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Meeting the 2021 eprivateclient 50 Most Influential: David Kilshaw of Rawlinson & Hunter

News Team, 19/03/2021

The eprivateclient 50 Most Influential is the definitive rankings of the key players in the UK and offshore private client practitioner sector.

To showcase the achievements of those listed this year and to get to know them a bit better, eprivateclient has began publishing a new Q&A series with our 2021 50 Most Influentials.

Today we hear from David Kilshaw, a partner at Rawlinson & Hunter.

He joined the firm over a year ago as a senior adviser and was promoted to partner in April last year. He brought with him a wealth of experience gained over 35 years in the profession, mainly with KPMG and EY, advising private clients and family offices, with particular expertise in non-domiciled taxation. 

What have been your proudest personal/team achievements this year?

This has obviously been a year like no other (we hope!) and the proudest team achievement is the way that the firm has found new ways to help our clients and each other –every part of the firm has been inspirational. 

On a personal level, it has been mastering Zoom, Blue Jeans, Teams etc without (so far) having a tech disaster!

What advice would you give your younger self?

To work with and observe as many partners and senior advisers as possible. It was easy as a junior adviser to just focus on ‘doing the job’ and it took me a while to realise that there are wider crafts to being an adviser and that every day there is an opportunity to soak up the different ways partners run meetings, network etc. and to learn from them. 

I would have advised my younger self to take the good bits from each (ignore the bad bits which all partners have!) and most importantly to try to develop a style, based on those observations, which was most true to my character.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Working with and being inspired by my junior colleagues who constantly amaze me with their insights and enthusiasm. It is a rewarding moment when I can occasionally use my experience to win a debate.

What challenges do you see your firm and/or clients facing in 2021?

Once we are all vaccinated, to arrive at a way of working which suits our clients, our people and our business in the ‘new’ world. We need to build on the many things we have learnt in lockdown and the insights it has generated, while not changing too fast and abandoning things that have served us so well for so long. 

The successful firms will get this balance right quickly and those who change too slowly or too quickly may find that the market has moved away from them. The first challenge, however, for 2021 is to get out there!

What does being named a 50 Most Influential mean to you?

I am constantly inspired by the quality of advisers in the private client world, so this is a special honour.

What is the favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is that I am constantly learning – be it insights into the amazing business of a new client, technical challenges or new ways of doing business. It is the variety of challenges which makes private client work so interesting.

What made you choose to focus on private client work?

My last seat as a trainee solicitor was tax. At the end of the seat, the tax partner offered me a job. I remember thinking ‘’I don’t understand this tax stuff, but I’ll accept the job and then move to something else once I have worked tax out.’’ Several decades later, I still find myself trying to solve the puzzle that is tax.

What book/luxury item would you want with you on a desert island?

The tax Yellow Books of course –although I might slip in a Wodehouse too

If you were not in (and it is not) your current role, what would be your dream job?

Centre forward for Manchester United. I support Man City and as a terrible footballer I think this role would give me great satisfaction.

What’s your favourite hobbies/passions/interests outside of work?

Manchester City - you may see a theme emerging!

What one piece of advice has benefited you the most in your career?

‘’Never be afraid to say I don’t know’’. 

As a young adviser, I recall the partner I worked for (Mrs Stacey) coming back from a very high powered meeting with some of the leading advisers of the day. They had all sat there for about an hour when Mrs Stacey, in front of her peers, had the confidence to say she did not understand what they were talking about. To her amazement, most of the room then confessed the same. 

It can be difficult, especially at the start of a career, to say ‘’I don’t know the answer ‘’ or ‘’I don’t understand’’ but. as Mrs Stacey taught those who worked with her, these simple words are a sign of strength not weakness and invariably progress things more than silence.

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