Launch of US Professionals Association

11 Sep, 2013

A new professional forum, has been created to help cement the relationships between the various professional firms that service the US community in London.


Comprising accountants, lawyers, wealth managers and others, the US Professionals Association (USPA) provides a platform for discussing and debating the unique issues that are faced by US Persons who live in the UK. 


“Our clients invariably face issues which require our firms to work together,” says Daniel Hyde, of UK-US tax advisers Westleton Drake, “and this group is designed to help us deliver in a seamless and joined-up manner.”

Along with Westleton Drake and leading wealth management firm Vestra Wealth, sponsor members include specialist wealth managers MASECO Private Wealth and Satis Asset Management, while accountancy firms such as Deloitte, Buzzacott, Frank Hirth and BDO are corporate members, as are law firms Speechly Bircham LLP and Withers LLP.


Chris McLemore of international law firm Withers LLP says: “Withers decided to join because the American market in the UK is a niche area and we thought it would be good to bring together as many people in this area as possible. The discussion element makes the group unique and allows members to learn how others are dealing with the issues of the day, whether they relate to tax, investments, immigration or any other area.”


Paul Nixon, director of Vestra US, the recently launched US-focused division of Vestra Wealth, explains how the group came about: “Westleton Drake, Withers, and Vestra US separately discussed the need for a greater level of information exchange between the different facets of the US Private Client world with Deborah Hicks, owner of international tax training company DJH international tax. The purpose of this group is to position all of us better to provide guidance and support to clients and thereby continue to raise standards within our section of the industry.”


The USPA meets quarterly at venues such as Searcy’s Champagne Bar, Christopher’s American Grill, and the Whitechapel Gallery. So far each meeting has attracted approximately 50 people. A few places are always available to prospective members who wish to try a meeting before deciding to join.


Dates are set for the year ahead, to help plan around other commitments, and members are invited to submit suggestions for the discussion topic. These are circulated to other members with a request to rank them in order of preference. The most popular suggestion forms the cornerstone of the hour-long discussion, which is followed by an opportunity for members to network over food and drinks.


“The idea is to make meetings sociable and fun as well as having technical value and interest,” says Deborah Hicks, who manages the group as well as organising conferences and training courses for her company, DJH international tax. “Many professionals from different disciplines have become used to interacting on a specific client’s behalf but rarely get the chance to know each other beyond that. Other networking groups tend to focus on one area, such as tax, but the USPA has the interests of the US expatriate client at its core, so anyone who advises US expats in a professional capacity is welcome to join.


The meetings provide an opportunity to discuss a broad topic that has relevance to all – the first two have dealt with different aspects of retirement planning and pensions, for example. This means that members not only learn how others in their own profession are handling a current issue, but also begin to understand the perspective of a professional from a different area. This helps them provide a more rounded portfolio of advice to clients.”


Members can also elect to attend two conferences a year, in February and October, and there is a dinner scheduled for April 2014. for details of meetings and membership.

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