Trustee fees – charging for trustee services

Published October 1, 2015

A common challenge for many professional trustees is managing client resistance with trustee fees.

To me that’s a symptom rather than a problem.

As I see it, the problem is often historical and results from trustee fees being bundled with fees for other advisory services.  In some cases, professional trustee fees have never been charged.

From a client’s perspective, if they don’t see value in what a good professional trustee brings to the table, fees are more likely to be seen as an unnecessary cost.

So how do professional trustees turn things around when it comes to charging trustee fees?

The first step is to know what you stand for.  That’s about your positioning.

Positioning professional trustee services involves:

  1. Seeing professional trusteeship as a professional job (separate from other services)
  2. Defining your ideal client
  3. Operating to a defined standard of good practice
  4. Charging trustee fees

In other words, it’s about knowing the game you’ll play, who with and by what rules.

If you know what you stand for, it’s much easier to communicate the value you bring to the table.

When the value’s there, clients are much more willing to pay a professional trustee fees for a professional job.

As good practice, professional trustees should take time out to review and develop their positioning as professional trustees.

It needs to be done before starting any process to reengage and reset expectations with clients.

When your positioning is clear, you’ll be more likely to do work you love, with people you like and be well rewarded for the role and responsibility you take on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help where you need it.

It starts with a decision.


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