Turner’s immense depth and breadth of expertise in assisting global and local corporates in formulating and delivering on complex strategic opportunities make him “a very welcomed leader of the Sentinel Group,” says Sentinel’s Chairman, Christopher Beatty. “Simon has already had a tremendous impact on the way we view our business, and we’re extremely excited to see what the future holds.”
An impressive track record
Simon has 25 years’ experience across Europe, Africa and the Americas in building and managing businesses. He focuses primarily on growth (including acquisitions), turnarounds, restructuring, financing (equity & debt) and geographic expansion.
He was a partner at the Salamanca Group for 17 years, initially based in London as a strategic director, working with blue-chip companies across Europe and the US. More recently he established and led Salamanca Group’s Southern African office. Early in his career, Simon was a director of Colliers International before completing a finance focused MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management.
Strategy for growth
Since the global financial crisis of 2008/9, the international industry that Sentinel serves has undergone significant change. While this has necessitated a significant adjustment on Sentinel’s part, it has also presented the Group with great opportunities, says Turner. The ever-increasing web of local and global complexities faced by corporates, families and individuals has given Sentinel a chance to move into delivering a range of solutions to these intricate and multi-layered issues. (This in addition to the cross border estate planning, accounting and tax planning services which still form the bedrock of the firm’s business.)
In 2017, not long after Turner joined the Group, this global sea change prompted Sentinel to establish an in-house consulting division staffed by true experts in international taxation and inheritance law among other disciplines. “Our consulting division has already enjoyed significant growth,” says Turner. “Under my watch, we will continue to expand the division’s reach and expertise, with the aim of cementing ourselves as the go-to option for high-net-worth South Africans.”
“We are not in the business of making widgets,” stresses Turner, “We serve people.” Which is why he’s so proud of the way Sentinel’s staff have risen to the challenge of offering the same high level of customer service through the Covid pandemic. “Without the sacrifices made by our people we wouldn’t be in the position of strength we are today,” he says, adding that the firm’s clients have also adjusted admirably to a new normal which has seen them having to adapt to conducting often sensitive and emotional discussions online.
The way the virus has forced us all to view “the office” has meant that Sentinel is now working on a “long-term solution for all our offices that would have been difficult to imagine without Covid.” Exciting though this new solution may be, Sentinel will always prioritise the human touch. “Some discussions simply have to be had in person,” he says. “I know how much our clients value that extra piece of advice over a good coffee.”
The way forward
There’s no denying that the Covid crisis has complicated the financial prognosis for many South Africans, not to mention the country as a whole. Fortunately, this increased complexity plays into the hands of super-specialists like Turner and the rest of the team at Sentinel, says Group Chairman Beatty. “Under Simon’s leadership, we can and will emerge from this challenge stronger than we ever have been. Mark my words.”