Trust Administrator Jobs

There are several levels of trust officers within a bank’s trust department. Entry level trust officers handle smaller, individual trust accounts, or oversee one specific aspect of larger or corporate trusts, such as calculating disbursements or preparing necessary tax forms.

More experienced mid-level trust officers will handle individual and business accounts, and eventually oversee or perform most of the administrative duties associated with the accounts, from ordering real estate appraisals to approving discretionary payments to trust recipients. The highest level trust officers will manage the largest accounts, overseeing all of the administrative duties associated with them. They may also be involved in investment decisions and their execution.

Trust officers must ensure that all accounts meet federal and local banking requirements, laws, and regulations. They must also make sure taxes are filed correctly and on time, any tax payments are made, and all disbursements to recipients are reported to the IRS.

Trust officers or administrators may also be responsible for opening and closing accounts, making sure that they are set up properly and according to bank policies and federal and local regulations. Trust officers or administrators are often the primary point of contact for trust clients and their advisors.

Overall, trust administrators will need to administer the trust account according to its legal purpose and directions, paying recipients as spelled out in the trust agreement, making investments of principal, loans when permissible, and completing all necessary tax forms. Trust administrators may spend a large percentage of their working hours on the phone with clients or with other departments following up on payments, taxes, etc. A trust administrator must be a person who enjoys paying attention to details while also enjoying customer contact and interactions.

If you are a person who enjoys working with numbers AND people, and the idea of working in a trust department appeals to you, this may be a great career choice for you.  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not supply data on the outlook for trust positions. However, positions should be available due to retirements and natural attrition, as well as some growth in trust departments.

Educational Requirements

Most financial institutions require trust officers to have a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or a related field. Senior level trust officers may be required to hold a master’s degree in business administration. Banks also expect trust managers to have several years of experience in investment banking, trust administration, or a related field. Some banks also look for candidates who have had estate planning or financial planning experience.

There are some certifications available through colleges and other organizations. Some financial institutions may prefer candidates who possess these certifications.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

To land a job as a trust officer, you will need to have detailed knowledge of what trusts are and how they function and are administered. You will also need to know federal and local laws and regulations concerning trust accounts. Additionally, you may need to have basic knowledge of financial planning, estate planning, and investment banking.

When it comes to skills, it is important for trust officers to be detail-oriented and be able to manage multiple priorities and projects. The trust officer should have excellent time management and organizational skills. Since the trust officer will interact with clients and their advisors, the trust officer should also have very strong communication and interpersonal skills. 

Most banks and financial institutions look for administrators who can work with little supervision, who show initiative to complete work on their own. This can be a fast-paced work environment, and employers will look for candidates who thrive on that kind of environment and pace. Trust administrators should also have good math skills. He or she should have command of the use of calculators, computers, and all typical office equipment.

Average Salary

Trust officers or administers earn a broad range of salaries. As with most positions, salaries in larger metropolitan areas are usually higher than in smaller cities. Larger banks can also pay higher salaries than smaller institutions. The average annual salary for trust administrators in the Midwest and southern states is approximately $50,000.  In the Western United States, the average annual salary is $60,000, and in New York City it is approximately $65,000 per year. Administrators of corporate trusts can earn an average of $5,000 to $10,000 more per year than administrators who work on individual trust accounts.

Potential Career Paths

Entry level trust officers or administrators can advance by obtaining positions in which they handle larger trust accounts. They can also earn promotions to handling corporate or employee trust accounts, which means administering accounts with very large holdings and cash values.

To continue up the ladder, trust officers could become supervisors and then managers. Managers are often expected to develop strategies for bringing in new trust accounts, so trust officers who wish this kind of promotion will need to have good sales and presentation skills in addition to management and leadership skills. Trust managers may also be expected to possess or earn a master’s degree in business administration.

Successful trust officers can eventually become executives of their departments, earning titles such as assistant vice president, vice president, and director.

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