Clients will drive the adoption of digital in the trust sector

Whether or not trust companies adopt digital communication in the way they conduct business will depend on the way their clients expect them to engage, according to David Vieira or JTC Group. He was speaking at the BL Jersey Trusts Conference recently and said that while some businesses are starting to adopt social media platforms to engage with other service providers and potential referrers, they have yet to see any real progress on using social media to directly service clients.

It will be a brave company that takes that first step, he said, but also that it was not as far-fetched as might be assumed. In a theme echoed throughout the sessions, the challenge of providing trust and fiduciary services to modern generations is one that is critical to the trust industry at the moment.

That generation is mobile, and digital by default. Signing documents, attending meetings in person, even staying in one place for any period of time, the modern beneficiary does not ‘sit still’. If trust businesses are to continue to work with these clients then they need to adapt, to offer visibility and even some control to mobile and digital interactions.

David noted that this is particularly relevant in the emerging markets where trusts may have been formed by settlors with very traditional values and habits; however the beneficiaries come from a generation that grew up travelling the world and accessing the internet on the move, not tied to an office or home.

This culture clash is proving difficult to manage for many, meaning that changes to the way businesses manage the structures may be necessary to avoid any contentious disputes building up.