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What lawyers should ask when instructing security companies

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Guest writer, Alun Jones, Director at GSA Global imparts his knowledge of the legal requirements required when family offices/private client lawyers are instructing security companies on behalf of UHNWI’s and their families.

Questions private client/family office law firms should ask security companies when sourcing protection for ultra high net-worth clients.

Having worked in the security forces and private security industry for over 30 years, I believe it’s important to highlight some valuable information to law firms who are thinking of instructing a private security company.

Notably companies such as GSA Global are often instructed by law firms (that deal with high net clients), to protect their UHNWI clients, families and assets; and it’s imperative to get the selection right, not only for their protection, but also for safeguarding client/lawyer relationships and the conservation of reputation.

Therefore, when engaging a private security company in the UK, our recommendation to you would be that you should ensure the firm you instruct comply with relevant laws and regulations such as:

Check with any potential security firms that their documentation of security protocols includes comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aligned with UK laws and ask for evidence that they are regularly updated to reflect changes in legislation. Incident reporting practices must meet legal requirements too and detailed records maintained, and best practices regularly reviewed and updated.

Questions to ask private security firms

When it comes to confidentiality and privacy, you should ask the firm:

How they handle sensitive information?

What protocols are in place to maintain client confidentiality?

When it comes to asset protection, ask the security firm the following:

How will they safeguard valuable assets (including property, investments, and business interests)?

What qualifications and experiences do their security employees have? If they are consultants or freelance to a private security company, then they’d need to give you even more information on those individuals.

Check if the firm’s individuals are suitably trained, qualified and in date for handling high net-worth clients and their unique needs.

When it comes to legislation and compliance, please ask:

Are their procedures for reporting security incidents in line with current laws? This might include specific steps to follow, timelines for reporting, and any required notifications to authorities or other parties.

Check that they have policies and strict controls for keeping comprehensive records of each security incident, including details such as the nature of the incident, actions taken in response, any personnel involved, and the outcomes or resolutions. These records serve as evidence of compliance with legal requirements and can be used for analysis, reporting, and potential legal proceedings.

In summary, check that their client agreements are clear and compliant with UK laws, with evidence of data protection procedures. It goes without saying in this heavily regulated and compliant profession, that regular training on laws, procedures and designated compliance oversight are vital for lawful and effective operations.

NB be vigilant for insider threats because high net-worth clients hold extra responsibility, which is why we’d recommend following these tips when protecting these individuals.


Alun is a highly experienced security and defence expert with 30 years’ combined experience in both the British Military and private security sector. With service in both HM Royal Marines Commandos and the British Army, his global operational expertise in a multitude of theatres is far reaching and includes counter terrorism, peace keeping and hybrid warfare.