Spotlight: Hugh Wade-Jones

Hugh Wade‑Jones / Enness Global Mortgages

Proud father Hugh Wade‑Jones, the owner of Enness Global Mortgages is one of the newest residents of the Principality of Monaco. The Englishman shares his first experiences as a new Monaco resident.

Hugh Wade‑Jones is a successful entrepreneur from London, specialised in high-net-worth clients and real-estate mortgages. He is also one of the newest residents of Monaco. He relocated with his wife and his daughter in May 2020, as soon as the French borders began gradual easing after the Covid-19 lockdown.

We asked Hugh why he decided to relocate to the Principality, and whether it was for a business or a personal reason.

I think primarily personal although business played a large part in it. A client of mine once said to me when I asked him why he lives in Monaco, that he wakes up every day and feels like he is on holiday. I guess there is an element of that for me too and the quality of life is so high.

On a more practical level, my daughter is now approaching 6 years old, so security has become a big priority which Monaco is unparalleled for, and she is due to start what I call ‘proper school’ in September. So it really was the perfect time to move. At the same time my business has really taken off and expanded globally, so being based in Monaco makes my life a lot simpler on several levels.

Was it hard to settle in with a family, especially with a small child?

Not at all, it has been incredibly simple. A few administrative headaches which you will have anywhere you move to, but we have settled into a great routine and a far more outdoors lifestyle quickly which is what we all wanted” – says Hugh.

Hugh Wade‑Jones / Enness Global Mortgages
Hugh Wade‑Jones / Enness Global Mortgages

Truth to be told Monaco attracts very different people. By having around 140 different nationalities among its residents, it is always interesting to discover the underlying reason why people decide to permanently relocate here. What are the three most important things for you in Monaco?

For me and my wife the quality of life, the security and the taxation were among the three most important factors” – explaines it Hugh.

Talking about the quality of life and security, how would you compare your previous home in London to Monaco?

London is an incredible city and it has been home for me for 30+ years. So in terms of shops, restaurants and having an Amazon delivery arrive at your door in 20mins it is probably the best in the world. 

That said, the day to day quality of life isn’t quite what it was a few years ago and security especially seems to dropped a little.

I say that the quality of life is like nowhere I have been and I routinely tell people that the bin men come every evening, which may seem trivia but is ridiculously helpful!

Hugh is a classical example of the many entrepreneurs who are moving to Monaco. He established Enness Global Mortgages’ Monaco division back in February 2017, called Enness International S.A.R.L. 

After a few years, building up a solid ground for his business, Hugh decided to fully relocate to Monaco.

Why did you decide to establish an office for Enness in Monaco in the first place?

A huge number of our clients had property globally, and being a UK company that meant often these properties were in France, specifically the Riviera.

Monaco, although small, is very forward-thinking from a business perspective and offered everything we needed.

It is also very well located geographically as we work with clients and companies that are based in France and Switzerland. So it made a great base” – explains Hugh.

If you look back at those times, in your opinion was it a smart decision to start with the business first? Would you advise the same for other entrepreneurs?

I think I was very lucky that I have the Enness office here. So I have been spending a lot of time here for a number for years. As such, I had a very clear idea of where I wanted to live and where all my amenities were.

I would probably say spend some time here and walk around to better understand what is on offer. It’s quite an easy place to stay hauled up in a flat and go to the same 2-3 places every week. So get out and about as simple as that sounds.

I run most evenings, so I have discovered so many places just off the beaten track by running up staircases and down different roads.

Business-wise how do you see the mortgage market in Monaco and the Cote d’Azur?

The overriding factor in the mortgage market for Monaco and the South France is that interest rates are at an all-time low. 

Borrowing in and around 1% is an incredible value in anyone’s book, so this underpins the lending marketplace.

It is fair to say that banks’ appetite remains strong for the best in class property but there has been a slight cooling from some, not all, lenders in terms of their loan to values.

Interestingly, there have been a few new lenders entering the market – one in particular from East Asia – which is a clear indication of increased demand from new markets in the Riviera, which is positive.

Hugh’s main company, the London based Enness Global Mortgages was born amid the 2007 financial crisis. His team of experts have become accustomed to challenging times and to expect the unexpected. 

As the global travel restrictions and isolations started, it was interesting to see that the two strongest sectors in the first quarter of 2020 were the financial and the real-estate sectors in Monaco. Did Covid19 help your business?

It is hard to say it helped my business when it has had such a huge impact on so many people, but as you say there has been a race for liquidity and some of the conventional banks who may have helped clients beforehand no longer can. So they will seek out a company such as Enness. 

Incredibly, the top end of the market globally is very active, so we have had strong quarters trading despite everything that is going on.

If an Ultra-High-Net-Worth individual or Monaco resident would approach you what would you tell them, why should wealthy people consider to have a mortgage?

Several reasons really. At the basic level, a UHNW can return 10%+ on his money in his company or through his day to day activity. So borrowing money at circa 1% is a no brainer – it creates a clear arbitrage position. There are also the considerations of tax, be it inheritance tax or maybe wealth tax.

I think the liquidity of certain assets or even moving capital around the globe is not as easy as it may have been 5-10 years ago, so creating liquidity at short notice or in a certain jurisdiction has huge advantages to certain individuals.

Finally, you have a wonderful family and as a new resident and a family man what’s your favourite place to go in Monaco?

Myself personally probably the Dim Sum at Song Qi or pasta at Marcello, but my daughter adores the Zoo which is right on our doorstep and also the park in Fontvieille.

Hugh’s example shows that there is no wrong timing to relocate to Monaco and to offer yourself a better quality of life. However, his example also shows that smart preparations can make everything easier.

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