60-second interview with Vanessa Schrum

Vanessa Schrum, 29/4/2019

Vanessa Schrum TEP is partner and local head of Private Client and Trusts at Appleby, Bermuda.

What does your firm or organisation do?

Appleby is a leading offshore law firm with around 470 people operating in ten jurisdictions. We provide legal services primarily in the areas of corporate/commercial, dispute resolution, private client and trusts, regulatory and property. Earlier this year we launched Appleby Global Services, which provides a range of administration, reporting and fiduciary services focused on corporate structures.

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

STEP has provided enormous training opportunities to members of our team, helped promote and push appropriate legislative change in our jurisdictions, and facilitated valuable networking opportunities.

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

In my view, STEP has provided a collective voice for the trust industry, influencing policy, regulation and legislation.

You will be speaking at the STEP Caribbean Conference on 12-15 May. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

The topic is ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a right way’. We will be discussing current trends in estate planning and several traps to be aware of when preparing a will, with a focus on evolving topics such as indemnities, gifts of cryptocurrency/digital assets, recognition of same sex marriage/civil partnerships, and default beneficiary clauses. We will look at real-life examples and learn what not to do from wills ‘gone bad’.

What do you most like about your job?

The variety of work the discipline offers - from will drafting, estate planning and administration for private clients, to advising corporate trustees on complex trust structures. No two days are ever the same.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

What’s worthwhile for me is to assist in the establishment of efficient structures and the transfer of wealth.

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

Get involved in industry focus groups, and network, network, network.

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

I can think of quite a few – primarily corporate/commercial and dispute resolution, which touch on trusts, and (unfortunately) regulation and compliance.

What about jurisdictions?

In addition to Asia, I am optimistic that the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies will continue to thrive!

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

For me the main trends are consolidation of structures, diversification of underlying assets, and jurisdiction shopping, as well as an increase in non-contentious trust restructuring applications.

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

I would say EU substance requirements and threat of public beneficial ownership registers. We will need to embrace any legislative change, and educate our staff and clients. On the bright side, with change, often come opportunities.

Vanessa Schrum TEP is partner and local head of Private Client and Trusts at Appleby, Bermuda. She qualified as a UK solicitor, is admitted in Bermuda and the British Virgin islands (BVI) and is a past committee member of STEP Bermuda. Vanessa is recognised in Chambers Global HNW, Legal 500, Citywealth Leaders List and IFC Power Women Top 200.