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Robin Melley: Why I'm in several professional bodies

Updated: Apr 11

Our MD, Robin Melley, looks at the benefits for Financial Planners of being a member of more than one professional body.

There are growing numbers of Financial Planners who, like me, are longstanding members of one or more of the recognised professional membership bodies (such as CISI, LIBF and PFS) who are also reaping the benefits of being a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) but why and what does STEP offer to Financial Planners?

For those who do not know, STEP is a global professional body, with more than 21,000 members comprising lawyers, accountants, trustees, financial planners, tax advisers and other practitioners that help families plan for their futures.

Consequently, STEP members are typically also members of their own professional membership bodies – for example, lawyers may also be members of The Law Society.

Full STEP members, known as Trust and Estate Practitioners (TEPs) are internationally recognised as experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience.

I joined STEP many years ago for two principal reasons: to enhance my technical knowledge and skills on estate planning and advising clients in vulnerable circumstances, and to enhance the collaborative work that I was doing with other professionals – typically lawyers, tax advisers and accountants.

It is fair to say that it has taken hard work to achieve the TEP qualification on top of being Chartered but it is no different for a lawyer or accountant achieving the same qualification on top of becoming Chartered in their professions.

However, it has been very worthwhile and has resulted in better outcomes for clients through the application of specialist technical knowledge and the ability to have more meaningful collaborative working relationships with other STEP members, who may also be lawyers, tax advisers and accountants and so on.

One of the reasons that Financial Planning is such a valuable profession is because it requires a holistic approach and it implies an ongoing service through every stage of a client's life.

Lawyers, accountants, and tax advisers are often engaged to provide packages of advice, so it is hugely beneficial for other professionals to work with Financial Planners, who are engaged to provide long-term advice and service.

Certainly, from my perspective, I am always reassured that a lawyer, tax adviser or accountant is a fellow STEP member when I refer clients to them.

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