60-second interview with Pearline McIntosh

Pearline McIntosh, 26/4/2016

Pearline McIntosh TEP is Vice President, Butterfield Private Banking, Bermuda. 

What does your firm do?

Butterfield Bank is a diversified financial services group operating in Bermuda, Cayman, Bahamas, Guernsey and Switzerland. Our two primary lines of business are community banking in Bermuda and Cayman Islands, and wealth management in all five jurisdictions.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

I would name three core areas: education, networking, and lobbying with international bodies and government, where STEP is represented.

You were recently given a Founder’s Award. What does this mean to you?

It’s meant much to me on a personal and professional level to be recognised for the work I have done to promote STEP, and mentor new and existing practitioners in wealth management. It is the ultimate honour to be bestowed by your fellow STEP members.

When did you get involved with STEP?

I’ve been involved with STEP for some 20 years, and have always supported its ethos, and especially its commitment to the continued education of its members. The STEP International Diploma is a globally recognised gold standard and I am always proud to encourage new practitioners to study for it as a part of their development in the trust field.

What benefits has it brought you?

Professionally, it has been very rewarding. It’s allowed me to work with members across the globe, and be a part of a larger vision than just my own jurisdiction. STEP challenges us to face issues affecting our industry head on, by ensuring we are well armed with the information and intellectual resources required.

I’ve also been glad to help others become involved in the Society’s development, together with being a mentor to many who have achieved their qualifications via the various routes. The network of STEP relationships forged over the years has been great and ones I will always cherish.

What are the challenges facing your branch or region at the moment, and how are you planning to deal with them?

Some of the main challenges are:

  • Remaining relevant: ensuring that we remain in touch with the ever-changing environment in which we perform our duties
  • Striking the right balance between meeting regulatory requirements and attracting/keeping new business
  • Being solutions-driven in our focus to safeguard our families' wealth for generations, seeing hurdles as an opportunity to grow and create sophisticated solutions to stand the test of time, yet allow for flexibility to remain nimble for unexpected changes
  • Adapting to the changing needs and expectations of the families we advise: understanding or at least appreciating the differing needs/motivations of the beneficiaries we may represent. We must determine how we can harness our knowledge of Generations X, Y (millennials), or Z to better serve them and anticipate their needs
  • Ensuring that despite the continued pressures of onshore governments and international regulatory standards, high levels of client service are maintained.

Dealing with these challenges requires open and continual dialogue with our respective governments, and ensuring that STEP branches participate in dialogues which may mitigate the adverse effect of any international framework which may challenge the ability for this industry to thrive.

What do you most like about your job?

The fact that no two families are the same; their stories, ethos, philosophy and personalities makes them unique. Despite the advancement in technology, there is no substitute for building a trusted relationship with your families and their advisors. The area of private client is dynamic and varied, and it is rewarding to help clients achieve their personal, family and financial goals.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

To remain flexible and open to new ideas, always learning and growing in our pursuit to safeguard our families’ assets, and doing so in a way which will positively impact families for generations to come.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

This career is a journey; it will take various turns but it will always be challenging and exciting as no two days are ever the same.

Winning the trust and respect of your families, their advisors and indeed your peers is directly linked to ‘professionalising’ your craft. This requires you to invest time in training, listen well, have a good dose of common sense, and a sense of humour to keep you going on difficult days.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

Many jurisdictions are looking at the pros and cons of economic citizenship. The challenges and dialogues are different for each jurisdiction. It is evident that each jurisdiction continually has to look at how they have done business in the past, and determine how they can adapt to the changing environment to ensure this industry is around for the next 100 years and beyond.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

I have had to embrace social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) as this is the world of the next generation of families, and essential for keeping up with news, as well as families’ concerns and activities.

It helps us be more responsive, and provide more appropriate solutions, but is no substitute for face-to-face contact. Social media serves to enhance the relationship and increase the responsiveness of our service level to families; it’s just another tool in our toolkit.


Pearline McIntosh TEP is Vice President at Butterfield Private Banking. She was on the STEP Bermuda Branch Executive Committee for over ten years, serving both as Chair and Deputy Regional Representative. Pearline was named as a Leading Trustee Prominent Figure on the Citywealth Leaders List 2012, and was named as one of the most influential women of Bermuda by Bermuda Re + ILS Magazine in 2015.