60 Second Interviews

  • Alexandre von Heeren

    What does your firm do?
    Mandaris offer Tax and Legal advice, accounting services, trust and company administration as well as financing and fund solutions.

    What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?
    STEP is the only body providing specific professional education in the area of trusts and estate planning. The courses offered by STEP are therefore a key element for the education and continued development of our employees.

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  • Mark John Barmes

    What does your firm do?
    Lenz & Staehelin is a full service law firm advising international and Swiss clients in Switzerland.

    What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?
    STEP has been a marvellous development for private clients and practitioners alike.  It provides a forum where practitioners can meet and exchange know-how, it provides training and it disseminates knowledge and acts as an industry representative in all the key projects and challenges facing clients and practitioners.

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  • Francois Collon

    What does your firm do?
    Tax consultancy and tax litigation.

    What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?
    STEP is a link between private client practitioners, a unique opportunity to meet people and share ideas and thoughts.

    What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners in and around Switzerland at the moment?
    The biggest challenges are tax transparency and exchange of information between tax authorities.

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  • David Harvey

    What is your background, when did you start working at STEP?

    I am a chartered accountant who was also a public affairs practitioner, lobbying for the world’s largest accountancy body: focusing on small and family business issues and corporate governance, as well as being one of the two main media spokesmen. One day I woke up and found I wanted to run something rather than only speak about it and so on 1 March 2001 I became Chief Executive of STEP.

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  • Richard Howarth

    What does your firm do?

    We provide help and advice to HNW individuals principally, but not exclusively, from Africa.

    What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?

    I see STEP as a professional body striving to maintain high standards within its industry. As such, I would always wish to use a STEP member when seeking solutions for my clients.

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  • Guy Katz

    Why did you join STEP?

    Most of my work is connected with the taxation of trusts and private clients. My membership of STEP helps to keep me updated and meet relevant professionals from other jurisdictions.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

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  • George Hodgson

    What is your background, when did you start working at STEP?

    After over 20 years in investment banking, I moved into public policy work when I joined the staff of the Treasury Committee at the UK House of Commons. From there I came to STEP just over three years ago via a stint doing a similar job for the UK’s main insurance trade body.

    In your view what does STEP membership offer to professionals.

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  • Nick Dunnell

    You will be speaking at the STEP Ninth International Estate Planning Institute in March. What have you chosen as a topic and what are the key issues in this area?

    My topic relates to issues affecting US citizens when buying residential property in the UK. This is particularly topical, given the radical changes due to come into effect in April that will affect certain structures holding high-value residential property.

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

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  • Warren Luyt

    Why did you join STEP?

    I joined STEP to have a better insight into the fiduciary industry by learning from others who had greater experience than me.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

    STEP Arabia arranges interaction between members in the region. Monthly CPD events, conferences and other social events lend themselves to a greater understanding of an ever-changing environment and allows for interaction between people with a common occupation.

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  • G Warren Whitaker

    How did the International Estate Planning Institute start out?

    In 2004 STEP asked the STEP New York branch to hold a two-day programme in New York in order to increase the visibility of STEP, which at that point was below the radar of most US practitioners. We agreed that there was a dearth of programmes in the US that focused on international estate planning, and STEP was in an ideal position to offer such a programme.

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  • Dr Angelo Venardos

    Why did you join STEP?

    I wanted to be part of a global professional body that provided members in our space (estate planning) networking and education opportunities.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

    STEP has assisted me personally to grow professionally, and for Heritage (and its individual STEP members) to be acknowledged within our industry, as being very professional and at the forefront of industry issues.

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  • Heather Maizels

    What does your firm do?

    Offers investment advice of no-conflict kind.

    What is your perception of STEP?

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  • Stéphane Lagonico

    When did you become a STEP member?

    I joined STEP ten years ago, as an experienced practitioner with a practice in servicing private clients.

    Why did you join?

    At STEP, academics converge with networking. Joining STEP upon my return from the US allowed me to stay in the centre of developments in estate planning, while becoming acquainted with the players in the Suisse Romande area.

    What does being a member mean to you/your organisation?

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  • Robert Hunter

    Much of my work involves allegations of dishonesty against professionals; it is something I have felt strongly about for years.

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  • Richard Pease

    Why did you join STEP?

    News of the formation of the Society in London in 1991 reached us rapidly in Switzerland and with a few colleagues in Geneva we set up the first branch outside the UK and the Channel Islands. It was an opportune moment to start the international expansion of STEP.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

    It keeps me up to date with national and international developments in trust and estate planning, and allows me to stay in touch with our very active membership in Switzerland.

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  • Sandy Shipton

    Why did you join STEP?

    The STEP Arabia Branch was established in Dubai in 2004. I joined when I was asked to assist the team due to my role in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

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  • Stephen Cutts

    Why did you join STEP?

    I joined STEP in Monaco soon after the branch was formed there. It provided an opportunity to meet and discuss with colleagues in the same business and improve knowledge and understanding of our common interests.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

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  • Laurence Black

    Why did you join?

    I joined STEP to develop my cross-border knowledge, to network and in order to maintain my professional development.

    What does being a member mean to you/your organisation?

    The TEP accreditation is increasingly important to both employers and clients. It enables others to know that they are dealing with a qualified individual in matters of trust and estate planning.

    What's been the best STEP event you've attended and why?

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  • Peter G. Economides

    Why did you join STEP?

    I became a member of STEP more than 20 years ago. Having been dealing with trusts extensively, I judged STEP to be the ideal professional body for trust practitioners. STEP remains the leading trusts and estates association in the world.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

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  • Sibilla Cretti

    Why did you join STEP originally?

    I joined STEP after having written my PhD thesis on Swiss tax aspects of trust relationships.

    What makes you continue to be a member?

    The high, professional level of STEP conferences and lectures, as well as continuing professional development.

    How does being part of a branch add value to your membership?

    It gives a passive as well as an active commitment to STEP.

    You attended the STEP and EU event in Brussels. What did you get out of the experience?

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  • Gavin Ferguson

    What was your first role in the private client industry and when was it?

    I worked as a stockbroker for Quilter Goodison (now Quilter Morgan Stanley) in 1997, before moving into the legal private client profession (Wedlake Bell) 2001.

    Why did you join the sector?

    Out of enjoyment from dealing with private clients.

    How did you hear about STEP?

    Through colleagues.

    Why did you join?

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  • Etienne Eichenberger

    What is your perception of STEP?

    STEP is a reference in the world of private client advice at a global level.  

    What does it mean to your organisation?

    STEP is a great platform for professionals working in the private client sector; it gives an opportunity to share experience and network.

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  • Roland Jones

    Why did you join STEP?

    Whilst I am a chartered accountant and banker by profession, my career path has taken me to the corporate and trust field. Based on my research and feedback from colleagues in the industry at the time, STEP represented an excellent opportunity for training and general knowledge in the trust area as well as access to members and material related to the trust industry.

    What makes you continue to be a member?

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  • Cecile Civiale Vuillier

    Why did you join STEP?

    As a fiduciary with global connections STEP is the perfect fit in terms of professional development and business networking.

    What makes you continue to be a member?

    I need to keep up to date with the latest trust and company structuring developments so I can provide clients with excellent trustee solutions.

    What does your branch do for you?

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  • Rajesh Narain Gupta

    60-second Interview with Rajesh Narain Gupta, who represents a 50-year-old full service law firm SNG & Partners, which has a presence in New Delhi, Mumbai and a few other states in India.

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