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LEWBEN GROUP: ROOTED IN LITHUANIA, EVOLVING GLOBALLY

Until a few years ago, Lewben was better known among connoisseurs of art than by financiers or the business media. Now knowledge of the firm has converged among these diverse groups of professionals, though Lewben Group today still gives one the impression of a glittering new building that has appeared in the neighbourhood overnight. Vilius Kavaliauskas, the Chairman of the Board of Lewben Group, says there is no magic involved. As with other miracles, there is a story and a rational explanation behind the firm’s remarkable emergence.

Lewben Family Offices opened in 2009 with ambitions, from the very first day, which did not fit into any one business area. Our team’s experience in banking, finance and law, and our constant pursuit of new knowledge, led us to accumulate new ideas swiftly while also further developing, with maximum dedication to achieving outstanding results, the things we had started before. 

Five years were enough for us to earn the acknowledgement of Euromoney magazine as the best in Lithuania in multiple fields. In 2014, Euromoney rated Lewben as the best provider of family office services, the best advisor for investments in luxury goods, the best provider of services in foreign countries, the best provider of support for philanthropic activities, and the best art and collectibles advisor in the country.

Art, in fact, has become a key part of Lewben’s identity. And in saying this I refer to art as art, not as an area of business. We do, of course, advise our clients on art purchases and assist them in acquiring art objects. This function, however, is just a very small part of what art means for me and my team.

We established the Lewben Art Foundation in 2012. Its core purpose is to collect works of art by Lithuanian and foreign artists from the 19th century to the present. The collection currently includes more than 1500 paintings as well as graphic works, photographs, sculptures and installations. The foundation also engages in publishing and promotion. I am as well the member of Russia and Eastern Europe acquisition Committee at Tate Modern in London, helping the museum to develop its collection with the artist from our region. Collecting art is not just a source of inspiration and a chance to experience the mystery of creativity. For me personally, art helps learn to concentrate on what is most important and distinguish value from popular regard. When one works in the field of consulting, such personal aptitudes are of the utmost importance.

was a silent operation. The company was growing steadily, but it was largely invisible to the public. It might sound trite but it is very much true that money loves silence. There are specific rules one has to follow when working with wealthy individuals. Nevertheless, in 2013 we examined the potential of our business and saw that Lewben’s foundations were strong enough to support a much bigger tree, with a more powerful trunk and more branches. That same year we acquired a company named Financial Services Centre, which is now the financial services and accounting firm Nordgain. It is currently the fastest growing company in its sector in Lithuania. In 2014 we acquired Strategy Labs, a business consultancy, and also established the Lewben Group. These acquisitions did more than just expand our service spectrum. To put it figuratively: they put us on the map. We realized that demand for quality financial services is increasing, the customer base is expanding, and we saw the need to communicate with our target group. Today we are a visible financial group, which tomorrow may become…

Up until 2014, Lewben’s work in wealth management was a silent operation. The company was growing steadily, but it was largely invisible to the public.

It might sound trite but it is very much true that money loves silence. There are specific rules one has to follow when working with wealthy individuals.

Nevertheless, in 2013 we examined the potential of our business and saw that Lewben’s foundations were strong enough to support a much bigger tree, with a more powerful trunk and more branches.

That same year we acquired a company named Financial Services Centre, which is now the financial services and accounting firm Nordgain. It is currently the fastest growing company in its sector in Lithuania.

In 2014 we acquired Strategy Labs, a business consultancy, and also established the Lewben Group.

These acquisitions did more than just expand our service spectrum. To put it figuratively: they put us on the map. We realized that demand for quality financial services is increasing, the customer base is expanding, and we saw the need to communicate with our target group. Today we are a visible financial group, which tomorrow may become…

…a bank?

I do not like the word ‘bank’. The reason is not that banks around the world have a questionable reputation, but because for me the concept of a bank evokes the image of a factory for financial services, an assembly line that produces identical things over and over again. They might be of good quality, but they are still all the same.

Lewben has always custom-tailored whatever we create. In providing asset and wealth management, taxation, law, consulting, financial and accounting services, we offer a tailored solution for each customer. Family office services teach you to understand eachclient, get to know them on close terms and build all your work with them on the basis of trust. We draw on this very valuable experience and apply it in all the services that Lewben Group provides. But we do in fact have a bank. We acquired one last year. In Vanuatu. Pacific Private Bank. We need it as a base for business development in the Pacific region. The bank is not a goal, only a tool to provide private banking services. These services are also tailored to each client, like all the services we offer.

Are you planning any new acquisitions?

I do not think our development by acquiring relevant specialized companies is finished. At the moment, though, I am not ready to share any more information. By the way, last year the Bank of Lithuania granted an operating licence to our fund management company Lewben Investment Management, which will soon establish two funds for informed investors. We have strengthened our team with investment and market analysis professionals, so naturally we are becoming more active in the investment sphere.

Since we are talking about global expansion, what other locations do you plan? T

To start, we sought to be present where our customers are, so we established our first office abroad in Nicosia, in Cyprus. Later decisions on offices have been driven by our business strategy in terms of where we want to be present and where we expect to expand. We opened our office in London in 2013, in Amsterdam a year later, and in New York the following year. Looking ahead, we plan to open offices in Singapore or Hong Kong. We are actively doing marketing and sales in Latin America and Asia Pacific regions. Lewben is also creating a hedge fund in the US and Cayman Islands based on our own unique investment strategy. The fund will invest in global equities. And we are already at work on another global algorithmic multi-strategy fund.

So you are doing business globally, but remain based in Lithuania. Why so?

Because here in Lithuania we have an excellent ecosystem, a great business environment and a top notch technology footing for communication with the rest of the world. Today physical presence is not the main criterion, even in the business of consulting. Our team comprises a core of professionals who know and trust each other. Being from a small country is an advantage, not a weakness.

In operating globally, we are able to ensure the same quality with the same service principles, discretion and flexibility in every place we work.

But I offer no guarantee that we will not change our strategy someday. Everything is evolving rapidly in the global marketplace – money, people, knowledge, and head offices, too. How would you describe Lewben Group today? We are international provider of wealth management solutions, managed from Lithuania, providing broad scope of services in the areas of legal, tax and structuring solutions, asset and wealth management, business advisory, finance and accounting, corporate finance. 

Company: Lewben Group
Name: Vilius Kavaliauskas
Email: info@lewben.com
Web: www.lewben.com
Address: A. Tumeno str. 4,
10th floor, Eastern Entrance,
LT-01109, Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: 370 (5) 2 644741


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