the way in adapting to change.  Our only rule has been to be open and honest about our emotions and accept that some days are tricky.

We are enjoying the personal freedom that the island allows, and it is just amazing to see how they have matured. They even buy groceries when they get the bus home from school(!)

Personally, I enjoy the fresh produce that is readily available on the island and have rediscovered my love for cooking. Arriving here in winter and during occasional lockdowns have necessitated us spending more time at home, which has had the benefit of rooting us as a family unit. Spending more time with the children and spending less time on the road travelling has been an unexpected bonus.

So tell me about Farrand Global – what is the business all about?

With our strong links to South Africa, will are able to launch businesses from South Africa and advise on the regulatory tax and exchange control requirements, whilst also managing the landing of clients in the Isle of Man by having the required skills and a credible presence to grow the businesses from the Isle of Man.

Our goal is to implement the above landing process by taking up directorships and shareholding in select businesses where we can add value and make a commercial difference to the outcome of the business’ operations.

This brings something very different to the IOM especially when we have such strong connections with SA – but are you looking at a global client base too?

Absolutely. We have strong connections in the US and Europe and have big dreams for further expansions… Now that we have achieved the first step, I am confident that the rest will follow easily.

John Hunter  - Hanneke, it has been a delight working with you during your relocation and of course wish you every success with the business and your future in the Isle of Man.


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