Photo (left to right): Trust Manager, Annabel Noel; Trust Officer, Laura Chavan
Annabel has worked at Alex Picot Trust since leaving school and progressed from trainee trust officer to senior trust officer. Today, she leads a team of trust administrators. We caught up with Annabel and Laura to delve a little deeper into what they do and to understand from their perspective what personal client service looks like.
Question 1: What does ‘a good day in the office’ look like for your team?
AN: Good communication within the team is really important as we rely upon each other to get the work done on time and accurately. We keep talking and picking up work for each other and constantly ‘checking in’ throughout the day to get our heads together if we need to solve a problem.
LC: As well as the daily tasks that we expect, there are always a few curve balls to deal with but we all pull together. If Annabel needs extra support in a specific area I’ll offer to help, working closely means we can pick up on where the extra support may be needed that day.
Do you structure the day in any way?
AN: Not really, but with a shared mailbox we are all able to see what the client and director requests are as the day progresses and we keep talking to each other through the day. Prioritising urgent requests means that we get through the daily workload and that’s a good day at the office for us.
Question 2: What would surprise us most about the job you do?
AN: That we really do go the extra mile for our clients. What we do for clients is not just about their financial matters, we genuinely like to make things as easy as possible for clients but also make sure we get to know them and they get to know us.
In our job we get to see inside the lives of our clients, we get to know their families and their lifestyles and from there we are able to become a real part of their team, quite often working alongside their PAs and advisors.
LC: We like to make sure that when we are dealing with clients that we are seen as helpful and I’m always thinking of ways to make processes as easy as possible for them depending on their circumstances. For some a general chat about things will mean a lot to them if they live alone, for others it is more transactional but in general we are always there at the end of the phone.
Question 3: How many clients do you have contact with on a weekly basis?
LC: More than we would probably realise. In general, we have key clients that we know inside out and work with regularly, then there are the low-touch clients who have less requirements but we work with as and when they need support.
AN: When it comes to the family office structures, we are really involved in all elements of family and company administration, so it can feel that we work just for them sometimes. In an average week we are covering many different clients but for some reason the majority of our unexpected requests tend to come in on a Friday!
Question 4: It looks like you juggle a lot of different tasks on a daily basis, what skills do you think are required for this job?
AN: Definitely good people skills as we are dealing with various personalities and it’s important that we remain professional and provide clients with the personal service they expect. Strong organisational skills are essential as we have to be efficient and work to lots of deadlines, oh and common sense is a given as we are dealing with ‘real-life’ financial matters.
LC: It’s also useful to have investigative skills as we often have to look deeper into matters, work things out or find information – perseverance and patience are also useful! I think working in a team means we each rely upon the others for their strengths but together we can be really effective.
Question 5: What do you see as the most challenging aspects of the role?
AN: Managing the expectations of clients is a real priority for all of us in the administration team as we have to make sure that we provide the best possible service to all clients.
It’s so rewarding getting to a point with a client where the relationship is a personal one, speaking to them about their lives and families and sharing our own experiences helps build the relationship.
LC: The Alex Picot Trust directors are very accessible, they physically work alongside us and their doors are always open so no matter what challenges we face we have their attention and support. This is one of the advantages to working in the company of this size as we really do all work as a team.
What 3 words best describe working at Alex Picot Trust?
ANNABEL: SUPPORTIVE – REWARDING – FAMILY
LAURA: BUSY – HAPPY – PEOPLE