60-second interview with Tracey Woo

Tracey Woo, 9/9/2019

Tracey Woo TEP is Director of the Professional Practice Group at RBC Royal Trust in Toronto, Canada.

What does your firm or organisation do?

RBC Royal Trust has been providing individuals, families and businesses with executor, trustee and power of attorney services in Canada since 1899.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

STEP has helped me stay abreast of legal developments and trends in the industry. From a business perspective, we were proud to be awarded platinum status by the Employer Partnership Programme. The accreditation demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent development opportunities to our staff and technical expertise to our clients.

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

STEP provides an extensive global network of estate and trust professionals to share resources, best practices and legal developments from around the world enabling us to better serve our clients.

You will be speaking at STEP’s Special Interest Spotlight Sessions 2019 on 22 Nov. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I am excited to be joining STEP’s Digital Assets Special Interest Spotlight Session! I will be speaking about the practical aspects and challenges related to the administration of digital assets in estates.

Currently, there is no Canadian law in force governing the administration of digital assets and a fiduciary’s ability to access them. This has created practical challenges and potential liability for fiduciaries administering the assets of deceased or mentally-incapacitated persons. The session will address how to handle some of these administrative challenges and to provide practical planning tips for clients and their advisors to ensure that digital assets are disposed of in accordance with clients’ wishes.

What do you most like about your job?

No day is ever the same! I love tackling an issue or problem, whether it’s for one of our clients or for the business, and finding creative and practical solutions.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Whether we are helping to alleviate the burden of estate administration for a grieving executor who has just lost a loved one, or appointed to protect the assets of a vulnerable client, it is incredibly rewarding to know that the services we provide to our clients contribute to their lives in a meaningful way.

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

It is an exciting time to consider a career in the estates, trusts and private wealth generally. Not only are there significant career and growth opportunities as we are amidst one of the largest transfers of intergenerational wealth in Canadian history, but advances in technology and digital disruption are changing the very nature of this business.

Which sectors are likely to see the strongest future growth, do you think?

I would say estate planning and advisory work, estate and trust administration.

What about jurisdictions?

In my opinion, Canada, the US, and Australia.

What trends do you see in the global private wealth sector at the moment?

Digital disruption and technological advancement are important trends in the estate and trust industry at the moment. Not only will AI, robotics and other technological advancements enhance the way we work, but our clients and the nature of the assets they own will be very different, as digital assets and technology continue to evolve. In the very near future the vast majority of client assets and records will be stored in the cloud.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

One of our main challenges is the changing regulatory landscape. As concerns over anti-money laundering and tax evasion at home and abroad increase, the reporting and oversight obligations imposed on trustees by domestic and foreign governments has become very onerous.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

I use LinkedIn to stay in touch with my colleagues and other networks.

Tracey Woo TEP is Director of the Professional Practice Group (PPG) at RBC Royal Trust in Canada. The PPG provides technical guidance and support to the estates and trusts business, as well as to other RBC wealth management businesses, both at the account and business levels. Tracey also oversees policy, risk and regulatory matters for the estates and trusts business. Tracey obtained her TEP designation in 2013 after completing the STEP Diploma programme and serves on STEP’s Global Digital Assets Special Interest Group Steering Committee.