An Interview with Founder's Award Winner Roland Jones

Roland Jones, 24/11/2014

Roland Jones TEP, Senior Wealth Manager and Head of Corporate Management Services at RBC Wealth Management in Barbados.

Interview with Roland Jones TEP, Regional Chair, STEP Caribbean and LATAM Regional Committee.

How have you been involved with STEP?

I took a very active role in STEP early on as Program Director with the Barbados branch and as an alternate on the Caribbean Conference Steering Committee. I was then elected to Chair of the Barbados branch in 2008 where I served for three years. I was also elected to serve as Chair of the Caribbean and LATAM Regional Committee where I continue to serve.  I am also a member of the STEP Caribbean Conference Steering Committee and Member of STEP Finance Committee.

Why did you get involved with STEP?

I was first attracted to STEP specifically for my qualifications as a trust and estate practitioner. At the time, I was the Barbados Branch manager for CIBC Private Wealth Management Group. I was already a chartered banker and accountant but felt that STEP afforded me the specialisation I needed. In my role as Corporate Trustee for Pension Plans and Private Trustee I was heavily involved in a number of trusts for ultra-high-net-worth families. The role also included the management of Barbados companies for international clients (directorships, corporate administration and accounting). As I continued my studies, I recognised that STEP was not only an excellent source for professional development but also a huge network with a highly diverse group of professionals sitting in various capacities across industries including trust and estate planning and management for high-net-worth individuals and families. These families have to deal with various issues including estate planning, asset protection and cross-border transactions and other complex matters. Through STEP, I recognised the opportunity to shape industries, educate members and other parties including governments, regulators and various actors in the industry and meet and link with like-minded colleagues.

What benefits have you derived from your involvement with STEP?

I have developed both personally and professionally in STEP through various relationships with colleagues locally, regionally and internationally. Whether it is to discuss a complex issue or to seek advice on the most appropriate professional in any jurisdiction, I have found the STEP network invaluable. On a personal level, the access one has to senior members in the industry is unlike any I have experienced in an organisation.

How do you feel about winning a Founder’s Award?

STEP has been an extremely rewarding experience for me both personally and professionally and I felt great pleasure being recognised with such a distinction. I have greatly enjoyed being a part of STEP’s annual Caribbean Conference and helping to mold and develop STEP’s Regional Committee as an important partner in the strengthening and development of the financial services industry in the Caribbean and Latin America.

As we grow as a region, it is my hope that we recognise our projections for quality and growth and continue to see STEP’s diverse membership be a part of key industry decisions and discussions. I look forward to continuing to play a substantial role in STEP with my peers to contribute shaping the direction of STEP and the related professional industries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

What advice would you give to other members who are considering getting more involved with STEP?

Get involved! This is the ultimate way to play an important role in shaping the industry. As we face a multitude of challenges in the industry, don’t just sit on the sidelines waiting for events to play out. Take control and make a mark on how the industry shifts and develops. As our society continues to age, trust and estate planning and management will become even more critical as patriarchs and families seek to determine succession of their wealth. Whether it is to beneficiaries of the family, charities, philanthropy or their particular interests and passions, there continues to be a need for practitioners in the field. The sustainability and development of this need is of paramount importance to the future generation.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your branch/region at the moment?

A number of challenges face the financial services industry in the region. Both the LATAM and Caribbean regions are struggling with contracting economies, particularly those dependent on tourism. The international financial services industry continues to face challenges, especially related to regulatory costs, as countries deal with FATCA and other initiatives from the UK and EU member states. Adverse political and media efforts that spout mostly about corporates and high-net-worth families not paying their fair share of taxes are also a challenge. Issues affecting the branches and chapters include succession planning, quality growth and ensuring that our members stay active, keep current and pursue professional development opportunities to stay ahead of the curve as clients become more sophisticated and their needs more complex.

How will you deal with these challenges?

The Caribbean and LATAM regions continue to deal with these challenges through a number of initiatives including education, and by enhancing both the public and industry players’ already robust regulatory framework as a preventative method against money laundering and tax evasion. The signing of double-taxation treaties and TIEAs are additional initiatives which assist with the global format of transparency while still protecting and respecting the basic human right of confidentiality.

  • Education – educating the public, the media and other external parties of its importance and necessity in global finance including the facilitation of international cross-border transactions, cross-border trade through the international movement of money, the centralisation of liquidity with common legal frameworks to encourage investment into developing markets and business.
  • Participation in discussions with global actors – STEP continues to assist in this regard and we, the Caribbean and LATAM, need to play a bigger role in public policy decisions so that we sit at the table when decisions are being made that may impact our various industries.

Roland Jones, AICB, CGA, TEP, Senior Wealth Manager with RBC Wealth Management. Roland has more than 21 years experience in the areas of banking, trusts, custody, wealth management and international financial services. He is a past Chair of the Barbados Branch of STEP and the current Chair of the STEP Caribbean and LATAM Regional Committee.