Chairman's Message
Dear Members, 

2012 has been busy on many fronts. The landscape in which we operate is busy with a couple of regulatory changes to enhance the environment in which we operate. Notwithstanding the volatile market, wealth planners are happily kept busy with estate planning work.

I started my term with the mandate to define what STEP Singapore wants to be for the members here. I feel, first and foremost, STEP wants to be the platform for your continuing professional education, providing updates in current issues for estate planning. In this connection, STEP works towards providing focused learning for existing members.  For our peers in the wealth management industry, STEP organizes courses for them to appreciate the nature of work we do, on estate planning. Next, STEP wants to be your voice with the regulators on regulations and law change that would affect the way we conduct our business and ourselves in this ever changing environment. Finally, STEP wants to create events where members can network with each other and get to know one another better.  

The STEP committee plans a rolling calendar of seminar topics and we strive to bring to members current issues relevant to markets in which we conduct our advisory service. I am encouraged by the number of attendees at our monthly lunch talks and most of all, your contribution as active participants, at our talks. We had a great turn out at our half day symposium in June, discussing matrimonial issues in estate planning. We launched the STEP Certificate for Financial Services in Singapore for people who are keen to pursue this area of specialization, by giving them a flavor of what our profession is about.

MAS issued a consultation paper on designation of tax crimes as money laundering predicate offence in Singapore. This is not an easy area, to ponder over tax avoidance and tax evasion issues. Your views are important. It will enable     STEP to send across a collective view to MAS on our thoughts on how the rules will apply to us moving forward. We will like to express our thanks to those who submitted your views. We will summarize and submit them to MAS.

Finally, I would like thank my committee members for being supportive and thinking out of the box to make events interesting. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. 
May the new year brings you happiness and loads of blessings.

Goh Seow Chee
Chairman, STEP Singapore Branch

Update to Members - Council Meeting in London on 20 September 2012

Angelo Venardos attended the Council Meeting in London on 20 September 2012 on behalf of the Singapore branch. 

His brief report to Members is as follows:

  1. Breakeven – £100,000 contingency
  2. Membership - a 4% increase in overall membership, 17,556 at the 31st March 2012, 18,300 – 18,400 March 2013 
  3. Member Satisfaction 90% plus
  4. World events attendance target 1300 plus 700 branch/regional 
  5. Three advanced certificates so far, strong £ performance
  6. Public Policy 14 consultations on the way
  7. Communications – 31% increase in web
  8. New Branches/chapters – Silicon Valley, Texas, Malaysia, Orange County – Tasmania, Cook Islands and Curacao on the way

Contributed by Angelo Venardos, Council Member for South East Asia


ATMD Bird & Bird Corporate Pulse (October 2012)

With compliments from ATMD Bird & Bird LLP

STEP Certificate for Financial Services - Singapore (Trusts and Estate Planning)

The STEP Certificate for Financial Services - Singapore, following on from the highly successful UK version, has been developed to help financial intermediaries understand the legal issues concerned in financial and estate planning in Singapore. This program equips financial services professionals (Financial Advisory, Insurance, Banking and other Professionals) to develop their knowledge and enable them to integrate what they do in wealth accumulation and management with the estate planning and distribution objectives of their clients.

This programme has been developed by Mr Lee Chiwi of Rockwills Trustee Ltd, a well-known author, lecturer and executive member of the STEP Singapore Branch. The once a week class (6.30pm to 9.30 pm) will start from 27 Feb 2013 for 15 weeks till 12th June 2013 and tutored by several industry specialists.
For further details please visit the link to download the Syllabus, Brochure and Enrolment Form.

Alternatively, please contact Dora Then at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (65)6221 8633.

“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with Chia Pui Yen

Chia Pui Yen
Organisation AF-ST Trustees Pte. Ltd. 
Designation & Role in Organisation: Resident Manager
Years in Trust Industry: 10

Getting to know Chia Pui Yen

The book I am currently reading is ... Tess of the d'Urbervilles and the STEP Journal, of course.

The person(s) who have been my biggest influence is ... My sisters. They are my inspirations.

What I like most about my job/experiences in the trust industry is ... Meeting new people and embracing the changes.

My golden rule is ... If you are not doing your best, why bother.

The business expression I hate most is ... We have a problem (without thinking of a solution).

Upcoming Events
High Value Residential Property - New Strategies for the New Environment (8 January 2013, Room 801, NTUC Business Centre)
This seminar will examine the draft legislation which is to bring into effect various tax changes affecting high value residential property.
Jonathan will highlight any material changes from the proposals as they stand at present.
He will also explain what steps need to be taken by non-UK and UK resident owners of such property before the end of the current UK tax
year on 5 April 2013. In going through these steps he will examine various strategies for owning residential property in the new environment.

Register early to secure your place by completing and faxing the registration form to (65) 31287781 (no 6 prefix) or via e-mail by 2 Jan 2013!

Calling the Bluff - Secrets in the Art of Negotiation (31 January 2013, FTSE Room, Capital Tower)
"Calling the Bluff" is the latest research project Michael conducted on the way people negotiate business deals with each other.  50 lawyers and law students from around the world competed in the mock negotiations and in spite of their cultural differences, all behaved in surprisingly similar ways that certain interesting patterns could be observed.   The research revealed how most people behaved in crucial moments such as when making 'fake' final-offers, saying "no" to an offer that was secretly acceptable and much more.

Most of these behaviors were caught on camera for analysis and comparison. Michael will share these surprising footages and findings and provide the audience with practical tools and tips to enhance their negotiation skills.  The audience will go well beyond typical negotiation methods, theories, and strategies and learn to discover truth behind ordinary postures and intended facial expressions to get that "best deal".   This research project was designed to benefit any professional who needs to negotiate deals on a daily basis.
We encourage you to stay for some wine & cheese and tap the brains of Michael.

ONLY 65 PLACES AVAILABLE!! Register early to secure your place by completing and faxing the registration form to (65) 31287781 (no 6 prefix) or via e-mail by 24 Jan 2013!

Post-Event Updates
 Global Indians: Multi-Jurisdictional Wealth Related Issues (29 November 2012, M Hotel)

On Thursday  29th November, Cyril Shroff, Managing Partner at Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co., one of India's leading law firms, presented to over 70 members of the Singapore branch of STEP together with a good number of external attendees.

In  the space of an hour Cyril gave the audience an excellent oversight of issues facing Indian clients in the current climate. He started by laying the scene with the issues facing Indian promoters and their families and in particular highlighted the balance of issues related to both their corporate and family requirements. The substantial wealth that has been created in India and externally by both Resident and Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin are creating major challenges that the families are now beginning to address (and even pay for advice on). 


After looking at the economic backdrop and trends, Cyril highlighted the different factors affecting different segments of the Global Indian footprint. He addressed the all important exchange control environment and looked at this in the context of both Overseas Direct Investment and the Liberalised Remittance Scheme. He addressed the need for both domestic and international planning, and in particular the growing use of trusts. 

Interestingly he raised the specter of Inheritance Tax as a matter that is under review and which would clearly create a dramatic escalation in the trust and estate planning industry in India if eventually enacted.

Cyril raised the specter of GAAR and also highlighted the ability to plan both onshore and offshore with trusts but also highlighted the dangers of veering to far into the grey area, particularly in relation to the use of discretionary trusts where settlors invariable require mechanisms to enable control and management of underlying assets and such ability destroying the validity of the trust from an Indian tax perspective. 

Finally Cyril highlighted some of the differences in the Double Taxation Agreements of Mauritius and Singapore, which to the Singapore audience supported the growing attractions of Singapore as the more attraction jurisdiction for business to flow. 

There were a number of questions from a normally quiet audience which seemed to substantiate the expressed view that it was a very good over view of Indian matters and much appreciated by the audience.

Contributed by Mark Smallwood - Deutsche Bank AG, Filiale Singapur

Events Calendar

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