News | December 12, 2022

Profile – Michelle Jones

You have over 20 years’ experience of running mostly UK based trusts – what first attracted you to the role and how has it changed?

Before my move to trust work I was a trainee chartered accountant. I found visiting oil refineries in Scotland at New Year and spending the summer on secondment to a car dealership in Torquay less than exciting and when a trust role opened up in the accountancy firm I worked for, I jumped at the chance. Scary to admit but that is 30 years ago now. Rather than dealing with a tiny aspect of company accounts or travelling here, there and everywhere for audits, trust work appealed as it enabled me to get to know the client families and build relationships both with them and other advisers. The work also enabled me to see a job through from start to finish, both in terms of accounts and tax return preparation. And the work is ongoing, you deal with trusts year in year out.

Whilst the “people” side of the role hasn’t changed – aspects of the associated compliance have. I have seen the introduction of: self-assessment, changes to capital gains tax calculations (I cannot claim to miss indexation) and watched tax rates increase and decrease. Recent years have seen the rise of more compliance areas: LEI codes, FATCA, CRS, AEOI, and the Trust Register. Underpinning all that is the software and the systems to help with all of this; these also evolve and change over the years. More generally, we have moved from paper to electronic files.

Tell us a little about your role as Senior Trust Manager at Wedlake Bell?

In my eleven years at Wedlake Bell, the Trust team has expanded from two to five team members. We manage the day to day running of mainly UK trusts, liaising with trustees, beneficiaries, investment managers and other third party advisers. We prepare annual accounts and tax returns, ensuring our trusts are fully compliant. The five of us work closely together to provide the best possible service to our clients and to assist our colleagues in the Private Client team. It is invaluable to be part of a large, established and experienced team. The breadth of experience means that there is always someone to advise. My background is accountancy, being surrounded by so many bright and able legal brains is a huge help in my role. It means we can cover all the bases.

I’ve worked at Wedlake Bell longer than anywhere else. I’ve never really questioned myself on why that is. I think it comes down to the people and communication. I like my colleagues and clients. I couldn’t work with a better bunch than my four Trust team colleagues. And I enjoy working as part of the wider team.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I wish I could claim to have some madly exciting interests. I’m a dab hand at online shopping but I don’t think that counts! I have a teenage son and two grown up stepsons. My son is only thirteen and seems to have a million and one extracurricular activities so large parts of my time revolve around what he is doing. Factor in that my husband is a police officer and works shifts – no two weeks are the same. Plus, we have an exuberant fox red Labrador (a lockdown puppy!) who expects a reasonable number of walks.