When David Stewart tells clients the Turks and Caicos is a solid place to invest, he speaks from a place of authority. One that was gained through decades of personal experience. Stewart is a partner with local law firm, Griffiths & Partners, as well as Managing Director of the trust company, Coriats. Positions he took up in 2015, when he relocated from London to the TCI.
It was a pretty big paradigm shift for the international lawyer, who traveled upwards of 150 days a year managing offices across Europe and Asia as managing partner for a large London firm. But, Stewart knew exactly where he was headed, and why.
In 1990, with just a year as an attorney under his belt, Stewart left London for the islands’ shores. It was during that two-year stay, Stewart discovered the advantages the community and investment destination Turks and Caicos offered.
“We all share the same passion for growing the economy of the TCI,” is how Stewart describes the established local business environment. He first experienced what he calls the ‘cooperative and collaborative’ attitude when he got involved in the early stages of the Turks and Caicos Financial Services industry. More than two decades later, that attitude continues to proliferate and the rewards appear to be paying dividends. “Turks and Caicos has a great future as a financial services jurisdiction,” he says. So why the 23-year interlude?
As a young attorney, Stewart was keen to develop within his profession. Upon his return to London in 1992, he did just that. “I was actively engaged in complex disputes and deals all over the world. “Those years in London have given me a network of contacts and relationships, not only in the UK, but all over the world that help me in my business. Help me to provide better service to the clients I represent.”
Coriats, which has operated in Turks and Caicos for 38 years, has experienced a reinvigoration under Stewart’s leadership. The firm provides family office services to multi-generations of wealthy families around the world. “We help families plan for the future, and act as the office that looks after their trust assets and makes sure they are being invested effectively,” he explains.
Servicing those clients at the highest-level means travel continues to be part of his regular schedule. But direct flights from TCI to major cities in the US and Canada make for less time on the road. “It is an easier place to move backwards and forwards from.”
Lifestyle was also a deciding factor. “I wanted to live a healthier life, which I think you can choose to do here.“
Turks and Caicos was never out of sight for Stewart. He continued to spend time here regularly with friends and family, purchasing a home in 2008.
Without hesitation Stewart recites that bullet list of reasons the islands are an ideal investment destination, but it’s his demeanor that says it all. “I feel a lot better for being here.”