Jo-Anne Stephens, an associate at full service corporate and commercial law firm Higgs & Johnson, has been awarded the Society of Trust & Estate Professionals’ (STEP) Student Award, presented to the STEP student in the Caribbean and Latin American region who achieved the highest average marks in all exams for the STEP Diploma in International Trust Management during 2016. Ms. Stephens accepted the award at the annual STEP Caribbean conference in the Cayman Islands earlier this month, adding to an impressive list of top honours from the organisation, including four STEP Worldwide Excellence Awards for the highest average scores in Company Law and Practice (July-December 2015), Trust Administration and Accounts (January-June 2016) and Trustee Investment and Financial Appraisal exam (July-December 2016). She also received an award for the highest average score overall in all exams worldwide.
“I am honoured to receive this award, and to be a part of an organisation of elite professionals who are continually enhancing their knowledge and experience in order to provide superior advice and service to their clients” said Stephens. “I received incredible support from the Private Wealth team at Higgs & Johnson during the course of my studies and I am proud to be representing the firm and two premier financial centres like the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas in such a positive way.”
Dr. Earl A. Cash, chair of Higgs & Johnson’s Private Client and Wealth Management practice group, said of Ms. Stephens: “Her dedication to high professional standards and commitment to the best ideals of the industry make her a high contributing member of our team and one of the future leaders of our esteemed profession.”
“This award is a reflection of Jo-Anne’s ongoing hard work, and a mark of the professionalism, innovation and problem-solving ability which she possesses,” said Higgs & Johnson’s Country Managing Partner for the Cayman Islands, Gina Berry. “We are proud of her contributions and initiative, and look forward to her continued development as a change-maker in the wider professional sector.”
Ms. Stephens joined the Cayman office of Higgs & Johnson in 2015 as a member of the firm’s Private Client & Wealth Management Group. She has years of experience in advising financial institutions, investors and professional advisers on the creation of trusts and ownership structures, international trust and company administration, the creation and administration of pension plans and contentious trust disputes. She also possesses considerable experience in commercial law and litigation and has appeared before the Privy Council in a successful pension plan appeal.
Ms. Stephens earned an LL.B at the University of the West Indies before going on to receive the CLE at the Norman Manley Law School. She completed an MBA at the University of Oxford where she graduated with Distinction. She is called to the Bar in her native Jamaica and in the Cayman Islands where she currently resides.