Since the original announcement made by the HMRC UK, on changes to the UK tax laws in 2015, a number of consultations, delays and further announcements were made throughout 2016 leading to indicate that the implementation of the changes will happen on 6 April 2017.

This caused a rush of planning for possible re-structuring by many consultants in 2016. Subsequent political factors further delayed the implementations and an announcement was made in September 2017 that the changes will take effect retrospective from 6 April 2017.

Whilst a number of factors are still being clarified, the takeaway points from the talk by Mr. Nick Jacob - Partner, Private Client, Fosters were:

  • Non domicile residence will be considered as Deemed domiciled from the 15th year of residence in the UK, thus be liable to world-wide tax basis
  • To review possibilities of creating new trusts or adding assets into existing trusts before being deemed as domicile, so that UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) matters can be addressed
  • NOT to add in any further assets into the trust after being deemed domiciled
  • To keep good records of all acquisition costs and values and to make election in year of disposal
  • Trust is still a good planning tool
  • To be careful of tainting the trust e.g. loans must be with commercial interest rate
  • There are new rules on valuation of benefits
  • For UK residential property owned under a company or partnership no longer protected from UK IHT
  • Anti-avoidance provision will catch any arrangements to avoid IHT

43 attended the talk, most were from the banking and trust industry.

Click HERE to view event photos.

Contributed by: 

Ms Linda Wong

Managing Director, Kensington Trust Singapore Limited



In line with the global push towards transparency and initiatives in various jurisdictions with regard to their legislation governing corporations, Singapore passed extensive amendments in March 2017 to the Companies Act. A key purpose of these amendments was to improve transparency with respect to the ownership and control of Singapore companies, to ensure they are not used for illicit purposes. On 24 August 2017, a lunchtime talk was organised to cover this topic. Mr Tan Choon Leng, Director of Singapore law firm JurisAsia LLC, took the audience through the various changes, as well as their practical impact. He also helpfully compared these changes with similar laws in place in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands, highlighting their major similarities and, in some cases, their subtle differences.

While some of the changes to the Companies Act serve only to deal with administrative burdens (such as the abolition of the need for a company seal, revised timelines by which Annual General Meetings should be convened, the possibility of dispensation with an AGM by private companies, the requirement to retain books for at least five years following a dissolution of the company, and so on), others address more substantive issues. There was greatest interest in the changes requiring the maintenance of a Register of Controllers and a Register of Nominee Directors, and how the law defines what controllers and nominee directors are. During the lively Q&A session, questions were raised as to the extent to which these changes affect the duties of service providers and the practical difficulties of implementation. For instance, how far back in the chain of ownership or influence does one go to determine if any – or every – party is considered a “controller”? If a professional director is given the mandate to act independently with fiduciary duties but is nonetheless influenced by its client in its decision-making process, does it still qualify it as a nominee? Can aggrieved creditors take an action directly against principals of nominee directors?

While it is unlikely that principals of nominee directors will be made directly liable to third parties for damages, Mr Tan agreed that the position with any given set of facts may not be all that straightforward, which is not surprising given how new these laws are. When in doubt, however, Mr Tan suggests erring on the side of caution.

Around 51 people attended the talk. 

Click HERE to view event photos.

Contributed by: 

Mr Lionel Choi

Managing Director, Wealth Planning; LGT Bank (Singapore) Ltd



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