Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Are there any tips for putting the submission together?
A. Yes, STEP's Chief Executive George Hodgson has outlined 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.

Q. Can organisations and individuals based outside the UK enter the Awards?
A. Yes, all categories are open internationally. The Presiding Judges Panel includes experts from Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, Channel Islands, Continental Europe, South America, United Arab Emirates, USA and the United Kingdom

Q. Are appendices included in the word count for the submission?
A. Ensure your entry is no more than 1000 words, allocating 200 words per criteria point. Entries of over 1,000 words will not be accepted by the judges. All text within the document (excluding criteria headers/headers on the submission templates) will be counted in the word count, including the appendices. We would suggest scaling the appendices back or leaving them out altogether if possible. 

Q. Can a firm enter the Awards if one of the presiding Judges is a representative from the same firm?
A. In 2015 the rules regarding firms who have Judges on the Panel were revised, and they can now enter. 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. Why is there no Philanthropy Team category this year?
A. As the popularity of the Awards has grown, the demand for categories has also increased. To avoid excessive numbers of categories, a rotation system has been introduced for those categories that have historically received fewer entries to allow for other categories to be included. As a result, the Philanthropy Team of the Year category is rotated annually with Charity Team of the Year. To view the current list of categories for the 2017/18 Awards, please click here

Q. While our firm does not have any overseas offices, over 50 per cent of our new business is from clients with foreign connections. Is this sufficient to qualify for the International Legal Team of the Year Award? 
A. The International Legal Team of the Year Award is open to firms that service international clients, so your firm as detailed would qualify for this. The criteria does mention ‘how the firm uses their international network to deliver’ but that need not be a network of branches, it could be a network of relationships with other firms. To view the full criteria for this Award please click here.

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 should be net of fees, 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 experience in the selected strategy. If only gross returns are available then this must be made clear so we can highlight for the judges attention.

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 - December . The 1,000 word submission should reflect from May 2016 - April 2017.

Q. We are looking to enter the Investment Team of the Year Category, our firm is a provider of investments that qualify for BPR, can you confirm if the Award is aimed towards financial advisers or investment managers?
A. The Investment Team of the Year Award category is intended for investment managers rather than financial advisers. Specialist investment solutions which in large seek to address a taxation aspect are not strictly what is intended for this category.

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 session 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. See 'How to win a STEP Private Client Award'

Q. What is the definition of a Vulnerable Client?
A: A Vulnerable Client for the purpose of the Awards is defined as, clients who have capacity to make decisions and provide you with instructions, but by reason of a range of mental and/or physical disabilities require enhanced support to engage your services and give you instructions clients who lack mental capacity to make decisions and provide you with instructions, for whom a range of statutory and other safeguards must be followed clients who are 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 you book a table of 12 at the event?
A. We have a limited number of these tables available. Should you wish to make a booking for a table of 12, please email For individual tickets and tables of 10, please click here