A guide to a career in trusts and estates

Date 11/07/2019
3 minutes to read
Caroline Prow - Managing Director, Equiom Guernsey

By Caroline Prow, Managing Director, Equiom Guernsey 

These are not often the words you hear from a young student dreaming of what the future holds while picking their subjects and chosen career path (nor probably ones that their parents would seek to encourage) when other better known, ‘safe bet’ careers such as law, finance, accountancy, medicine, trades etc. are more appealing, realistic, with a quantifiable and known career path.

If only they knew what an exciting and rewarding career it can be….

Most young people would have only a vague understanding of the concept of a trust, but in reality it is a means to delegate responsibility for the complicated issues which arise during a typical lifetime, to a trusted professional, family member or friend (‘the Trustee’). This could include succession planning for an often extended family, preservation of wealth for future generations, or care of an incapacitated loved one. 

A trust is established when the family member (‘the Settlor’) settles their trust assets to a trustee to manage for the benefit of a person or persons (‘the Beneficiaries’) or for a specific purpose (e.g. a charitable cause). A trustee has a duty of care (the Guernsey law describes it as a duty to act ‘en bon père de famille’ i.e. as would a good father of the family), to safeguard the trust assets and ensure they are looked after for the Beneficiaries in accordance with the Settlor’s wishes.

To administer a trust requires a variety of skills. The trust officer’s job description may include monitoring investments, opening and closing bank accounts, considering and making distributions, administering and creating trust accounts, filing tax returns, maintaining trust records and providing asset information to beneficiaries on behalf of the trust.  At a senior level the officer must possess the interpersonal skills to form empathetic relationships with clients who sometimes may have conflicting aspirations and objectives.  Above all, a trust career promises the reward of providing peace of mind to a family or individual client, that their wishes are implemented in an impartial and fair manner.

School leavers and graduates considering a career in trusts should:

  • Possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Be a team player, who enjoys working with people, as a large part of the role will be interacting with clients and their advisors
  • Have an understanding of the basic principles of banking, finance and law, a desire to complete a professional designation, eg. STEP or ICSA and aspire to advising on trust and estates, inheritance and succession planning
  • Have excellent organisation, analytical and logical thinking ability and the ability to multi-task

There is a Chinese saying: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Although you still might not have found the answer to the question of what you want to be when you grow up, I can assure you that embarking on a career within trust services is an excellent start to your journey.

At Equiom, it is our mission to train and support people at the beginning of their career journey to ensure they get the most out of the experience. For more information about opportunities for school leavers and graduates, visit our careers section.

This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact Equiom to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstance. Equiom Group, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.
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