STEPPING UP - ISSUE 12 (8 JUNE 2011)
Dear Fellow STEP Members,
STEP Singapore has some 440 members and since not everyone turns up to an AGM, details of which will soon be sent to you, I thought that I would give a brief “year in review ” in this e-newsletter being the last for the term of this present Executive Committee.
Members of your Executive Committee in addition to the elected positions that they have undertaken to hold, have also chaired the following sub-committees:
However, I would like to make a special mention of the following Committee and Sub-committee members, whose contribution has been significant over the past 12 months, and much of their contributions and commitment may go unnoticed, if I were not to mention them here in this communiqué.
Goh Seow Chee has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Charity Gala Dinner will be the success that it’s now turning out to be. She has personally contacted and persuaded many of the 30 tables that have been sold for the forthcoming event, not to mention her availability at all Exco meetings and the many other hours she has spent co-coordinating with the Secretariat the monthly educational events that we have been so fortunate to have held over the past 12 months.
Lee Chiwi, I would also like to acknowledge for the long overdue review of our Constitution to ensure that it falls in line with Singapore & UK requirements, so that we continue to be the premier professional body in our industry. The 4 members on this sub-committee have really produced a “labor of love” report.
James Aitken, like all of us, has a very busy day job, but managed to help produce a STEP/Asia Conference programme to be held in Singapore this year that will again showcase, both our city, and our professional body to the whole world. This is another example of the hours and effort that goes on behind the scenes, that many take for granted.
And, as I look around the lecture theatres and auditoriums during our events, this message is also intended to encourage new / fresh members to come forward to assist in the work of the Committee and various Sub-committees, as there is a wealth of untapped knowledge and experience amongst our ranks.
In conclusion, I hope you will join us for our upcoming AGM to be held on the 30th June, and fortunately, there will be a guest speaker to entice you to attend.
Look forward to seeing you.
|Charity Gala Dinner Update (29 June, 7-11pm, Fairmont Hotel, Singapore)|
|STEP Singapore will be holding its inaugural gala dinner on 29 June 2011 at the Fairmont Hotel in collaboration with the Singapore Trustees Association. To mark this occasion and give back to society, we have designated the recently set up Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC) as our appointed charity beneficiary of the evening, with nett proceeds raised from the dinner being donated to SNTC in support of its trust scheme targeted at encouraging parents/caregivers to save and provide for the financial security of their special needs dependants.
The following is a list of those who have already booked a table, so the evening is shaping up to be a great event:
|STEP Singapore to host our 4th STEP Asia Conference in November|
|This year’s programme builds on the great success of our 2010 Hong Kong sell-out conference. The theme, “Trusts, Families & Business - An Asian Focus”, is being delivered by the best in our industry and the wide coverage of jurisdictions will also ensure that STEP Singapore will be the best networking venue of the year.
Our keynote address by Ng Nam Sin, Assistant Managing Director, Development Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will focus on Singapore as the preeminent trust jurisdiction in Asia. This will be followed by panel sessions and speakers from Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Japan, Vietnam, India, Philippines, Taiwan and China.
Whilst everyone is aware of the growth that Asia is currently experiencing and the ensuing influx of investment funds to the region, the idiosyncrasies of what makes up Asia and the differing perceptions that people have of what is going on in the region will be discussed over this two-day period. By coming to Singapore and attending this not-to be missed conference, you will not only get an up-to-date picture of what is happening and the issues to be dealt with, but by mixing with other industry peers, you will get the real sense of what happening on the ground in Asia post GFC.
|STEP Singapore Constitutional Review|
|The STEP Singapore Constitutional Review Committee comprises the following members::
Lee Chiwi - Chairperson
Catherine Cheung - Member
Lim Ping Ping - Member
S. Sharma – Member
The Committee submitted its Report to the Branch Committee on the 21st Mar 2011. The review had as its objectives the alignment of the Singapore Constitution with other STEP Branches in the world and also the examination of the adequacy of the existing constitutional provisions. Recommendations for changes were also made where appropriate.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge my team members for making time and effort in contributing to this Report.
STEP Singapore Constitutional Review Committee
|New Zealand Jurisdiction Update|
|New Zealand is not an "offshore" jurisdiction. It has a conventionally balanced and diversified economy. However, NZ "foreign" trusts, companies and limited partnerships can be structured so that they are not subject to tax in NZ. This makes NZ an attractive jurisdiction for international wealth structuring. NZ is an OECD and FATF member jurisdiction which enjoys a low profile internationally and is frequently voted by Transparency International as being among least corrupt countries in the world.
NZ "foreign" trusts
The Income Tax Act 2007 provides that where the settlor is resident outside NZ the trust will be exempt from assessment in respect of NZ tax on income and capital gains arising outside of NZ. Therefore, the trustee of a “foreign” trust can make distributions out of the trust fund of a trust established in NZ without any withholding or deduction for NZ tax.
There are minimal reporting requirements to the Inland Revenue Department. These only really affect settlors who are residents of NZ and Australia. The Inland Revenue Department has publicly stated that it will not entertain general "fishing expeditions" from tax treaty partners for information on "foreign" trusts. Any information so provided is subject to existing tax confidentiality laws.
The fundamentals of NZ law were established when NZ was first colonised by Britain in 1840. NZ trust law remains very similar to English trust law. NZ is a mature common law jurisdiction with a long and internationally respected history of judicial precedent. High standards of prudence are imposed on trustees. As in most Commonwealth countries an even higher level of skill is expected from a professional trustee.
Settlors often retain a degree of control over the trust, such as powers to approve distributions, appoint and remove trustees and revoke the trust. This is achieved by the use of settlor reserved powers or protector provisions. Legal title to the trust assets is registered in the name of the trustee. This can provide settlors confidentiality.
The trustee is responsible for the management of the trust. A trustee must exercise his powers solely for the benefit of the beneficiaries and the trust assets do not form any part of the trustee's own estate or property available to any creditors of the trustee. There are no restrictions on the type of assets which may be held in a NZ trust and further assets may be added from time to time.
Contributed by Kerry Ayers TEP - Managing Director, Helmores Wealth Limited (NZ)
|“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.
Getting to know Lee Chiwi
The book I am currently reading is ... Peter Thellusson’s will of 1797 and its consequences on Chancery Law by Patrick Poulden. Bought it off an on-line publisher and it arrived some weeks ago but I’m still in the early chapters. When Peter Thellusson died, he had the maverick idea of creating a super wealthy future descendant. But the plan meant no distributions of his wealth to his immediate family members who got upset and they went to the Chancery Courts to litigate for the next 50 years after Peter’s death.
The person who has been my biggest influence is ... in the context of the trust industry, James Kessler Q.C. who agreed to me doing the Singapore edition of his book “Drafting of Trusts and Will Trusts”. So everyone, buy more of this book as I get some royalties from it!
What I like most about my job is ... helping people draw up and administer their legacy plans. I get great satisfaction and fulfilment in knowing that family members are well taken care off and educated from trust funds. And that I was involved in that process.
My golden rule is ... with the age of instant communication, getting back to someone immediately on a query or a request- otherwise I will have forgotten it by the next day!
The business expression I loathe most is ... ”Can you send me your powerpoint slides…”, if I know the person is unlikely to even look at it!
I want to be remembered as ....someone who is passionate about estate planning and trusts!
|UPDATES & DEVELOPMENTS:|
|Pre-AGM talk: Exchange of information from a Singapore perspective (30 June 2011, Shenton Room, M Hotel)|
|The talk will cover the following:
In early 2009, Singapore announced the endorsement of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Standard for the effective exchange of information through Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs). The Income Tax Act (Cap 134) was subsequently amended to allow Singapore to extend further cooperation on information exchange through her DTAs. With the recent completion of the Phase 1 Peer Review of Singapore, a report is published this month by OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The talk will highlight areas to look out for before responding to exchange of information requests pursuant to the Exchange of Information Article in tax treaties concluded by Singapore.
Register early to secure your place by completing and faxing the registration form to (65) 31287781 (no 6 prefix) or via e-mail by 23 June 2011!
|BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT! – STEP-STA Singapore Inaugural Charity Gala Dinner 2011|
As part of its efforts to bring together the community of trust and estate planners in Singapore and the region, as well as to share with the less fortunate in Society, STEP (Singapore) and STA will be organising their first charity gala dinner on 29 June 2011.
Enjoy a sumptuous 8-course sit-down Chinese dinner prepared by leading chefs at the Fairmont Singapore. Mingle with old friends and renew acquaintances. Enjoy the music and dance the night away.
We have designated the recently set up Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC) as our appointed charity beneficiary of the evening, with nett proceeds raised from the dinner being donated to SNTC in support of its trust scheme targeted at encouraging parents/caregivers to save and provide for the financial security of their special needs dependants.
Please DOWNLOAD AND COMPLETE THE REGISTRATION / BOOKING FORM to book your seat(s) / table(s) for the dinner, be a sponsor or make a direct donation to the designated charity.
|Family Business Succession Planning (1 June 2011, 12-2.00pm, STI Auditorium – Capital Tower)|
Family business succession planning is often a challenging matter for families to ponder. As advisor to the family, we do not just need to equip ourselves with knowledge on structuring of the framework for business succession; we also need to understand the emotional trip that our client will undertake in making their business succession planning effective. In this session, Zac Lucas from Ogier BVI, shared with us a systematic approach in analyzing the needs of the family, the readiness of the family to formalize their business succession planning. The role of trusts and estates practitioner becomes important to assist the family in differentiating the situation when they own and involved in business and when they merely own the business.
Contributed by Goh Seow Chee – JPMorgan