Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2012)|
STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) was founded by George Tasker in 1991 and is the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning. STEP has 18,000 members across 80 jurisdictions from a broad range of professional backgrounds, including lawyers, accountants, trust specialists and other practitioners in this area. STEP members help families plan for their futures, specialising in a wide range of activities, from drafting a relatively simple will to more complex issues surrounding international families, protection of the vulnerable, family businesses and philanthropic giving.
STEP’s primary focus is on professional development for practitioners in the fields of family inheritance and succession. STEP offers a number of formal qualifications ranging from entry-level programmes to advanced certificates and diplomas. These formal qualifications are supplemented by resources designed to provide continuing professional development and forums for knowledge sharing.
All STEP members are subject to an extensive Code of Professional Conduct, requiring members at all times to act with integrity and in a manner that inspires the confidence, respect and trust of clients and the wider community. STEP members are also required to keep up to date with the latest legal, technical and regulatory developments. Full members of STEP are recognised by the TEP designation.
STEP members spend their professional lives working with families and tackling real problems. Common issues for members to advise on are: providing for a husband or wife after the death of a spouse while protecting the interests of any children; ensuring that a family business will pass safely from one generation to another; care and support for elderly or vulnerable relatives; ensuring that families with interests and family members spread across differing countries are compliant with the laws and tax rules of different jurisdictions; and helping donors support philanthropic causes in an effective way.
STEP takes a leading role in communicating the practical viewpoint and expertise of members to governments, tax authorities, regulators and the public around the world. STEP helps governments and regulatory authorities examine the likely impact of any proposed changes by responding to consultations and providing technical advice and support where appropriate.
All STEP members belong to a branch or chapter that provides professional development and opportunities to network with peers at a local level. There are currently over 100 branches and chapters across the world.
The current Chairman of STEP is Helene Anne Lewis, a BVI-based practitioner elected in November 2012. The President of STEP worldwide is Geoffrey Shindler OBE, who was appointed in November 2006. He is a UK qualified solicitor and one of the founder members of the organisation.
The professional staff include CEO David Harvey, Deputy CEO George Hodgson, CFO Jim Walkinshaw, COO Elaine Crehan and Directors Michael Evans, Amanda Callow and Nigel Race.
The 19 founder members of STEP, i.e. those who signed its memorandum of association in 1991 were: Timothy Bennett; Richard Citron; Owen Clutton; Jonathan Cooke; Andrew East; Anthony Holmes; Simon Jennings; James Kessler QC; Thomas Mallett; Ralph Ray; Tony Sherring; Geoffrey Shindler OBE; George Tasker; Arthur Thompson; Nigel Trumper; Timothy Vollans; David Ward; Robert Whillis; George Williams.
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