STEP launches new practitioner guide on responsible wealth stewardship

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STEP, the worldwide professional association for practitioners who advise families across generations, has launched a new guide for advisers on the responsible stewardship of wealth in a changing world.

Family Dialogues on the Responsible Stewardship of Wealth: A Guide marks the start of a discussion among STEP members and the wider advisory community on responsible stewardship principles and what they mean for wealth holders in an age of financial complexity, extended families, increasing inequality and shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Along with a series of events, starting today, the guide provides insights into the opportunities wealth owners have to be guided by specific stewardship principles and values, whether in the field of long-term family succession planning or the public good and creation of philanthropic legacies.

STEP believes there is no single ‘right’ approach to family wealth planning. But trusteeship and stewardship embody the responsibilities those entrusted with assets have to care for them on behalf of beneficiaries both now and in the future.

Lawyers and financial advisers bear a great duty to their clients; it is vital that in their work they raise the right questions and, in turn, ensure they reach the right conclusions. STEP envisions the guide will aid those discussions between practitioners and families about responsible stewardship and the many positive things it can achieve over years and generations.

Emily Deane TEP, Technical Counsel at STEP, says: "The landscape for wealth-owning families is becoming more complex and interdependent in the face of an uncertain climate. Meanwhile, income and wealth inequality has risen in advanced economies and the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many of us to reflect on what can be done to help, while also providing for our families’ needs.

"Responsible stewardship of wealth often means taking a long-term view, balancing the needs of current and future generations. It helps us reduce our negative footprint and increase our positive contribution. Family-owned wealth and businesses, by nature, embody this long-term ethos and are particularly well placed to align their interests with those of our communities, countries and planet.

"We hope this guide will help advisers and practitioners engage with these issues and, in turn, help their clients reach the right decisions in a changing world."