Originally published 15 January 2009.
Guernsey fiduciary practitioner Michael Betley has received a Founder Award from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) for his outstanding voluntary contribution to the local branch since its inception 14 years ago.
Mr Betley, Managing Director of the Trust Corporation of the Channel Islands (TCCI), was a founding member of the Guernsey branch when it was established in 1995. He began as Secretary, became Chairman and then continued on the committee until two years ago, although he still remains an active member.
"I am extremely flattered to receive this award but of course the Guernsey branch could not be the success that it is without the continued commitment of a number of active members, of which I am just one," said Mr Betley.
He was nominated for the award by the current STEP Guernsey committee, led by Chairman Alison MacKrill.
She said: "This is the first time that STEP has presented such awards but on receiving the nomination forms we immediately recognised that we had an ideal candidate in Michael. He was a founder member of the local branch, spent four years as Chairman and has been particularly active in a number of areas, including writing about Guernsey issues across STEP publications. He is the embodiment of a spirit that is critical not only for the creation but also the sustained health of the society and its branches as represented by this award."
STEP Guernsey now has more than 500 members, making it one of the largest regional branches. It plays a key role in enhancing professional standards, whether that is providing training through qualifications, courses and lectures, funding research and publications or ensuring the visibility of the sector at recruitment fairs. The branch works with other sectors of the finance industry and the Guernsey Training Agency (GTA) University Centre to facilitate the best return in these areas.
There is also close cooperation with organisations such as the Guernsey Association of Trustees (GAT), which takes primary responsibility for liaising with government and the regulator in relation to fiduciary matters and also Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry.
Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, said: "Firstly I would like to congratulate Michael on winning this award, which is thoroughly deserved. It is notable that this recognition comes just a few months after Guernsey was named 'International Finance Centre of the Year' at the STEP Private Client Awards 2008/9.
"Guernsey's fiduciary industry benefits enormously from having a large and active STEP membership and this has been achieved by development over more than a decade. As the branch has become stronger so there has been increased cooperation between industry, government, the regulator and Guernsey Finance to enhance the Island's fiduciary offering and several years' hard work resulted in a new Trust Law, new Companies Law and new Guernsey Registry all coming on-stream in 2008. It has taken time to get where we are today but now everything is coming to fruition and there is every sign that we can sustain this momentum."
Mr Betley added: "Guernsey's fiduciary sector has not been immune from the developments in the world economy but it has not been affected as dramatically as other parts of the global finance industry. The sector is already renowned for its longevity and this current situation demonstrates how we are less susceptible to major swings. Guernsey's fiduciary industry is particularly well placed due to its depth and variety of work and we can see certain potential opportunities arising from the developing circumstances.
"Even so we must not be complacent. STEP continues to provide an excellent education programme but if Guernsey is to continue to innovate and develop then we need to continually raise both technical and practice standards."
Mr Betley will be presented with the award on Thursday 29 January when the Guernsey branch of STEP receives a presentation from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) on developments since the introduction of new AML/CFT legislation at the end of 2007.
Guernsey is a leading international fiduciary centre with 50 years experience of supplying trust and corporate services. The Island plays host to some 150 licensed fiduciaries, ranging from large organisations to independent, boutique operations, holding between £250bn and £300bn of assets in trust.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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