When Hansard Global came into being in the Isle of Man thirty years ago, we did so with the goal of meeting the saving and investment needs of globe-trotting British expats whose expertise was being put to use overseas – whether as servicemen and women, teachers, engineers, accountants, doctors and nurses, plus countless other trades and professions that were in demand around the world.
While our expat customers’ skills and training were often world-class, the same cannot be said of the limited range of financial products available to these individuals in the late 1980s. So we set out to give them something much better – world-class investment management within sophisticated and portable product wrappers that would serve them wherever they were based.
In this respect, not much has changed since those days. Our goal of providing customers with the best possible products and services remains the same. However, our customer base now includes not just British expats, but expats of many nationalities, who can be found all around the world, as well local investors in their home countries, from Patagonia to Mongolia, and the UAE to the South China Sea.
We have managed to achieve such global reach by playing to our strengths of identifying and meeting our customers’ changing needs ahead of the market, by giving them something that they could not otherwise get. This has meant that while some companies were still offering old-style with-profits products, we were giving customers access to top-performing unitised funds investing in global markets and asset classes.
We have also stayed ahead by being an early adopter of new technology and online systems that have allowed us to transcend physical and geographic boundaries.
When some companies were using fax and air mail to correspond with their clients and financial advisers, we were using email to communicate in seconds. When we needed to retrieve customer policy and portfolio information, it was provided at the touch of a button through our digitised records, not the result of having to trawl through dusty old filing cabinets in an underground vault; all contract information, transaction details and correspondence, from application to maturity is now available 24/7 via Hansard Online.
And our use of technology has allowed financial advisers all over the world to improve their own efficiency and administration, helping to forge long-lasting relationships based on trust and genuine mutual utility. This is one of the reasons that today, even though the financial advice sector has changed almost beyond recognition, we remain a key partner to many of the largest and most respected advisers and wealth managers across the globe.
Our widespread international reach is also the result of our choice of home – the Isle of Man, an international financial centre whose insurance regulations include one of the best policyholder protection regimes in the world. It is also due to our strong links with the City of London, the stock exchange which we joined more than a decade ago, subjecting us to some of the most robust listed company reporting requirements in the world and placing us alongside some of the biggest companies in the world.
We think you will agree, that is all pretty amazing for an insurance company most people have never heard of, based on a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea.