This 60-Second Interview was conducted by The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and was first published on STEP.org, August 29, 2017.
Q: How and why did you get involved with STEP?
Christopher McKenzie, the first Chair of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) branch, introduced me to STEP early in my career. I saw it then, as I do now, as a great opportunity to learn more about the industry both through the courses and through its membership.
Q: What benefits has it brought you personally, or in your business?
STEP has allowed me the opportunity to meet and network with professionals from many different areas and regions. This has been a benefit to me on both a professional and a personal level.
Q: You were recently given a Founder’s Award. What does this mean to you?
I enjoy the work that I do for STEP, although it can be quite challenging, and it is nice to be recognised.
Q: What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?
It is an exceptional organisation which encourages a high level of professionalism to be maintained in the industry.
Q: What would you say to other members who are thinking of getting more involved with STEP?
I am always encouraging members to become more involved, and hope I lead by example. It’s a great opportunity to meet and learn from other practitioners and, importantly, it’s an opportunity to be involved in matters that directly affect our business and jurisdiction.
Q: What do you feel are the main challenges facing your region at the moment?
The region is challenged by constantly-moving goal posts set by international bodies. Many jurisdictions within the region, especially the BVI, have systems which far exceed international standards. Unfortunately, it appears that these standards apply to some and not to all.
Q: How are you planning to deal with them?
By encouraging our membership, and those who use our services, to continue to promote and educate others on the nature of our business, and the high standards which we are held to by our regulator.
Vanessa King, TEP, is a partner at O’Neal Webster. She is the chair of STEP BVI and also chairs the branch’s Trust and Succession Law Review Committee. Vanessa is also a member of the STEP Caribbean and Latin America Regional Committee and of the steering committee of the STEP Caribbean Conference.
The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is the worldwide professional association for professionals who help families plan for their futures including everything from drafting a will and advising family businesses, to helping international families and protecting vulnerable family members. The organisation has over 20,000 members across 95 countries working as lawyers, accountants and other trust and estate specialists.