President’s Message

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

It is my honour to serve as President of STEP Singapore Branch. We are faced with a choppy recovery of world economy, stringent regulatory environment and constant changing tax regulations. I would like to see the Branch to be used by members as a platform to share experience and learn as we move into a challenging era of our time.

Estate planning in the recent years has changed from what used to be "simple" planning to a more wide range, comprehensive planning for many families. Aspects such as planning for their family business, family governance and philanthropy are common discussion topics with families. As professional advising families, we need to equip ourselves with current knowledge to make our conversations with families meaningful. To bring to bear our expertise to the families we advise. In this connection, the Branch is committed to bring you topics that are useful and relevant for your professional development, as you will see in this coming STEP Asia Conference with a good range of topics.

As the trust industry grows, we are also facing a shortage of trust professionals. I have seen many interested persons who would like to join our profession. Training therefore becomes critical to bring up the skill level across the industry. In this regard, I would like to be able to work with partners in our industry to increase the level of professionalism of trust practitioners in Singapore through course syllabus, course availability and enhancement.

STEP Singapore has a healthy growing membership especially our student membership. Notwithstanding, we would like to reach out to other professionals in Singapore, familiarise them of our activities and encourage them to join our profession. In some ways, these professionals' services are interconnected to our area of practice.

I look forward to an exciting year. First and foremost, I would like to thank my committee members for supporting me in this journey. My fellow committee members are :-

     Vice President: Mr James Aitken
     Treasurer: Ms Lim Wan Peng
     Secretary: Mr Alexis Medina
     Committee Members: Mr Lee Chiwi and Ms Seema Bhayat

I will keep you posted with development of our Branch through our E newsletter. Finally, I look forward to your participation in the Branch's activities.

Goh Seow Chee
President, STEP (Singapore Chapter) (2011-2012)

STEP Asia Conference 2011 - Trusts, Families & Business - An Asian Focus 
(1 - 2 November 2011, Singapore)

The STEP Asia conference is the premier conference for members in our region. Hosting rights alternate on an annual basis between Singapore and Hong Kong, and this year it is Singapore's turn to host what has become a hugely popular gathering.

It is a fantastic opportunity for networking, but its success is really based around the quality of the conference program. This year is no exception with over 40 top national and international speakers. Highlights include sessions on:

  • Settling assets from jurisdictions in the region (experts will cover Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Japan, India, Philippines and Taiwan)
  • Trusts & regional IPOs
  • Trusts & divorce
  • What do we want from our private bankers and, more importantly, what do they want from us?
  • Regional succession planning
  • Insight into doing business in China
  • Trusts & foundations
In addition, in a keynote session, the Monetary Authority of Singapore will review the development of the trust industry in Singapore and the ongoing quest for quality.

Bookings have been coming in fast, and are significantly ahead of last year's numbers at a similar stage (which was itself a record year). So don't delay, and ensure you secure your attendance.

Contributed by James Aitken - HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited; Chair of Organising Committee, STEP Asia Conference 2011

The STEP (Singapore)-STA Inaugural Charity Gala Dinner (29 June 2011, Fairmont Hotel, Singapore)
(Please click on the above picture to open photo gallery)
When the Organising Committee of the STEP (Singapore)-STA Inaugural Charity Gala dinner initially took on the challenge of organising the industry's first ever gala dinner and further in support of a charity, we were mindful that we were making history. 

After all, the aim was not just to provide a platform to rally the entire wealth management industry to support the "Special Needs Trust Company" - a charitable cause in essence rooted in the concept of "trusts" which both STEP and STA are premised upon. The "Special Needs Trust Company" was created to help families that have special needs children. The anxiety of parents, whether they are high net worth or otherwise, is the same, the care of their special need children when they pass on. 

It was a fantastic first experience for STEP (Singapore), a memorable event which would live on beyond the night for all those involved. 

The attendance was impressive for our inaugural charity dinner, attended by more than 370 guests, supported by 23 sponsors and almost 30 companies and individuals who booked tables and raising almost $113,000 for charity. 

More heartening was the feedback from many guests that they had a hugely enjoyable evening among new and old friends and colleagues from the industry. 

We certainly hope it will become a regular feature in our calendar! 

Thanks again to our Guest-of-Honour - Mdm Halimah Yacob, our sponsors, members and guests for making the night possible. 

Angelo Venardos 
Immediate Past President, STEP Singapore 
Chair, Gala Dinner Organising Committee
Goh Seow Chee 
President, STEP Singapore

Cyprus Jurisdiction Update
In spite of the fact that Cyprus is usually associated with sandy beaches and an amiable climate, it is equally true that this small island is perhaps the one of the most up and coming jurisdictions in international tax planning.[READ MORE]

Contributed by Pericles Spyrou - Morgan & Morgan Trust (Cyprus) Ltd

“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with STEP Members from Singapore Branch

This section offers members an opportunity to become better acquainted with STEP members affiliated with the Singapore branch. Any member interested in being interviewed should contact the STEP (Singapore) Secretariat.

Seema Bhayat
Organisation: SG Trust (Asia) Ltd
Designation & Role in Organisation: Senior Wealth Planner and Head of Corporate Trust Services
Years in Trust Industry: More than 10 years

Getting to know Seema Bhayat

The book I am currently reading is ... Shantaram, for probably the 3rd time.

The person who has been my biggest influence is ... my grand father.

What I like most about my job is ... the diversity of the situations and the uniqueness of each client.

My golden rule is ... only one thing makes a dream impossible, the fear of failure.

Upcoming Event
Islamic Financial Services Development Within Islamic Finance 2011
(27 September 2011, 12-2pm, STI Auditorium, Level 9, Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road)
At this lunchtime seminar, the speaker - Sadali Rasban, will address the following issues:
  1. The development of Islamic financial products and services in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. How the Objectives of Shariah influence innovation in the development of Islamic financial products and services.
  3. The mechanisms of wealth/estate transfer in Muslim law.
Register early to secure your place by completing and faxing the registration form to (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 September 2011!

Post-Event Updates
Reserved Powers - Where Are We Now?
(15 August 2011, FTSE Room)

On Monday, 15 August 2011, at a very well-attended evening session, Justin Appleyard (partner in charge of the global trusts group of Maples and Calder) gave an overview of the history of the reservation of trust powers. Justin is a member of the Council and past chairman of the Cayman Islands branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Justin explained the context in which the Cayman Islands came to be the first jurisdiction to come up with extensive legislation to address Reserved Powers. He also commented on the different positions in BVI, Jersey, Singapore and the current proposals for HK.

Justin reviewed the distinctions between the reservation of dispositive powers and reservation of investment powers. He also covered the implications for the trustee and looked at what "irreducible" core obligations needed to remain with the trustee.

He concluded by reviewing a recent case concerning the power of revocation and the implication in a situation where the settlor with that power had become bankrupt and creditors were seeking to require the exercise of that power.

It was a very informative session with some good discussion both during the Q&A segment and more informally afterwards. The session was thoroughly appreciated by all who attended.

Contributed by James Aitken - HSBC Trustee (Singapore) Limited

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