The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners is the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts, estates and related issues. It is a unique global body which provides its members with a local, national and international learning and business network focusing on the “responsible stewardship of assets today and across the generations.”
STEP members help plan family successions and to navigate the complex laws and tax rules surrounding trusts, estates and inheritance.
Founded in 1991 by George Tasker, a senior trust manager with a big five UK accountancy firm, STEP was initially intended to be a discussion forum for the profession in the UK. However, since its first meeting in London, the organization has grown rapidly and STEP now has more than 14,500 members in 66 countries, ranging from the US and the UK to New Zealand and Mauritius. STEP branches can be found in 33 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Australasia.
STEP provides education, training, representation and networking for its members. Members advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance. Full members of STEP are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates.
STEP supports a wide-ranging education and training programme and more than 3,500 students worldwide are currently studying for STEP qualifications. STEP members are subject to a rigorous code of professional conduct and the public can identify if their adviser is a STEP member by the use of the designation TEP (Trust and Estate Practitioner) after their name. STEP also actively promotes continuing professional development among its members through briefings, publications, special interest groups, courses and seminars.
Although politically non-aligned, STEP campaigns for fair, transparent and consistent tax rules so that families making long-term plans have “clear tax rules that do not change repeatedly if they are going to have the confidence to enter into long-term commitments.” One recent notable example was STEP’s highlighting of the potentially damaging impact of proposed changes to the UK rules on the taxation of non-domiciled taxpayers, giving technical evidence to a House of Lords Committee and securing significant changes in legislation. STEP has also worked closely with the European Union in ensuring that proposed changes to the EU Savings Directive are “robust and practical for professional advisers to implement.” In addition, STEP has been with several jurisdictions on the practical implementation of the G20/OECD programme for improved international tax transparency.
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