The US Professionals Association (USPA) came about after key people from US tax advisers Westleton Drake, international law firm Withers and Vestra US, the recently launched US-focused division of wealth management firm Vestra Wealth, showed enthusiasm for an idea that Deborah Hicks, owner of international tax training company DJH international tax, discussed with them.
“Our clients invariably face issues which require our firms to work together,” said Daniel Hyde of Westleton Drake, “and this group is designed to help us deliver in a seamless and joined-up manner.”
Chris McLemore of Withers said that the goal of the group was to bring together as many practitioners as possible from across the professional spectrum.
“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,” he said. “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, said,“Fundamentally, our clients look to us all to provide guidance and support in achieving their aims. The purpose of this group is to better position all of us to do this and in doing so help continue to raise standards within our section of the industry as a whole.”
Along with Westleton Drake and 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 and Withers Worldwide.
The USPA meets quarterly and so far meetings have attracted approximately 50 people each time. A few places are always available to guests who wish to try a meeting before deciding to join. Members can also attend two conferences a year, in February and October, and there is a dinner scheduled for April 2014.
Dates have been set for the year ahead, to help plan around other commitments. Venues include Searcy’s Champagne Bar, Christopher’s American Grill, and Whitechapel Gallery – and members are invited to submit suggestions for the discussion topic.
These topics are circulated to members with a request to rank them in order of preference. The most popular is the cornerstone of the hour-long informal 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 Hicks, who manages the group.
“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 first two meetings have dealt with different aspects of retirement planning and pensions.
Go to www.usprofessionals.net for details of meetings and membership.