STEPPING UP - ISSUE 29 (12 December 2014)
With this December issue, I’ll like to take this occasion to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
|INDUSTRY NEWS & UPDATES:|
|Complex Tax Structures: The Future Of Tax Planning Against A Background Of Changes In Government Policies And Public Opinion|
|Contributed by: Nicholas Jacob - Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, London & Singapore|
|The climate in respect of tax planning has changed significantly internationally over the last few years. Tax avoidance, which used to be seen to be acceptable, is generally becoming unacceptable, and it is unclear in many jurisdictions what is permissible in terms of tax mitigation and tax planning. Gone are the days, in higher tax jurisdictions, where schematic planning has been the order of the day, and more jurisdictions are enacting general anti-avoidance rules. The UK has recently introduced a general anti-abuse rule; this is designed to prevent the use of abusive tax arrangements, which are fairly clearly defined. However the uncertainty to which this gives rise, and the caveats of professionals having to put on to any advice given, is far from satisfactory in the area of uncertainty.
We appear to be in a regime of what is moral is all that is acceptable. Going, also, are the days when a literal interpretation can be given to legislation. We are now obliged to consider a purposive approach, notwithstanding that the legislation may be drafted inadequately or incompetently. There is no excuse for drafting not being done properly, and this includes proper consultation on proposed legislation.
|European Union Succession Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 - 17 August 2015 Will Soon Be Here|
|Contributed by: Richard Frimston TEP - Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Solicitor and Notary Public, London|
|Different states have had completely different private international law rules (“PIL”) for succession.
The Succession Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 (“SR”) has attempted to harmonise PIL for succession throughout the EU without having too significant effect on the internal succession laws of EU Member States. The SR entered into force on 17 August 2012, although most of it will not become fully effective until 17 August 2015.
Because of clawback and other matters, the UK and Irish Governments exercised their right not to opt in to the SR, but the SR will, however, still apply to assets situated in most EU Member States (“the SR Zone” - all EU Member States other than Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom) and to the succession of persons dying habitually resident there. If Singapore PIL, applies the law of an SR Zone State, because the deceased dies domiciled there or has immovable assets there, then Singapore will apply the SR to those assets. The SR will govern the PIL for succession in the SR Zone, not only between States within it, but also between them and States outside it.
Thus, the provisions of the SR, including those governing choice of law, are vital for all practitioners to understand.
|Weaving Philanthropy Into The Family Business|
|Contributed by: Kecia Barkawi - VALUEworks AG, Zurich and Paul Stibbard - Rothschild, London|
|When thinking of philanthropy we usually picture the grey-haired, wise patriarch who inherited and increased a fortune created over generations, or stepped into a long tradition of family giving. In the business context, most of us have come across stories of corporate foundations, the grant-making vehicles of large, publicly traded corporations, for example Ronald McDonald Houses, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Coca Cola Foundation or google.org. However, what about philanthropy alongside the privately held family businesses? In the following we share successful case studies and draw some conclusions for effective giving in the family business context.
Family businesses, CSR and Philanthropy:
The most recent European Family Business Barometer published by KPMG and EFB in December 2013 reports that despite Europe’s economic setbacks in the past years, European family businesses retain a positive outlook toward the future and are confident about their companies’ economic situation. In fact, the report show that the family businesses surveyed are optimistically focused on investments “traditionally associated with longer term rewards”, such as internationalisation, diversification and R&D activities to develop their core business.
|UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:|
|"So you're FATCA registered... Now what do you do?" (10 February 2015, 12.00-2.00pm, FTSE Room, Level 9, Capital Tower)|
|With the FATCA registration rush behind us (or almost), it is now time to start thinking about the next FATCA deadline: 31 March 2015. What, and who, will need to be reported by then?
By 31 March 2015, all Foreign Financial Institutions ('FFIs') that intend to comply with FATCA will need to provide information to the appropriate FATCA competent authorities with respect to any "US owned accounts." Fiduciaries and advisors will therefore need to understand whether the structures that they administer are owned by US individuals or entities, and if so, what information they will need to provide to the competent authorities regarding the entities or their owners. This can be a challenge when dealing with multi-layered structures involving trusts, foundations, nominees, holding companies, etc.
This seminar is aimed at fiduciaries and advisors in the private wealth industry who want to understand how FATCA reporting operates at each level of a complex wealth holding structure, by looking specifically at:
Areas of discussion include:
|Chinese New Year “Lo Hei” Lunch (Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant #65 Chulia Street #05-02 OCBC Centre, 26th February 2015, 12.00pm - 2.00pm)|
|STEP Singapore is pleased to invite you to its 4th Chinese New Year luncheon-cum-networking event over set lunch and “Prosperity Lo Hei”, plus a chance to network with fellow STEP members and industry practitioners.
Beng Thin is one of the few remaining traditional restaurants that offer authentic Hokkien cuisines. Savour the delectable traditional spread of sumptuous Hokkien dishes. This is a restaurant with a well-established history and many loyal customers. It has served food through generations.
|Post Event Update: Giving Back (20th November 2014, 12.00-2.00pm, Intellioffices, Level 3, 146 Robinson Road, S 068909)|
|Contributed by: Ms Cathryn Lau: Director, UBS AG|
|The seminar was organized as a panel discussion with Cathryn Lau (Director, UBS AG and STEP Committee Member) as moderator. The panel speakers comprised of Ms Jean Sung (Head of Philanthropy Centre, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Asia), Ms Irina Francken (Member of Philanthropy Advisory Steering Committee, a Special Interest Group of STEP) and Ms Dawn Quek (Principal, Baker & Mckenzie Wong & Leow). Every one of us gives back to the society in one way or another. We give because it makes us feel good about ourselves (an innate human need) knowing we have helped someone or contributed to a worthy cause along the way. The rising affluence in Asia coupled with the interest in structured giving have resulted in many private families wanting to go on the path of philanthropy. The seminar on "Giving Back" was thus aimed at understanding these families and sharing the considerations involved in establishing their own philanthropy vehicles through the experience of the panel speakers.
|Your Contribution Can Help Achieve a Solution for Families with Loved One of Special Needs|
|Contributed by: Elaine Goh - Community Engagement Manager-Special Needs Trust Company Limited|
|The Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC), begun in 2008, was conceived to safeguard the welfare and financial security of people with special needs upon the demise of their caregivers.
Supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), SNTC is the only non-profit trust company in Singapore providing affordable trust services to the community of people with special needs.
In the sharing of our trust scheme, parents and caregivers from lower income families have recognized the need for a trust infrastructure to receive and manage their future assets such as proceeds from the sale of their HDB property, monies from their CPF savings and insurance policies in the event of their passing. Many however, realize that it is challenging for them at present to set aside $5,000 to open the trust account given their current financial situation.
|A Recap of the Events Held by STEP (Singapore) in 2014|