New partner strengthens Thrings’ growing succession and tax offering

May 22, 2019

Swindon-headquartered regional law firm Thrings has appointed private client, succession and tax specialist Douglas Smith as partner.

Douglas, pictured, has more than 30 years’ experience of acting for UK and non-UK domiciliaries on tax planning, preparing wills and trusts, and probate work involving the administration of substantial and complex estates.  

He joins Thrings from Blake Morgan, the regional law firm with offices in London, Oxford, Reading, Cardiff and the South Coast.

Douglas will be based principally in Thrings’ Hampshire and London offices, while advising clients and working closely with members of Thrings’ private client, commercial, corporate and agriculture teams across its other main offices in Bristol and Bath.

Douglas becomes Thrings’ fifth partner in its Romsey office, joining leading agriculture lawyer Mark Charter, private client expert Rachel Brooks and experienced commercial and corporate lawyer Mary Chant – who all also joined from Blake Morgan – and family law specialist Sally Pike, who previously worked for Hampshire, Thames Valley and Sussex firm Coffin Mew.

The office – Thrings’ first office in Hampshire – opened in 2016 with four staff. Today it boasts a 25-strong team of legal and business services specialists supporting a growing client base in its key practice areas of agriculture, agribusiness, landed estates, private affairs and commercial.

In his new role, Douglas Smith will provide tailored advice to new and long-term clients to help them maximise their tax-free allowances and reliefs in areas such as inheritance tax, capital gains tax, income tax and stamp duty land tax – so allowing them to benefit from domestic and offshore tax mitigation structures.

He will also build on his proven track record in resolving clients’ technical tax issues with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), as well as advising on heritage property-related tax work – including making applications to obtain conditional exemption from tax through dealings with HMRC’s heritage team.

He will also strengthen Thrings’ private wealth offering by bringing a substantial caseload of existing clients, in particular high net worth individuals with business interests in the UK, the Middle East and the US.

Douglas said: “The rapid pace of change within tax law, set against a backdrop of ongoing economic and political uncertainty, means it is arguably more essential than ever that individuals with specific personal and commercial objectives manage their legal affairs at the correct time and in a way that reflects their personal and financial circumstances.

“Thrings recognises the value that a private client presence can add to its commercial client base. As a result, I am tremendously excited to be contributing to the ongoing expansion of the firm and providing legal advice which adds value and allows clients to make informed decisions about their tax and succession affairs.”

Thrings head of private client Fiona Kellow added: “We look forward to seeing Douglas add his vast knowledge and expertise to the firm’s highly-regarded succession and tax team.

“Douglas’ advisory skills will not only complement our private individuals’ needs, but he will also be able to provide much more in-depth specialist advice for individuals in business structures. Private client is a growth area which we recognise and our teams are well placed to deal with the needs of clients from all fields.”



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