STEP NextGen Committee: Praxis Manager Nicola Archer invests in the next generation of trust sector professionals
With more than 15 years’ experience in the trust sector, Nicola Archer is on a mission to help others develop their career within the industry through her role as deputy chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) NextGen Committee.
We spoke with Nicola on the support offered by the Next Gen Committee, how other professionals can get involved, and how her role at Praxis has motivated her to pass on her knowledge to others.
What led you to pursue a career in trust?
Client engagement has been a significant motivator for me. Over the course of seven years, I have cultivated relationships with clients and intermediaries within Praxis, finding immense satisfaction in fostering these connections. The exposure to diverse generations of wealth and a variety of backgrounds is a compelling aspect of my work. Witnessing individuals either perpetuating family legacies or embracing innovative opportunities not traditionally pursued is a dynamic experience. The daily variation in approaches, especially with our next generation clients, adds to the richness of my professional journey.
In alignment with the ever-evolving industry, recent research by Guernsey Finance and PAM Insight highlights the next generation's strong focus on global citizenship and a shifting perspective on tax planning. This continuous evolution underscores the dynamic nature of our sector.
The growth of the trust industry in Guernsey, boasting over 150 registered trust companies, is indicative of the industry's expansive scope. The increasing influx of young professionals into the finance sector has contributed significantly to this expansion. Witnessing the sector's development and expansion since the inception of my career has been an immensely gratifying aspect of my work. Consequently, I am inspired to advocate for and support more individuals in their journey to develop a successful fiduciary career.
What support did you feel was beneficial when entering the trust sector and how are you utilising this to support new recruits in the industry?
Reflecting on the early stages of my career, the support infrastructure was not as robust as it is today. Although there were mentors available, autonomy played a pivotal role in my professional responsibilities. Presently, the Next Gen committee has significantly enhanced the support landscape, providing diverse avenues for assistance.
The inclusion of a student liaison officer within the Next Gen Committee has proven invaluable for individuals seeking advice or support related to their roles. The presence of a local contact person provides substantial assistance, particularly in navigating the complexities of identifying the appropriate channels for specific challenges. The hands-on support available on the island is an additional benefit, and I take pride in contributing to this initiative. The establishment of a central platform facilitating discussions with like-minded professionals possessing extensive experience is immensely beneficial.
Since my involvement with the Next Gen Committee, I have become a resource for guidance with my colleagues, who now approach me for assistance on various matters, a role I willingly embrace. Sharing insights, especially concerning examination routes, has proven to be particularly appreciated by many.
How did you come to be on the Next Gen committee and how can others get involved with STEP?
Given its recent establishment, the initial members of the committee were meticulously chosen to ensure efficient development and a well-rounded combination of individuals possessing substantial knowledge of the sector. Participating in the formation of this committee held significant importance for me, as I recognised the opportunity to contribute substantially based on my extensive experience. While we are still in the initial stages of our journey, we harbour ambitious plans for the committee's growth and impact over the next five years.
The primary pathway to attaining full membership in STEP involves successfully completing exams and obtaining a diploma. This achievement not only signifies being at the forefront of the latest updates and insights in trust and estate planning but also demonstrates a high level of professional commitment to the industry. Beyond full membership, individuals can engage with STEP at various levels, such as joining as an associate, an affiliate, or as a student member. Eligibility for these memberships is contingent on one's level of experience.
Professionals entering as students or affiliates have the opportunity to progress to full TEP (Trust and Estate Practitioner) status by accumulating more experience or pursuing the exam or essay route. For those with a minimum of one year of relevant experience and a qualification, the option to apply for affiliate membership is available. This status provides access to certain benefits and opportunities for industry knowledge akin to those enjoyed by full STEP members, without an immediate requirement to undergo exams.
What is the benefit of attending STEP Next Gen Committee events and getting involved with the committee itself?
The inauguration of the Next Gen Committee took place at a well-attended event in September, drawing a crowd of over 200 participants. This event served as a highly effective platform for introducing the new subsection of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). The substantial turnout, comprising both new recruits and seasoned professionals, underscored the significance of establishing such a committee.
Looking ahead, our strategic plan includes hosting two small networking events and four educational sessions. These educational events will feature industry speakers, presenting an excellent opportunity for individuals in the finance sector, whether new entrants or seasoned professionals, to enrich their knowledge. STEP, encompassing various sectors within private wealth such as administrators, HR professionals, accountants, and lawyers, offers a diverse networking landscape. Engaging with like-minded professionals who share similar career interests and learning from others about skill development is invaluable. Networking, a privilege often reserved for directors and senior executives in the early stages of my career, is an experience that everyone should have access to for personal and professional growth.
Please note that this article is intended to provide a general overview of the matters to which it relates. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. Any engagement in respect of our professional services is subject to our standard terms and conditions of business and the provision of all necessary due diligence. © Praxis 2023