We speak to Steve Gray, a Senior Manager in Equiom Isle of Man’s client services team to find out why he chose (or fell into!) a career in trust and corporate services, what he loves most about working for Equiom and how he is finding working from home.
What is your role and how long have you been doing it?
I am responsible for a portfolio of private, corporate and real estate clients. I have worked at Equiom since June 2001 (coming up to 19 years!).
What do you love most about your job?
I particularly enjoy the diverse range of clients we have and the types of assets held – it certainly makes for a varied role. On the client side, I have dealt with fund structures, alternative investments, clients who were establishing banks in various jurisdictions, structures involved in litigation and traditional vanilla trust structures holding investments and/or property. I’ve certainly had exposure to some significant players in their particular industries.
Over the years, I’ve also been involved in client file due diligence for the majority of our corporate and trust service provider acquisitions since 2012 which has given me the opportunity to travel and learn about the workings of other jurisdictions including Singapore, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta and the Channel Islands. A great way to meet people in a similar industry but in very different jurisdictions.
What is currently top of your agenda?
Providing a seamless, ongoing service to clients is definitely top of my agenda. While there is no doubt that Covid-19 has impacted our way of working, I’m proud to say that we continue to deliver excellent client service. We’re lucky to have an exceptional global IT team, resilient infrastructure and on call IT support to ensure ‘business as usual’ for our clients. Our group business continuity team has been closely monitoring the situation and comprehensive planning has enabled us to continue serving our clients with no reduction in service levels.
How are you finding working from home?
Routine is the key for me. I have maintained pretty much the same routine as if I was travelling to the office every day. I have so far not really come across any challenges. The IT is working well and my colleagues and clients have been easy to get hold of. We have adapted proactively and found solutions to any problems we have encountered.
What has been your proudest career moment?
Being part of the MBO team that established Equiom in 2006. Prior to joining Equiom, I was responsible for the establishment of the Isle of Man business for a London based firm of tax advisors and business consultants in 1996.
Why did you choose this career path?
If I’m honest, I fell into this career really by mistake! A flatmate of mine was a recruitment consultant in London in 1990 and she sourced an office position at the aforementioned firm of tax advisors and business consultants (my career as a musician was not generating sufficient income following music college). Within a few months of joining the firm I was moved into its company secretarial team and started to learn about other areas such as bookkeeping, accounting, tax and legal. In 1996 I was tasked with setting up the firm’s Isle of Man office and was part of the management team of that business until 1999 when I returned to London as one of the founders of another firm of business consultants. I returned to the Isle of Man in 2001 to join Ernst & Young Trust Company Ltd (now Equiom).
What do you love most about Equiom?
While the business has changed substantially since I joined in 2001, I find it interesting that I’m still dealing with some of the same clients and intermediaries now that I was dealing with when I joined in 2001. I’m always particularly proud of our high levels of client retention and I do love the variety and exposure my role provides and the resources available to me and the team. We’ve definitely found a balance when it comes to a level of autonomy coupled with good support.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever received from a client?
To be advised by a colleague of an important client of Equiom, upon his passing, of the significant respect he had for me professionally. I had worked with the client for many years and I was involved with his introduction to Equiom. He was a serial entrepreneur with numerous business interests and high level contacts.
What would you usually be doing and how are you working differently due to Covid-19?
I would usually be interacting more with colleagues in person and travelling more in general. Naturally I have found that more people are liaising via email and I regularly use video conferencing for team catch ups and meetings with external advisors. From a day to day perspective I don’t think there is too much impact on how I work and I’ve certainly slipped into the ‘new normal’.
How are you supporting your clients through Covid-19?
I’m working with clients and/or their advisors to ensure we react as quickly as possible which was particularly important at the start of the UK crisis when there was so much volatility. This involves working with our external advisors such as investment managers and property managers to see if actions need to be undertaken. As directors of client companies (and trustees of trusts), I’m proactively analysing the impact of Covid-19 and each client’s unique situation, implementing any necessary actions.
If you would like to discuss your unique circumstances, contact Steve, who would be happy to discuss.