STEP Private Client Awards – The Results…..

 In Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, STEP

The STEP Private Client Awards showcased the resurgence of the Private Client industry on the evening of the 13th September. Whereas 20 years ago it was the Cinderella of the legal, accounting, and banking worlds times have changed.

“With trillions set to pass between generations by 2040 the Private Client industry is booming. With such a large amount of money in private hands there is a need for good stewardship of assets. STEP is committed to providing high standards in the industry and these awards reflect the fact that standards are rising along with the size of the funds involved,” said STEP Chief Executive David Harvey.

Chair of the Judges Andrew Young said: “Tonight is not only about the winners but all those shortlisted. The judging process was tough and we shortlisted none but the best.”

The winners were as follows:

Institutional Trust Company Team of the Year
Institutional Trust Company of the Year sponsored by Cheviot Asset Management was won by Investec Trust.

The Judges said when awarding the prize to Investec Trust: “Investec Trust are a formidable business – perfectly balancing shareholder interests with client service. They demonstrate a high level of commitment to training and employing people of the highest calibre who intimately understand private client work.”

Independent Trust Company Team of the Year
Independent Trust Company of the Year, sponsored by Guernsey Finance, was won by Close Trustees.

“Close Trustees are committed to the highest levels of qualification and training which have led to excellent client service. Their contribution to the industry and initiatives in the field of Family Office management will ensure the entire industry will have a future pool of bright talent to build on their high standards,” commented the Judges.

Charity Team of the Year
The Charity Team of the Year, sponsored by Towry Law, is Stone King.

In their final comments the Judges said: “Stone King place charity work at the centre of their practice and having concluded the apparently seamless integration of two highly renowned charity teams they deserve top marks for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Private Banking Team of the Year
The Private Banking Team of the Year, sponsored by Ernst & Young, is JP Morgan.

The Judges focused on the winner’s innovative programmes to address client needs: “JP Morgan focus on the importance of educating their clients and as well as their internal staff. Trusts, wealth planning, sophisticated asset management are all examples of areas where families have needs, but don’t necessarily know how they can best be addressed. Through their ‘Guiding the next Generation’ training programme, JP Morgan addresses those client needs.”

Investment Team of the Year
The Investment Team of the Year, sponsored by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, is Fleming Family and Partners.

The judges found Fleming Family & Partners to have a culture of innovation pervading the business in a field that was generally impressive. New concepts include an “Independent Point of Contact” who oversees the client relationship in addition to the Client Director and Fund Manager showed great integrity and professionalism.

Barrister of the Year

The Barrister of the Year, sponsored by Thomas Eggar, is Brian Green QC.

The Judges said: “A genuine heavyweight among trust Counsel, our winner is much respected both by his peers and by trust practitioners. He is equally at home as an adviser and an advocate and in both the onshore and offshore jurisdictions. Not at all pompous – to the contrary, he is disarmingly approachable.”

Accountancy Team of the Year
The Accountancy Team of the Year, sponsored by Citi Private Bank, is BDO Stoy Hayward.

The Judges commented: “All three of those shortlisted are the highest quality operators in their field and have the vision, breadth and depth to react to client needs. BDO beat off stiff competition to win. They pipped the others with a welcome focus on staff’s work/life balance and encouraging their training and development on a continual basis. “

Channel Isles and Isle of Man Private Client Team of the Year
The Channel Isles and Isle of Man Private Client Team of the Year is Carey Olson.

“Carey Olson have an excellent reputation for keeping their clients at the forefront of their minds, particularly by seeking their feedback on how they have performed. This way their excellent team, who helped redraft the new Guernsey Trust Law, has gained the trust of clients and enhanced their business,” said the Judges.

Caribbean Private Client Team of the Year

The Caribbean Private Client Team of the Year, sponsored by BVI Finance, are Appleby.

“Appleby are a firm of committed private client lawyers who have contributed to the development of trust practice in each of those jurisdictions where they are represented. Their staff are especially commended for their sensitive and helpful approach to the demands of trust litigation and constructive advisory work,” said the Judges.

North American Private Client Team of the Year

The North American Private Client Team of the Year is Cantor & Webb

“Cantor & Webb has a team which has a vast knowledge of estate planning structures in jurisdictions such as Mexico, Venezuela and the United Kingdom, are invaluable to private clients who seek financial security for their families. Their dedication to those clients and the industry make them this year’s winner,” said the Judges.

Private Client Book of the Year
The Private Client Book of the Year is Underhill and Hayton’s Law of Trusts and Trustees.

The Judges were emphatic in their decision: “The winning book has made the most significant contribution to private client law in the last year. The editors have substantially reworked significant parts of the book with original and learned thought to absorb legal developments and case law from around the world. This is a respected trusts tome upon which any private client practitoner can turn to with confidence for the answer.”

Best Government Initiative of the Year

The Best Government Initiative of the Year is the Family Office Initiative from the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The Judges said: “This initiative will better manage the financial planning and succession issues of large family-owned enterprises in the United Arab Emirates and the region. The judges believe this initiative is the one to watch as our winners create an attractive environment for families from across the globe who wish to oversee their cross-border affairs from a central family office. The Family Office will play a crucial role in the coming years.”

UK and Ireland Regional Legal Team of the Year

The UK and Ireland Regional Legal Team of the Year, sponsored by Close Wealth Management Group, are Turcan Connell.

The Judges said: “Turcan Connell are in the forefront of the new wave of regional private client firms which have thrown off the fusty image. Their innovation in developing a multi disciplinary approach and private office specialism has seen them deliver the highest quality advice which is totally client driven.”

London Legal Team of the Year
The London Legal Team of the Year, sponsored by GAM, are Allen & Overy.

“A&O have a range of skills and experience which enables the team to service the needs of clients which go beyond traditional private client work. Their offshore and mortgage securitization work displayed considerable innovation and the contribution made by the team increases trust knowledge around the industry.”

Contentious Trust and Estates Team of the Year
The Contentious Trust and Estate Team of the Year, sponsored by Carey Olson, are Withers LLP.

“The team at Withers has worked on a variety of complex projects over the last year where the firm has been at the forefront of difficult and developing areas of law, particularly in relation to divorce. Their work is meticulous and their persistence and innovation is rewarded in the courtroom,” said the Judges.

STEP Outstanding Achievement Awards

The STEP Outstanding Achievement Awards, sponsored by AP Group, have been won by no less than six different people. The winners are Toby Graham, Martyn Frost, Clive Cutbill, Wilson Cotton and Michael Furness QC, for their work on the 3rd EU Money Laundering Directive, and Richard Williams for his work on the Transfer of Trustees

Our first winner is the General Editor of the new STEP Guide to the Transfer of Trusteeships, Richard Williams. “Richard worked tirelessly to produce a book which offers a solution to the difficulties that arise on the transfer of trusteeships, particularly in respect of the negotiation of indemnities, and puts forward a suggested approach for STEP members and other advisers,” commented the Judges.

“Our second joint award goes to no less than five individuals who have, through their dedicated work with STEP’s lobbying team, been able to work with HM Treasury to mitigate the problems with Money Laundering due diligence checks as they apply to trusts and trustees. Toby Graham, Martyn Frost, Clive Cutbill, Wilson Cotton and Michael Furness QC are owed a considerable debt by the industry,” said the Judges.

STEP Lifetime Achievement Award
The second Judges’ award is the lifetime achievement Award, sponsored by Credit Suisse, and this goes to two very senior members of the profession who have retired this year – Julian Clyde-Smith and Ralph Ray.

The Judges were:

Andrew Young (Chair)
Russell Bussey
Rosemary Marr
Steve Meiklejohn, Ogier
Chris Whitehouse
John Conder, Macfarlanes
Matthew Hansel, Mills & Reeve
Andrew Miller, Walkers
Matthew O’Keefe, Ansbacher
Charles Smyth-Osbourne, GAM
Simon Weil, Bircham Dyson Bell
James Sykes, Saffery Champness

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