We’re pleased to launch the first edition of our “Get to Know the Team” interview series where members of the Oak team discuss their work, life and everything in between.
Mark Fouracre, director in our Guernsey office, discusses his time serving as an aircraft technician in the British Army and more recently, his involvement in the UK’s largest property transaction.
Tell us about your role:
I am a private wealth director, based in Oak’s Guernsey office.
As a qualified accountant with over 22 years in the finance industry, my experience and expertise in private wealth allows me to provide a tailored solution to assist wealthy families, family offices and owner managed businesses with their specific, bespoke, requirements and service issues, ensuring that assets are structured, held and managed in the most efficient manner.
We can take care of items such as ensuring full compliance with the many layers of sometimes very complex regulatory frameworks that need to be navigated in dealings with other institutions, thereby freeing up our clients to use their time more effectively.
Specialising in Trust and Company administration of large property structures, I also have experience with family office arrangements, business succession, philanthropy, and investment portfolios, and smaller property portfolios.
Walk us through a typical day in the office:
One of the great things about my role is that it is so very varied. A typical day in the office starts at 7.30am with a strong cup of tea. The day may include arranging financing on a property transaction – anything from £60,000 to £200m, forming new structures or new companies within existing structures or liaising with agents regarding new leases, rent reviews and property related matters.
Keeping in close contact with our clients is a key part of our proactive approach, and therefore I can expect to be speaking regularly with clients and their key advisers about various matters including investment strategies and future cash requirements.
Lately the team has successfully brought in many new clients to Oak, which for me means ensuring I have a full understanding of the new business, the purpose of the specific structure, and the priorities and concerns of the beneficial owners.
Tell us about a recent interesting client instruction:
The UK Government has recently launched the “Coronavirus Future Fund” which aims to issue convertible loans of £125,000 to £5m to innovative companies which are facing financial difficulties due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We are currently assisting one of our clients in a review of the eligibility requirements of the scheme, as the terms on offer are attractive for the right businesses.
What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping them overcome it?
The commercial property market is facing many challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant restrictions to travel, social distancing and restrictions on some businesses being able to trade at all, causing downward pressure on rents, values and issues with banking covenants. This is resulting in many new challenges to overcome, and increased consultation with lenders / agents and tenants.
What is your proudest professional achievement to date?
In 2008, I was heavily involved in the UK’s largest property transaction. The £300m property purchase came at a time when the UK markets were in turmoil. I was liaising with lawyers in Scotland, England, Guernsey and Jersey late into the night, to ensure that the transaction was completed to schedule.
What do you consider to be the most important attributes of a good leader?
A good leader will develop a vision for the people and companies they direct, and will ensure effective communication of priorities, ensuring all are inspired to the same goals. Oak has a very strong private wealth team, with solid foundations.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis
When and how did you begin your career in financial services?
I returned to Guernsey after serving as an aircraft technician in the British Army, and in 1995 I signed up for a course in Accounting (AAT) following successful completion of this I started work at a small company called Gains International as a management accountant. When Gains was sold in 2000 I accepted a position in private wealth at, what would become Intertrust. By then I was a fully qualified accountant having completed my Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exams.
What interests you most about your work?
Working with such a talented group of people. Each person in the Oak team brings a unique talent, a real passion and their own heart to work. By evolving and engaging with new ideas, the possibilities to provide both great opportunities for our staff and excellence in service to our clients will continue to grow.
In your opinion, how has the industry/profession changed from when you first started?
The offshore finance industry has matured. Complex legislation and increased regulations mean that it is increasing vital to ensure administration is both streamlined and efficient. Oak employs over 200 finance professionals across 6 leading finance centres, making it ideally positioned to be able to relieve the administrative burden of our clients and to help guide them through their requirements. Oak has already grown rapidly over just two years, with the consolidation of four carefully selected businesses, and we are actively pursuing further opportunities to expand our services.
If you weren’t working within financial services, what else might you be doing?
I think I would be a personal coach. I enjoy helping people to reach higher, both personally and professionally.
Outside of the financial services industry, who do you admire most and why?
So many people. One who recently visited Guernsey is Chris Packham. He consistently brings important conservation topics to the forefront in interesting ways and is willing to voice what are sometimes unpopular ideas for the benefit of nature and conservation. His 2017 book “Fingers in the Sparkle Jar” was voted the UK’s favourite Nature Book.
Where was the last place you travelled for work or pleasure?
Lithou Island on a beautiful sunny day for an anniversary picnic. There is a very wet causeway that is crossable for a few hours at low tide to get to the small island, which is a RAMSAR nature and conservation area. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and glass of wine.
How do you relax after a long day and what do you do in your spare time?
Dog walking, cycling and bee keeping.
Inspirational quote/words to live by:
Anne Frank: “How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”