Policy

STEP contributes to the public policy debate on trust and estate issues through active engagement with policymakers.

STEP works constructively with policymakers to ensure that policy decisions are well informed and made with the public interest at heart.

We participate in a number of stakeholder groups and committees, including: Financial Action Task Force; OECD Business and Industry Advisory Committee; various EU Expert Groups; UK Charity Tax Forum; and the UK High Net Worth Unit External Stakeholder Forum. STEP also engages regularly with policymakers and other stakeholders on an ad hoc basis when important issues related to our members’ work advising families on inheritance and related issues are being considered.

STEP's Public Policy Committee leads the development of public policy initiatives across the Society.

Current issues

Some of the key policy issues STEP is currently involved in are listed below. A comprehensive list of the consultations that STEP has responded to can be found on the Consultation Tracker.

Anti-money laundering regulation

Cross-Border Succession

International tax transparency initiatives

Our positions

We have clearly articulated positions on issues of importance to families: from improving standards in will writing to the development of fair, transparent and consistent tax rules to give families the confidence to make long-term plans. We have outlined our position on key issues below. 

Corruption

  • We deplore corruption and the significant harm it causes
  • We play a vital role in training, educating and supporting our members to uphold high levels of integrity and ethical standards.
  • STEP, alongside a number of other professional bodies, signed an anti-corruption statement in May 2016 – the full statement is available here (PDF 212KB)

Cross-border succession

  • We support the principle of simplifying cross-border inheritance and welcome efforts such as the EU Regulation 650/2012 to achieve this. A number of practical implications must, however, be considered. Watch webinar

Money laundering

  • We support the principle of effective measures to combat money laundering and have worked constructively with national governments and others to develop practical and effective mechanisms to combat money laundering.
  • We believe that the enforcement of rigorous standards on trust and company service providers has a key role to play in combatting money laundering.
  • It is important that measures to combat money laundering respect families’ basic rights to legitimate confidentiality in their financial affairs and ensure that sensitive financial information is not vulnerable to abuse.
  • We are particularly concerned at proposals for publicly accessible registers of beneficial owners of family trusts: many such trusts are created to protect the interests of vulnerable family members who will be at high risk of abuse of information if their financial status is widely available to the public.

Tax

  • We condemn tax evasion and all other forms of criminal activity. We equally condemn those who seek to facilitate tax evasion and criminal activity.
  • We support the right of individuals to arrange their financial affairs to minimise their tax liability within the law. 
  • We advocate simpler tax laws: ‘aggressive’ or ‘abusive’ efforts to minimise or negate taxes usually exploit complexity in tax systems.
  • It is important to ensure that international initiatives to improve tax transparency and combat evasion are proportionate and have strong guarantees that the information exchanged will be secure and used legitimately.
  • STEP members who advise on UK tax matters must adhere to guidance on Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PDF 701KB)

Will-writing regulation

  • We believe everyone should be encouraged to make a will so that their money, property and possessions will pass on as they would wish after their death.
  • Consumers should have confidence that will writers are appropriately trained and professionally competent. In the absence of regulation in this area in many jurisdictions, STEP promotes high professional standards and integrity to our members through our codes of conduct.

    Best Practice & Guidelines

    Guidance and tools developed to assist STEP members

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    Consultation Tracker

    Open and closed public consultations which have been responded to by STEP

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    Professional Standards

    STEP members should abide by the Professional Code of Conduct

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