Sentient International joined Malta’s financial services community in 2019. In a recent interview with FinanceMalta, Group Managing Director, Paul Murtagh shares the company’s story.
For those that don’t know Sentient International, can you provide some background on the company?
Sentient International is a privately-owned group of independent, boutique corporate and trust service providers, with a history spanning back to 1985. The business originated in the Isle of Man, but in the last two years, we have established additional operations in Europe and Asia as part of our wider growth strategy and to expand our service proposition.
Over the years, we have assisted clients from across the globe in establishing suitable corporate structures for a variety of purposes including: trading; investment holding; estate and succession planning; real estate structuring and asset holding – many for high value luxury assets such as yachts, aircraft, fine art and antiques. Between them, the Sentient group of companies offer a comprehensive range of corporate and trust services, from full service development through to back office functionality.
Can you share a little-known fact about Sentient?
Our name and branding are a looking glass into what we believe to be our core principles. The definition of the word Sentient is “responsive to or conscious of sense impressions”. We wanted to emphasise our ability to be conscious, aware, responsive, reactive and of course, capable of feeling – something we passionately believe to be true within our business. When looking at our logo, it represents the five senses with Sentient at the centre as the ultimate sixth sense.
What are you currently working on and what are your company’s plans and strategic priorities for the coming years?
Our main priorities for the coming years are sustainable growth and, of course, our clients. We will also be focusing some of our efforts on growing our yachting and aviation portfolio. Having established long-standing relationships with both clients and intermediaries in these sectors over the years, we want to build on these and develop them further.
Are there any projects/achievements of your company that you are exceptionally proud of?
As a business, our biggest project was by far one of our biggest achievements. Following a full management buyout of the business in January 2019, we decided to rebrand to better reflect what the business had become since its inception and to celebrate its expanded capabilities. We wanted to provide a clear pointer to our direction of travel, our forward-thinking approach and our aspirations for the future.
Since then, we have been fortunate to experience substantial growth. We have established two additional offices: our European operation here in Malta and our Asia operation in Hong Kong. Our team has grown by almost 50%, all whilst retaining the same core values we pride ourselves on and offering the same great service to our clients – just with double the number of people and a greater vision.
What in your opinion makes Malta an effective jurisdiction to set up a business?
As a jurisdiction, Malta is an extremely attractive place to do business. It has a rapidly growing financial services sector that rivals some of the most established in the world and offers huge incentives to those looking to set up a business here.
Many of Malta’s sectors have experienced substantial growth over recent years. The country also continues to be a big player in niche sectors such as aviation, maritime and fintech largely thanks to its ‘can do’ approach to doing business as well as its forward-thinking business community, robust infrastructure and innovative technologies.
It is also extremely business friendly – it is cost effective, boasts an attractive tax regime, English is the official business language making it accessible internationally…and as an added bonus, it enjoys an average of 300 days sunshine per year!
What kind of people/companies in the financial services community would you want to connect with?
We would love to work collaboratively with other people and companies in the financial services community who have the same client-centric values that we do. In our business, we are required to work with not only our clients, but also their advisors. This includes their lawyers, accountants, tax/VAT advisors, brokers, managers and various others.
Paul Murtagh has worked in the financial services industry since 1997. As Group Managing Director, he oversees the Sentient group of companies. Whether nurturing start-up businesses or fulfilling the diverse needs of high-net-worth individuals and global corporate clients, Paul is guided by the same unerring integrity and professionalism for which Sentient International is renowned. He has vast experience in incorporating and managing structures across a broad spectrum of industries, from energy and mining exploration to aviation and superyachts.