Earnings, Personal finances and Commerse | Financial site

Aristocracy aside, India Hicks has designs on business


India Hicks - goddaughter to the Prince of Wales, granddaughter of Britain’s last viceroy in India and bridesmaid of the late Princess Diana - may have been born into aristocracy, but she has not rested on her laurels. Hicks, whose late father was celebrated interior designer David Hicks, lives in the Bahamas with her partner and five children, and has written three books on island life and style. In 2015, she started a self-branded direct sales lifestyle company that sells bags, home accessories and beauty items inspired by British culture and island life. Whether it is running a business, writing books or raising her children (ages 9 to 19), Hicks, 49, has learned several lessons learned along the way. Recently, she talked to Reuters about them. Q: You have such an unusual family background - what early lessons on money did you learn at home?A: My father had a very powerful quote: “Good taste and design are by no means dependent on money.” Now living in a world filled with creative entrepreneurial people, from all walks of life, this really resonates with me, although not at the time when he wrote it in my little autograph book. I was 8 years old and utterly confused. Q: What kept your feet on the ground as a child?

A: As a child I lived on a large estate with exotic pets such as golden pheasants and strutting peacocks, and we may have holidayed in the South of France and the Bahamas, but I only ever wore hand-me-down clothes (including my brother’s scratchy underpants). If I wanted something new, I always had to wait until a birthday or Christmas, and even then it would be something very understated. My mother grew up during the war and had lived through some very frugal years. Q: What was your first job? A: When my parents sold the family home along with most of the valuable contents I was around 11 years old. Sotheby’s handled the sale and the public came through our house to see the collection and bid on items. I was allowed to sell my toys and dolls during the three-day sale. Does this count as a first job? It certainly gave me a taste for commerce. I began modeling seriously when I was 19 and have earned my own income ever since.

Q: What has your career in modeling as well as business taught you about wealth and money?A: I have learned to be very cautious and to take nothing for granted. Having worked in the modeling industry for so many years, I have seen countless models become very successful, make an awful lot of money and lose it very quickly because they had no idea how to invest, how to be cautious and how to be clever with their fortune. I have learned to take advice from people all the time, from people you respect. There is no harm in asking questions; there is no harm in admitting that you don’t know certain things. Q: How do you give back?

A: I had extraordinary grandparents who believed that we should take nothing for granted and that we must always be responsible, grateful and give back as much as we can. Wesley, my foster son, from the Bahamas, is one of the greatest blessings of my life, and because of him we are reminded of what we have every day and feel grateful every day. As a family, we tend to focus on the island and give back to island causes and local communities. Q: What life lessons do you try to pass down to your own kids?A: I try to set an example for my children by working hard at something that I believe in. I try to show them that rewards come from staying the course and being committed. When I travel to an event I try to bring one of my kids with me, so they can see the real work and effort that goes into creating something substantial, successful and rewarding.

Exclusive Shell and Anadarko mull clean break from Permian venture exec...


Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa. L) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC. N) may let a 10-year joint venture in the oil-rich Permian Basin of Texas expire and split their properties, hoping to speed up development, according to a senior Shell executive. The divorce and re-parceling of acreage would let each company drill and develop new wells at its own pace in the Permian, which has become the U.S. oil industry's hottest development area for its low operating costs as crude prices CLc1 hover under $50 per barrel. Shell and Anadarko have been discussing how to proceed after the partnership agreement expires this summer and are not likely to renew it, Greg Guidry, who oversees the Anglo-Dutch group's shale business, told Reuters. The talks come as Shell hopes to boost its North American shale output by 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the next three years, a goal that relies largely on the Permian, the largest oilfield in the United States. Talks have involved scenarios where acreage would be divvied up, allowing each company to individually develop the fields, he said. Under one proposal, "we could have ideally two 100 percent owned and operated parcels," Guidry said."That would be a split that will allow us to manage the flexibilities in terms of capital pace, separate of Anadarko," he said in an interview this month. A Shell spokesman said late last week that negotiations continue between both sides.

The agreement was first signed in 2007 between Anadarko and Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK. N). Shell bought Chesapeake's Permian holdings in 2012 and inherited the joint venture. If the two sides were to do nothing, Anadarko would become the operator of the more than 350,000 acres (142,000 hectares) in the Delaware portion of the Permian, with a roughly 60 percent interest. A breakup would give Shell an opportunity to prove it can grow on its own in the largest American shale oil field. Terms of the joint venture are not outlined in regulatory filings for either company, fuelling confusion among investors about what could come after the deal expires. Anadarko Chief Executive Al Walker said earlier this month that he preferred an arrangement that would give his company majority control over the land once the joint venture expires.

"We and Shell, I think, have an extremely attractive position in the (Permian)," he told investors on a conference call. "We think the economics are certainly compelling for us to be operator going forward." An Anadarko spokesman declined to comment beyond Walker's remarks. The joint venture, where costs and profits are split equally, has benefited Shell more than Anadarko given that the latter has far more experience in horizontal well development so crucial to Permian operations, analysts at Bernstein said last month. A clean split could be logistically challenging with acreage arrayed in a checkerboard pattern, the way drilling properties are organized in West Texas. Moving a rig or other equipment between such parcels would become more laborious in such a scenario.

"It would be unusual if either party would view that as an optimal solution because that's an inefficient way to develop those assets," said Ben Shattuck, an oil industry analyst with consultancy Wood Mackenzie. PERMIAN RED-HOT The Permian has seen a flurry of deals in recent months despite a wobbly recovery in global oil prices as shale producers in the region have been able to increase output and slash production costs, outpacing any other onshore U.S. basin and many deepwater oil fields around the world. The Anglo-Dutch company is accelerating its North American shale output faster than planned to lock in quick returns from what has become one of its most profitable businesses, Guidry said in an interview earlier this month. "The strategic fit of the Permian in the Shell portfolio will be different from a the strategic fit of the Permian in a pure upstream player."Anadarko also has been moving staff to West Texas to develop its holdings. The company sold assets elsewhere in its portfolio and, after deals close, is expected to have more than $6 billion in cash that analysts expect it to primarily use on Permian expansion projects.