STEP launches new branding

STEP has grown dramatically from its beginnings as a niche society for UK-based accountants and lawyers working with trusts. Now with nearly 20,000 members across the world from a range of professional backgrounds, our emphasis has broadened and trusts are just one part of the wider role our members play in advising families on their long-term wealth planning.

Recognising that our old brand no longer reflected us as a Society, we have launched a new visual identity to represent us as a professional, international and outward-facing organisation.

In developing the new brand we were keen to keep hold of our heritage. As an established organisation we wanted to acknowledge our history, but at the same time appeal to those new to STEP.

In addition, given the growing importance of new media platforms, we needed branding that performs well across both print and digital.

As a result we have evolved our brand so that we are simply known as ‘STEP’, introducing a strapline – Advising Families Across Generations – that says more about what we and our members do.

George Hodgson, STEP’s Deputy Chief Executive, commented: ‘We are very proud to unveil our new brand, which presents us as a credible, established and modern organisation. This work is just a part of a longer-term strategy to create greater clarity about what we and our members do – which is to help families plan for their futures.’

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‘EU AML Agreement is Pragmatic Solution’ says STEP Chair

In a recent address to a STEP Policy Forum, worldwide Chair of STEP, Edward Buckland TEP, suggests the European Union’s agreement on a revised Fourth Anti Money Laundering (AML) Directive has achieved a workable compromise.

In his speech, Mr Buckland said: ‘STEP sees the outcome for trusts that was hammered out in Brussels as a pragmatic solution to the problem of striking a balance between combating illicit money flows and preserving the right of the individual to confidentiality in their financial affairs.’

He cited STEP’s work on the Fourth AML Directive as being one of the most important and protracted policy initiatives in STEP’s history.

Initial proposals from the EU Parliament had called for a public register of beneficial ownership for companies, foundations and family trusts. Ultimately, however, it was recognised that the family nature of trusts argues strongly against a publicly-accessible register. The final agreement instead calls for national trust registers to be established based on information that will in any case be available to tax authorities, with access to this register only available to official investigators.

Mr Buckland urged practitioners outside the EU to study the revised agreement and suggested the compromise may serve as a useful model to other countries looking to upgrade their AML regulations: ‘It provides a solution that is both relatively straightforward to operate (since it relies on information that authorities will already have) and allows easy access to the information by official investigators. Crucially, it also preserves legitimate confidentiality.’