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News and Stories

A Day in the Life.....Harry Shields

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

A Day in the Life of Harry Shields, Trust Officer at The Fort Group-Corporate Trustees & Asset Managers

As a Trust Officer working within a small/medium size corporate, no two days are ever the same given the nature of the work attended to. My worktime can be roughly split into 50% of time spent actively working with clients, 25% of time spent analysing data and 25% of time engaged in compliance and regulatory considerations. As such, there is a lot of priority-juggling required!

My day typically starts with the 6am alarm, a sound I have learnt to embrace like a teneous relative you see annually at family get-togethers with no particular enthusiasm but with an understanding that it's the right way to behave.

I then escape five minutes down the road to the gym for my morning exercise. Usually this is a combination of cardio and weights and (being a recipient of Wessex Heartbeat's charity during three previous open heart surgeries) I don't tend to focus on pushing myself as much as possible, just maintaining an active lifestyle to help keep the doctor (or surgeon) at bay.

After exercising, a quick shower is in order before dressing for work and grabbing an essential coffee on the way to the office.

My mornings constantly differ. However, I always try to attend to the large and difficult jobs first that will take up the most time and energy and both of these commodoties, are at their peak at the start of the day.

Today, I am meeting with the Directors and Officers of one of India's largest shipping companies, discussing various aspects of their business with us. This call always ties in to a larger project currently being undertaken, so provides plenty of work for myself and the team to be getting on with.

After lunch, is when I choose to attend to the more personal and sensitive work. Being part of a Corporate Trustee does not just mean dealing with legal or financial matters pertaining to purely large competitive private enterprise. Often, even large corporate structures will have an element of personal and family ownership and various legal vehicles are used to provide ongoing maintenance/wealth preservation for the underlying beneficiaries. Of course, you don't have to be a High Net Worth individual to avail of a Trustee's services and I have a number of clients who find themselves subjects to Trust and Estate structures of a modest monetary value but of extremely high importance.

This afternoon, I am dealing with one such case. I am meeting with colleagues to discuss a long term strategy for the future mantainance of a Beneficiary. He is a young man who suffers from severe learning difficulties and who, unfortunately, will never be able to live independently. After the death of his parents, his inheritance was settled in to a Trust that our company administrates. Therefore, we hold a responsibility to ensure we utilise those funds in the most effective manner and in the best interest of the Beneficiary. This is not a matter so trivial in its nature that you can paint it with the same flagrant criticism that some of the Financial Services Industry deservedly cops. This man's life will be severely affected by the quality of the sitting Trustees and the staff attending to any necessary work and this is the area of my job, where I gain most satisfaction from.

As five o'clock comes around, I am either working a little late, heading to a meet and greet function (due to Guernsey's fantastic efforts to control the spread of Covid-19, these functions have unfortunately continued practically uninterrupted throughout the pandemic!) or packing up to abscond sharpish.

Very few of us have the luxury to be able to pursue our dream job but it is my belief that it is up to you to see the value in what you do both in and outside of work. Wessex Heartbeat, has certainly helped me realise this in the service and charity they have shown me and my family when I was previously very ill and undergoing numerous cardiac repairs. I am incredibly grateful to all involved in providing such care. I personally look forward to assisting Wessex Heartbeat in the future with regards to providing an even greater service offered to patients and their loved ones.
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