President's Message – Review of Year 2010

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

The year 2010 is finally coming to a close and I hope that it has been a fruitful year for all. For STEP Singapore, it has indeed been another eventful year. But before I share some of the highlights of the year, I wish to offer my thanks to Ms June Tan and her team at Intellitrain who have coordinated the secretariat effectively and professionally.

A total of eleven events were held, with an average attendance of 61. Although average attendance figures are 10% lower from the past year, our overall profitability and profit margin have risen considerably -- thanks in part to the well-attended symposium on Singapore Private Wealth Management Update 2010 in June.

The diversity of our topics was another welcome aspect that members valued. The topics ranged from international tax and citizenship planning to “hot” topics like Planning for Indian Clients to Israeli Taxation.

Finally, announcing our first event of 2011 – Trust Structures Holding Business Assets Situated in Asia – Pitfalls and Possibilities, to be held on 15 February 2011. We are considering topics on China, Brazil, the US and many others. Your input would be most appreciated.

Thank you for your support during the year, and I look forward to both serving and seeing you in the new year.

Angelo Venardos
President, STEP (Singapore Chapter)

Tax & Trusts in Asia. Back to Our Future

– A Review of the STEP Asia Conference 2010 (9-10 November 2010, Hong Kong)

The STEP Asia Conference held in Hong Kong from the 9th to the 10th of November 2010 was officially started by a welcome message from the host Chapter´s Chair, Mimi Hutton, followed by Nick Jacob, as Deputy Chairman of STEP Worldwide. The venue for the conference was the lavish JW Marriott which, to the great pleasure of most Singaporean participants, was conveniently connected to the Pacific Place shopping center.

This year the Conference dived right into matters with Mr. Richard Hay, from Stikeman Elliott UK, discussing several issues related to the G20, the trend of increasing numbers of TEIA over the past years and the outlook ahead (more of them!). As we have come to expect, the presentation was very … [READ MORE]

Contributed by Alexis Medina – Executive Director, Morgan & Morgan Corporate Services Pte Ltd

STEP Singapore – 2nd Graduation Ceremony for STEP International Trust Management Diploma graduates (2 Nov 2010)

We had our second graduation ceremony for the STEP diploma graduates in Singapore. This year, we had a total of 21 graduates (with 11 graduating with distinction), and of which 11 attended the ceremony. The graduates were given the opportunity to invite their respective employer representative to attend the event with them as recognition of the employer’s support in completing the diploma course. President of the Singapore Branch, Dr Angelo Venardos, gave away the certificates to these graduates for a job well done in juggling work and study successfully.

Contributed by Goh Seow Chee – Executive Director, JP Morgan Private Bank (Singapore)

View/download photos taken at our Graduation Ceremony HERE!

“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with a Member from Singapore Branch

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.

: Michael Low
Organisation : Bank Sarasin-Rabo Asia Ltd
Designation : Director
Role in Organisation : Head of Trust and Fiduciary Services Asia
Years in Trust Industry : 9 years

Getting to know Michael Low

The book I am currently reading is ... "Marriage takes more than love", a marriage enrichment book..

The person who has been my biggest influence is ... Gosh, that's a tough one. I'd say in equal parts my dad and my wife. My dad for instilling in me the discipline to do my best in everything I apply myself to, and my wife for helping me to put that into action! Probably one of the best things that my dad taught me was that whatever we do, however small or inconsequential, whether at work or just life in general, is experience that no one can take away from us, and it shape us into who we are. My wife has been a huge influence on me because she knows me better than I know myself at times, and is therefore able to help me see things in a perspective that I often miss.

What I like most about my job is ... The fact that every client, family and situation we meet are unique, because the people involved are unique, so no two days are ever the same! I derive great satisfaction from knowing that what we do helps families to plan for the future in a sensible, well-thought out manner. In many ways, the nature of our business is a reflection of life in general; we're merely stewards for the next generation.

My golden rule is ... One of my favourite quotes from John C Maxwell. "Three qualities a leader must exemplify to build trust; competence, connection and character."

The business expression I hate most is ... "Let's think out of the box..."

Upcoming Events
Trust Structures Holding Business Assets Situated in Asia – Pitfalls and Possibilities (15 February 2011, 12-2pm, SGX Auditorium – SGX Centre)

There is an increasing interest by wealthy families in transferring shares into family owned companies and other business assets in trust structures. This presentation, based on live cases, focuses on how these assets can be structured and transferred to the next generation and what the risks in structuring such assets are.

Register early to secure your place by completing and faxing the registration form to 63299699 or via e-mail by 8 February 2011!

Mark Your Diary for STEP Queensland Branch Conference (Cairns - 2 September 2011)


Post-Event Updates
Legitimacy of Tax Planning (2 November 2010, 12-2pm, SGX Centre)

STEP Singapore was fortunate to have Nick Jacob, partner at Lawrence Graham LLP, speak at the SGX Auditorium on The Legitimacy of Tax Planning on 2 November 2010.

He proposed that governments have continued to blur the distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, and this has prevented taxpayers from maximizing their tax savings by the use of legitimate tax planning properly permitted by the law. Key terms like “tax avoidance”, “tax evasion” and “tax mitigation” are not sufficiently understood or defined at governmental levels when taxpayers in all countries are entitled to know their legal position. DenisHealey (former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer) once commented that the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is “the thickness of a prison wall!”

Nick gave a wide-ranging analysis of case law, legislation and practices in various jurisdictions including the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany and the OECD in general. In the end, the most important point is to understand the borderlines between tax mitigation and tax avoidance on the one hand, and between tax avoidance and tax fraud on the other. We need international clarity for the benefit of taxpayers worldwide.

Almost 80 STEP members and guests attended the lunch event. Feedback was very positive with 93% of attendees rating the presentation Good to Excellent.

Contributed by Denise Leong – Heritage Fiduciary Services Pte Ltd

A Recap of the Events Held by STEP Singapore in 2010

Event Title
2 December 2010
2 November 2010
2 November 2010
2nd STEP Singapore Graduation Ceremony
28 October 2010
14 October 2010
22 June 2010
13 May 2010
20 April 2010
12 April 2010
2 March 2010
26 January 2010

Events Calendar

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