60-second interview with Bart Verdickt

Bart Verdickt, 22/7/2019

Bart Verdickt TEP is a member of the private client team at Greenille by Laga in Zaventem, Belgium.

What does your firm do?

Laga is a full service law firm based in Belgium, with headquarters in Brussels, and Greenille by Laga is its private client department, offering advice on wealth structuring and wealth planning. We have a conflict handling team to assist in such matters as divorce, estate settlement, or disputes with the tax authorities, etc. We also have a team of psychologists, which focuses on the transition of family members into sustainable shareholders of family wealth.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

STEP has expanded my international network. I have been a committee member for two years and have had the opportunity to organise conferences and brainstorm on future STEP initiatives.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP raises awareness on the issues we face as private client advisors, and organises magnificent events, with interesting topics and speakers. Private clients require more than mere technical knowledge, and STEP, including its conferences and speakers, addresses many of the key issues.

You will be speaking at the STEP Benelux conference in October. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I will be speaking on inheritance tax and family business. In Belgium, heirs to a family business can inherit upon the death of the entrepreneur only where certain conditions are fulfilled. There are also implications for complex holdings and corporate structures.

What do you most like about your job?

The fact that we are working for people and families. The relationship is obviously always business-driven, but it’s necessary to build a personal connection with the client. That is why I chose to become a private client attorney.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

For me, it’s especially worthwhile to give young lawyers in the firm direction and purpose.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

It’s worth bearing in mind that soft skills are as important as technical skills. While training is essential, there’s no substitute for experience.

Which sectors are likely to see the strongest future growth, do you think?

I would say sectors that focus on technology. We live in a digital era, after all. Client-centric sectors may also see growth.

What trends do you see in the global private wealth sector at the moment?

Private client cases are getting more and more complex, and international wealth structures or other international links make a holistic view necessary more than ever before. We’re also seeing a trend toward less privacy, with all sorts of information about the family structure being publicly available.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

For me that’s making sure that the entire team knows what we are doing, what our mission is, and what our strategy is for the next few years. To this end, we hold regular one-on-one meetings with team members, as well as team sessions on various topics. 

Which social media channels do you use?

I use Twitter (@BartVerdickt) and LinkedIn.

  • Bart will be speaking at the STEP Benelux conference in October.

Bart Verdickt TEP is a member of the private client team within Laga, based in Zaventem, Belgium. He is listed as a recommended private client advisor in Chambers, Who’s Who Legal and Citywealth Leaders. Bart serves on the Steering Committee of STEP's Cross-Border Estates Special Interest Group.