Partnering with businesses coming in, or going out of, New Zealand

As professional service providers, Gilligan Sheppard is invited to play a role in many of our client’s lives, by assisting them to resolve business and family issues. Many of these situations with our clients are delicate and memorable, and we count ourselves lucky be a part of their journey. Reminiscing on these experiences has given me courage to keep moving forward during the pandemic.

Migrating with family from one country to another in the middle stage of life is not a light decision. I’ve gone through that myself, so I fully understand the issues our clients face and concerns they have. We stand alongside them and become their trusted advisors. Here follows some stories about our involvement with some immigrated clients.

Fifty entrepreneurial families

Between 2009 and 2015, we helped more than 50 families in the process of their immigration application under the entrepreneur category. These families were required to operate a business successfully in New Zealand before all family members could be granted a permeant Resident Visa. We assisted them by helping to draft a business plan, followed with preparing financial reports to prove business results. One by one, permanent residency visas were granted and the shared happiness we felt with them was immeasurable. Through the following years, most families have settled and become Kiwis.

One such client was a family who manufactured outdoor equipment in China. We helped them to establish a retail outlet here in New Zealand distributing products made by the same family, and to this day, the business is still running profitably.

Resolving financial implications

Migrating financial assets from one jurisdiction to another is a complicated process. Not only are there cross-border tax obligations, but there are also various other compliance matters.

We have helped many families assess their income tax positions. We worked out plans and helped to implement those plans with them carefully, making sure they complied with New Zealand rules in the most efficient way. We also worked with other professionals providing regular seminars to immigrated families on various topics. In many cases, we can help resolve queries on the spot and then provide assurance and guidance on compliance matters.

A family wanted to migrate to New Zealand with a significant amount of wealth. We helped them tidy up their tax liabilities in several jurisdictions, and then set up a proper ownership structure in New Zealand to put the money into.

Introductions into New Zealand business society

We refer our clients to other competent and trustworthy professional service providers. It sounds simple but it is essential for our clients’ success. From our previous experiences vetting fellow professionals, we can introduce our clients into established relationships.

One of our skills is identifying what our clients need and matching them with a person or company who can help. Being able to bring likeminded parties together to start a business relationship is rewarding in many ways. We have also provided opportunities for immigrated clients to meet mainstream business society through our own networking events.

Professional communications

Communication hurdles caused by cultural difference sometimes can be very costly. A client in Daigou business had been entangled in a lengthy IRD audit due to difficulty in explaining their business model. Clients who run international businesses often find it difficult to explain their business processes and ideas to culturally different auditors.

More recently, interpreting sources of wealth and funds for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) purposes, is becoming a more frequent issue for our clients. We can break down communication barriers and assist in mutual understandings to move forward business.

Splitting businesses

When more than one party works with another in a business, there sometimes comes a situation where the parties cannot agree with each other, and they find themselves in a business relationship that is no longer reconcilable. Business relationship splits can be costly, but this is not always the case if the parties involved engage good help.

With one such business split, the parties involved were siblings and cousins. Together they jointly invested in several property development projects. We were approached by one party, and the family members involved were on the verge of war. The situation was emotionally charged and messy, so the elderly grandfather was called upon to be the judge. Luckily, the lawyer who represented the other party was as pragmatic as us. Together we brought calm to both parties and worked out a commercial solution and settled the transaction within one month. Each family has now moved on and the grandfather has regained his peace.

Family divisions

Family splits can be even messier – we hear about all kinds of matrimonial property war stories. Most of the time, we find that we become the mediator to disentangle the emotion from the situation – it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Last year we helped settle such a matter very quickly. This story started with a family arrangement where the husband returned overseas for business purposes, while his wife and child remained living in New Zealand.

After several years, the couple decided to separate. They agreed to leave all overseas assets to the husband and all New Zealand assets to his wife and daughter. We came up with a simple solution by changing the control of the New Zealand trust and beneficiaries. We admired our clients for being able to put their emotions aside and trust us to obtain a fair result for all concerned.

Liquidation rescue

We helped rescue a business where the client had ignored a statutory demand and was put into liquidation by the court. The shareholders had invested millions into product development, branding, marketing, intellectual property (IP) and stock, even their orders were backing up.

We were able to work with a rational liquidator, and successfully terminated the liquidation. The business is now up and running again and the statutory demand will never be ignored again under our guidance.

Missed opportunities for success

Inevitably, we feel disappointed in situations where we could have helped, but for some reason or another, the client didn’t engage us or listen to us, and then things didn’t turn out so well.

When value cannot be aligned, no matter how much time and effort we put into a client, it can feel like we’re banging our head against a brick wall. What we feel is important in our solution, or the why behind the reasoning, doesn’t get through. We try to spot misalignment as early as possible and if it cannot be rectified, then we choose not to continue the journey.

There are other reasons where we cannot convince our clients to make better decisions and/or adopt best business practices. They may have a lack of financial resource at the time; or they could be distracted from focussing on the matters at hand; or they had procrastinated, and it became too late. But in each situation, we always try to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

Our recommendation

Always keep to the basics, be pragmatic, give trust, try to understand, and most importantly get what needs to be done, done! The rewards will follow.

It is our vision to be recognised as New Zealand’s best enriching environment for talent, wealth, and business. And our purpose is to enrich your lives, because by doing so, we enrich our own.

If you need help with any business or commercial, please get in touch, we’d love to find out about your journey and figure out how we can help.

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