In the Press
Family Office Review - To insure or not to insure, that is the question? - March 2013
We here at The Organisers are frequently asked to investigate
insurance policies for new purchases. Families are increasing their
asset ownership in these days of market uncertainty, and so we decided
to talk to some of our contacts in the market place and formulate some
answers on whether or not a policy is worth buying. Cost can be huge for
many categories of risk at the top end of the market, so many of our
clients decide to ‘self-insure' and bear the risk themselves.
The UK insurance industry contributes a huge £10.4 billion in taxes to the government and manages investments amounting to 26% of the UK's total net worth (ABI UK insurance key facts September 2012). The industry has created some 290,000 UK jobs which is more than a quarter of all financial services jobs so clearly the insurance industry is an integral part of the UK's economic strength.
The high net worth insurance market is a massively fast growing area, although it is believed that insurers are only underwriting 40% of high net worth individuals in the UK. Equally, some people are only insuring part of their assets or for a particular risk.
Lesley Hubbard of Lark
Insurance explains, "Many clients may decide that they only want cover
for catastrophe insurance - for that large fire, or water damage claim.
For this reason they sometimes decide to self-insure rather than pay a
premium for something that they think they will never claim on. Cover
for jewellery, for example, is an area where clients typically consider
self-insuring, as they hope they will never lose a jewellery item, but
what happens if there is a burglary and all items are stolen? This can
be a very large claim.
Our advice to clients is that we do have options that can reduce the premium whilst still providing them with protection. Higher excesses can reduce the premium and ensure that no small claims are made and so the catastrophe cover can be provided. For items such as jewellery, we can offer the option to cover these in a safe or bank vault, reducing the higher premiums paid for worldwide cover".
Alasdair Hogarth of Jelf Insurance adds that due to many banks closing their vaults this can be hard to find. "We would always advise our clients to go for a higher excess rather than excluding cover all together", says Alasdair. "If there was a burglary and an item such as jewellery was excluded on the policy there would be no reimbursement. In my experience, in the event of a large loss, a lot of high net worth insurers waive the excess anyway".
Katie Gouskos (La Playa) says, "We do not advocate self-insurance. Let me give you an example of why it can be so important: A client's Aston Martin DB6, inherited from his father, was insured for £100,000. On the way to a family event the DB6 was hit and damaged extensively. The insurer arranged for the client and his wife to be chauffeured to the event before delivering the car to his preferred garage. Repairs were estimated at £110,000. Most insurers deem a car a write-off if repairs cost over 60% of its value. With a Portfolio Policy the client was offered a £100,000 cash payment, but because of the sentimental value he chose repair. The insurer paid over the agreed value and charged no excess as it was a total loss. The car was returned in 6 weeks in perfect order."
"With self-insurance, clients run the risk of there being a large loss and the consequently having to pay out large amounts," explains Lesley Hubbard. Damage to a property can cause the client to need to live elsewhere and policies provide alternative accommodation cover, meaning that the client would not incur any additional expense in this regard. In addition, liability cover for the property and the individual, as well as any domestic staff would be included, ensuring that if anyone was to find them negligent, that they would have full cover for this."
For high net worth individuals, insurers want to offer a solution for them that suits their individual needs, which is why they visit their clients to ensure everything is taken into account. Policies that offer household cover including the main home, holiday home, overseas property, motor, travel, and yacht are attractive to clients, as they save time having a common renewal date. They also provide flexibility with insurers as they are providing a portfolio of cover for the client.
Katie Gouskos says, "We have
definitely seen an increase in clients investing in alternative assets,
preferring them to more traditional methods of investments such as
property, wine, jewellery and collectable cars. Specialist insurance is
available for high net worth clients to meet their personal needs, such
as pairs and set cover where if you lose one you claim the set, or a new
for old claims settlement on clothing. We've insured anything from a
Koi carp to a doll collection!"
And La Playa isn't the only one assisting with quirky requests. In the past Lark Insurance have been asked to insure comics, toothpicks and thimbles and Jelf Insurance even received an enquiry about insuring ashes!
So it seems that the real question is - with high net worth policies being so tailored and fully comprehensive, why run the risk of self-insuring? You could end up a lot worse off than you bargained for.
ABI UK insurance key facts September 2012 quoting ONS Economic and Labour Market Review April 2011- end of year 2010
ABI UK insurance key facts September 2012 quoting ONS- Blue Book 2012
Family Office Review - Entrepreneurs: Business in London. Why would you? - January 2013
Where do you think is the best place in the world to run a business? Hold assets? Set up a company? Invest?
London! This is according to The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other investment specialists.
London is a true world city. Every year we attract more and more people, investors, students and events from all points of the compass. It is where the world comes together - to share idea and experiences, to start or to grow enterprises, to debate, learn and invent.
We have a unique environment that nurture talent, a work ethos that supports business growth and a unique diversity that allows innovation to thrive - London has all the ingredients to allow every person or business to excel to new extraordinary heights.
Many are attracted by London's dazzling culture and its unparalleled heritage whilst others are drawn to London's constantly changing physical and economic landscape. I firmly believe that no other place in the world can offer our unique mix of the modern and the groundbreaking with tradition and huge depth of experience - together this generates a vast range of opportunities.
Every day is an exciting day to be in London. The stage is set and we invite you to come and play your part in the experience.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
There are several factors that make London the number one choice for entrepreneurs:
Buzzing with Business:
From morning until evening, the city is abuzz with people who love to do business, and London makes it easy for them.
London has always been a global trading centre at the heart of industrial and technological change, creating ever widening networks across the business world with each passing century. Now, as a power house for knowledge, digital technology, finance, creative talent and business services, it's a key global marketplace in many sectors.
With excellent digital connectivity, an unmatched talent pool and a business friendly environment, it's no wonder that London gets voted best business city in Europe year after year.
With the promise of investment, growth and financial and creative returns, London is where ambitious businesses come to prosper and flourish.
- 82% of senior executives from foreign direct investment companies believe that London provides a good environment for strong innovate companies
- London has the best Cost to Quality ratio for business in Europe
- It was been voted best business city for the last 22 years
- London has attracted 3 times more European headquarters than any other city in Europe
- 5 international airports provide direct flights to more than 350 destinations
- London attracts more convergence from international companies than other European cities
- The city draws in 50% of all UK graduates
- UK corporation tax is already lower than other European economies
- London's office hours overlap with those countries that collectively account for 99% of the world's GDP
Ambitious and Building:
London breathes new perspectives, ambitions and direction into everyone who experiences it. Just one day in London opens up the opportunity to learn from the past, celebrate the present and help shape the future.
- 1.1 billion passengers carried each year on the London Underground
- £38 billion investment in prime residential development planned
- £15 billion investment in London's transport system between now and 2020
- £12 billion new office developments planned
Setting the Stage:
London puts businesses, brands, sports people and performers in the global spotlight, in front of an energetic audience with whom they can celebrate the passion they share.
Every year thousands of events take place in London's top class stadiums, auditoriums and sports grounds. Whilst there was none bigger than the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, speakers, business networks and sponsors all recognise London as a city unparalleled in staging events of all sizes.
This city engages the world, guaranteeing a global audience and a concentration of media, PR and local experts eager to project your message to millions. On the converse side, the UK has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world protecting your company and your principals when required.
With a broad accommodation offer, global accessibility, a resilient public transport system and retail, cultural and entertainment offerings to suit all tastes, London is always a sell-out performance.
- Audience of over 8 million residents
- 200 international media desks based in London
- 26 million domestic and international visitors in 2011
- 90,000 fans attended the UEFA Champions League final in 2011
Living in London:
Life in London is unlimited. From its wide-open green spaces to the variety of people who together speak 233 different languages, young or old, London broadens your horizons and opens your mind.
Relocation is easy with companies like The Organisers who will undertake every aspect from finding office space and homes according to your brief, and undertaking the entire move including refurbishment, design and staffing.
Proud to hold the kite mark 'Inward Investment Specialist' from London & Partners, London's official promotional organisation, The Organisers have been vetted and are verified to supply our services across all your needs. Whether you need property or schools, a financial director or a housekeeper or simply an amazing launch party, The Organisers will manage and oversee every aspect of your move into London.
- Established in 1998, The Organisers hold the official kite mark 'Inward Investment Specialist'
- The team act as your own team 'on the ground' providing all your needs according to your brief.
- As well as a superb contacts book and excellent attention to detail, The Organisers are renowned for their confidentiality and discretion ensuring your project remains private.
- The Organisers regularly find places at ultra competitive top London schools for incoming families as well as providing household staff and ensuring the whole domestic structure runs smoothly.
- The team operate on a 24/7 basis meaning time differences are not a problem in the initial set up phase.
Planning for the Future:
London encourages the free thinkers of the world to come together and create breakthrough change on a global scale.
To foster these ideas and ambitions, London has invested £200 million in innovation centres exploring everything from renewable energy to future cities and cell therapy. There's also the Google Campus for budding entrepreneurs, The Crystal to improve knowledge of urban sustainability, the Francis Crick Institute and Cell Therapy Catapult to encourage research and collaboration and Tech City to support the world's fastest growing digital economy.
London offers the perfect ecosystem for great ideas to be transformed into real world products, services and discoveries. In London doors open and lives change as innovation thrives and business and society achieve more.
- £16 billion clinical funding annually, more than any other European city
- £75 million government investment to boost high tech small and medium sized businesses
- 995 Life Science companies make London their home
- London's ICT sector is worth $27 billion and growing 7% per year
- 23,000 IT companies in London - more than any other European city
- £50 million cell therapy catapult
- £650 million Francis Crick Institute
Creative and Cultural:
London's unique cultural appeal lies in its' ability to reinvent itself - playing muse to each generation's imagination and aspiration whist remaining true to its captivating history.
London is a city that pushes the boundaries of innovation and creativity whilst paying homage to its heritage. It attracts a genuine diversity of people, inspiring their work, lives and outlook on the world with all kinds of creative expression - from a date with the Baroque artists at the National Gallery to a night with Shakespeare on the banks of the Thames, to the street art of the East End to the experimental but dazzling mix of comedy, music and theatre on the fringes of the city.
- 47 years of Europe's biggest street festival - The Notting Hill Carnival
- 11,000 comedy shows per year
- 1st showcase of contemporary Arab Art at Shubbak
- 250 festivals per year
- 11,000 comedy shows per year
- £100M orders placed during London Fashion Week
- 17,000 musical performances per year
- 32,000 theatrical performances per year
- £1 billion - the value of the London film industry in 2011
- Free to get into most of London's museums
- 3 of the top five museums in the world are in London - The Tate Modern, The British Museum and The National Gallery
London is the city where great things start. It offers rich rewards to those who invest their time, resources and curiosity. London is not only a unique experience, the backdrop to a pinnacle event or a standout career: London is a spirit and state of mind. London stays with you, ranging beyond its own borders while taking you beyond yours.
The Organisers and London & Partners can help you. We work in partnership with the Mayor of London and the public and private sectors to put London in reach of investors, businesses and visitors from around the world who want to start, grow and thrive in this innovative creative city.
To contact Katie, call +44 (0)207 078 7554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or see their website www.theorganisers.com
Thank you to London & Partners for their valuable contribution to this article. To contact London & Partners, see their website www.londonandpartners.com/business
Overseas investors have caused a surge in prime property purchases in London's most desirable postcodes. However this may also explain the increase in the number of top end properties left vacant and at risk from squatters. In fact the number of court order applications to evict intruders in prime areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair and Knightsbridge has risen by 81% in recent times.
Often investors have multiple properties around the world and managing a London property from overseas can be tricky unless you wish to employ a member of staff to reside in each and every property all year round. However it is not just squatters that can cause sleepless nights; burglars and leaks can also be a worry in addition to the gradual deterioration of any home. However a truly bespoke property management service like The Organisers is the solution to ensure that your investment remains as pristine as the day you purchased it.
Installation of security and fire safety systems
Once a client has purchased a property, it is advisable to change all of the exterior locks and update existing security and fire safety systems. Close protection security arrangements can be put in place for client's visits and risk assessments carried out. Your property manager can oversee all quotes and installations.
Regular security checks to deter squatters and burglars
A valuable addition to your security system is a weekly or bi-weekly security check from a trained and CRB checked property manager to check that the house is secure and no squatters have moved in. Collecting post, watering plants and keeping the exterior of the property clean and tidy gives the impression that the property is inhabited and therefore goes some way to deter squatters.
The property manager will know every inch of the property inside out and will detect any potential problems such as theft, rising damp or leaking radiators or windows and can deal with it immediately on site. Equally if a neighbour is planning a huge extension threatening the client's right to light or if scaffolding has been erected on the house next door against the party wall without permission The Organisers will alert them to any potential threats to their investment. All post can be scanned and emailed to the client. Bills can be paid, correspondence dealt with and any necessary purchases made. A weekly house visit report is sent to the client so they are always informed of what is going on within their home and its environs.
Trusted key holders
Should there be a fault with the alarm or an out of hours emergency, your 24/7 property manager can respond immediately to any emergency calls to shut off errant alarms or in a case of burst pipes, to turn off stopcocks, call an emergency plumber, alert the insurance company and organise follow up reparations.
Maintenance and renovations
A detailed checklist ensures that any potential problems are detected and both niggly and frustrating maintenance issues, such as blown light bulbs, faulty washing machines and out of order telephone lines, are dealt with. The property manager can keep clients informed, approve quotes and instruct work to be done in their absence, safe in the knowledge that everything is being taken care of. Renovations can also be undertaken whilst the client is away in order to minimise disruption Tradesman, service engineers, gardeners and cleaners can be appointed and managed to ensure that a clients home is safe and kept in immaculate condition with the minimum of fuss.
Preparing for a client's visit
The property manager will ensure that the property is immaculately clean, heating and hot water are set to the clients' preferences, fridges are filled, flowers are arranged and the home is fresh and welcoming ready for a clients return. A private chef can even be hired to create a welcoming meal on arrival.
To summarize, in addition to a modern security system, regular maintenance and security visits mean one less worry for investors and clients with second homes or investment property in London. A bespoke property management service that acts as a clients PA and are on call around the clock gives clients valuable peace of mind as they can relax in the knowledge that their property is being cared for to their exacting standards.
Family Office Review - The Organisers’ Guide to Planning the
Perfect Event - July 2012
Everyone likes to think that they can throw a great party. But during our fourteen years of organising events we have heard some real horror stories about inappropriate entertainment, escalating budgets and disappearing event planners that could have been avoided with proper forethought. Not only is it hugely important to vet your event planner and make sure they will be able to follow through with a professional and quality event, but it is equally important for the Organiser to make sure they ask the right questions at the outset to fulfil and ideally surpass the client brief.
The Organisers’ have prepared the following guide to throwing the perfect event:
Choosing your Event Planner
This all-important first step is the difference between an event that represents the Family Office in the best possible way and an event that is simply an embarrassment to one and all! Make sure that you meet the planner face to face. How long has their company been in business and do they inspire you with confidence? What kind of events have they put on before? How wide-ranging is their experience? What vetting do they undertake with third party suppliers? And in this day and age, we recommend you credit check them too.
Occasion and Guest(s) of Honour
It may seem obvious but getting these basics right is a crucial part of the planning procedure as it sets the whole tone of the event. The occasion (birthday, launch, wedding or wake) is the simple part that guides many factors from venue to food and entertainment depending on whether it is an informal/ formal or private/ corporate event.
However, one element that is quite often missed is the detailed information regarding the guest of honour. The more information about the guest(s) of honour that an event organiser has, the greater chance they have of ensuring that the party will fit their personality. This is a bespoke element that many event companies miss as they are used to churning out the same ideas from one event to the next.
Choice of Venue
Every venue has its own character and idiosyncrasy. Whether held on a yacht, on the edge of a cliff or in an eighteenth century castle there will be hurdles to overcome for each and every venue. A wet weather option is a must, especially in the UK where the weather can be changeable with little notice.
Food and Beverage
It is easy to be indecisive regarding food and beverages due to the plethora of choices available. When deciding what refreshments to serve there are many things to consider including tradition, the time of day and the occasion. If guests are coming straight from work to a cocktail party it would be wise to serve canapés to keep the guests from getting too inebriated as most will not have eaten since lunchtime!
When deciding on catering it is again crucial to know the guests preferences as many people have restrictive diets due to health reasons or religious requirements. Make sure this question is added to the invitation so you can cater for special requirements.
Whilst it is tempting to be outlandish in an effort to impress guests, be careful that you do not serve something inappropriate. It sounds obvious but serving Michelin standard food for a child’s birthday party is unlikely to be appreciated by the guests. Feel free to include a couple of daring elements but be sure that there are alternatives for those people who prefer a safer option.
Music & Entertainment
Deciding on what type of entertainment to have will completely alter the mood and tone of the event so can be tricky to get absolutely right. Corporate events may need to include a formal presentation of some kind so think about how this will segue between acts.
Many parties may call for a band, DJ or music of some kind. New technology enables us to have the option of a bespoke list of the guest’s favourite music via an iPod over a PA between acts or for the entire evening. Make sure that any third parties booked are absolutely clear on the brief – nothing kills a party faster than a poor playlist.
If you are booking a fireworks display or unusual act the health and safety regulations of the venue will come into play, as will the Local Authority licensing rules and regulations so check you meet the criteria before the acts are confirmed.
For a more formal event where an after dinner speaker is more suitable, do consider the choice of guest speaker carefully so as to ensure that they are well received. Don’t be afraid to be specific with your brief and let them know of any topics to avoid or to plug.
Circus acts and dance troupes can add a wow factor but if you are looking for a more intimate experience a close up magician can offer this but still with an air of excitement.
The Finer Details
Here at The Organisers it is the finer details that will make or break a party such as the décor, invitations, seating arrangements, a fantastic cake, beautiful flower arrangements, transport to and from the venue, guest book, photo montage, party bag and gifts for the guest of honour.
A detailed running order of events throughout the evening will ensure that everyone runs to time and that your Organiser is controlling every aspect of your event. If you aren’t offered one, ask the event planner! You need to know that they are in control so that you can enjoy your event.
Whether you have a budget of £2000.00 or £200,000,000.00 we strongly recommend that you agree your maximum budget from the outset and keep a running tally as the event is in the planning stages. Always add a 10% contingency fee as even with a huge budget there may be unforeseen costs. Know what elements have to be paid for in advance and on the day.
To summarise – plan, plan and plan again. We advise planning for a huge event up to 12 months in advance and not less than 3 months for even an intimate event.
Be sure you meet with your planner regularly and that they think of everything, get all quotes in writing and keep you up to date with a running budget.
Remember that it is the finer details that truly make a party bespoke for the guest of honour. These should not be overlooked as they will make the world of difference to the success and tone of the event.
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Family Office Review – The Organisers Guide to Choosing a Concierge Company - May 2012
With time fast becoming our most precious commodity, more and more businesses and wealthy individuals are looking to a concierge company to take on their ad hoc projects and mundane or time consuming personal tasks. The concierge and lifestyle management sector is a relatively new industry that is growing quickly with new companies seemingly popping up on the internet on a daily basis. However, not all companies are equal and the differences in the level of service they offer can vary greatly. Should you have paid an expensive yearly membership, it can be too late to change your mind if the company does not match your expectations. To save any costly mistakes The Organisers' have prepared the following guide to finding the perfect concierge for your needs.
Call Center or Bespoke Service?
With credit card companies
offering bolt-on concierge style services to attract customers, it seems like
everyone is offering a concierge service of some description.
Research your shortlisted companies carefully and check what you are getting-are they essentially just a huge call center that can book tickets, flights and restaurants and can only offer a basic level of in-office facility? A finer option is a bespoke service where you are assigned your own lifestyle management team led by a client services manager to take care of your exacting needs. You will always have the same point of contact and they will come to know your requirements and preferences saving you time and money in the long term. This service is like having your own private office available to you 24/7. The level of service you will receive from a boutique company will be far superior with your client services manager ensuring that your every need is dealt with quickly and efficiently thereby providing service excellence. They should be able to perform any task required of them from finding the perfect housekeeper to the right independent school for your child. They will be available to travel when necessary, perform home security checks while you are away, organize fabulous events and manage complex relocations.
Membership or Hourly Rate?
Many lifestyle management companies charge a hefty annual membership fee upfront before you have even sampled their service. Premium 'celebrity' services charge an eye-watering annual membership fee just for the privilege of being on their books; they can then charge an impressive hourly rate on top for actually using their services! We advise that you find a service that simply charges a set hourly rate or a monthly all-inclusive fee, so if you don't use their services the clock is not ticking with a large membership fee that you have already paid. This enables you to be in control of your expenditure at all times and not waste money on a service you may only use from time to time.
Office Hours or 24/7?
What good is a concierge service that closes at 6pm if you are stuck half way round the world and your PA has gone to bed? Or if your cook falls ill on New Years Eve and you have thirty guests coming for lunch the following day? If your needs are 24/7, 365 days a year, ensure that your concierge company is available to you whatever time zone you are in or if all the staff agencies are closed for the holidays.
Confidentiality & Discretion
Confidentiality and discretion are more important than ever in an age where anyone with a camera phone becomes a paparazzi and it is common practice for disgruntled employees to sell their stories to the press. Ensure that the company you choose has strict confidentiality agreements in place with all its employees.
Trust & Security
If you are going to have staff overseeing your home, handling personal details and making purchases from your bank account it is important that you feel entirely comfortable and know that you can wholly trust your concierge service. Not many companies have their staff security checked and perform annual CRB (criminal Records Bureau) checks but the best ones do. For peace of mind we urge you to ask questions about the security measures your shortlisted companies have in place to protect their clients' homes and their data.
Experience & Contacts
As the old saying goes "you can't beat experience". Ensure that your chosen company has a wealth of experience and longevity in lifestyle management as they will be much better positioned to fulfill your needs and exceed your expectations. If you need a pair of matched zebra on your lawn for a children's party tomorrow at 4pm or require Santa in his sleigh with live reindeer and elves positioned at your hotel on Christmas Eve, would your concierge be able to ensure that your child is not disappointed? Wide ranging relationships with suppliers and contacts are extremely important but it is just as important to know who NOT to deal with so a bulging contact book is not the 'be all and end all'. Be sure that you know your concierge has the right contacts and is getting you a good deal, but be equally sure that they also know who to steer clear of!
To summarize - ask, ask and ask again. Don't go with the first company you hear about, and make sure you ask the right questions to ensure you end up with a provider that can deliver a first class service within the right timescale and budget. Confidentiality and discretion are hugely important and make sure that you and your family are as well protected as if you are with your own family office.
Spears Asia - Home from Home - May 2012
The Organisers operate as a team of super-efficient personal assistants for their international clients. Utilising expert organisational skills and wide-ranging contacts, they offer the services of a discreet private office to high net worth individuals and businesses worldwide.
Your Home: The Organisers can expertly manage your entire relocation, setting up your London home and ensuring that everything is perfect for your family's arrival. Whether you require property management, need to rent an apartment or purchase a townhouse, The Organisers has been managing household projects to the highest standards since 1998.
Your Lifestyle: Whether you require an exceptional Tutor, a perfect Nanny or first class Housekeeper, The Organisers is unmatched in finding domestic staff of the highest calibre. They can assist with securing a place for your child at a top British independent school, book the perfect family holiday, take care of personal shopping, restaurant and hotel reservations or arrange a fabulous celebration.
Your Business: The Organisers assist with corporate recruitment, luxury business travel, corporate events, new employee orientation and ad-hoc project management.
The Organisers are known for their discretion, confidentiality and for providing a bespoke experience. They place great emphasis on going the extra mile for their clients and are committed to delivering value for money whilst ensuring service excellence.
For peace of mind contact The Organisers on +44 (0)207 078 7554, email email@example.com or visit www.theorganisers.com for a guide to their services.
The Uber Collection – Featured Company May 2012
The Organisers provides a multitude of services for exceptionally busy individuals who expect outstanding service. Below are just a few examples of the ways this international luxury concierge company can help:
Taking care of your home with housekeeping, home repairs and refurbishments and relocating and de-cluttering services.
Organising or managing the social and fun things in life. Everything from booking hair appointments and restaurant reservations to planning New Year's Eve parties, events and bespoke holidays can be taken care of.
The Organisers can take the stress out of many business related aspects as well, such as corporate travel, staff recruitment, events and hospitality and private accounts. From weddings and anniversary presents to finding schools and pet insurance, The Organisers promises not to disappoint.
Family Office Review – Top 10 Tips on How to Relocate to London - April 2012
With a huge number of the capitals’ prime properties being snapped up by foreign purchasers, London’s top properties have become a safe bet for foreign investors wanting to move their capital into a relatively more secure asset.
Over the years we have managed many relocation projects for individuals and corporate clients. Each scenario is unique but the one thing they all have in common is the potential for complications and stress.
Forward planning and super organisation ensures that whatever the size, it should be more of a dream relocation than a nightmare move. Here is our advice to ensure a trouble free experience:
1) Purchasing property in London
In the current climate there are very few prime properties on the market (with or without the opportunity to add value) and there has been a large rise in demand. Therefore top-end properties are commanding huge premiums. Once you have found your ideal home we advise moving quickly as properties are being snapped up fast.
We strongly recommend hiring a property search agent to view and shortlist properties on your behalf as this will eliminate a lot of time consuming legwork. They will also have the inside knowledge as to what properties may be available for the right price, even though they are not on the open market.
2) Renting property in London
Whilst rental prices for premium properties slowed slightly after the all-time peak in September 2011, this is still an active market and demand is high for the choicest properties.
When you do find your perfect rental property we advise checking that it is let by a reputable agent who is registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). The letting agent/landlord should be registered with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme which will ensure that your considerable security deposit is protected should the Letting Agency go into administration or if there is a dispute when you move on.
It is also preferable to rent a property whose management will be overseen by a professional property management company so that your PA is not chasing after the landlord in far flung shores to fix the shower. Also do not be tempted to sign on the dotted line without getting legal advice on the contracts. You may not be purchasing the property but it is still crucial to get the contracts looked over by your lawyer before you sign them.
3) Declutter before you move
The perfect time to declutter and reorganise is before you move home. Not only will this ensure that your current home is looking at its best for prospective buyers, it will save you time and money if you do not have to ship unnecessary items to your new house.
4) Consider using an experienced professional to manage the entire move
Relocating to a new property, and quite possibly a new country, can be fraught with hassle and worry. Consider using a private office or professional relocation agent to manage the entire move for you so that you only have one point of contact. They will make all of the arrangements and will be present during the move so you don’t have to deal with the estate agent, removals firm, the local authority, cleaners, specialist trades people, utility suppliers etc. In fact you could even go on holiday and come back to your new home set up for you!
Using a professional to project manage your move is advisable for many reasons. They will ensure that your belongings are suitably cared for and are an extra layer of comfort for you at this stressful time. A good home move manager will provide a full inventory of your belongings and will check them in and out of your current and new home (or storage) to minimise losses. In our experience removal firms tend to be less thorough which could be a problem, especially should you need to retrieve any items that are going to storage. A professional manager will also draw up floor plans and deal with any issues that crop up on the day.
5) Get comparable quotes from removal companies well in advance
Once you have decluttered invite three removals firms to attend the property to quote for the job at least a month in advance of the move, longer if you are moving from overseas. Ideally they should be a member of The British Association of Removers (BAR) or The National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS). Firstly, ensure that your preferred moving dates are available as they can get booked up well in advance, especially at busy times leading up to Easter and Christmas. Get all quotations in writing.
6) Ensure that your quote covers everything
Consider what your requirements are. Does your wine or artwork collection require specialist packing? Does your pet need to be moved? Do you have any large, fragile or bulky items such as a windsurf or a concert grand piano? All will require special arrangements for the relocation. Ensure that the right level of transit insurance is included in the quote. We recommend employing the same removals firm to pack and unpack your belongings so that you benefit fully from their standard liability insurance.
If you need to suspend parking spaces in Central London in order to load and unload, try and get the removal company to do this for you as it is one less thing to worry about.
7) Appoint a trusted removals company appropriate for the job
Do not just consider price when choosing which removals firm to appoint. A cheaper quote may seem more attractive but you should consider how professional they have been in your dealings thus far, what level of service they are promising and how experienced they are. If you are not using a relocation agent we advise that you get a recommendation from a friend or family member who have used them before. Check that all packaging is included and that they will get the job done for the price quoted no matter how long it takes. You don’t want anyone clock watching on the day and leaving you half unpacked!
8) Book cleaners, handymen, AV & IT specialists
You will probably need one or all of the above to ensure that your new home is sparkling, your ADSL line is connected and your media room is in full working order ready for your arrival.
9) Consider your storage requirements
It may be beneficial to arrange a secure storage unit for some of your items. Book well in advance and check opening and closing times as not all have 24 hr access.
9) Take meter readings and transfer your utility accounts
Don’t forget to take gas, water and electricity meter readings at each end to give to the utilities companies when you transfer your accounts. Again, if you use a private office then this will be taken care of for you.
10) Tell everyone where you are going
Redirect your mail so that it arrives at your new property the same day you do. Also don’t forget to have change of address cards made up for your family and friends.
In summary, if you are not lucky enough to have someone to manage your entire move for you the best advice is to plan well in advance, only use reputable companies, check terms and conditions of all suppliers and consider each step of the move and what is required in order to get your new home clean, serene and in perfect order for you to take up residence.
St George Magazine – Issue 16 – April 2012
Concierge Services - Personal Services - The Organisers
British company The Organisers models itself after the family offices that look after the Guggenheim’s and Rothschild’s in delivering a one-to-one, personalised and very private service.
‘We only cater to high net-worth people. Ninety per cent of our business is to families and individuals, and all of it is for the super rich,’ explains founder Katie Shapley.
It doesn’t charge membership fees. Instead, its services – which can vary from putting reindeer in the Lanesborough Hotel to retrieving a client’s tooth from a safe – come on a per hour basis, with prices starting at £75 during normal working hours, and rising to £150 outside that.
Each client has access to a manager, client services executive and a PA to ensure their life runs more smoothly.
‘We’ve sent people to Switzerland to retrieve immunisations that aren’t offered in the UK, and we’ve placed children in some of the country’s top independent schools without any notice. There is not a limit to personal requirements,’ says Shapley.
Family Office Review – How to secure a place at a top British school for your child - March 2012
How to Secure a Place at a Top British School for Your Child
Figures from the Higher Educational Statistics Agency (HESA) show that 46.1% of the 2009/10 Oxbridge undergraduate intake was from independent schools.
Therefore it is no surprise that competition for offers of a place at one of the top UK independent selective schools is fiercer than ever. With most schools heavily oversubscribed, they have their pick of the brightest and most talented pupils.
Even making a decision as to which schools to apply for can be a worrying prospect for any parent. The eternal debate regarding single sex schools vs. co-educational schools continues and even the name can cause confusion!
We are often asked what is the difference between a public school, a private school and an independent school. The short answer is nothing! Independent schools, public schools and private schools are essentially the same but have different names according to history.
In the UK independent schools are 'independent' because of their independence from government regulations and therefore rely on tuition fees as they have no state funding. They can also be referred to as ‘private’ schools.
A ‘public’ school is an antiquated term used by the oldest boys Independent schools such as Eton College, Winchester College, Charterhouse, etc. The term ‘public’ was used as the schools were open to the public to join, providing they could afford the fees!
Whatever the name, these are our top tips to ensure that parents have all the vital information to hand in order to select the perfect independent school for their child and the pupil has the necessary confidence when sitting their exams.
1) Do not wait until registration deadlines are looming; register your child at your chosen schools early
It may sound ridiculous to start thinking about schools when you have a new born child, but it is commonplace for parents wishing to send their child to the most prestigious day and boarding schools, such as Eton, Harrow or Rugby, to register their child’s name with their shortlist soon after they receive a copy of the baby’s birth certificate! Of course this is not necessary for most establishments, but do start thinking about it a couple of years before the child is due to change schools at either age 11 or 13.
If you wish to send your child to a school that either you or their elder sibling attended this will also put them in good stead and be sure to mention this on your registration.
2) Research schools league tables, performance data & attend open days to assist with selection
The more research you do the more comfortable you and your child will feel with your choice of schools. All independent schools are happy to send you a prospectus and this can often be requested online.
Each year league tables are published which rank schools according to their GCSE and A Level results. We certainly recommend studying these to find the best performing schools at A level. However this is just half of the story; The Secretary of State for Education in the UK has approved the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) to monitor the performance of independent schools with regards to the quality of education, pastoral care and also governance and management of the school. ISI reports are available to view online and we highly recommend that you read the ISI reports for those schools you are interested in.
Open days are held during term time which gives prospective pupils and their parents the chance to visit and to get a feel for life and the environment there. However even open days can get fully booked very quickly so we recommend booking a place as early as possible. Private tours can also usually be arranged.
Most parents select and register their children at several schools to be sure of an offer of a place at just one or two of their shortlisted establishments.
3) Look at the ‘feeder’ preparatory schools for your chosen senior school and send your child there
Many of the top independent senior schools take a significant number of their entrants from certain preparatory schools. These are called ‘feeder’ schools and tend to start at age 3.
4) Start private tutoring sessions well in advance of the common entrance exams
All independent schools are selective and they use a combination of entrance exams and interviews to select their pupils.
Children are entered for the examinations according to their age at the time of entry to senior school. The 11+ is usually for entry to Year 7 and the 13+ for entry to Year 9. Usually girls enter senior school at 11 years old if going into a single sex environment and boys at either 11 or 13 years old.
The 11+ exams are usually held anytime during the fall and spring terms but are mainly held between November and January before entry the following September. Entrants usually take exams in Verbal Reasoning, Non Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics and English.
13+ exams are usually in a broader range of subjects which take place in the summer term. As theses exams are sat so late in the year it can be a disaster if the results are not as one hoped for.
The competition for a place at the top schools is such that even the brightest pupils have extra tuition to ensure that they are ready for their entrance exams.
Our advice is to start private tutoring for your child a whole year before their exams so as not to overload your child with tutoring sessions in the last couple of months. Top tutors can be found via the best UK tutoring agencies and often there will also be intensive tuition courses held at half term.
An experienced private tutor not only coaches pupils in the specific subjects required but also gives the child valuable experience in exam technique meaning they are calm and confident when sitting the exams.
5) Don’t forget the interview
Most independent schools also interview prospective pupils and they use this as a further means of selection. Schools are not just looking for academic talent in isolation, they want well-rounded pupils and therefore we also recommend practicing interview technique with your child, as a good interview can make all the difference.
Generally they want to get to know your child and to find out about their extracurricular interests and talents. The school will usually tell you the format of the interview in advance so that you are able to prepare so that your child feels happy and confident. However schools can spot an over-rehearsed child a mile away so encourage your child to be natural.
In summary, our advice is to be prepared, start thinking about which schools might be suitable well in advance, do your research and start coaching early.
However the best thing you can do for your child is to be realistic about their abilities. It is far better for them to be at a school where they will be happy and confident rather than at a school where they constantly struggle to keep up.
Meze Issue 9 – November 2011
Want to organise the perfect luxury business break but no time to plan it all yourself? Then let us introduce you to a unique 24/7 luxury concierge service – The Organisers. Sourcing the finest fully-catered, ski-in/ski-out, five-star chalets with stunning design-led interiors and breathtaking panoramic views. The Organisers arrange jets, helicopters, chauffeurs, personal protection, instructors, exciting après ski activities and staff to cater for every whim.
And here’s where it gets unique – giving you peace of mind that your property is safe and secure while you’re away. The Organisers offer a tailor-made service to maximise the safekeeping of your home by acting as a back-up to your security measures. Its 'Home Watch' service includes visits to your property for security purposes and to give the impression of occupancy. Detailed checks are carried out to ensure that everything is in order including checking for leaks and break-ins. Staff are on-call 24/7 to deal with any problems that may arise.
MD Katie Shapley recounted, “We arrived at a client’s property to find a huge leak and water pouring through the drawing room ceiling. We immediately turned off the stopcock and called a plumber and the insurers. When our clients returned we had dealt with the worst of the situation and had obtained quotes for the repairs, meaning that our clients could stay in their own home rather than come back to a nightmarish mess and have to move to a hotel.”
The Organisers can also manage maintenance, redecorations and many services whilst clients are away to minimise inconvenience.
They take confidentiality very seriously and all staff are CRB-checked annually so clients feel confident that their trust is well placed.
There are no membership fees but a simple hourly basis charge, keeping you in control of your expenditure.
So, to get every aspect of your corporate shindig in the snow arranged and a hot meal on the table at home on your return, you know who to turn to.
T +44 (0)207 078 7554
Meze’s Definitive Guide to City Living - October 2011
Top Concierge Service:
“My work takes up most of my time and the rest is devoted to my family. I don’t want to think about anything else and that’s why I use The Organisers – because they organise all the other aspects of my life” London based MD.
The Organisers offer a total concierge and lifestyle management service undertaking a huge array of tasks for their international clients. They act as a discreet private office for their high net worth clients, many of whom have homes in London and the home counties and who expect a personal service on a 24/7 basis.
No job is too big or too small: The Organisers will take care of everything from finding nannies and schools for your children, filing personal paperwork, managing home relocations, throwing amazing parties, arranging fantastic holidays, girls’ spa and shopping days, successful business forums and everything in between. A large part of their business is property management and they look after clients’ houses whilst they are travelling, managing everything from the weekly post to dealing with niggling maintenance issues, small refurbishments and huge building projects. They also act as trusted key-holders to the properties of many of their clients and manage all aspects of the household staff from recruitment through to security checks.
The Organisers have been operating since 1998 and still work for the same people who appointed them as their personal assistants 13 years ago. Their service is highly bespoke and The Organisers always go that extra mile to build the right relationships according to their clients’ needs.
Unlike other concierge companies, The Organisers don’t charge any membership fees meaning that if you only pay for what you use, and the clock is not ticking with a large membership fee that you have already paid.
Visit www.theorganisers.com or call +44 (0) 207 078 7554 to find out how The Organisers can help you with your lifestyle management.
Meze - At Your Service - Can’t find time to book a break? Need VIP tickets for the theatre? Let the concierge take care of it - September 2011
There are times in everyone’s lives when it seems only a magic wand will make the many small but significant jobs disappear. Whether because of a busy professional life, or a hectic social calendar, most of us find ourselves constantly playing a game of catch up with our life admin.
The concierge service is a very modern answer to the fairytale wand. It effectively runs the lives of high net worth individuals, helping them with the things they don’t have the time, inclination or expertise to do themselves. In essence, concierge services free up their clients’ time so they can spend their free time getting on with their life, rather than organising it.
‘We undertake any tasks for our international clients as long as their requests are morally and legally sound’ says Katie Shapley of The Organisers, a company that was one of the first on of its kind when it was established in 1998.
‘We prefer to think of ourselves as a team of expert personal assistants for the home, and are billed as a ‘private office’, says Shapley. ‘We work for a number of family offices and offer the ‘soft skills’ catering to the family’s leisure and home environment.’
As standard a concierge service advises on holidays, recommends and books restaurants, bars and clubs, finds tickets to the theatre or for a sold out concert. They’ll also do the less glamorous everyday tasks to help life run more smoothly.
Each organisation takes a slightly different approach, with some offering services that others don’t…
…The Organisers offer a property management service, which takes in weekly house visits, compiling a report for each property, making the client aware of any issues which need attention. They also manage small maintenance issues, as well as overseeing building projects.
‘A large part of our business is property management’ says Katie Shapley. ‘We look after clients houses whilst they are away, managing everything from the weekly post to dealing with small refurbishments and huge building projects.
‘It’s not unusual for us to receive a set of keys in the post with a note from a client telling us to call a particular property agent and sort it out.’ Sorting it out in this case can mean anything from stocking the property for use, filling the fridge, or a building or interior design project.
As the market grows and competition increases, the lifestyle management organisations have to find new and innovative ways to attract new business and meet customer demands…
The potential for the market to grow in the next few years is real. Despite the economy’s sluggish growth, high net worth individual will still hanker for the best in life, which is something the concierge service has to offer. Equally, the need to balance life and work carefully will remain. Concierge services are perfectly positioned to help.
Evening Standard - Hampstead Owners Too Scared To Go On Holiday In Squatting Epidemic - March 2011
The Organisers have launched ‘Home Watch’ in direct response to this worrying issue. Click here to read more about our Home Watch service.
The Voyager - Escape From It All - January 2011
Billed as a team of personal assistants, The Organisers are ready and able to cater to your every whim. They’ll help you get away from it all with the minimum hassle. Not only will they organise your travel itinerary, but they can also find you a nanny for your holiday, arrange to walk your dog, feed your cats or even file your tax return – all while you are relaxing in the tropical sunshine a million miles away.
Vogue - My New Years Resolution…This Year I Will Get Organised! – January 2011
The Organisers are a super-efficient team of personal assistants who operate as your private office, providing bespoke solutions to home or business challenges 24/7. Whether you need the perfect nanny, a fabulous holiday or superlative party, The Organisers have been personally managing projects to the highest standards since 1998.
GQ - The Next Big Thing – Your Ultimate Guide to 2011 - January 2011
THE ORGANISERS. Take control and choose the lifestyle you want – no matter what the challenge.
Whether filing piles of paperwork, fixing home maintenance niggles, installing a home gym or arranging a trip to the Six Nations, The Organisers have the expertise to get the results you want.
Established in 1998, The Organisers operate as a team of super-efficient personal assistants for clients worldwide. With no membership fees, they are committed to making a genuine difference to your life from the first time they speak to you.
Financial Times How To Spend It - Need to Now - The Superheroes Who Are Here To Save Christmas - December 2010
If you thoughts you could handle all the Christmas preparations over the next week or so and are now panicking at the lack of time, or if your festive plans have changed (I know of some Brits who have only just decided to stay at home in the Cotswolds rather than fret about getting to Switzerland and having to face the inevitable travel chaos during the UK’s big freeze), then The Organisers are here to help save the day, and maybe longer, with their Christmas package.
A “private office” with discreet, multi-lingual Pas available 24/7, The Organisers can deal with last-minute and ad-hoc requests, and could just turn out to be the superheroes their name suggests. They will, for example, dress your house to your taste, arrange a chef to rustle up the turkey, goose and/or alternatives (just think how fabulous it would be not to have to worry about doing the catering for vegetarian, gluten – free and nut-allergic guests) , and arrange a party with fireworks, music – even an ice rink in the garden. They’ll also do all your Christmas Shopping and deliver it, gift-wrapped, to your home. And all this for £75 per hour.
It’s like having your own fairy godmother to ease you into the Christmas Spirit. Oh yes it is.
The Independent - Can a PC be your PA? - November 2010
At your service: online concierges: www.theorganisers.com
“We tend to think of ourselves as a team of executive personal assistants,” explains Katie Shapley, director of concierge company The Organisers. “We like to build personal relationships with clients so we know them - it means we are able to perform better for them.” Customers give Shapley a retainer of £1000, and then pay per service. “We don’t find people coming to us as a one-off.”
The Arbuturian - A Festive Gift Guide - November 2010
We don’t do things by halves. Not only has Jonesy provided you with the ultimate gift guide for a gentleman, and Girl Thursday has imparted her expert knowledge about the very best presents for a lady, we hereby share with you a range of items that would suit both men and women, and a few joint gifts for an epicurean couple. Armed with all this inside information, who needs Father Christmas? Sorry old chap, your days are numbered…
Too Busy to Shop? Contact The Organisers
If you hate the Christmas crowds and sink into a murderous rage whenever a tourist stops immediately in front of you mid-walk, or if you simply don’t have time to shop (or can’t be bothered), help is at hand. The Organisers are a lifestyle concierge service, offering just about anything you can dream of tasking someone to do (within reason). They have even been asked to source an elephant for a wedding, which they achieved admirably. They will happily do all of your Christmas shopping, wrap the presents, purchase the turkey, hire a caterer for the Christmas feast, arrange a holiday for the New Year’s getaway, and place a security team at your home for the period that you’re away. Oh, and they’ll look after your children too. They have a direct line to Mary Poppins. Give your PA some time off this festive season and hire The Organisers instead.
For more information, visit their website.
Vogue cleans up - June 2010
Vogue showcased the best services available to their discerning readers who are style conscious with regards to their appearance and their homes. The feature’s main focus was looking at a specific collection of services and companies who provide the solution to an organised home life.
'THE ORGANISERS are a super-efficient team of personal assistants who operate as your private office, providing bespoke solutions to home or business challenges 24 hours a day. Whether you need the perfect nanny, a fabulous holiday or superlative party, The Organisers have been personally managing projects to the highest standards since 1998.'
City A.M. Newspaper - Life Coach - What To Do When You Call In The Builders - February 2010
"I’m thinking of adding an extension to my house, but have never dealt with building contractors. Where do I start?" - Tom, 26, analyst.
WHEN it comes to hiring reliable builders, the best thing you can do is get referrals from people you trust. Katie Shapley, director of concierge company The Organisers (www.theorganisers.com), says: “Don’t just ask if they have insurance – you need to see the documentation, and call the insurance company to ensure validity. Also ask about their financial situation – you don’t want them going bust during the job, so find out if there’s work in the pipeline.” Get everything in writing at the beginning – companies with anything to hide will withdraw.
Make sure you have all your planning permissions sorted out – don’t simply rely on the say-so of the builder. Speak to the planning officer early on – it’s better to have your plans rejected now than after something’s been built. “Also have the neighbours round and show them what you intend,” says Shapley. “If there’s a disagreement they may be able to help you improve the plan to both your satisfaction.”
Depending on the size of the work you’re having done, you’ll pay between a quarter and a third of the cost as a deposit up front, and pay the rest in stages – and make sure you hold back 5-10 per cent for snagging.
City A.M. Newspaper - How Can I Sort Out My Paperwork? - January 2010
IT’S a classic problem of the time-poor professional – what to do with all that paper? Online billing and banking may have cut down some of the paperwork, but for most of us life is still an endless array of bills, receipts, certificates, and statements that need putting somewhere. Katie Shapley, director of lifestyle management firm The Organisers says that her City clients often keep their papers in endless piles which they only ever add to. So start with an empty room – push back the furniture if you have to – and lay out the piles on the floor.
“Use Post-its to denote what each pile means, and start going through it all to work out what you can keep – you’ll be able to throw a lot away.”
The aim is to have less paper, and your chief tools are a scanner to make digital copies of things you can archive, and a shredder for things you’re getting rid of. Be careful – put items for shredding in a separate pile and go through it again before committing its contents to recyclable oblivion.
The important stuff to keep hard copies of is what’s affecting your life now, like tax returns, recent bank statements and health plans. Put these in new files, one for each area, and file from back to front, with the most recent document on top.
“It’s a good idea also to have a House file, for things like building work or electrician invoices; a Communications file for your mobile, landline and internet documents, and a Guarantees file,” says Shapley. The latter is important with all the gadgetry we have nowadays, but just keep the single piece of paper relating to the guarantee, rather than the booklets in 10 languages they’re hidden in.
Now that you’ve got organised, you need to stay organised – so stop wandering around with a wallet bulging with decaying receipts.
Home UK book published by Conran Octopus
Need a wife? Don't laugh, this is a booming business, particularly in L.A. where celebrities are often in between 'wives'. Being a surrogate wife is how Katie Shapley sees her role; she and her team are the ultimate fixers. They will organise anything from opening post and setting up direct debits, through to completing tax returns and overseeing building projects and renovations. They find the right school, organise birthday presents and work out travel arrangements. She will also trouble shoot for families that have a backlog of administration to clear up. Her clients are usually high net-worth individuals who just don't have the time to cope with day-to-day household management.
What the clients say:
'Superb - she can do things no one else appears to be able to, from organising a party in the space of 24 hours to overseeing error-free paperwork'
- Mary Ravenshire, Business woman.'
Evening Standard magazine
Can't face the Christmas shopping? Call The Organisers and give them your budget, and a bit of background on who it's for. They will buy it, wrap it and even post it for you. They'll do your tree and your drinks party and even arrange for the whole Christmas lunch to be cooked and served - you'll never have to face the Christmas rush again!