The following is taken fromSTEP Journal- the award-winning
official magazine of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Find the interviewhere.
60 Second Interview with BDB Partner Nick
Why did you enter this year's STEP Private Client
STEP is a global leader in private client accreditation and a
STEP PCA is a true mark of quality. Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) has
been a market leader in private client work for well over a century
but we were interested to press the case for BDB's recent
intense and committed investment in contentious trusts and
How important is winning a STEP PCA to your
We were thrilled to be shortlisted for both our contentious and
non-contentious work but absolutely delighted to have won a STEP
PCA. This award marks a real achievement for us and a strong mark
of the genuine quality of our team. The STEP Contentious Trust and
Estates Team of the Year is an award around which our team can
rally and in which we take great pride. We hold our competitors and
friends who were also shortlisted in the highest regard and firmly
agree with the judges that any of them would also have been a
How is your firm promoting the win to
We have emailed many of our contacts and added the winner logo
to our signatures.
You joined STEP as a QP student in 2008. How did you
hear about the Society and why did you join?
When I moved to Cayman from Canada, my then managing partner,
Sophia Harris of Solomon Harris, encouraged me to join. Thank God
What does being part of STEP mean to you/your
We try to take full advantage of STEP's wealth of
connections, its body of articles and knowledge but we also look to
STEP to lobby and inform government about the effects of deterring
private wealth investment through punitive tax and other measures.
STEP membership is an essential component of any private wealth
Private client practitioners comprise a broad spectrum.
What do you think links practitioners/STEP members around the
The practitioners may be broad but we are all linked by our
clients and our problems. There are many fewer high-net-worth
individuals than people think and many, many fewer
ultra-high-net-worth individuals. In counselling these individuals
and families, we all come across the same issues eventually.
What's been the best STEP event you've attended
To date my favourite was the STEP PCA ceremony! However, STEP
Asia's conference, which we attended last week, was as superb
What are the main challenges facing your
organisation/practitioners at the moment?
There is very good news and very bad news. First, the bad news:
European governments have been proposing and to a lesser extent
enacting sweeping tax changes to the treatment of trusts (and UK
property structures) in a direct attack on many of our clients'
Second, the good news: we are enormously excited by the coming
introduction of damage-based fees for litigation. The availability
of such funding will greatly enhance trustees' ability to
pursue proceedings where the trust fund has been gutted by
mismanagement or negligence.
How will you deal with these challenges?
We will fight the former with information and gallows
What else is keeping you busy at work at the
Consolidation in the trustee field combined with settlor-fee
sensitivity and the migration of trust administration to lower
cost, less experienced jurisdictions is just beginning to produce
the first shoots of what will become a highly profitable harvest of
trust litigation for decades to come.
Who has been your greatest mentor and
My greatest mentors have been Bryan Baynham QC, who taught me
that a good litigator knows which tool to apply in what
circumstance as well as the limits of ethical advocacy, and David
Wingfield, who taught me to figure out your opponents' weakest
ground and then force them to fight there.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have two sons, aged two and four, both of whom I adore. My
wife and I spend our free time enslaved under their despotic
What's the best book you have read this year? (It
could be work-related or otherwise.)
Roots by Alex Haley.
What's your favourite quote?
'The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.'
(French mathematician Blaise Pascal)
Which social media channels do you use and
I use Facebook to share pictures of my kids with friends and
family, and Skype to speak to them.
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