A trust officer is a salaried employee of a trust company, bank or investment management firm that offers trust services. Trust officers administer and manage trust accounts and ensure that trust account administration is in compliance with federal and state laws.
Trust officers come from a variety of backgrounds, and an employer usually requires at least a bachelor's degree before hiring an inexperience person to start a trust officer career path. The usual career path to become a trust officer begins under the mentorship of a senior trust officer. The trust business is complex, and for those without law degrees, on-the-job training is the only method to gain real experience in managing trust accounts.
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Many trust officers have law degrees and do not require the same on-the-job training as trust officers with different educational backgrounds. As a lawyer, the trust officer is already skilled in reading legal agreements and understanding trust law and the tax consequences of trust accounts. Many companies prefer that the manager of a trust department have a law degree.
In addition to trust administration of an assigned account load, most employers in today's world require trust officers to act as trust sales officers. In most cases, trust officers have a new business sales goal to meet, and if he does not meet the sales goal, the trust officer is in jeopardy of losing his job. Trust officers also serve as financial advisors that assist clients with estate and financial planning, but working with client lawyers and tax professionals.
Trust officers are not required to have any form of license. After three years of working in the trust field, many trust officers do pursue the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) certification, as it is a prestigious certification for trust officers. Trust officers with a CTFA have passed a comprehensive exam on trust knowledge and are required to attend regular continuing education classes on current trust topics to maintain the certification.