STEPPING UP - ISSUE 26 (30 Jun 2014)
|Outgoing Chairperson's Message|
Dear Members,The three years as Chair passed very quickly! When I first took up the challenge, I was asked if I was “serious” and if I had the time. I recalled stating that STEP Singapore Branch needs Singaporean representation and as for time, I have lunch time to spare.
As I look back at the past three years, three things came to my mind. Firstly, the great network and resource STEP has as a global organization. The Branch could access to subject matters expert from the region and from afar to bring interesting topics to our seminars and bi-annual conference. In the midst of learning, Members networking is also important to bring the Branch to life. The STEP Asia Conference 2013 was memorable as it was the first time the topics shifted to Asian region topics. It was well attended and received positive feedback.
Secondly, the importance of STEP Singapore to stay connected with regulators here. The regulatory environment is changing rapidly. As professionals in the trust industry, I feel that STEP Singapore has a role to play to be the voice to represent Members to provide feedback on issues that would affect their professional life. Members who are from trust companies, law firms, accountants and assets management firms, have their perspectives on issues and need to be represented.
Thirdly, I learnt that things could be made simple if we apply ourselves accordingly. Here, I am talking about the folks in the Committee whom I have the privilege of working along during my tenure. It was great to have their candor at Committee meetings. It helped to make meetings efficient so that we could have a proper lunch and could complete the meetings in good time to return to our day jobs. The generosity of the Committee members’ time and effort made my lunch time job rewarding and I dare say, fun.
In summary, it has been a great privilege and pleasure to serve as Chair to STEP Singapore. It was a journey for me to learn professionally and personally and make new acquaintances and friends in the process.
Passing the baton to Chiwi and wishing him well for his term of office and that he enjoys his journey.
Goh Seow Chee
|Incoming Chairperson's Message|
May I first thank those Members for making time to attend our AGM last week. I’m conscious of the duties and tasks ahead as the incoming chair of the Singapore branch. At the same time there is also much enthusiasm as I look ahead to the coming year.
We are pleased to announce STEP Committee 2014-2015 as confirmed at the AGM on 26 June 2014:
|INDUSTRY NEWS & UPDATES:|
|Update to Members|
|Dear fellow STEP members,
Over the past 3.5 years as your S.E. Asia representative on STEP Worldwide Council, no other public policy issue has become so important to us as advisors, as the current matter of the UK proposal for a public register of beneficial ownership of corporate entities and to which the EU is seeking to include trusts.
The following is a chronological description of events and STEP’s involvement, in this highly critical to Asia matter, of what is in the public interest of privacy (not secrecy) and what can be publically disclosed.
Please contact me directly for further discussion or feedback on this matter. On another note, the following recently published book is a must read for anyone interested in the future direction of our industry.
“Global Shell Games – Experiments in Transnational Relations, Crime and Terrorism” by Michael G. Findley, Daniel I. Nielson & J. C. Sharman - Cambridge Studies 2014.
Contributed by Angelo Venardos, Council Member Representative for South East Asia, STEP Worldwide
|FATCA - Alternative Procedures for Accounts Opened On or After 1 July 2014|
|Pending the conclusion of the US-Singapore IGA, Singaporean Financial Institutions may apply a set of alternative due diligence procedures on certain New Individual Accounts and New Entity Accounts, as set out in Section VI(G) to (H) of Annex I to Model 1 IGA template. The details are stated in the MAS circular enclosed.|
|Intention is Everything|
S Sharma examines the Singapore Court of Appeal’s approach to tax avoidance in a case of corporate restructuring with a financing arrangement
Contributed by: S. Sharma - ATMD Bird & Bird
|UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:|
|Post Event Update: STEP-SMU Symposium on “Recent Issues in Private Wealth and Trust Law” (26 May 2014, 9.15am-4.30pm, SMU Admin Building, Level 5)|
|STEP Singapore and Singapore Management University (SMU) successfully organised its first symposium covering recent issues in private wealth and trust laws on 26 May 2014. There were a total 95 delegates who attended the symposium, excluding the speakers. Slightly more than half of the attendees were from the legal industry, whilst the rest came from financial institutions.
The first half of the day, the delegates heard from the legal practitioners on issues that Trustees face in relation to investments and on the various areas of the law that had been applied to cases brought to the Singapore courts. Delegates also enjoyed a session by two academics from SMU, who analysed the recent decisions made by the Singapore courts on several cases relating to equity and trust.
This was followed by a lively discussion on the topic of mental capacity, between a UK law practitioner and a Singapore trustee, highlighting the similarities and differences of laws on this topic between Singapore and the UK.
After lunch, delegates were treated to two interesting panel discussions. The first was on Asian Business Families. The discussion focussed on challenges that face the families from the west as compared to those from the east, especially in the area of managing succession challenges from one generation to the next. The speakers also suggested different approaches and tools that are used to handle the challenges.
The second discussion panel explored case studies on cross border business and cross border families. As businesses and families become more global, issues on taxes become prominent. The speakers shared their experiences in handling several of their clients’ cases and the solutions that the clients’ eventually agreed to adopt.
Overall, the event was a well-attended symposium where delegates managed to network as well as learn more on issues relating to private wealth and trust laws.
Contributed by: Linda Wong - Kensington Trust Group