Q. Are there any tips for putting the submission together?
A. Yes, the Chair of the Presiding Judges Stella Mitchell-Voisin has some useful tips for entrants on how to build a strong submission. Details can be found here.

Q. Can non-members of STEP enter the Awards?
A. Yes, the Awards are open for both members of STEP and non-members. The judging process is robust and it makes no difference to your entry whether you are a member of STEP or not. The only Award not open to non-members is the Trusted Advisor of the Year Award; this is for full STEP members only.

Q. What countries do you accept entries from?
A. All categories are open internationally. The Presiding Judges Panel includes experts from Australia, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, China, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Italy, Jersey, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Q. Can URL links be included in the submission? 
A. No, as of 2021, URL links are not permitted within the submission.

Q. Is there a fee to enter the STEP Private Client Awards?
We do not charge a fee to enter the STEP Private Client Awards, but rather ask for donations to our awards charity partner, Alzheimer’s Disease International. They support and work with Alzheimer and dementia associations in 120 countries, as well as people living with dementia, carers and all relevant organisations to help raise awareness, challenge stigma and to call for dementia to be the global health priority it needs to be. Donations last year ranged from GBP150 to GBP2,000 per entry and a total of over GBP60,000 was raised last year. You will receive instructions on how you can make your donation on your confirmation email, once your submission(s) have been uploaded. 

Q. How do I enter the Awards? 
A. New for 2024, entrants will need to upload their submission via our Awards software provider, Evessio. Details can be found here

Q. What is the word count?
A. The maximum word count is 1,200 words per entry. This is set at 240 words per criteria for categories with five questions and 300 words per criteria for categories with four questions. For the Geoffrey Shindler and Lifetime Achievement awards, one open text box will be available. 

Q. Can a firm enter the Awards if one of the Presiding Judges is a representative from the same firm?
A. Yes. Where this is the case, to avoid conflicts of interest, the relevant judge will be excused from judging the relevant category(ies).

Q. Can a firm win an Awards category two consecutive years running?
A firm/individual is eligible to win up to three consecutive years in a particular category; in the fourth year, those winners will be excluded from entering and will be eligible to enter again in the fifth year. This rule does not apply for subsidiary/affiliate firms or teams based in different jurisdictions.

Q. Can you enter the Awards as two joint-venture companies with different trading names?
A. The Private Client Awards do not currently accept entries from joint-venture companies with different trading names.

Q. Can a firm put forward multiple entries for the same category?
A. For larger organisations, entries may be made, and indeed are welcomed, from one particular office or region of a larger team. Multiple entries by difference offices, teams or regions within the same firm for the same category are not precluded. However, such entries will need to clearly explain why multiple entries are appropriate: experience shows that multiple entries from the same firm can count against that firm.

Q. What time on Friday 12 April do the Awards entries close?
A. The Awards entries close on midnight in the country in which the entrant is entering. 


Q. We are looking to enter the Investment Team of the Year category, should the performance data be gross or net of fees?
A: Returns must be provided net of fees including third-party fund fees, transaction and custody costs, thus a fair approximation of the results experienced by a client. Some firms use a tiered fee scale, so lower % for higher investment amounts; in this case a sensible fee level should be applied that is comparable to the average/mean client portfolio in the selected strategy. 

Q. We would like to enter our Model Portfolios, of which we have six categories, for the Investment Team of the Year category. Do we need to provide a data sheet for each portfolio, or just select a couple of the categories? Can multiple portfolio entries be submitted within the same entry or should these all be submitted separately?
A. It is fine to submit model data, however you would need to select your ‘flagship strategy’, not six strategies as outlined. Each submission is thereafter based on the performance of the flagship strategy and this makes comparison across investment managers more relevant. Most investment managers submit one of their cautious, managed or growth data sets.

Q. We are looking to enter the Investment Team of the Year category. For the Quantitative Section it says your answers should refer to the past year, please can you confirm the dates. 
A. The quantitative data should reflect from (January 2021–December 2023). The 1,200 word submission should reflect from 14 April 2023–12 April 2024.

Q. We are looking to enter the Investment Team of the Year Category, our firm is a provider of investments that qualify for Business Property Relief (UK). Can you confirm if the Award is aimed towards financial advisors or investment managers?
A. The Investment Team of the Year Award category is intended for investment managers rather than financial advisors. Specialist investment solutions, which largely seek to address a taxation aspect, are not strictly what is intended for this category.

Q. The Investment Team of the Year category states that details of a ‘medium risk’ strategy should be provided, but what does ‘medium risk’ mean in the context of the STEP Awards?
A. Please follow the methodology of a medium risk portfolio as used by the MPI Indices. This method focuses on maximum drawdown and volatility expectations of a portfolio over a full market cycle under ‘normal’ market conditions. By way of guidance, portfolios in the medium risk category typically experienced volatility of between 7% and 10% over the submission period January 2021 to December 2023.

Q. We already contribute our performance data to MPI; can you just use the same data?
A. Yes we can, please tell us the strategy/model you wish to submit and we will ask MPI to use that data for your submission. 

Q. Please can you define what STEP classifies as a fee earner in order for us to better understand which category we qualify for?
A. A fee earner refers to a practitioner who takes on cases and charges a fee to the client for such work. A solicitor is a fee earner, a barrister is a fee earner, a legal executive is a fee earner. A legal secretary is not, on the face of it, a fee earner, neither is a Legal Cashier, a Practice Manager, a PA or a receptionist.

Q. Do you have more information or a steer on what is expected of applications for the Vulnerable Client Advisor of the Year Award?
A: For all categories, the full guidelines and criteria to follow can be found at categories. STEP are unable to offer any further guidance on an individual category basis, however we recommend using the five criteria as a header for each section of the submission and following these closely. We also recommend concentrating on what the advisor/team has achieved over the past year that makes them stand out as the best in the field. 

Q. What is the definition of a ‘vulnerable client’?
A: A ‘vulnerable client’ for the purpose of the Awards is defined as:

  • a client who has capacity to make decisions and provide you with instructions, but by reason of a range of mental and/or physical disabilities requires enhanced support to engage your services and give you instructions;
  • a client who lacks mental capacity to make decisions and provide you with instructions, and for whom a range of statutory and other safeguards must be followed; and
  • a client who is vulnerable to undue influence or duress and who may or may not have mental capacity to make decisions and provide you with instructions. Please click here to view the full criteria.  

Q. Can a firm nominate more than one individual for the Rising Star Award?
A. Yes a firm can nominate more than one practitioner from the same firm. You would need to put forward an individual submission for each nominee.  

Q. We are looking at entering the Private Client Legal Team of the Year Category, on criteria 1 it asks to highlight key cases (no more than three). Do the cases have to have started within the time period allocated of 14 April 2023 to 12 April 2024 or can they have started prior to this time and are completed within this time period? 
A. A substantive part of the case you refer to must have taken place in the period 14 April 2023 to 12 April 2024. The judges will be alive to cases where only a small part of the case is during that period (for instance some small post-completion wrapping up) and may mark down accordingly. Entrants should be wary of using the same case that they have used in previous years’ submissions as we want the awards to be ‘of the year’, so receiving credit more than once for the same case is not in the spirit of what we are judging. If entrants do wish to use the same case twice, then there should be some novel development in it (e.g. a subsequent court appeal that has reversed a previous judgment) otherwise the submission may be marked down by the Judges. 


Q. How and when will the Awards Ceremony take place?
A. The awards ceremony will be held in- person on Thursday 19 September 2024 at London Hilton on Park Lane. We look forward to celebrating with you. Details on how to register for the ceremony will be available from the end of April.