It says education on the tin…

  • Author : David Harvey
  • Date : December 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Harvey is STEP Chief Executive

We often dismiss value statements in corporate reports with ‘So what?’ Vision, mission and values; they all soon evaporate if the organisation does not live up to its fine words.

Equally, organisations need to describe not just what they do – their mission – or how the world will be better if they succeed – their vision – but they need to say who they are. You can trumpet who you are or abandon everyone to guessing. Values describe the character of the organisation and its members, and how they hope the outside world will recognise them. Internally, values should both reflect and inspire behaviour that builds a cohesive culture.

One of the reasons for STEP’s success is that, throughout, through hundreds of participating lecturers, meeting organisers, and thousands of members who attend events and participate in learning, there is an absolute commitment to education, professional development and better business. So members consciously and subconsciously live STEP’s values, and anyone might look at me and say, as I try to define them here, ‘It’s education, stupid.’ In 2009, STEP Council decided not to define STEP’s values formally, as it felt they were obvious. Council did adopt the vision and mission, which are as follows.

Today STEP offers the vision: The responsible stewardship of assets today and across future generations under the guidance of STEP members.

STEP’s mission is to:

  • Be the worldwide professional body of practitioners advising on both the responsible stewardship and structuring of assets by individuals, families and businesses today and across the generations, and the structuring of those assets to care for dependants and the vulnerable.
  • Promote the highest standards through education.
  • Demonstrate the value of good stewardship and planning across future generations to governments, professionals, financial institutions and the public.
  • Be the representative voice of the industry, as a unique professional body, providing a local, national and international learning and business network for its members.

However, the lack of a values statement has been a disadvantage in setting up STEP in new jurisdictions, and in dealing with external bodies such as international regulators and governments. When meeting regulators, even a simple statement, such as ‘STEP believes tax evasion is a crime’ has opened doors. The STEP Board and Council want a statement of values that clearly says who STEP is. This is for any prospective member, stakeholder, contact, journalist – anyone who meets STEP for the first time; it is also a reminder for any current member.

This is a draft of STEP’s proposed values, as amended after consultations in June:

  • Through every action STEP is committed to encouraging and supporting responsible estate planning for families.
  • STEP values education across professional disciplines, to build stronger practice, new knowledge and high standards.
  • STEP encourages a collaborative, educational, member-driven community, with strong local roots and a global outlook.
  • STEP is driven by its member network and values each member’s commitment to the sharing of knowledge, learning, integrity and ethical practice.
  • STEP strives to raise standards and business effectiveness through the services offered to members.
  • STEP and its members emphasise the need for a mutually positive relationship with government and society, both to protect families’ rights and to support their duties. STEP globally reflects this approach in its policy and research work.

Members’ further comments are welcome to [email protected]


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