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Do people worth hundreds of millions of dollars (and more) order taxis?
They could, but they’re more likely to use a “driver security service” — like Nathan Foy’s, called fortis. He is the author of ‘What Rich Clients Want (But Don’t Tell))’ and knows a thing or two about how the super-rich like to get from A to B.
His job is to get them to B without being kidnapped or robbed – and his company uses a variety of high profile special-ops-style techniques to ensure their safety, including decoys, armored vehicles and enlisting military veterans. .
Nathan Foy, author of What Rich Clients Want (But Won’t Tell You), and founder of Fortis, which controls high net worth individuals
He explained to MailOnline Travel that the ‘bread and butter’ of what Fortis does is ‘cars with chauffeurs and security… for customers worth $600 million (£492 million) or more and who own a or more private jets’.
“The most discerning travelers in the world,” he added.
And it can transport customers all over the world.
He explained that while Fortis is headquartered in South Carolina (with an office opening in Nevada in September), Fortis also has offices in Hong Kong and India – ‘about 25,000 trips a year and about 1,000 cities’.
The goal, Foy said, is not to “fire back,” but to “protect and evacuate.” And one of the main tactical means that Fortis uses to do this is the ‘chase car’, which can be a straight decoy – to confuse potential villains – or, for convenience, can be a second driver to run errands and the like. Foy said, “If your partner left something at the hotel or someone has to go get something, it literally ruins your day.”
It is also a token of strength.
Foy said criminals tend to mess with a convoy less because it “isn’t as easy to target.”
He continued: “The chase car is especially useful in Mexico and countries in Central and South America.
The Fortis headquarters in South Carolina. One of the main tactical means that Fortis deploys is the “chase car”, which could act as a decoy car to confuse potential kidnappers
Foy reveals insights into the world of the rich in his book
‘We had one director’ [client]who was trying to get from rural Mexico to the Mexico City airport and he wanted to arrive at six in the morning in a Mercedes S-Class.
“We told him, and this is a person who has a huge security detail in New York, where he’s based, we said, ‘You’re a target for drug lords if you try to move at 2 or 3 a.m. with an S. “Class in rural Mexico. Can you go during the day or fly later in the morning?” And he said, “No, no, this is what I want to do.” So we said the only option is a chase car.
“Everything went fine and he got out the way he wanted out.”
Fortis also deploys chase cars that mirror the movements of a superyacht from the shore.
Foy said, “So if the director decides he or she wants to go shopping, or if there’s a medical need or whatever, there’s a quick way to get into a vehicle with a tender or a helicopter.”
The special forces guys in certain places are really good. If you go to Honduras you need those guys
Nathan Foy, founder of Fortis
And what kind of people does Foy employ – are they all ex-special forces?
Foy explains: “We have a lot of veterans, but the majority are people who are really good at service and interested in hospitality. I’d rather have someone with a passion for service – the raw material we can shape. The specialists often no longer see the wood for the trees.
“The special forces men in certain places are really good. When you go to Honduras, you need those guys, but usually they are so attuned to high threat environments… if you put them in Oklahoma, for example, they get bored. It’s like putting a tiger in a cage.”
Fortis also provides a way to communicate securely, explaining that customers attending the 2018 World Cup in Russia were given “burner phones” because “there is no data security in Russia.”
These devices, Foy revealed, were equipped with an add-on called “Beartooth.” This turned the phones into a walkie-talkie so that customers could communicate with the driver and the people they were traveling with in the event of signal loss caused by thousands of people uploading photos in the stadium, and so on.
Fancy a ride with Fortis? “It’s a lot,” Foy revealed, starting at around $500 (£410) for a transfer in an SUV or S-Class.
That’s a little more than fortis used to charge when Foy founded it in the year 2000 as a prepaid taxi service for students on the East Coast of America.
“We’ve refined it into a high-end service over 22 years,” adds Foy. Now it is a company specializing in ‘travel security’ that resembles an Italian tailor-made suit, but lined with Kevlar.