Ladder to success


STEP HONG KONG, a branch of the London-based Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), was established in May 2002 and has more than 270 members.

The organisation provides education for professionals in the trust and estate planning sector. STEP activities include hosting monthly seminars, with local and overseas guest speakers, serving as a forum for networking, and liaising with the government on topical issues.

Internationally, STEP has more than 11,000 members. They come from the legal, accountancy, banking, corporate trust and insurance industries. Members are expected to maintain continuing professional development so as to keep abreast of changes in the field.

Those with less than four years' experience are expected to obtain the foundation certificate or diploma in trust and estate planning.

The courses are available in Hong Kong. and are offered by STEP in conjuction with the International Trust Companies Association and Central Law Training, a Britain-based provider of post-qualification legal training.

The foundation certificate covers the background of trusts in an international context. The course takes between four and six months to complete and includes a three-hour final exam.

The diploma generally takes two years to complete, but the duration largely depends on the students' dedication and aptitude.

The main subject areas are trust creation, law and practice, trust administration and accounts, and trustee investment and financial appraisal.

These can be studied in any order.

Students who pass the four three-hour exams are awarded a Diploma in International Trust Management. Full membership requires a STEP qualification and five years' work experience.