STEP Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising: An Interview with Ian Mann – Avoiding Trust Disputes

The use of trusts as a tool for preserving wealth has been popular for many years, but the increase in the complexity of family and other trust structures and the transfer of wealth to a new generation has caused a rise in the number of trusts involved in disputes in recent years.

In an ever-changing environment with evolving client needs, practitioners involved in the creation and administration of trusts are encouraged to improve their understanding of how disputes occur and how they can be avoided.

The new STEP Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising, which is being launched in Asia this year, includes a Masterclass on Trust Disputes that aims to provide a practical overview of themes and issues leading to disputes that are commonly encountered in Asia. The Trust Disputes Masterclass focuses on avoiding litigation by anticipating and heading off problems before they arise and provides guidance on how to navigate most types of trust dispute, if and when the court room beckons.

The session is led by Ian Mann, Managing Partner of Harneys’ Asia, who specialises in contentious trusts. He is an experienced advocate, and lectures regularly to judicial, professional and academic bodies.  His presentation and teaching style is dynamic, engaging and pitched to senior practitioners.

Ian, we are pleased to welcome you as a tutor for this year’s launch in Asia, specifically for the Masterclass of Trust Disputes. In your opinion, why do you think it is important for professionals to consider this type and level of qualification?

In an evolving world and multi-disciplined industry, it is important for senior practitioners to be able to participate in a course or be in an environment that allows them to have a mature debate amongst senior peers. This is not always possible as other courses of study are often targeted at emerging professionals or an audience of mixed levels. The Masterclasses will allow senior professionals to participate in a course that focusses on the more strategic elements of their business.

How do the Masterclasses within the STEP Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising facilitate this style of approach and learning?

The Masterclasses will be educational and will not assume a detailed knowledge of the curriculum. However, the Masterclasses will not only involve learning in the traditional sense – we will encourage the use of debate and discussion within the group, focussing on practitioners’ commercial experience. We aim to improve knowledge in a way that will lead to long-term work generation for attendees.  Having taught post graduate level courses alongside members of the judiciary, my philosophy is that participants will get more out of sessions that are fun, inspiring and interactive.

What value do you feel this will add to participants’ day-to-day role?

The programme and the Trust Disputes Masterclasses in particular, will focus on the personal aspects of the profession and self-improvement, rather than just the relevance and applicability of new rules in certain jurisdictions. The core aim will be to provide practitioners with more confidence when handling their clients and providing advice. This is particularly important since many practitioners are not trusts specialists but deal with trusts as a small part of their overall role.

When can practitioners join the session and participate in the programme?

Launching in Asia 2019, the new Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advising features eight Masterclasses tailored to the local market. The Masterclass sessions, led by industry experts, will take place over two condensed residential weekends in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Masterclass sessions cover:

  • Family Offices in Asia
  • Strategic Philanthropy
  • International Taxation
  • Compliance for Trustees
  • Trust Disputes
  • Advising Family Businesses
  • Cross-Border Estates
  • Assets 101

The first residential weekend will take place in Singapore in November 2019, with the second (at which I will deliver the Trust Disputes Masterclass) taking place in Hong Kong in May 2020.

Candidates can explore the programme by visiting, registering their interest at or contacting the course provider (CLT International) at +44 121 362 7500.