Josephine Rocca is a director of Sovereign Corporate & Trustee Services in the UK. The company is based in a new business centre in the heart of the historic Roman town of Chester. Born and raised in England’s south east, her Sovereign Story also takes her to Gibraltar (twice) and Guernsey. And what is her connection to the Eurovision Song Contest? Read on…
Known as Jo, she prefers to use her full name on “formal” occasions such as a Sovereign Story. She met her future (now late) husband in 1989. After five years together, she moved with him to his native Gibraltar.
Once settled on the Rock, Josephine worked briefly for a couple of firms in the financial sector, including a corporate services provider. Her first directorship role came in 2003 when one of Sovereign’s competitors appointed her to this regulated position.
After five years, Josephine decided to broaden her knowledge and experience by moving to another firm. When the opportunity to join Sovereign arose, she jumped at the chance. Appointed Client Services Manager, Josephine was to develop the role for the next four years. She remembers particularly the exposure to Sovereign’s impressive trust portfolio and range of international companies in numerous jurisdictions worldwide.
By no means someone to rest on her laurels, Josephine embarked on distance learning studies for a law degree from the University of London. Graduating in 2011 with an LL.B. (Hons) she is grateful to this day for Sovereign’s invaluable support as she obtained a qualifying law degree.
By this time, Sovereign had become prominent in the pensions sector – specialising at the time in Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). Guernsey was an early leader in the field and in 2012, Josephine moved to the island as Director. As she says, this was her first “foray” into the pensions business. Following a successful two and half year stint in the Channel Islands, she moved back to Gibraltar to take up a new role as Operations Director at Sovereign’s rapidly expanding pension services business on the Rock.
Three years later, Josephine took on perhaps her most challenging role yet – as Operations Director at Sovereign Pension Services (UK) Limited based in the Wirral. Closely regulated, and again dealing with a rapidly expanding business, she relished the challenge and decided to settle permanently in Chester.
After four years, Josephine moved into the position she still holds, that of Director at Sovereign’s UK corporate services business. Thus, she has returned to traditional trust and company work.
One of her first roles was to provide on-going support to the Malta operation. She managed to do this remotely without the need to transfer physically to the island. As she readily admits, since the pandemic, this is common but at the time, it was considered unusual. She recalls her visits to Malta every other month with great affection highlighting friendships made on that historic Mediterranean island.
Stuart Stobie built the UK’s corporate services business from scratch, and Josephine joined as director mainly involved in customer service. For her, there is no such thing as a typical day. The business provides Registered Offices for Sovereign’s UK company clients and on occasion UK directorship services, which are carefully managed and controlled.
As head of Operations, Josephine ensures that processes are developed and updated as required. She ensures that Sovereign and its clients are fully compliant and that the company follows Group policy.
A recent example of Sovereign’s ability to act nimbly was its work relating to the Registration of Overseas Entities. It is now obligatory for non-UK holding structures that own UK property to register the fact. Sovereign applied successfully to Companies House for Assured Agent status. Supervised by HMRC, Sovereign must comply with Anti-Money Laundering procedures. The office ran a campaign promoting this service to both clients and other businesses without a previous link to the group. Josephine is pleased that this has resulted in some useful cross referral work.
Josephine is delighted to have settled permanently in Chester and is becoming, she says with a grin, somewhat expert in both household DIY and gardening. She is also keen on good health and to help her keep fit, she visits the gym three times a week.
Josephine’s daughter Louisa lives in London and the pair get to meet up as often as respective work schedules allow. We asked about Louisa’s job, wondering whether she had followed her mother into finance. Hardly. It turns out that Louisa is a freelance lighting designer. Recently she secured the contract for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest that will be staged just ten miles away at the Liverpool Arena on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine. The contract is for the Contest’s main stage lighting and means of course that recently engaged Louisa would spend quite a bit of time in the run up to the Contest in and around Chester.
It was great pleasure meeting Josephine and thank you for your time. It is great to see you settled in your new base in Chester and best wishes for the future. Oh, and enjoy the Contest!