Private Wealth Forum – Luke Trigona – S3E12

This week on our Legally Speaking Podcast, powered by KC Partners, our host Rob Hanna is joined by Luke Trigona.

Luke is a Consultant Solicitor currently practising at Keystone Law, where he advises on a wide range of private client affairs including tax, trusts, wills, lasting powers of attorney, asset protection, estate planning as well as relocation to and from the UK.

Luke was recently awarded the Top 35 under 35 practitioners in the Private Client Industry. He is also the Co-Founder & Director of the Private Wealth Forum, a global self-service platform for events that allows anyone to share, find and attend events.

The Private Wealth Forum is on a mission to bring the private wealth community together through better co-ordination of content between the various segments of the industry.

Rob and Luke discuss the following:

  • His legal experiences from working in traditional law firms to now a dispersed law firm.
  • How he won the award of Top 35 under 35 practitioners for Private Client.
  • Why he decided to set up the Private Wealth Forum.
  • His love for Malta including the food!


[0:00:00.1] Rob Hanna: Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week. I’m delighted to be joined by Luke Trigona, a consultant solicitor currently practicing at Keystone law, where he advises on a wide range of private client affairs, including tax, trusts, wills, lasting powers of attorney, asset protection, estate planning, as well as the relocation to and from the UK. Luke was recently awarded the top 35 under 35 practitioners in the private client industry. He is also the proud co-founder and director of the Private Wealth Forum, which we’ll learn lots more about today. So, a very big welcome Luke.

[0:00:43.9] Luke Trigona: Hi, thanks for having me on it’s an absolute pleasure. I’m a keen follower. So, this is a great experience.

[0:00:50.1] Rob Hanna: Thank you so much. Well, we’re delighted to have you thanks for doing so much for the legal industry. And before we go through all of your illustrious career and what you’ve achieved to date. As a fan of the show, you will know we have our icebreaker question, so, on the scale of one to 10, 10 being very real, how real do you rate the hit TV series Suits in terms of its reality?

[0:01:13.9] Luke Trigona: I’ll probably say a two or three, I found it massively entertaining. I really do wish sometimes it was more like that, but it’s not very accurate. We don’t always manage to find that magic onset within 10 minutes or within five minutes of the deadline, but I did really enjoy watching it.

[0:01:31.1] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no, I think it’s great Hollywood, but in terms of the actual reality of it all, probably not quite anywhere near some of the earlier scores that we had in season one. So yeah, I think below five sounds about right. So, let’s start where we always like to start at the beginning. Tell our listeners a bit about you and your family background and upbringing.

[0:01:50.1] Luke Trigona: Okay. So, I’m originally from a tiny little Island called Malta and I was given the opportunity to head out to the UK to study and read for my undergraduate law degree. At that point I must confess, I had promised my grandmother and my mother that I was literally just going for three years and then I was coming back to Malta, but it was one of those things I kind of got wrapped up in it all, I then carried out my LPC, and then I got a training contract in London. So, I studied in Bristol and then I made the crossover to London to undertake my training contract over there. Whilst in London I carried my entire training contract at a boutique law firm in Mayfair, which was amazing, especially sort of coming from a tiny little country like Malta, where you don’t always have these opportunities, just being able to be right in the heart of it all, dealing with the top clients and getting the experience was phenomenal.

That tiny little boutique Law Firm got acquired by a larger law firm, called Irwin Mitchell and that was another very different experience in itself. As we went through the whole taking over the law firm integrating a sort of boutique Law firm into a bigger law firm, working in the bigger sort of corporate style law firm as it were, which was a very rewarding experience in itself. I look back at my time over there with very fond memories, but then most recently in 2018, I had heard all about Keystone law and a couple of my former colleagues who are at the boutique firm had left, had mentioned Keystone Law to me.

And I must confess, I didn’t know too much about Keystone law all at the time. I learned a little more about it and how it’s not sort of traditional a little firm. You can be more entrepreneurial there aren’t all these different tiers of managers above you. Micro-Managing everything you do and I think the slogan they use is law set free and it really is. I can honestly say that because I’m now working remotely from Malta at this point in time and they’ve got the right IT and set up to do that, and I’m not quite sure if I would be able to do that in the more traditional corporate law firms at this point in time.

[0:04:09.7] Rob Hanna: Yeah. And that’s a really kind of interesting story from sort of Bristol to London to then to jump into the dispersed law firm model, perhaps to give a bit more of a flavour of your day to day. What does your day-to-day role look like as a consultant solicitor particularly in your private client space? What do you get up to do?

[0:04:27.4] Luke Trigona: The reason why we joined Keystone is predominantly to have a better work life balance. So, I enjoy going to the gym and I have a couple of other small businesses on the side as well. So, in terms of my day-to-day from the consultant solicitor point of view, I try and keep the standard model of getting through my emails, and doing the job – most of my work in the morning, and then if necessary, I will extend on into the afternoon, but I can predominantly do most of my work in the morning and then focus on other opportunities and other company work in the afternoon.

So, it’s a very good split, but it depends on client work, to be honest, because we go through phases where we’re busier and we have major deadlines, periods where we’re not as busy. So it fluctuates, but it’s basically the beauty of it is it’s sort of entirely in your control and you can work the hours that need to work in accordance with sort of the client needs.

[0:05:20.9] Rob Hanna: And I think the other great thing is particularly, you know, in perhaps more of the traditional law firm route and you can correct me if I’m wrong, it’s not sort of dependent on your PQE level. I think that’s the key point. There’s more autonomy and responsibility perhaps earlier into your career versus some of the more traditional more traditional law firms, would you say that’s what you’ve experienced yourself?

[0:05:41.3] Luke Trigona: Absolutely. And that’s 100% correct. The beauty of Keystone law is you’re surrounded by experts in the field and seasoned professionals. And for someone who’s slightly more junior, you still feel like you can ask the necessary questions need asked to these different individuals and more experienced lawyers, but you’re given pretty much complete autonomy to go out and really try and develop your own practice at an earlier stage, which is something which the legal industry needs to look at addressing more often, because more often than not a younger entrepreneur wants to have a younger lawyer, he  can develop a relationship for a number of years and perhaps someone who is from the same era as him and kind of gets all of sort of technology annual depth. Now I’m not saying that the old lawyers don’t get technology at all, but it’s one of those things where you can really develop the relationship together.

[0:06:35.9] Rob Hanna: Absolutely. And you’ve had some wonderful successes already. I mentioned in the intro there that you recently in 2019 won the award for top 35, under 35 practitioners for the cross, the private client industry. How did you do that? What did you have to do to achieve that?

[0:06:52.9] Luke Trigona: So, that was a private client award. First and foremost, I was really humbled by everyone who put my name forward. Basically, the way it works is colleagues as well as intermediaries and referrals, nominate individuals and then the private clients look at all the nominations and they don’t just look at like the number of nominations. They look at the quality of the nomination and what everyone has said about you and they released a list of the top 35 in September. And my understanding was that there were hundreds and hundreds of different applicants, those were pretty tough going. And to be honest with you, it came as a bit of a surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be honest with you. And when I found out I was delighted and really grateful that my colleagues and referrals have recognized the work I had done in my previous years and despite only being 27 at the time. So, I’m very humbled and flattered and eager to keep it all going, you know.

[0:07:57.9] Rob Hanna: Yeah. Well, congratulations, once again, such a fantastic achievement. So, early on into your career, and you mentioned before, you’re definitely an entrepreneur. So, before we talk about the private wealth forum in more detail, which we’re definitely going to do shortly, tell us about some of the other business interests you have or initiatives you’re involved in just generally.

[0:08:16.4] Luke Trigona: In terms of other businesses, I had started up an import and export wine business, which happened completely by mistake. I was actually on holiday in Portugal and I was adamant that we should have a lunch in one of the vineyards. So, I called up 40 different vineyards until I could find someone who would do lunch. And the chap from one said yes, yes, come over with the family. I’m like, Oh, this is going to be great. We hit it off at the lunch and I said, do you export any of your wines to either London or Malta? Just out of interest because I spent my time between the two. And he said, “No, not at all” the UK was always his list of a place to export, but he didn’t have anyone. So, we set up a business effectively exporting his wines from Portugal into countries and I did that with my father.

So, that was quite a fun one because I’m very family-orientated. So, to be able to set up a business with my father was an absolute dream come true for me, that’s one business. And then obviously I still consider Keystone law to a certain extent to be our own business. And to a certain extent, because your sort of working under the Keystone Law banner, you still have your own company. And I joined Keystone law together with a couple of my colleagues and we set up our own company. We set up our own office, that office is in Mayfair, which we set up last year. And then this year during the height of lockdown, we set up the private wealth forum, which has been a very interesting experience in itself.

[0:09:46.5] Rob Hanna: Let’s jump into that then. So, let’s go back a step, why did you want to set up the Private wealth Forum?

[0:09:52.9] Luke Trigona: So, I think as it happens quite often with these things, we didn’t really plan set this off as such as having a [quarrel] with an investment manager I work close with and he said, you know what Luke, I’m getting so many webinar requests and I don’t know what I’ve accepted. I don’t know what’s in my diary, I don’t know what sort of topics there are about; the pure volume of webinar requests during lockdown was incredible. And I said, I feel like I’ve been in exactly the same boat as you and that it just seems to be sort of a little bit haphazard. And we then sort of continued our conversation and after that conversation. we said, you know what will be really great if someone could be a central point or essential website where all the privates was, webinars were still being held and you had a proper diary.

So, you could see exactly which topics were being focused on when they’re being focused on and it really went from there. So, then I spoke to my flatmate at the time who works in tech and I said, listen, like you think we would be able to do something like this? And I was like, yes, yes, absolutely. So, we kind of just sort of ran with it. So, then within the space of two and a half to three weeks, we did a lot of brainstorming as the, sort of the name of the company, what we would actually be doing, whether it would be all the webinars on our website and people can just click onto the website or whether to take the format of a weekly email and then related to those of research. And everyone seemed to say, if you did a weekly webinar bulletin with all of the webinars for the following week, then that would be incredibly useful. So, we tried that out and at the moment we’ve had over 70 different intermediaries from the legal sector, from the investment management sector, as well as from trust companies, sector or contribution, we’ve had over 400 speakers and our email and how actually we share across five continents to about 150 countries so far. So, we’re thrilled how far it’s come in such a short space of time.

[0:11:56.7] Rob Hanna: Oh yeah. Wow. What an achievement in such a short space of time, as you say, how can people kind of get more involved and what have you got sort of in the pipeline moving forward?

[0:12:06.9] Luke Trigona: In terms of how people get more involved, every Wednesday at five o’clock is the cut-off point. Our weekly webinars bulletins go out every Thursday at three o’clock BST and our cut of point is a day before. So, if anyone in the private wealth sector would like us to circulate their webinars, all they need to do is go onto sort of privatewealthforum-dot-com. And there is an add your event page and if your audience do it effectively put in the dates, the time, the title to the speakers for the webinar, and we will make sure that it’s featured on our weekly webinar bulletin, which will go out the following day. We obviously have different sponsors who sponsor it as well and you can see all about getting involved in sponsorship front through our website as well, in terms of the pipeline, we will shortly be releasing our premium membership feature and this will basically have a couple of new things.

One is data feedback for companies to feature the webinars on our weekly webinars bulletin. And this data feedback will be a full on report, which will explain which topics were the most popular from our research, which times where most people attended, whether panel events are more popular than other events, which are the best days, which are the worst days to host webinars. And it will also enable you to sort of then fine tune and tweak your marketing and your marketing strategy from that data feedback. Aside from that, we were also unveiling a new feature, which is going to be our Oscars section of the website. So, we’re going to try and set up a private wealth article feature, which would be the exact same format as our webinars, in that we would have a short summary of private wealth articles and our premium members would be able to sift through these articles and click choose the ones that they want to view, but effectively we’re gathering all those into one place in the sort of way that Google would do it.

But obviously when you’re sort of searching through articles in Google, you would have to sift through a lot of other articles and other pages in order to get through to the private wealth pages that you want to view. So, we’re trying to sort of effectively cut out all of the sort of additional pages that private world practitioners might not want to view and just have a pure private wealth article section. Those are our new features, which are sort of coming out shortly. We have lots more installed in the pipeline where we’re looking at integrating our own webinars into the package and using different sort of webinars systems, which aren’t been used in the private wealth space at the moment.

[0:14:50.9] Rob Hanna: Sounds really interesting. So, you’ve got lots of coming up, so definitely people should check that out. I mean, in terms of private wealth from your experience, what do you think makes a really good sort of private wealth lawyer? What are the key skills that you would say one needs to have who might be considering that practice area or wanting to get involved in that area?

[0:15:13.8] Luke Trigona: To manage your skillset is, in dealing with private clients is sort of in the name itself, if you’re dealing with private clients so you’re dealing with individuals on a day to day basis. And for that reason, individuals aren’t companies and you need to have, I think, really good interpersonal skills and, just being able to communicate with clients in a way which cuts out all the legal jargon, simplifies it, just explaining things in a way which is easy for them to just take a view and then move on private clients are very busy individuals. They often have businesses of their own machines to manage. And we just try and answer those, give us a sort of complete advice as possible, but in the most simple way as well.

So, I would say that is absolutely vital you have to prepared to do a lot of work on the technical front as well, because we advise in the tax world and speaking to one of my colleagues and she was telling me that 40 years ago, tax hit off with effectively one legislation book. And now we’ve got about seven or eight of these books so it’s just so vast and you just have to be incredibly on the ball with it. You have to keep up to date, it’s very technical space. So, you have to be prepared to keep yourself updated and really be up for looking at the nitty gritty of the law.

[0:16:36.4] Rob Hanna: And so with that, then would you say the private kind of client wealth space has been easier as a result of COVID or less so, what do you think the outlook looks like for that particular practice area?

[0:16:49.2] Luke Trigona: I definitely think it’s been busier, what we found is with people in lockdown. They’ve really had a chance to sort of think about their legal affairs and what they would like to do, and maybe do some succession planning, such as prepare their wills, or lasting powers of attorney for the first time, or if they’re sort of thinking about setting up trust structures and for various reasons as well. So, we’ve definitely seen that, so lots of people who’ve had more times and time on their hands to actually deal with things which they might not have done if they were working full time from the office.

[0:17:23.5] Rob Hanna: Sounds really interesting. My other interesting question, as you know, we’re in a world now where people are saying, you know, its entrepreneurial its legal tech people are probably thinking about cyber, or maybe they’re thinking about corporate and maybe sometimes private wealth isn’t initially considered by initial early-stage lawyers or people looking at entering the law, what would you say to that to maybe encourage people to also consider this area?

[0:17:44.9] Luke Trigona: So I think in fairness, [inaudible] [0:17:45.6], actually, I had done my experience as a paralegal, in the banking sector. And I didn’t know too much about private clients or private wealth until I started my training contracts. And I think when you’re studying, and when you sort of, when you’re doing your LPC modules about private clients and tax planning, you don’t really understand the full effect of it because in my opinion it’s the most exciting sector you can work in because you’re dealing with incredibly talented individuals who are incredibly successful, which is how they’ve amassed their wealth. And you’re dealing with new businesses with people who are aiming to sort of keep the family business successful. That’s another dynamic as well. You sort of dealing with different asset classes, you’re looking at yachts, private jets, you’ve got new ideas stemming up all the time.

What I love most about private world is that, and I can honestly say this. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but it’s really the case that no day is the same for me. And there’s always some new issue to deal with. And I just love that, I love the fact that we’re constantly being challenged. There’s always some new asset class, whether people want to do some trust structuring with cryptocurrency or if they want to purchase a company or anything. I love the entrepreneurial side of it, I love being on a journey with clients. I think that is another really interesting part of the job for me. Because in other sectors you tend to do sort of just like maybe the more transactional areas of law, you tend to just assist the client for maybe three to six months, whereas a private client, it’s a journey where you’re advising them for their entire lives. So, you feel like you’re developing a really close bond with your client, you understand the family and they see you as a genuine advisor for all their affairs and their go-to person and I love that. So, that’s really great.

[0:19:48.9] Rob Hanna: You mentioned the word there, ‘family’. You are exceptionally busy. You are an entrepreneur, you run your own practice. You have got the private wealth forum. You’ve got all these other things on the go, but you know, family and downtime, you mentioned that’s important to you. What do you get up to, I believe you’re currently recording, as you say, out in Malta, but what do you do for downtime?

[0:20:07.9] Luke Trigona: I’m more about family. I love my family and we’re sort of always trying to meet up whether that’s in London or a Malta. So, whenever I get the opportunity and I’m very lucky these days, it’s so easy to fly back and forth. I do fly out to Malta to see my family and I catch up with them in terms of other things, then I enjoy going to the gym. And funny enough, I mean, the one thing that all Maltese people will tell you is that we’re passionate about food. I must say that when Boris Johnson sort of highlighted the fact that we’re more obese than British people, it really struck a chord with us here in Malta. So, naturally I love cooking and I love socializing with family and friends over dinner as well.

[0:20:48.2] Rob Hanna: Good stuff. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure Luke, having you on the show. I think you’ve definitely been able to highlight and bring to life a lot more around the sort of whole world of private wealth and private clients. So, it’s been a real pleasure if people have kind of been inspired or want to know more about the private wealth forum, or just simply get some tips and tricks off you. If they’re looking to kind of pursue that area or whatever it might be, how can they follow you, get in touch. What’s the best form? Is it social media? Is it email? You want to give a shout out to those links?

[0:21:18.0] Luke Trigona: If you’re interested about private wealth forums. And I would definitely suggest hitting up our websites at And over there, you’ll be able to get my contact details on that front. Whereas on the legal side, if you ever want to get in touch with me at Keystone Law, my email address at Keystone Law is and private wealth forum is on all platforms as is Keystone Law. And also, I would suggest following them to keep abreast of developments in the private wealth sector.

[0:21:48.3] Rob Hanna: Brilliant. Well, thanks a million Luke. It’s been a real pleasure. I hope all our listeners have found that as interesting as I have, and I wish you and all involved at the private wealth forum, lots of continued success, but for now over and out.

[0:22:01.3] Luke Trigona: Thank You so much for having me. It’s been such a pleasure.

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