HNWI Security: A Guide for Personal Assistants
High-net-worth individuals and families have increasingly come under public scrutiny due to the worsening economic and social landscape worldwide. In fact, there are political activists and non-state actors who perceive the rich and prominent as a threat to the very fabric of society. To lessen the anxieties of high-net-worth individuals, many protection companies now offer HNWI security.
But how does protecting high-profile persons differ from safeguarding the lives and assets of other distinguished people?
Truth be told, it overlaps in many regards. For instance, a blend of physical and technological resources must be available to provide a safe and secure environment. Furthermore, it involves things like screening household personnel, chauffeurs, and others entering and exiting the principal's gated estates, to mention a few.
In contrast to the hype surrounding protective services, a few studies suggest that the world as it is today is far safer than it ever was previously in human history. And we don't dispute that, as violent crime and homicides are at an all-time low.
However, that's not to say that threats don't exist and that human society has successfully eliminated every potential for escalation of violence — whether socially widespread or isolated incidents. If it were so, there wouldn't be any need for HNWI security or executive protection.
On that note, we have all witnessed numerous incidents when CEOs, board members, and otherwise wealthy individuals have come under attack by protesters and threat actors of various kinds. Such attacks and intrusions attest to the need for HNWI security 24/7.
In other words, protectees require security professionals by their side who can impose stringent measures to scan the environment for threats all day long!
But how do you manage violence in a landscape where malicious actors have virtually endless resources to surveil and harm their victims?
For starters, self-defense is not the best way to manage violence. In fact, that would be like saying that people working in fire management merely manage fires with hoses. But that isn't entirely true.
No one wants to wait for a fire to break out and then try to minimize its consequences. Wouldn't it be easier to put measures in place to almost completely eliminate the possibility for the fire to erupt in the first place?
So too with any kind of violence that can impact HNWIs. To rephrase it, the protection team must investigate how to prevent violence against high-net-worth individuals, their assets, and their property.
With that said, responding to violence is critical if a violent act is perpetrated. Yet, such an outcome suggests that the security team has likely made mistakes in the planning or operationally, like:
- Failing to secure the white space for the principal while they enter or exit the vehicle.
- Inability to conduct a site advance prior to the protectee's arrival.
- Any other instance of unprofessionalism that can lead to dire consequences, like injury, reputational damage, embarrassment, or worse.
Therefore, preventing violence yields many more results than anticipating the next attack. Or simply put, HNWI security of the 21st century means predicting eventualities and defusing them before they materialize.
But how do you know which ones you can inhibit and which are inevitable?
Types of Violence That Inhibit HNWI Security
Not all violence is equal in terms of how we can predict it. For example, social violence — like rioting, protests, or star-crazed fans — is relatively easy to see coming and prevent from impacting the principal.
However, predatory violence, including stalkers and criminal gangs, is far more difficult to control. The reason is that the attackers, in this case, do it because they want to target the HNWI for various reasons.
Thus, chances are the protective staff will not be able to de-escalate the situation with mere words. Hence, it is up to the security team to ensure the principal doesn't become a soft target.
When we say soft target, we mean lacking the appropriate layers of security that help mitigate potential risks. Speaking of which, some of the most prominent risks include individuals with grievances, criminal intents, or both.
Therefore, we recommend taking steps to vastly reduce the likelihood of becoming a soft target. Some of the measures to do that are as follows:
- Don't assume that bad things only happen to others,
- Stop oversharing on social media,
- Try to make your routine as unpredictable as possible, and
- Hire an executive protection team to advise you on HNWI security.
Certainly, each region and country calls for a separate threat, vulnerability, and risk assessment (TVRA) as some places are more prone to unexpected gatherings in public. In contrast, others have armed gangs on motorcycles cruising the streets.
To that effect, countries like Indonesia and Japan don't allow foreigners — and sometimes locals — to carry firearms. In fact, the latter is even strict regarding physical self-defense.
Consequently, a security team traveling there must rely on its de-escalation and communication skills to defuse a situation rather than on its sheer physical strength or firearms.
So far, we have discussed how HNWI security needs to be an integral part of the lives of the wealthy and prominent.
However, most equate "security" with "force." For instance, forcefully removing somebody who tries to intrude in the private space of the principal. Yet, this view is largely out of place in the context of executive protection, as proficient EP teams use sheer force only as a last resort.
As a matter of fact, they will seldom be forced to use physical strength to overpower an attacker. The reason? Of course, they will have set up multiple layers of protection and protective measures to discourage any attack or intrusion. Things like:
- Access control points,
- CCTV cameras,
- Countersurveillance teams, and others.
Most importantly, if the executive protection team solely relies on its ability to use self-defense techniques or firearms, they and their protectees will find themselves in great trouble.
Indeed, we don't dispute that reacting to an incident may require the use of either of the two or both. Nonetheless, such behavior implies drawing attention away from the principal to incapacitate the attacker. And again, we advise against leaving protectees alone in these scenarios.
Ultimately, the solution is in preventing and deterring attackers. If they get an opportunity to strike, it will most likely be too late.
Bedrock Special Projects provides peace of mind by implementing HNWI security measures to benefit prominent individuals, their families, and corporations. The Art of Executive Protection – Delivered with Elegance by Design.
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