STEPPING UP - ISSUE 34 (23 February 2016)
COMMITTEE NEWS:
Chairperson's Message

Dear Members,

 
Welcome Year of the Fire Monkey 2016!
 
We had an exciting end to 2015. The STEP Asia Conference held on 11 and 12 November 2015, was well received and we even had the highest registration of participants at 513. Immediately after the Conference, the Branch partnered with Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC) to raise funds for needy families, with special needs family members. We managed to raise close to $72,000. A huge thank you to all donors.
 
In December 2015, whilst many were busy shopping for Christmas, STEP Worldwide organised a Leaders Forum in London. During the Forum, ideas were pitched on how to service members better. We will look to bring forth these ideas to all members in Singapore.
 
We hope that you have checked out the Branch's website recently. The revamped website is now much more vibrant, up to date and user-friendly. You can even register and pay for the Branch events online!
 
We opened the new year with a workshop "Dealing with the Vulnerable - Mental Capacity Workshop" which was held on 21 January 2016. The interactive participation of the attendees with the respective speakers made the workshop very lively and enjoyable. For more details, please read about the event in the newsletter.
 
The celebration of Chinese New Year will not be complete without the traditional "Lo Hei". Whilst some of us may secretly enjoy playing with our food, the tossing of the salad always brings much joy to all. Members took the opportunity to catch up with each other in a relaxed and festive setting, and of course accompanied with delicious food.
 
Our next event will be on 30 March 2016, where we get serious with the Common Reporting Standards (CRS). So, look out for our flyers and we look forward to seeing all of you there.
 
Here's wishing all of you a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous Year!

 Thank you.


  Linda Wong
 Chairperson, STEP Singapore Branch
 

INDUSTRY NEWS & UPDATES:
“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with Mr. Sunil Iyer
This section offers members an opportunity to become better acquainted with a STEP member affiliated with the Singapore Branch. Any member interested in being interviewed should contact the STEP (Singapore) Secretariat.
 
Name:
Sunil Iyer
Designation & Role in Organisation: Iyer Practice Advisers - Director
Years in Trust Industry: 10 years

Getting to know Sunil Iyer

The book(s) I am currently reading is:

Jonathan Franzen - Purity.

The person(s) who has been my biggest influence is:

I find it impossible to pick even a few people. I've been fortunate to have met many people in different walks of life who have all been a great influence on me.

What I like most about my job/experiences in the trust industry is:

This industry truly allows you to be that much used phrase "a trusted adviser". I enjoy the fact that you really get to know clients and their situations, and be an integral part of any solution. Also, the dynamic nature of the industry with all the various tax and regulatory changes means that it's never boring!

My golden rule is:

Can't win 'em all - keep trying!

The expression I loathe the most is:

Any of the expressions that embody some form of procrastination. Also don't like people saying "No".

The Three Family Constitution Archetypes
If you are helping a family to consider the creation of a family constitution, or if you are an advisor involved in helping a family through the process of creating one, then an important question to ask yourself and your client family is “what kind of family constitution are you going to create?”
The concept of creating a formalized written family constitution has become generally accepted as representing a key best practice for family enterprises (especially those involved in a transition).As such we should now be at the stage where we can move past the question of what are the benefits of developing a family constitution to a more detailed analysis of common family constitution archetypes-basic models or patterns that can often be recognized.
[READ MORE]
Contributed by : Mr Christian G.G. Stewart - Managing Director,  Family Legacy Asia (HK) Limited
Is The Idea of 'Harmful Tax Competition' A Revival of Communist Ideology in The Tax Arena?
Are the present worldwide initiatives a stride towards an era of global tax communism, and away from competition and capitalism?
The present tax landscape seems to be borrowing many principles from communist ideas, this time round, not as to how the economy should be run, but as to how tax systems should be managed. For instance, the underlying idea of the base erosion profits shifting (BEPS) project and common reporting standards (CRS) appears to be that there will be a de facto centralised system of taxation where the tax authorities of the world get together to maximise tax collections and to distribute the tax collected so that each tax authority gets a 'fair share of tax'.
[READ MORE]
Contributor : Random thoughts and questions by a law-abiding taxpayer
UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:
Upcoming Event(s):
CRS - Opportunities and Challenges for family office and family funds (30 March 2016, 12.00pm-2.00pm), Intellioffices, 146 Robinson Road, Level 3
The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is now being implemented in stages, beginning this year. This seminar will discuss the challenges and opportunities that CRS presents to families with their private family funds and family offices. The focus of the discussion will be on Cayman Islands, the early adopter and Singapore, the second adopter. These two jurisdictions have compelling advantages for private family fund arrangement. The speakers will touch on the competitive and complimentary aspects of the two jurisdictions such as
  • The private fund tax and regulatory regimes - a comparative analysis
  • CRS implementation and the impact of CRS reporting
Register early to secure your place online or send registration form to (65) 31287781 (no 6 prefix) or via e-mail, by 23 March 2016!
Post Event Updates
Post Event Update: STEP Asia Conference 2015: The Future of Wealth Management In Asia (11-12 November 2015,  9am-6.30pm),  Marina Bay Sands Singapore
The first STEP Asia conference was held in Singapore in 2005, and alternates with Hong Kong as country host. STEP Asia 2015 in Singapore was the largest ever, attended by over 500 delegates from 28 countries.
Ms Goh Seow Chee, Managing Director, J.P, Morgan Private Bank (Singapore), who is also the STEP Asia 2015 Conference Organisation Chair said:

"The 2015 STEP Asia Conference converged with the development on CRS handbook by OECD and BEPS commitment in our region. We had a great slate of speakers to share their expertise and thoughts on global transparency and other speciality topics such as matrimonial matters, mental capacities issues and women in philanthropy. The conference was planned with the objectives to maximize learning and to interact with peers around the world. We met these objectives. It was such a privilege to be part this successful conference.”

Sharing of ideas, issues and solutions by leading international wealth management experts during the STEP Asia 2015 Conference included the following key areas:
  1. How the common reporting standards (CRS), automatic exchange of information and the OECD base profits erosion profits shifting (BEPS) project would affect the wealth management industry worldwide.
  2. Reviewing current issues and structures in trusts, inheritance, succession, and matrimonial disputes affecting international families.
  3. Philanthropy and women as leaders in building vibrant communities.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Ms Indranee Rajah graced the conference as keynote speaker. Her speech was extremely well-received by the delegates coming from worldwide, and the text of her speech can be found below:
Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law & Finance Ms Indranee Rajah SC at the STEP Asia Conference 2015.
Mr Edward Buckland T.E.P, Chairman, STEP Worldwide,
Ms Linda Wong, Chairperson, STEP Singapore,
Distinguished speakers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First, thank you very much for inviting me to be your keynote speaker. I am delighted to have this opportunity to address this gathering of STEP members and practitioners, and I would like, in particular, to welcome our overseas guests. The important work that STEP members do in helping families to plan for their future, such as the management of assets and the protection of vulnerable family members, is widely acknowledged. Supporting families and protecting vulnerable members of our society are also important issues which are close to my heart. Today, I would like to share some insights about the framework and infrastructure in Singapore that will support this kind of work..
[READ MORE]
 
Contributed by: Ms Chee Fang Theng - Director / Lawyer,  Pan Asia Law LLC
Post Event Update: Charity and Music Collide@ The National Museum-Funding for special needs Co (13 Nov 2015,  6:30pm-9:00pm),  The National Museum,  93 Stamford Road
On the 13th November 2015, STEP Singapore Branch partnered SNTC in a musical evening where industry friends donated funds and partake in networking among like-minded individuals. It was heartwarming to see participation from STEP members, foreign guests, members of the public (young and old) and beneficiaries of SNTC. SNTC spoke about its mission and provided an overview of how they worked with families with special needs persons.
What touched the hearts of many that evening was the personal sharing by one of the families that benefited from SNTC's sponsorship. He (the father) spoke about the challenges of caring for his 3 special needs sons amidst his struggle to find employment during the financial crisis. That he was so crest fallen but stoically forged on for the sake of his sons. SNTC used their donations to help him with the initial capital to set up trusts for each of his three sons and this gave him a peace of mind that any monies from his estate to be injected into their trust accounts after his demise will be used to take care of them.This peace of mind is exactly what SNTC wants to bring to families with special needs dependants.
In all, STEP SG raised a total of $72,425 with cost associated with the event being less than 7% of the amount raised. We will like to thank all attendees, volunteers and donors for their contributions and help in making this event a success. We will also like to thank the wonderful string quartet for their lovely classical music and the helpful crew from Food for Thought. Thank you, together we have made a difference.
Contributed by : Ms Cathryn Lau - Director,  UBS AG
 
Post Event Update: Dealing with the Vulnerable (21 Jan 2016, 1:30pm-5:20pm),  Intellioffices,  146 Robinson Road,  Level 3
Your client changes his mind frequently and seems rather forgetful – is he fickle or does he lack capacity? Last month, astute STEP members prepared themselves for the challenges posed by the forthcoming silver tsunami facing Singapore by attending a half-day session on dealing with the vulnerable client co-ordinated and organised by Ms Cathryn Lau, Director, UBS AG and chaired by Mr Lionel Choi, Executive Director, LGT Bank (Singapore) Ltd.
Ms Janice Foo, Manager of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which maintains the registers of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), explained LPAs and their features and the role of the OPG. She highlighted that LPAs are appropriate not only for elderly, but are appropriate for everyone as debilitating accidents can cause anyone to lose mental capacity at any time. Donors may be individuals, company directors, executors of wills or trustees. Where the donee is the donor’s spouse, a divorce will result in the revocation of the donee’s powers under Form 1 (the standard form). Clear and specific drafting to the contrary in Form 2 would be required to avoid such revocation. With fees to register Form 1 waived until 31 Aug 2016, what better time to encourage clients to get their LPAs executed and registered.
Ms Sim Bock Eng, Head, Specialist and Private Client Disputes Practice and Partner of Private Wealth Practice at Wong Partnership LLP, presented the law in Singapore on mental capacity, namely the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). She highlighted that S4(1) of the MCA required that for lack of capacity to be proven, there must be shown a causative nexus between a person’s mental impairment (the clinical component) and the inability to make a decision (the functional component). However, in cases where there is an interaction between mental impairment and allegations of undue influence in proceedings under the MCA in which a person’s mental capacity was in issue, the Singapore Court of Appeal recently held in Re BKR [2015] 4 SLR, that mental impairment need NOT be the SOLE cause of the inability to make decisions.
It was fascinating to understand the medical perspective to mental incapacity, and how it complements a legal reasoning of what the condition is. Dr Seng Kok Han, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health, explained that mental capacity exists on a spectrum and can fluctuate over time. For example, dementia patients were known to exhibit more confused behaviour at sunset, compared to other times of the day, in what is called the sun-downing syndrome. Awareness of this is crucial as a person’s lack of capacity can be time specific and decision specific.
Lastly, Mr Richard Norridge, Head of Asia Private Wealth Practice at Herbert Smith Freehills, together with Ms Sim, concluded the session by discussing several UK and Singapore case studies, which in general emphasise the importance of practitioners not turning a blind eye when dealing with a potentially vulnerable client.
The session was most interactive. We had a spontaneous group of participants and the speakers responded in like manner - at times, with humour in a lighthearted fashion. Kudos to all present, we have all benefited from the wonderful session.
Contributed by : Ms Chan Ee Lin - Adjunct Professor of Finance,  Singapore Management University Lee Kong Chian School of Business
 
Post Event Update: Chinese New Year "Lo Hei" Lunch (15 Feb 2016,  12:00pm-2:00pm),  Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant in Keck Seng Tower, 133 Cecil St,  #B1-01 Keck Seng Tower
"Get a Headstart in the Monkey Year with our Chinese New Year ‘Lo Hei’ Lunch” at the Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant was a rowdy affair with our own private room to conduct the annual traditional auspicious fish toss (“lo hei”) on the very auspicious 8th day of the lunar new year. Linda, our feisty STEP Singapore chair, had to bang vigorously on a porcelain cup with chopsticks (as she explained just earlier, firecrackers in Singapore are illegal) to get the crowd to quieten down just a little so that we could hear the auspicious sayings ushering in the year of the Fire Monkey. Then it was another burst of noise and excitement as everyone got into the act of tossing sky high. The local and festive delights served up at this lunch included Abalone Hee Peow Soup, Ayam Buah Keluak and Chendol. Here’s wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Monkey!
 
Contributed by: Ms Chee Fang Theng - Director / Lawyer,  Pan Asia Law LLC

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