A Thought Provoking Trip to the Big Apple

Apologies for using the Abacus Blog to extend my thoughts on my recent holiday (is this the modern day equivalent of showing your holiday snaps to your friends?) but I have just got back from New York where the experience was an interesting one and worthy of observation.

For those who know me, you will know I have spent a good amount of time in New York over the last 15 years or so; having got married there it is a city I am very fond of and find it an exciting and vibrant place to spend time. However, interestingly times are a changing…..

In terms of the “New York experience”, as a guest of the city I tend to catch the early morning rush hour in one of the many coffee shops (Au Bon Pain near Wall Street for the record), have lunch in one of the restaurants near Battery Park, and if I am feeling particular energetic maybe have a glass of wine late afternoon before I turn into a pumpkin at about 7pm. (I would like to say this is due to the time difference from the UK, but sadly it is my age and my tolerance to alcohol)

So why was the trip thought provoking? Well, when I started frequenting Wall Street and the Lower East Side all those years ago, the average person in the street was “suited and booted”, an average age of 40-45, probably an investment banker with a gold embossed business card (nod to American Psycho for the film buffs) and had probably spent the lion share of their lives in Manhattan having been born and raised in Brooklyn (nod to Neil Diamond fans). 15 years on, the culture and working environment could not be any different; individuals are in jeans and a shirt, approximately 25-30 years old and have likely never bought a tie or ever owned one, they are multi-cultured, probably educated in the best universities throughout the world and have never been to Cipriani’s in their lives….

The groupings were sat in the various malls that are springing up in that part of the world, congregated around their laptops and tablets or on their smartphones checking out the markets without even sitting outside the stock exchange, and probably trading in London or Beijing as oppose to New York. They are as comfortable with Crowdfunding and Fintech as they are with trading on the Dow, and are probably on to their 3rd internet business before the age of 25, e.g. they are as entrepreneurial as they come!

So why is this important to Abacus and the Isle of Man? For Abacus, understanding who the high net worth clients and entrepreneurs of the future are is vital, as these are our life blood as a business. For the Isle of Man, the push for legislation in Crowdfunding and Fintech, linked to a vibrant e-commerce story shows we are doing the right thing in terms of our future markets. Manhattan is merely a microcosm of the world, and the Isle of Man and Abacus need a flexible approach and the appropriate skills to deal with this changing breed of client.

Roll on my next trip to the Big Apple and seeing the change in the dynamics of the city and the residents who live there…Maybe I should find an excuse to go there when we write our next BD strategy!

Written by:

Paul Swindale
Senior Manager, Abacus Trust Company Limited