Panoba Executive Lifestyle Services specialises in education, property, relocation and events services for the discerning overseas executive. The London-based firm works with a network of esteemed partners to offer a five-star British lifestyle management service to its ranks of international customers. Directors Debbie Gispan and Nicky Sakpoba explain to OCA the crucial importance of knowing and understanding their market and why every client is treated as a VIP.
What is Panoba?
Nicky Sakpoba (NS): Panoba is a dedicated lifestyle service for the international executive and his or her family. We offer a professional concierge approach in order that you can focus on your business affairs overseas, while we effectively manage your concerns here in the UK.
Debbie Gispan (DG): Panoba is derived from both our family names as we feel we bring together two types of skill sets and life experiences. We both have extensive experience working in the City and also of relocating, so feel we are well placed to understand the way our clients operate.
NS: Debbie worked in investment banking in London, whereas I studied languages and worked in high end property management. But for the education business, our experience as mothers and navigating the complex school admissions process for our children has provided the best background.
DG: As two British-based professional women we realised there was a gap in the market to help individuals and families who need access to services in the UK including schools, property and healthcare.
Who are your clients?
DG: Busy, busy people!
NS: Indeed, time is always at a premium for our clientele.
DG: Our aim is to help those high-net worth individuals in either setting up or maintaining aspects of their lifestyle here in the UK. It might be a foreign executive who wants to buy a second home in London or someone who would like their children to benefit from a British education.
NS: Some families already have a property here or a child at a UK private school. In that instance they might need assistance to maintain the property or move their child to another school. One couple were keen to move their daughter to a larger school for A Levels. They didn’t feel she was progressing academically and wanted external help. We put a plan together for her to be tutored throughout the holidays and made sure they got the results they wanted.
DG: In another case we had an entrepreneur who wanted to move his business to the UK, which meant relocating the family too. Not only did we advise on immigration and visas but Panoba also helped install the family in a great area with access to top schools.
NS: The system can be complicated for someone who wasn’t raised in Britain or doesn’t currently reside here, which is why we hold our clients’ hands from start to finish. Our service provides access to the best of the British lifestyle, including invaluable insider tips and advice.
How did you decide which areas to specialise in?
DG: Our relationship with many of our clients stems from their need for the educational consultancy service we offer, but that relationship doesn’t need to end as soon as a school place is secured.
NS: Yes, we pride ourselves on following up on the child’s progress and families often retain our services in an academic guardian capacity. This might involve attending parents’ evenings and liaising with staff on the family’s behalf if they cannot attend in person.
DG: In some cases, the interest in our education services can lead to other things too, like the search for a second home in the UK or private health insurance for the family.
How do you measure up to the expectations of parents?
NS: No two families are the same, which is why we treat each case individually. As a result, clients automatically expect a tailor-made service and they are never disappointed. We have an extensive network of top-performing UK schools, which gives parents the widest possible choice when it comes to making the right choice.
DG: Our involvement can be as far-reaching as our clients like, from the initial registration to exam preparation and accompanying children on school visits. Understandably, parents expect and demand the highest levels of discretion and customer service when it comes to their children and we never fail to deliver.
How does your tutoring service work?
NS: There are many times during the education pathway when tutoring might be required. Either before children start school for entrance exams or at times when facing a particular challenge. As with all our services, the tutoring we offer is completely bespoke and tailored to the needs of the individual.
DG: Rest assured that we only work with the best tutors as we know the value of mentoring and inspiring your child. Whatever the child’s needs, Panoba can be trusted to deliver the best organised and well managed plan. We have found tutors abroad for a summer holiday period or someone to support the child in their own home.
NS: We organise the whole package for that to happen. Flights, visas etc, as well as organising sessions via Skype if necessary beforehand to prepare for exams. When selecting tutors for residential placements outside of the UK, we always send the most suitable and able individuals who will approach your family and host country with the utmost respect.
DG: And, on a separate note, if either you, your partner or your children need a little help with your English, we can also arrange for private language tutoring when you arrive or before you touch down in the UK.
Where would you recommend setting up home in Britain?
NS: There is no question that as a global city, London is by far the most desirable and popular location for international visitors. But where to settle depends on individual tastes and requirements. Central areas like St John’s Wood, Chelsea and Kensington are always popular, though we have noticed a shift towards leafier parts of north-west London and Home Counties like Surrey and Hampshire, which are within an easy drive of the capital.
DP: We save our clients a lot of time and effort with our property consultancy, which takes in their needs and preferences. Once we have a shortlist of desirable locations, clients then often arrange a short visit for viewings – or entrust their choice to our expert advisors.
How important is the Central Asian market?
DG: We recognise Central Asia as a strong growth market and that relationships are flourishing between the UK and countries in the region. As such, a growing number of highly influential people now have interests in the UK.
NS: We have strong connections with the representatives of London’s Central Asian community. They want to know where the best areas are to live and, like all our clients, how to make the most of their time in Britain for themselves and their families.
DG: As Britain prepares for a new future and plans to open up its relationships it’s vital that we forge solid reliable relationships in growth areas such as Central Asia.
NS: That integration is valuable for both adults and children. British education is still seen as a world class leader and schools are keen to recruit families from growth economies to extend all that they have to offer.
Why choose Panoba?
DG: Our motto is ‘wisdom is wealth’ and this is what we hope to convey to our highly valued customers. With the help of our extensive expertise in high end lifestyle management, you and your family will have more time to focus on enjoying and making a success of your time here in Britain.
NS: Arriving in any new country can be overwhelming and disorientating, but Panoba promises the smoothest and most pleasant of traditions into British society. No two clients are the same. For us the most important thing is to provide a high-quality personal service tailored to their needs. We pride ourselves in developing relationships to make sure we accommodate every need of our clients. A bespoke tailored service to each person’s needs and not a one size fits all model.