Monaco: the people
Tell us about what you do
After practising as a corporate and security lawyer for the first seven years of my career, I’ve spent the past 25 years helping families with wealth and tax planning, helping them to understand and effect strategies to protect wealth, minimise taxes and pass wealth on to future generations. I also own Monaco Life. It’s the only daily English language newspaper in the south of France.
Why did you decide to get involved with Monaco Life?
I was coming to Monaco for business on a fairly regular basis and the business was growing. I was also making a lot of good friends and the lifestyle benefits of the Côte d’Azur are pretty obvious. I mentioned to a friend that I’d like to put down some roots in Monaco and that I’d like to find a project that the people of Monaco would appreciate seeing grow. She mentioned that this great online newspaper was for sale and needed help expanding. I took a look, loved the potential and bought it three years ago.
How has it evolved since?
When I made the investment three years ago, there were around 3,000 readers. Today we have about 33,000 people who access Monaco Life. We’ve improved the layout, strengthened the IT and infrastructure, enhanced the social media presence and are expanding the coverage. We are particularly excited about the growth in readership outside the region from people who are finding us as the go-to source of news and information about Monaco.
What is the main purpose of Monaco Life?
Our mission is to provide a format where someone can take 10-15 minutes in the morning and get a good overview of everything going on in and around Monaco – from finance, banking and family office news to the arts and sports to health, wellness and nutrition, and everything in between. We aren’t trying to replace specialty publications in those various subject matters, but we do try to provide pretty thorough coverage of the subjects most important to the locals and to anyone interested to know about Monaco and the Côte d’Azur.
How are you involved in the day-to-day running?
I don’t do any of the writing or editing at this point, although I hope to over time. I do source a lot of the stories from meeting people in Monaco. I am also responsible for overall strategic decisions, both as to content and the business side. I help with finding advertisers and premium subscribers as well.
What do you like about Monaco?
Monaco is a fascinating aggregation of interesting, well-educated, health-conscious people from all over the world. Very often you’ll be in a group of seven or eight people and realise you’re all from different countries. I’m also a water lover and the location on the Med is hard to beat. Throw in the travel opportunities within a three or four-hour radius and you’ve got a wonderful place to live and do business.
Top tips to see?
Everyone knows about the restaurants, bars and clubs – one of my favourite restaurants is Quai des Artistes, which offers great seafood, great views, a good bar crowd and isn’t pretentious – a really good “neighbourhood” restaurant. The Japanese garden near Boulevard Princess Grace and the sculptures found in Jardin Exotique are two of my favourite “hidden gems”.
What do you like about Mayfair?
Where do you start when talking about the heart of one of the world’s great cities? From a business perspective, lots of the people and businesses I call in are located in and around Mayfair, so it’s very convenient in that respect. You’re within a 15-minute walk of about 80 per cent of the major historical sights. It has a great art scene with several major museums and dozens of top galleries and more bars, restaurants and clubs than you could go to in a lifetime.
What are your favourite places in Mayfair?
My visits always include stops to see what’s showing at the National Gallery and the Royal Academy – two of the world’s great museums. Favourite restaurants include Scott’s and Bentley’s as I’m a seafood fan. There are four seats in front of the kitchen at Sexy Fish where you can watch what goes on in one of the busiest kitchens in London – it’s fascinating. For bars, I love London’s pubs and there are a bunch in Mayfair – The Running Footman is a particular favourite. The shopping is unparalleled – Bond Street puts almost every major brand on one street; Jermyn Street and the arcades add in a bunch of more boutique-ish stores; and Savile Row brings some of the most “historical” shopping in the western world.
What are the similarities between Mayfair and Monaco?
The two areas are very different – one is a “village” located on the sea, the other is at the centre of one of the world’s metropolises. I guess the one similarity I see is in who you bump into – neither place is inexpensive to live in.
What is the attraction of Monaco to investors and, in a nutshell, what are the tax benefits?
If you are a resident and Monaco is your tax domicile, there are significant tax planning opportunities but you do have to satisfy the residency requirements. There are still significant investment opportunities for non-residents. Monaco has a strong banking and advisory infrastructure, but the most important differentiator is in the deal flow – almost everyone is involved in investing in something and given their geographical diversity, you hear about interesting opportunities from all over the world.
Monaco is a true centre of excellence in the clean/sustainable/impact investing space. From the Prince down through his government and almost every high net worth individual, there is an interest in promoting and participating in sustainable investing and philanthropy. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve located my own family office service business there. I try to do everything I can to promote these activities among my family clients and Monaco has as much infrastructure to support these activities as most of the large financial centres.
Read more of our who’s who of Monaco in the September issue…