Staying a step ahead: A new wealth structuring forum for Cayman

Demonstrating that the Cayman Islands is a well-regulated, innovative, and sophisticated international financial center is the responsibility of everyone who is engaged in the jurisdiction’s financial services industry. However, for organizations such as the Cayman Branch of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners, it is equally important to ensure that these promotional endeavors are supported by further efforts to educate the public and promote high professional standards across the industry.

STEP Cayman has recently redoubled its efforts in this regard, not only to highlight the Cayman Islands as a leader in the wealth management industry but also to offer its own leadership in the form of industry forums where STEP members and the public alike can be informed about, and debate, developments and offerings in the jurisdiction. Having held the successful “STEP Cayman Forum,” hosted by representatives of STEP Cayman at the Institute of Directors in London in September 2017, STEP Cayman is now preparing for its inaugural international wealth structuring forum in the Cayman Islands on Jan. 29-30, 2018, at the Kimpton Seafire Hotel.

What is STEP?

STEP is a global network of professionals who specialize in family inheritance and succession planning, including the provision of advice related to trusts and estate matters. The primary purposes of STEP are to improve public understanding of the issues families face in relation to inheritance and succession planning and to promote education and high professional standards among STEP’s members. In 2017, STEP Cayman celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the Cayman Islands branch of STEP and its membership base is presently approximately 240, including lawyers, accountants and other trust and estate specialists.

Curating local content

As a key part of the global financial framework, the structures and solutions that the Cayman Islands provides to clients continue to evolve. The jurisdiction is enjoying a period of substantial and transformative investment in its infrastructure, and is increasingly able to provide greater substance for its clients and their advisors; a crucial factor for the future as the international BEPS initiatives are implemented. The ongoing push for international cooperation and cross-border transparency also requires a greater understanding of the ways in which different jurisdictions interact, and the fostering of stronger relationships between professionals engaged in the financial services industry worldwide.

In addition, as the jurisdiction grows and enhances its position in the global financial system, the professionals who work with the Cayman Islands must also be willing to embrace continuing professional development. STEP is one of the key cross-industry organizations that is in a unique position to do this, working with government and lawmakers, advisors and other professionals to seek better client and industry outcomes.

The STEP Cayman Conference

The STEP Cayman Conference is an international wealth structuring forum which will explore the topical issues pertinent to the trust industry with a special focus on wealth structuring. It has already attracted international experts as speakers, and confirmed attendance by delegates from a range of both onshore and offshore jurisdictions. Running for two days, the STEP Cayman Conference will be offering informative and insightful discussions on the latest local and global developments impacting the private client industry, including legislative updates, recent cases and guidance to professionals and practitioners. The content is expansive and delegates will have the opportunity to attend sessions concerning notable developments in trust litigation, data protection and private client confidentiality, holding unusual assets in trusts, and guidance as to succession planning in the light of advances in medical science and technology. The conference has also garnered significant local and international support, with businesses, firms and organizations such as Butterfield Trust, CIBC Bank and Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, Rawlinson & Hunter, and Harneys, and Sharp Partners P.A joining Appleby, Maples and Calder, and Ogier as key sponsors.

Promoting Cayman

Having created an enviable opportunity to promote the Cayman Islands as a leading offshore jurisdiction to both local and international attendees, STEP Cayman expects the local forum to be a well-attended and successful event and, looking to the future, a key component of the jurisdiction’s regular marketing efforts.