Swiss trust company targets Latin America
By Scott Blake
Geneva, Switzerland-based CISA Trust Co. will join a long line of firms that have established a presence along Miami's posh Brickell Avenue to serve wealthy foreign nationals.
CISA plans to open a sales and marketing office at 701 Brickell in November. The Swiss private trust company sees Miami as a strategic locale to tap new Latin American clients.
The firm is lead by the father-son team of John Ryan III, president emeritus, and John Ryan Jr., president.
"It seems to be the place to do business with Latin America," Mr. Ryan Jr., a lawyer, said about Miami. "Latin Americans want to come here to meet their lawyers and bankers and they have apartments for while they're here."
Heading CISA's new Miami office — the firm's first in the US — will be Myriam Bril, another lawyer and the firm's tax and estate planning consultant. She will be part of a staff of three or four people charged with bringing in new clients from Central and South America and the Caribbean.
"Wealth planning for South Americans is a growth business," Ms. Bril said. "There is no better place for this than Miami. Many wealthy South Americans like to visit Miami and have second homes, and also like to do business here, including private banking."
Ms. Bril has been working for CISA for eight years, focusing on advising on international trust and wealth planning. Prior to that, she worked as a tax lawyer in Spain.
In her new job, her goal will be to develop "greater brand recognition for CISA and make the market aware of the track record of the company as a leading provider of first-class fiduciary services for sophisticated clients," she said.
"We will accomplish this through word of mouth," she added. "Specifically, we plan to develop business in South America by continuing to build on relationships with existing clients, financial institutions, asset managers, law firms and family offices which work with South American clients."
The firm will operate the Miami office through a subsidiary, CISA LATAM LLC. The firm also has subsidiary operations in New Zealand and the British Virgin Islands.
CISA has signed a five-year lease at 701 Brickell. The building's main tenant is Bank of America. CISA will occupy about 1,600 square feet on the 14th floor. Currently, the space is undergoing some construction work to prepare the office, said Mr. Ryan Jr.
"We hope we'll be able to move in by the end of October," he said.
For CISA, Brickell area is a natural fit for a branch office because of its locale near related businesses and international visitors and part-time residents.
"It's important to be near banks and big law firms," he added.
Founded in 1972, CISA is an independent, privately-owned trust company and is not affiliated with any banks or financial institutions.
The firm is tailored to serve clients with residences, assets, and investments in multiple jurisdictions, often with overlapping or inconsistent laws. CISA also focuses on serving entrepreneurs who own operating companies in multiple jurisdictions.
CISA handles wealth planning, trusts, foundations, company management, accounting, strategic advice and family office services.
However, the Miami office will serve as a sales and marketing operation.
For another branch in the future, Mr. Ryan Jr. said, "New York might be another city we would look at."
Ms. Bril anticipates that her job in Miami will involve plenty of travel.
"This will require travel to cities in the US that service Latin American clients," she said, "such as New York, Houston, Dallas, Tucson, Los Angeles, as well as travel to the principal cities in South America."
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