Reviews of websites of trust management companies, covering a range of sophistication

This month, the web review takes a look at the sites of trust management companies and asks, which one would 007 work for?

Professional Controller & Trustee Services

This company is based in Northern Ireland, but appears to operate elsewhere in the United Kingdom as well. The website is fairly basic, and I suppose you would categorise it as a “brochure” site except that it doesn’t really look like a brochure – or not one that you’d feel like you wanted to pick up, at any rate.

The site’s main page has the logo and contact details, together with four main links to the four pages that make up the rest of the site. The “contact us” page gives no information that is not already provided on the home page, rendering it rather pointless; by contrast, the “publications” page is not actually a list of publications at all but rather a lengthy exposition (in small font size) of the law in this area.

A fairly poor effort overall.

Universal Trust Corporation

The Universal Trust Corporation (didn’t James Bond used to work for them?*) has a site which certainly looks the part and comes across as altogether more professional. It has, as many sites do nowadays, stock photo images of competent and caring professionals going about the business of helping you – the consumer – with whatever it is they do.

And what they do in this case (among other things) is to run and administer trusts. The explanation of the different types of trusts they deal with and why you might want one is very clear, and is set out in a way which doesn’t make your eyes hurt.

However, the navigation round the site left me a little confused. There are links to other content within the site: along the top of each page, down the left hand side, at the bottom left hand corner, down the right hand margin, and at the foot of the text in the page you’re reading. Oh, and sometimes also within the text you’re reading.

I’m all for accessible navigation, but I found it a little over the top. Plus, there was no clear structure or hierarchy into which these pages and links fitted. Some users might be able to deal with that but I found it most disconcerting.

Capita Fiduciary Group

Another very professional looking site, with – thank goodness – a very firm and clear structure to follow. This firm seems to deal with three things: corporate trusts, personal trusts and pension trustees. And it gives nice, brief explanations of all three areas and some of the subdivisions.

In the section dealing with probate services (for it is an English company), it has a nice little form to fill in, together with a promise to return to you by phone or email with a quotation for their fee. Very neat (and quite simple) interactivity, which was nonetheless absent from all the other sites. Well done.

Mencap Trust Company

This company, in fact, merits only one page within the much larger Mencap website. As you may already have guessed, the company manages special discretionary trusts set up for people with a learning disability. A brief description of their services follows, together with PDF booklets to download, including one which details the relevant fees. I would have thought that contact details should be provided without having to download a leaflet (after all PDF isn’t quite ubiquitous, yet) but otherwise the page does a reasonable job.

Cairn Trust Management

Set up very recently by (among others) a former colleague of mine, Nicola Smith, Cairn Trust has the most modern look of all of the websites reviewed this month. With good use of illustrative photographs and simple yet clear and helpful explanations, the site is a very effective brochure for this new company, which is based in Glasgow.

The site also differentiates between information targeted at individuals who may be interested in setting up a trust, and solicitors or others whose clients may be – with a separate “Professionals” section.

The site has a good navigational structure, which manages the numerous internal links well, and it does spell out very clearly what the fee structure is. The only disappointment is that there is no interactive gizmo to calculate the likely total for you.

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