The ESSENCE of luxury living: Lucas Bitencourt tells us about his service model for ultra-high net worth clients
ESSENCE’s Lucas Bitencourt takes personal service above and beyond with his family-run business model
Lucas Bitencourt has the world at his fingertips. In his line of work it's a necessity – he is the managing partner of ESSENCE, a multi-faceted company which is equal parts investment company, advisory firm and lifestyle agency providing services across a variety of sectors for 40 billionaires and their families worldwide. This 27-year-old's business lives and dies by the reliability of his network around the globe, ready and waiting to assist him with arranging everything his clients may require at a moment’s notice.
"It began in Brazil, where my father looked after a number of influential people," Bitencourt explained when we meet him at 5 Hertford Street. "When he eventually moved the family to London, he saw an opportunity to continue this service to visiting Brazilians. They always wanted his advice about life in London, too. There was a great deal of opportunity there, for us to be able to really meet their needs in many ways. That’s the root of our business."
When Bitencourt won the contract for Team USA guests in the London 2012 Olympics, his vision took off, and through word of mouth he has expanded his family-run company into looking after the needs of prominent names in real estate, mining, fashion and more.
"We have great loyalty to our clients, and in return they stay with us. They know we're completely on their side," he said. "Our relationship with each person is different. For some, we may offer investment opportunities or act as connectors. Others share intimate details with you, and you have to be a bit more careful about where you draw your own line, because ultimately they are your clients."
The trick to Bitencourt's success, he says, is the determination to finding solutions to every request. "From personal banking advice, to organising travel and solving more personal issues, our job is to find a way. Sometimes you have to be a bit inventive, but we'll never tell a client a straight 'no'. We have amazing contacts and partners across the world, and we build on those with every new opportunity."
One example was when a prominent entrepreneur decided to move with his family to London amid rising political and economic complications in their home country. Using a network of internal and external experts – including lawyers, accountants, and lifestyle advisors – Bitencourt and his ESSENCE team oversaw the entire process from beginning to end.
From supporting the application for investor visas to opening private bank accounts and advising optimal tax structures, transferring their belongings and setting up the new home – not to mention enrolling children into reputable schools and arranging weekly lessons with specialist tutors. Once the family had settled into the new home, ESSENCE supported their transition and integration by making introductions to people of interest, helping them participate in the English social calendar and working alongside them to expand their portfolio of assets in Europe.
With the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics coming up in February, Bitencourt has once again secured a contract with Team USA, and so his network of contacts is being put to the test. "There is, of course, an awful lot of research that goes into our business," he said. "For instance, for the Winter Olympics we're liaising with local businesses, hotels, concierges in South Korea, to make sure we really know the lay of the land and can anticipate any of our clients' needs – from where to stay and what to see to whom they should meet with while they're in town."
There's no doubt that by the time Bitencourt arrives in South Korea, he will have anticipated every need possible, though his billionaire clients will enjoy putting his skills to the test. "That's the most interesting part of my business," he said. "You never know what someone will need or ask for next, and getting it right? That's our greatest challenge and pride."