Time flies when you’re having fun!

Cheryl FarnhamI can’t quite believe that my three-year term as Chair of STEP’s UK Practice Committee has reached its end! I was extremely honoured to have held the position, which opened my eyes to the great lengths that STEP members will voluntarily go through to assist fellow TEPs and share their breadth of knowledge.

Guidance notes, blogs, articles, leaflets, webinars, lobbying, consultation responses, surveys and meetings with officials are just a few of the things that we as a committee get involved with.

If you were a fly on the wall at our last committee meeting you would have seen that the new Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law attended to introduce himself and tell us about his new role. We welcomed back representatives of the Law Commission who updated us on the wills project and discussions were had regarding the project’s focus as well as the future Law Reform programmes. Furthermore, members of the committee will shortly be drafting a range of articles covering a plethora of topics; ranging from the pitfalls of acting as trustee, monies passing by nomination without safeguards, issues surrounding family bank accounts and business practice generally.

I would like to personally thank the volunteers who sit on the committee and work tirelessly for the members to add value for the TEP. The committee is a made up of a mix of individuals from across the UK with differing specialisms and interests. We are fortunate to have luminaries of the speaker circuit, authors and editors of our favourite ‘go-to’ guidance books and the (just as important) practitioners on the ground who know the issues facing us day to day as a reality. Each member brings something unique and invaluable to the table. See who is involved at www.step.org/uk-practice-committee.

We are of course always looking for fresh ideas, so if there is anything that you would like for us to be involved with or indeed if you would like to contribute to the cause yourself then please do get in touch via our dedicated email address: ukpractice@step.org.

I am a great believer in keeping things fresh and promoting new ideas. In order to achieve this there naturally needs to be a change of order and I am thrilled to be passing on the baton to Kelly Greig for the next term and look forward to seeing what these changes bring as a continuing member of the committee.

Keep an eye out for our posts on the STEP website and in the News Digests to see what we are up to next…

 

Cheryl Farnham TEP is a Director of Arcadia Legal & Trust Ltd and sits on the UK Practice Committee, England and Wales Regional Committee and West of England Branch Committee.

Getting the most from STEP in practice

Cheryl FarnhamWe will always have our favourite reference books and much-thumbed precedents, however the world is constantly moving forward and the ‘Google it’ age is upon us whether we like it or not. I’ve decided if you can’t beat them, join them!

You may have noticed that STEP has recently revamped its website. If you have not taken a moment to look at it then I would suggest that you do because there are a number of tools available that could all become invaluable in practice.

Some of the areas that I have found most useful are as follows:

  • The first on the list for me has to be to make sure that you are subscribed to the STEP News Digest which provides excellent coverage of new cases, tax updates and legislative changes that might affect our working practices. UK and International digests are released twice weekly with North America and Latin America digests alternate every other week. All STEP publications/reports and news can be located under the Resources tab.
  • Under the Policy tab you will find the consultation tracker and this informs you which bodies STEP are currently in consultation with (together with the responding Committee) and also provides details of their responses. If you feel particularly strongly on any issues arising please provide feedback to the team – the tracker is very much an indication of work in progress and your opinion counts.
  • In recognition that members of the public may wish to know more about your designation, they now have a dedicated area of for the public to explain more.

The more you explore, the more you find: it is fantastic to find other TEPs from all over the world, to connect to your branch and find out what events are being held, and that is to name but a few. Take a look and see what you can find. STEP would be grateful for any feedback/thoughts of what would further help the TEP in practice. Contact them and let them know what you think.

Cheryl Farnham TEP is a Trust Manager at Pardoes LLP and is Chair of STEP’s UK Practice Committee

Have your say

As people who have spent at least an hour in a room with me will know, I have never been backward about coming forward and so am pleased to see so many like-minded individuals get involved in STEP’s 2021 member consultation.

It is refreshing for an organisation to open up the floor to its members in such a variety of means such as town hall meets/surveys/assemblies or luncheons.

Shaping the future of STEP and having the opportunity to tell the Society what would make you continue to value membership allows you to ensure that the organisation develops – and it is all down to your input! Some of my thoughts are that in order to keep up with the increasingly digital offerings, STEP need to provide more for the computer savvy in order for them to make the most of their time on the move via ebooks/talking books/podcasts (for CPD) and downloads of literature articles and practice notes, for instance. Having said this, I do not think that STEP should lose its personal touch and believe that being greeted into the fold, invited to networking events/seminars where you can thrash out ideas/difficulties and compare experiences is invaluable. But that is just me. It is not too late to have your say – by popular demand, and for those who managed to miss it, STEP will be recirculating the survey for some final inspirational input so keep a look out or get in touch with your branch to find out if there is a meet near you. Alternatively just leave a comment here in the Blog – all views are welcome.

Cheryl Farnham TEP, Chair of the STEP UK Practice Committee

I heard it through the grapevine…

Keeping abreast of the ever-changing tax rules is a challenging pastime for all professionals. My time spent on Committees for STEP has been invaluable, as I get to mix with professionals who cover all walks of the trust and estate practitioner fields and learn first hand about the latest issues that will, or might, affect our industry.

We are only human after all and, as technology continues to progress, we become overloaded with electronic updates and global news from a never-ending number of sources. Taking the time to read all subscribed email notifications thoroughly becomes increasingly difficult. Inboxes clogging up can become visually depressing, and it is for this reason that I am in debt to STEP for the News Digests with their bite-size updates.

But the other emails do contain some interesting nuggets – for example, without my connections with independent financial advisors, I would not have been aware of the recent changes to the treatment of tax for trail commissions, as described in the HM Revenue & Customs Brief 04/13

In a nutshell, where an investment manager receives trail commission and this is paid as a rebate to the investor, HMRC has now confirmed that they consider these payments to be taxable income. Historically, I have considered this as a return of one’s own money and if anything should be shown as a reduction of investment management fees within the trust accounts, but this may just have been my idea of common sense…?

In practice, rebates are becoming a thing of the past; but still, briefs like this can fly under the radar. I am thankful for my connections and now pass on this little bit of gained knowledge.

Cheryl Farnham TEP, Chair of the STEP UK Practice Committee