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Modern trustees under the microscope at international conference

Senior figures from the contentious trusts world gathered at the W Hotel in Barcelona for the Fresh Perspectives: Trust Litigation Conference, “Trusts Under the Hammer” earlier in May to discuss the latest trends in the industry.

Trust Corporation International director Lydia Essa appeared as part of a panel session hosted by Andrea Zavos of Boodle Hatfield entitled “Squaring the Cross Jurisdictional Circle”, providing a Guernsey trustee’s practical perspective on a host of the hot-button issues and the pressures facing offshore trustees. She was joined on the panel by Stella Mitchell-Voisin of Summit Trust International and Thomas Nigg of Gasser Partner Attorneys at Law.

The conference was the perfect forum to consider and debate the landscape and pitfalls generally for trusts and trustees. The format was an effective combination of technical insight from the lawyers into some complex legal issues, coupled with some practical insight from representatives of the trust industry, including Lydia herself.

The sessions throughout the day focused on topical issues including:

The overrarching message of the conference was clear: the modern trustee is operating in an increasingly complex and challenging environment. Technical ability and knowledge is an imperative and the “flight to quality” is real. This was a view supported by Lydia who shared with the audience some of her first-hand experience of certain challenges faced by offshore trustees nowadays, including navigating ever-evolving tax regimes, contending with the increasing influence of the “Court of Public Opinion” and the challenges of engaging with families when there has been a significant shift of wealth to the next generation.

Lydia emphasised that the need for offshore trustees to be highly skilled with strong technical ability, exemplary communication skills and the capacity to keep pace with change is stronger than ever - a view shared by the audience. Those who cannot do this will, in all likelihood, not be able to withstand the pressures faced by the industry. 

If any of the issues discussed at the Trust Litigation Conference are of interest/relevance to you or your clients and you would like to discuss them with us, please contact us on +44 1481 730430 or email Lydia Essa at