Chinese Legal Services

Clarke Willmott lawyer made “EU Special Envoy” for Beijing conference to advise Chinese on managing their growing wealth

Robert Smeath, Managing Director of Clarke Willmott’s private client team, has been made a European Union special envoy to address delegates in Beijing at the EU-China Workshop on Wealth Management. The conference, organised by the European Union in conjunction with the Chinese government, is aimed at helping the Chinese regulate their burgeoning wealth management industry.

Mr Smeath was chosen by the International Section of the Law Society as the only lawyer to address the conference. He was given EU special envoy status to enable him to speak at the event, which was opened by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission.

In context of the global financial crisis, Mr Smeath explained the use of private and commercial trusts, and how professional trustees can assist in developing the wealth management plans of China’s increasing number of rich individuals.

Other speakers included a Swiss banker, a German banking regulator, and two international bankers from Standard Chartered and ING. The Beijing event was also attended by the EU’s Counsellor for Financial Services. He is attached to the EU embassy and is one of only two EU financial services officials; the other is based in Washington DC.

Speaking from Beijing, Mr Smeath said: “The global banking crisis has increased the focus on how Chinese wealth is managed, and how that management is regulated.”

“Clarke Willmott has a nationally recognised team of wealth and investment management experts, and we are widely experienced in the use of trusts,” said Mr Smeath, who is a director both of the Clarke Willmott Trust Corporation and of the firm’s Investment Management team.