STEPPING UP - ISSUE 16 (29 FEBRUARY 2012)
COMMITTEE NEWS:
STEP Singapore Branch President Goh Seow Chee reports on her attendance to STEP Council Meeting & Branch Chairs Assembly held in London
With multiple meetings ongoing throughout the gathering happening at the same time or overlapping, below you shall find a summary of the meetings attended by our branch president that would be of interest to our region.

STEP Council

Seow Chee attended as an observer. The Council representative serves to relay message/information between Branch and STEP. Representatives are also involved in projects involving STEP in a wider context e.g. “membership categories and admission rules review committee”, “STEP Governance” and others.

At this meeting, the issue of Singapore´s representative was discussed as an agenda item together with Canada’s appointment of their representative. STEP was of the view that for good governance, it should be an elected position. For the next Council Representative, we could deviate from the 3 year term, but STEP expects Singapore to elect its Council Representative as other branches.

Our President´s proposal to the Committee is that it elects the next Council Rep to take office for year 2012 (3 meetings for 2012 in April, Sept and Nov) and at the STEP Singapore AGM on 28th June, the branch will go through nominations and voting for the person to take office for 2 years from 2013 to 2014. 
Branch Chairs Assembly
The full day event approved accounts and received information on development of STEP worldwide. It was interesting to note that membership increased by 6.5 % worldwide. Total revenue increased by 16% and expenses increased by 13%, so overall the surplus is up for the financial year ended 31.3.11. A big chunk of their revenue came from international conferences namely HK and Malta. Singapore was featured as one of the Top 10 Branch Reserves. Seow Chee participated on the panel dealing with the Asian clients’ perspective/requirement on issue such as transparency and compliance. 
Meeting on Membership Categories and Admission Rules:
STEP is considering a review of the current categories. For instance, doing away with the category of “students” to be replaced by “associates”. Other areas of discussion where considering awarding TEP qualification to people who completed the STEP Diploma only after 2 to 3 years of post qualification working experience. The same consideration is being proposed for those who wish to apply for TEP via the “qualified professional” route.
Upcoming Major Events
Given that STEP has grown and that many of STEP conferences around the world have been very successful and well attended, STEP has a project group looking into STEP Global Congress in 2013.

Contributed by Goh Seow Chee - President, STEP (Singapore Chapter)

Update to Members - Council Meeting in London on 3 December 2011
Angelo Venardos attended the Council Meeting in London on 3 December 2011 on behalf of the Singapore branch.

His report to Members is as follows:
  1. International Committee where he gave an update of Singapore EOI regime
  2. Branch Development Committee where he presented the activities of the Singapore Branch for the Year & discussions taken place to promote STEP in Brunei & Labuan through the formation of Chapters
  3. Third Council Meeting for the Year where the following 2 categories of issues were reported:
         A: Major issues for STEP - What are members telling us?
               i. Macro: Increasing regulation
                          - Coping with compliance & reporting burdens
              ii. Advice: Independent versus affiliated model
                          - Advisors adapting to the changed environment
             iii. Administration: Industry growth
                          - Adapting to changing types & sources of wealth from around the world
             iv. Clients: Increasing complexity
                          - Challenges & risks of managing complexity
              v. Products & Services: Trust products
                          - How the industry adapts trusts to modern wealth planning

         B: STEP Worldwide - Performance
              i. Membership up 6.5%
             ii. 92% satisfied or better
            iii. 97% would recommend STEP membership
            iv. Student numbers up to 4,253, growth of 3.3%
             v. Group reserves up by 11% to Pound 3.4m
            vi. Approaching 800 STEP events worldwide
           vii. Successful representations to OECD < FATF & EU bodies
           viii. 72% of members think the STEP journal is improved
            ix. New branches / chapters, Austria, Seychelles, Long Island, San Diego
             x. Five new qualifications in 2011

Contributed by Angelo Venardos, Council Member for South East Asia


INDUSTRY NEWS:
Jurisdiction Update 
Singapore - An Introduction

Singapore As A Country

Once hailed as the 'Gibraltar of the East', Singapore's strategic location (just south of Malaysia) makes it one of the largest and busiest shipping ports in the world. After Singapore's independence from Malaysia, its GDP per capita grew steadily from approximately S$500 in 1965 to S$50,000 in 2011. This rapid pace of economic development is due to the market-based and business-friendly economic policies adopted by the Singapore government.

[READ MORE]

Contributed by Deborah Annells and Mario Goh - AzureTax Service Pte. Ltd.
“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with Linda Wong

Name:
Linda Wong
Organisation: TMF Trustees Singapore Limited 
Designation & Role in Organisation: Managing Director

Years in Trust Industry: Since 1997

Getting to know Linda Wong

The book I am currently reading is ... Short stories of Roald Dahl

The persons who have been my biggest influence are ... my parents.

What I like most about my job is ... that it is a growing industry and ever changing. We come across different challenges all the time, which makes the job interesting.

My golden rule is ... Honesty is the best policy!

The business expression I hate most is ... Have not come across any expression that I would loathe…..


UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:
Upcoming Events

Discretions In Trust Administration - Financial Abuse Risk And Management Right Succession
(27 April 2012, SGX Auditorium, Level 2, SGX Centre, 2 Shenton Way)

Trustee discretions are granted under the trust deed and apply normally irrespective of the type of trust property. Family Business equity is of course one type of trust property that can be affected. 

The purpose of a fully discretionary trust is a function of the policy of the trustee rather than the language of the trust instrument. This can lead to a substantial lack of predictability in the operation of the trust as decision making shifts across generations. It is in this context that financial abuse risk is often first introduced to trust operations.
 
Trust drafting practice for private clients is moving away from a fully discretionary model to a more qualified maintenance trust model. This approach can reduce financial abuse risk but raise relational property claim risk.
 
Mediation is increasingly been used to limit the referral of disputes to Court and enhance the parties ability to resolve disputes themselves. Collaborative dispute resolution practice is an aspect of this field. Where privacy is sought by a family, mediation can be most useful. 

Limited places available so register early to avoid disappointment by completing and faxing the registration formto (65) 31287781 (no 6 prefix) or via e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by 20 April 2012 !

Post-Event Updates

Wills Boot Camp 2012
(10 January 2012, FTSE Room, Level 9, Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road)
                       


January´s STEP event centered on the use of wills as a first step to develop an estate planning strategy for clients and families. Presented by Lee Chiwi, CEO of Rockwills Trustee Ltd., the event proved to be a great opportunity for members and guests to brush up on the main concepts related to wills in Singapore. A diverse mix of representatives from law firms, banks, trust companies and the public sector benefited from the presentation and Q and A session.

Contributed by Alexis Medina - Morgan & Morgan Corporate Services Pte. Ltd
                   
Founder's Award ceremony and Lo Hei Celebration
(2 February 2012, Guild Rooms, NUSS Suntec City Guild House, 3 Temasek Boulevard, #05-001 Suntec City Mall)

                           
On Thursday, February 2nd, STEP Singapore welcomed in the new Year of the Dragon with a Lo Hei celebration. This happy occasion also served to present the Founder´s Award to our very own Gurbachan Singh for his outstanding long term contribution to the Society. This award, which is into its fourth year, recognizes the contributions of prominent STEP members around the world. In his brief acceptance speech, Gurbachan recalled how he became interested in our industry with his Partners. His participation in the inaugural STEP Asia Conference in 2005 as well as in 2007 and 2009 and his presentations in many conferences and events to share his knowledge and experience are testament to his contributions.
      

Contributed by Alexis Medina - Morgan & Morgan Corporate Services Pte. Ltd

Use of Trusts in Pre-IPO Planning
(13 February 2012, Oasis Theatrette, 13th Floor, Park Mall, 9 Penang Road) 
                                   

The STEP Singapore branch's February presentation featured Todd Beutler and Stephen Nelson on the topic of "Use of Trusts in Pre-IPO Planning".

Due to the great response from our members and guests, the venue selected was the Oasis Theatre at Park Mall. Over 120 participants registered to get a glimpse of the main issues concerning client`s needs once they decide to structure and IPO.

                

Chaired by Ms. Seema Bhayat, our speakers provided a thorough analysis of Singapore, Hong Kong and China perspectives, with an emphasis in solutions using trust structures geared for US connections and their own experiences in this field. The use of tools such as IDGT and GRAT as well as the upcoming reduction on the US gift/estate tax drew the attention of the participants.

Contributed by Alexis Medina - Morgan & Morgan Corporate Services Pte. Ltd

 

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