60 Second Interviews

  • Laurie Lord

    Why did you join STEP?

    I definitely joined STEP to supplement my education and experience within the trust industry and to be involved within the business community. I have lived and worked in three major cities in and my STEP membership has certainly helped me settle into my business and industry community.

    What makes you continue to be a member?

    I continue to be a member for the exact reasons I joined. I gain a lot of knowledge and experience from attending the seminars and by working with other STEP members.

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  • Catherine Pugsley

    Why did you join STEP?

    Because it is the only practitioners group that can give me the support that I need.

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

    An overwhelming sense that I was witness to law in the making, which was very exciting. It was humbling to be surrounded by such a wealth of experience from all over Europe and some of the best minds in the industry; the highlight for me was Timothy Lyons QC putting the case so succinctly.

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  • Mick Jones

    What is your perception of STEP?

    STEP provides a focus for all private client issues. It’s a pool of knowledge and an active discussion forum.

    What does STEP mean to your business?

    STEP members are our users. Working with STEP is vital to our business.

    What’s the best STEP event you have attended and why?

    Recently? It was an event at the Chester branch, which had excellent speakers and a very enthusiastic membership.

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  • Janine Chasmer

    Why should practitioners join STEP? What are the benefits?

    STEP is entirely unique in that it represents, informs and unites practitioners specialising in trusts, estates and related issues such as financial planning and inheritance. STEP members benefit from networking and professional development opportunities, learning and knowledge-sharing, and career and support services. Our members support and shape the industry and help us to lobby government and affect policy.

    How do you become a full member?

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  • Avi Z Kestenbaum

    Why did you join STEP?

    Because STEP is a world-renowned professional organisation with many of the top international tax and estate planners.

    What makes you continue to be a member?

    The education, information, contacts and colleagues; and because I co-founded STEP Long Island.

    What does your branch, Long Island, do for you?

    It provides education, information and development.

    What’s the impact of using your TEP designation?

    It is helpful because it is a recognised status.

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  • Steven Hennessy

    What attracted you to STEP?

    The mix of different professionals, all with a passion for learning and improving. I’ve learnt so much about my own business by listening to solicitors, accountants and barristers talk about our common client issues.

    How has your professional development experience been so far?

    Fantastic. The learning materials I digested in preparation for the STEP Certificate for Financial Services (Trusts and Estate Planning) gave me a solid grounding, and I pick up so much practical knowledge at the branch meetings.

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  • Mark Buzzoni

    Your firm was a winner at the STEP Private Client Awards this year. Why did you enter?

    We believe that we have a good story to tell and a vibrant and growing practice.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

    It’s super to be recognised by the most highly regarded cross-disciplinary body in our field.

    How is your firm promoting the win to clients?

    As well as issuing a press release, we are continuing to refer to it on all flyers and promotional literature.

    How did you hear about STEP and why did you join?

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  • Toby Harris

    Your firm was a winner at the STEP Private Client Awards this year. Why did you enter?

    It’s important that STEP events reflect the whole society, small provincial firms as well as the metropolitan giants, so we wanted to have another go at recognition in our field.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

    We were chuffed to bits. No one talks about a level playing field when they’re winning, and you can decry all the hype, but it’s great to be recognised in this way.

    How is your firm promoting the win to clients?

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  • Joshua S Rubenstein

    Your firm was a winner at the STEP Private Client Awards this year. Why did you enter?
    For the opportunity to be reviewed by our peers in the international private client arena.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

    The STEP Private Client Awards are the most prestigious of the various awards that private client lawyers can achieve.

    How is your firm promoting the win to clients?

    We sent out an email to our contacts, and our private client lawyers display the winner logo on their email signature blocks.

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  • Charles Fraser

    Why did you join STEP?

    I thought it would be useful to join STEP to help show my experience and network with similar professionals.

    What does being a member mean to you?

    I value the brand and status that being a STEP member brings.

    Private client practitioners comprise a broad spectrum. What do you think links practitioners/STEP members around the world?

    The common link for all private client practitioners is dealing with people’s financial affairs and the range of issues that that brings.

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  • Simon Peter McKie

    Why did you join STEP?

    It was clear that trust practitioners were a discrete and important body of professionals whose interests weren’t entirely met by the existing professional bodies.

    What does being a member mean to you?

    Having access to a body of expertise and a source of technical information and being able to give something back to the profession through my membership of the STEP Technical Committee.

    Private client practitioners comprise a broad spectrum. What do you think links practitioners/STEP members around the world?

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  • Tim Grieve

    Why did you join STEP?

    As a solicitor, having practised for nine years at that time, I noted that opportunities to network with and learn from other trust and estate professionals were few and far between – often limited to continuing education events. When Michael Cadesky and Grace Chow visited Ottawa in 1999, extolling the benefits of STEP membership and to set up the Ottawa branch, I thought it was a great idea and joined as the first secretary of the branch.

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

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  • Guy Paterson

    What is your perception of STEP?

    It is a highly professional organisation that has a major impact on the world of trusts.

    What does STEP mean to your organisation?

    We deal with many members of STEP particularly in the offshore trust market.

    Your firm was a winner at the STEP Private Client Awards this year. Why did you enter?

    We like to support the event and thought we had a good chance of winning.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

    It is a great accolade.

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  • Louise Brown

    Congratulations on becoming a TEP! What does this mean to you?

    It provides professional recognition for my knowledge and experience and demonstrates to clients that I have passed exams and I am backed by a professional organisation.

    Why did you decide to join STEP and which educational route did you choose?

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  • Nicholas Holland

    Why did you enter this year’s STEP Private Client Awards (PCAs)?

    STEP is a global leader in private client accreditation and a STEP PCA is a true mark of quality. Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) has been a market leader in private client work for well over a century but we were interested to press the case for BDB’s recent intense and committed investment in contentious trusts and estates.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

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  • Ian Meakin

    Why did you enter the STEP Private Client Awards this year?

    It was a worldwide competition, judged by a panel of experts. It is therefore a serious award and we were delighted to win this year.

    How important is winning a STEP PCA to your firm?

    It is very important. The STEP Private Client Awards are a hallmark of excellence.

    How is your firm promoting the win to clients?

    We have put it on our website.

    You’ve been a STEP member since 1995. How did you hear about the Society and why did you join?

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  • Paolo Filippini

    Why did you join STEP?

    Because I was responsible for several trust companies for a Swiss Bank and it was very important to be a member of STEP.

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

    Being a member of STEP is an important quality label that sets a high standard in the industry.

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

    It was a recent lunch where we had a very good discussion on the topic that was presented, which continued into the evening with a good glass of wine.

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  • Andrew Rogerson

    How did you hear about STEP?

    I knew about STEP shortly after it was formed. At the time I was practising in the Turks & Caicos Islands. I felt the fledgling STEP had considerable potential – bringing together lawyers, accountants, trust officers and bankers. I had a lot of time-consuming trials on and I was travelling a great deal and never go round to it, but I watched its growth, from a distance, as it were.

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  • David A Altro

    Why did you join STEP?

    To take advantage of the exchange of high-level tax and estate-planning expertise, and to do the networking.

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

    Having the TEP designation speaks to our credibility as cross-border tax and estate planning attorneys and the ability to get up-to-date tax information.

    How does being part of a branch enhance your membership experience?

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  • Alon Kaplan

    How did you hear about STEP and why did you join?

    I met a colleague from Switzerland, Dr Froeip. He was already a STEP member in 1993, and upon his recommendation, I joined STEP in 1994. 

    What has being a member meant to you over the years since the Society’s inception, and does it mean the same today?

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  • Jim Gilligan

    Why did you join?

    After completing other professional qualifications, I felt that TEP was the one that was most closely linked to my current role. Also, the member support and the networking opportunities were a major attraction.

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

    When I travel around the world marketing my firm, I often make contact with fellow members before I leave. Each time I have been welcomed in to their professional community as if I was a local partner not a visitor, which is incredibly powerful.

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  • Michael J Stegman

    How did you hear about STEP and why did you join?

    Members in Germany and Austria suggested STEP to me.           

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

    STEP provides my US law firm access to practitioners in many jurisdictions.

    How does being part of a chapter/branch enhance your membership experience?

    The New York chapter has many members who are willing to lend advice to one another on cross-border private client issues.

    What’s been the best STEP event you’ve attended?

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  • Ian Mudie

    Why did you decide to take the qualified practitioner route towards your TEP designation?

    With family, work and other commitments I decided that the QP route would give me the flexibility to study when time permitted.

    You’ve completed two-thirds of the Isle of Man thesis qualification. How’s it going?

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  • Friedrich Fraberger

    Why did you join STEP?

    It’s an interesting international network closely linked to my daily estate-planning practice.

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

    Living the idea of STEP.

    How does being part of a chapter/branch enhance your membership experience?

    By participating in network events and activities my international knowledge on estate planning activities increases considerably.

    What are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners at the moment?

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  • Matthew Hutton

    Why did you join STEP?

    I wanted to be in at the beginning on what seemed to be an exciting new professional development for those working in trusts and estates.

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

    The ability to mix informally with friends and colleagues at local events.

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

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