60-second interview with Piotr Augustyniak

Piotr Augustyniak, 10/2/2020

Piotr Augustyniak TEP is a founding partner of PATH Augustyniak, Hatylak and Partners in Warsaw.

What does your firm or organisation do?

PATH Augustyniak is a leading law firm specialising in wealth law, succession planning and advice for family businesses.

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

STEP gives me access to an excellent network of like-minded people from a range of countries. Given the constant change we are seeing in the legal environment, it’s crucial to have reliable professional news from around the globe. The quality of STEP’s publications and events is beyond doubt.

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

STEP delivers top quality knowledge to its members and adheres to the highest professional standards. STEP rules require each member to remain active and to refresh their knowledge continually.

You will be speaking at the STEP Europe Conference on 20-21 February. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I will be speaking on cross-border planning with private foundations. For many years private foundations have been considered mysterious, located in secret jurisdictions and often treated as tax planning tools. However, with less bank secrecy, and more exchange of information, the advent of beneficial ownership registers and greater legal uncertainty, foundations are increasingly important for asset protection as well as for smooth succession planning. While private foundations have a greater role, and can also be used for family governance, stakeholders have far more obligations to adhere to.

What do you most like about your job?

The people in my job, including those I work with and those I work for. As a private wealth lawyer I work with outstanding people on complex and sensitive cases. Each case is different, each family is different, and it’s invariably fascinating.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

When you work for months on a case, and some of the family members treat you as an enemy, it’s hugely worthwhile to see them come back to say thank you and ask for further help.

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

Don't be narrow-minded. Learn continuously, be patient. While it takes time to see rewards, the future may be bright.

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

From my perspective, succession planning in Poland is more and more important, as the first generation of successful entrepreneurs start thinking about retirement.

What about jurisdictions?

I envisage the reinvention of Switzerland, where I live. It has stable political and legal systems and reacts quickly to changes and challenges on the international stage. One example is its new legislation on cryptocurrencies.

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

I would say demographics. European citizens are getting older, there are fewer young people, and their vision of doing business is totally different to their elders’. This may trigger family disputes, and our role is to fight against this trend.

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

In my view the complexity of the legal environment in Poland and elsewhere. Clients are increasingly international and want to decrease their legal risk exposure. They trust us, they rely on us, and they expect we will protect them against these problems.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

I find LinkedIn a useful professional platform for sharing and exchanging opinions with people in different industries.

Piotr Augustyniak TEP is a founding partner of PATH Augustyniak, Hatylak and Partners in Poland and PATH Family Office (Suisse) in Geneva. He is a private wealth law specialist with almost 25 years' experience in assisting high net worth individuals and multinational corporations in succession planning, and asset protection. Piotr holds a STEP Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising.