Getting your PCA nomination right

George HodgsonNominations for the tenth annual STEP Private Client Awards (PCA) opened recently, providing an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate professional achievement in private client practice around the world. This year 17 categories are open to individuals and firms globally across the industry, including a new category: the Vulnerable Client Advisor of the Year, recognising the huge and growing importance of this area of practice.

Last year STEP’s Deputy Chief Executive, George Hodgson, shared some tips to help entrants prepare the strongest possible submission for a PCA. In the spirit of putting the best foot forward, I thought it timely to re-iterate these points so that every submission fully reflects premier work worthy of a PCA.

  1. Apply for the right category

Last year a number of entrants entered the wrong category. Make sure you read the criteria and, if you think the nature of your business might seem at odds with category, explain what your firm does and why it’s relevant.

  1. Answer the questions fully

Using snippets from PR materials may sound like a time-saver, but the judges will likely ignore them if it they’re not backed up by answers that clearly address the criteria in the PCA application pack. This is where many submissions fall short.

  1. Support your submission with evidence

Few things support a statement better than evidence and examples. Don’t tell the judges that you’re an innovative firm – prove it. This will garner more attention than simple claims.

  1. Be consistent in your claims

Make sure the claims in your submission match the information on your website or in your press materials. It makes for a stronger case to the panel of Presiding Judges.

  1. Make use of your word limit

This is another common error. Don’t sacrifice valuable detail for the sake of brevity. Use your full word limit to put forward the best possible submission.

  1. It’s about the last 12 months

The PCAs are about top-tier work over the previous year. Statements about your role as an industry leader or your history might sound impressive, but the judges are interested in the past 12 months.

The PCA’s recognise the best, so be sure your submission is outstanding. I wish all nominees the very best of luck.PCA logo 2015

George Hodgson is Deputy Chief Executive of STEP

Nominations for this year’s PCAs close on 30 April with finalists announced in June. The PCAs will be held on 8 September at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. Check out the PCA website for more information.

STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest wrap-up – January’s top stories

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Having trouble keeping up with worldwide private wealth developments? Don’t be left out in the cold. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest throughout January 2015. In case you missed them, here are the worldwide industry news stories most viewed by our readers.

Full text of AML Directive: The agreed texts of the EU’s Fourth Money Laundering Directive and its associated regulations are now available. The mandatory register of trusts applies only to taxable trusts and it will not be public. For companies and foundations, however, the register will be publicly available to those with a ‘legitimate interest’.

Resident risks deportation after tax evasion conviction: A 73-year-old Italian resident of the US has admitted failing to disclose a Swiss bank account containing money inherited from his family. Gabriel Gabella escaped a jail sentence by pleading guilty and paying heavy penalties but now faces the possibility of deportation.

Failure to give up unwanted US citizenship can cost dear: An expert on US taxation examines the case of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who has been forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in US tax, penalties and interest for selling his London home. Johnson has reportedly tried to give up his US citizenship but found it was too expensive.

Courier firms’ records to be searched for tax evasion correspondence: The US Internal Revenue Service has obtained judicial authority to force various international courier services to identify the correspondents of a Panama-based investment services company. The IRS claims its ‘John Doe summonses’ against FedEx, DHL, UPS, Western Union and others will show that unnamed US taxpayers used the Panama firm to set up secret offshore bank accounts and shell companies.

A momentous decision: John Greenfield discusses a decision in the Royal Court of Guernsey that looks set to colour trustee cases in the future.

French forced heirship law can be sidestepped by Brussels IV: An expert at law firm Stone King explains how foreign owners of property in France can circumvent the country’s forced heirship rules when the so-called Brussels IV succession regulation comes into force in August.

New guidance signals action against cross-border tax avoidance: China has announced a new policy against cross-border tax planning, enabling the authorities to ‘adjust’ tax avoidance transactions taking place on or after 1 February this year.

Guidance for trustees where trust’s beneficiary is subject to foreign matrimonial order: Two Royal Court of Jersey judgments published last week give guidance to trustees of Jersey law trusts when a beneficiary of the trust is divorcing in a foreign court – in particular when the trustees should submit to the foreign court’s jurisdiction, or make a distribution to a beneficiary to pay a former spouse pursuant to the foreign court’s order.

Consultation opens on minimum claim period for non-doms: The British government has published a consultation paper on its plan to set a three-year minimum period for non-domiciled residents’ election to be taxed only on income remitted to the UK. The aim is to prevent non-doms arranging their tax affairs so as to only pay the remittance basis charge occasionally.

Taxation of trusts started on 1 January: Portugal has introduced a new 28 per cent tax on distributions received by residents from fiduciary structures such as trusts. The measure, which was announced on 17 December and took effect on 1 January, places a duty on trust settlors to declare distributions and pay the tax, according to tax advisors Blevins Franks.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

To subscribe to STEP’s digest services you will need to first register here: http://www.step.org/register

STEP UK News Digest wrap-up – January’s top stories

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Winter might be cold and dark but the private wealth industry keeps on spinning. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in STEP’s online UK Digests throughout January 2015 as clicked by our readers.

Planning for 2015: The January 2015 edition of Smith & Williamson’s family wealth management newsletter includes articles on the 2015 investment outlook, the budget, year-end tax-planning opportunities, flexible pensions as tax-efficient trust funds, tax-efficient investments, and the challenge of funding social care in later life.

Beneficiary of will penalised for failing to reveal lifetime gift to executors: A man who was named as residuary beneficiary of his father’s will has received a GBP87,000 penalty from HM Revenue and Customs for failing to tell the executors about a lifetime gift he received from his father via an undeclared Swiss bank account.

Conservative party signals pre-election promises on IHT: Chancellor George Osborne has told a Sunday newspaper that he and the prime minister agree that inheritance tax (IHT) should only be paid by the rich ‘and we will set out our further approach closer to the election’.

Clearer advice for solicitors who get a mention in client’s will: The Law Society [England and Wales] has updated its practice note for solicitors whose clients wish to make them a lifetime gift or leave a legacy to them or their families or colleagues. It clarifies the considerations and suggested actions for the solicitor.

Lord Howard executors gain final victory in dispute over Reynolds masterpiece: HM Revenue and Customs has been refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court following its March 2014 defeat in the case of Lord Howard of Henderskelfe. Lord Howard of Henderskelfe’s executors avoided capital gains tax on the GBP10 million sale of a Joshua Reynolds painting by classing it as a depreciating asset used in the running of his family’s country estate.

My wish is not my command: John Harper TEP explores some of the features of letters of wishes.

Deputies’ charges to be closely monitored: The Public Guardian has recommended tighter supervision of deputies, in response to MPs’ criticisms of the high charges levied by some professional deputies. The proposals include introduction of annual deputyship plans, asset inventories and charging estimates.

Bankruptcy threat to tax-planning footballers: More than 100 former Premier League footballers are said to be in serious financial difficulties after receiving accelerated payment notices from HM Revenue and Customs regarding their participation in tax-planning schemes, especially those based on film relief.

Public granted online access to wills database: HM Courts & Tribunals Service has launched a searchable online database allowing the public to obtain copies of wills at GBP10 a time, within ten working days, without having to visit the probate registry. The database contains 41 million scanned documents, of which the original paper versions will be permanently preserved.

Business relief on divested assets may be clawed back: A tax advisor at Crowe Clark Whitehill passes on rumours that the inheritance tax rules may be changed to refuse business relief on an asset that is sold by the beneficiary soon after the death of the testator.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.

To subscribe to STEP’s digest services you will need to first register here: http://www.step.org/register