Sand Hill’s Chief Investment Officer, Brenda Vingiello, CFA, returned to CNBC’s Halftime Report on August 28, 2019 to discuss interest rates and the current stateread more
Your Personal Security in a Changed World
Wealth has its privileges, but it also carries risks, including personal security challenges. Many high net worth individuals and their families maintain high visibility careers, lifestyles, or internet profiles. And they often want, or need, to travel, and typically in style; but this also means that this can make them a target because of their business connections or societal status and celebrity. Bottom line: when it comes to personal security for wealthy individuals and their families, the stakes are inherently always high.
As travelers increasingly explore more off-beaten paths, often for cultural and historical experiences, the opportunity to come in contact with nefarious elements grows. According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department, both Columbia and Mexico have recently issued travel advisory warnings, citing increased concerns over kidnapping, homicide, carjacking and burglary. More worrisome in the digital age is the potential for private information, such as flight manifests with passenger names, to be compromised. Criminals, armed in advance with a roster of arriving travelers, can search for personal profiles and clues regarding wealth on social, corporate, and real estate websites and have waiting victims in their sights before they land. The world is certainly changing, and as a result, these types of privacy invasions and related potential risks need constant examination
For example, you may be a senior executive regularly traveling for business and in need of expert travel assistance, especially in parts of the world where personal safety is more at risk. Or, maybe you have a young adult child who chooses to take a gap year living abroad, or wants to backpack through Europe for a month with a friend. You want to allow these types of worthwhile experiences, but your peace of mind could be greatly enhanced with some specialized extra security precautions and resources at your fingertips.
Indeed, some ultra and high net worth families turn to personal security insurance to help provide this emotional comfort. We’ve all seen action films where “special agents” get deployed on a covert mission to help rescue an individual or family in trouble. But this is not just fiction; this type of thing occurs in real life, too. Wealthy families pay for these types of services by hiring firms whose sole mission is the overall personal security and safety of its clients. Interestingly, many of these high-level security firms are owned and operated by special ops (operations) veterans, paramedics, physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries and global security experts with decades of relevant experience and familiarity in every corner of the world.
Here are some examples of the services these firms typically provide:
- Local legal referrals, prescription refills, medical payments while abroad, and emergency message relay
- Expert “white glove” coordination of your travel needs, staying one step ahead of you and your family to line up the best and most secure absorption into a community
- Travel risk management solutions with country and city intelligence and risk ratings
- For businesses, travel assistance can include employee travel tracking and asset monitoring services
Medical evacuations, rescue, search and security extractions:
- Customized evacuation solutions for business and pleasure traveling
- Decisions are made by paramedics, doctors and special operations veterans – the professionals you want in an emergency.
- As a high adventurer, if you travel to remote parts of the world – e.g. developing countries – where there is limited access to good health care, a special operations unit can locate you and your family, remove you from the area and deliver you safely to a hospital or medical facility.
Security operations services:
- In addition to crisis response services, many firms will act as an outsourced security department for a client.
Importantly, this isn’t “rent-a-cop” stuff; instead, its proactive assignments and services by experts in the field. Having this level of dedicated security around your family – or your business team – could provide that extra level of enjoyment and peace of mind that you need and desire knowing that you’ve got a team available to you and your loved-ones at a moment’s notice.
Of course, none of this absolves one from always using good judgement, especially when traveling. And security risks are not limited only to physical safety issues, but also to personal data as well. For example, when traveling with laptops, iPads or phones, be mindful that using inflight and hotel wireless internet connections can expose you and your personal information. Unfortunately, hotel WiFi networks – even ones that seem to diligently check your guest credentials before allowing you to connect – are not any more secure than other public WiFi and thus should be treated with the same caution as any hotspot you might encounter at a coffee shop or airport. More alarmingly, recent reports from security firm, Cylance, have revealed that hotel WiFi networks are being increasingly targeted by hackers and data thieves because of how users usually let their guard down. Business travelers, often in possession of high-value information, make especially inviting targets when working away from home. Ideally, those on corporate travel should encourage their firms to embrace better encryption software to protect this sensitive information. And for personal travel, it’s best to not have sensitive information sent via email or stored on your laptop.
Granted, this can all seem quite frightening, but that should not cause paralysis. There are viable solutions – or at least reasonable precautionary steps to take – such as those broadly described above. If you have upcoming travel plans where this layer of protection could be important, and you are interested in learning more, please speak with your Wealth Advisor. It’s a changed and evolving world and, frankly, we have to keep changing our habits and practices a bit to sensibly keep up with it.
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