Dear Members, 

I trust you are galloping well into the Year of the Wood Horse with high spirit. This year promises to be a year of prosperity and good luck. 

We started 2014 with a lunch talk on automatic exchange of information, a new frontier to exchange of information. Automatic exchange of information was initiated by the G20 to facilitate international tax co-operation and level the playing field. This month, OECD published its brief on global standards to automatic exchange of information. It is modelled closely on the US FATCA agreement but it is not citizenship-centric. As advisors, we need to stay ahead of the game. We need to educate our clients on the new rules to the game. 

The Business Families Special Interest Group ("SIG") subcommittee was formed last September. This subcommittee has made progress in discussing and sharing knowledge on subject matters around business families. This subcommittee will be presenting a seminar series surrounding governance issues of families, challenges and pitfalls of structures and so on. There will be two lunch seminars in the coming months, stay tuned to this space.

In May, we will be organising a one-day symposium with the SMU (Singapore Management University). At this symposium, we will be examining issues that are pertinent to the Singapore environment. We will be covering topics on law and practice, mental capacity and using case studies to dissect legal and fiduciary issues. We will be sending out the flyer very soon.

With the world changing quickly, we strive to bring to you relevant talks by tapping into the resources in the STEP global network. We will be very happy to receive your suggestions as well if you feel there is any area of interest that we have not covered. We look forward to hearing from you.

Goh Seow Chee 

Chairperson, STEP (Singapore Branch), 2011-2014

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