Dear Members, 

I will first and foremost like to thank the members who attended the AGM on the 26 June.

For the benefit of the members who were unable to join us at the AGM, the new Branch committee members, nominated and voted into office are:

  • Vice Chairman: Lee Chiwi
  • Secretary: Linda Wong
  • Treasurer: Alexis Medina
  • Committee members: Mark Smallwood, S Sharma and Chee Fang Theng

James Atiken, the previous Vice-Chairman, was called upon by his organization to return to his beloved country New Zealand. As such, he put forth his resignation from his position as Vice-Chairman of STEP Singapore Branch. James has been a great resource for the Committee and contributed in many ways towards Branch activities. On behalf of the committee, I will like to thank James for his contribution and dedication. 

I will also like to take this opportunity to welcome Chee Fang Theng on board as a new committee member. Fang Theng is no stranger to many of us. She has had prior involvement with the Branch activities. You can read about her profile in the current edition of our newsletter.

The Branch committee will like to invite members to share your feedback and ideas with us. Through your feedback and ideas, we can then bring activities which are relevant and interesting to you. 

As part of our initiative in engaging and involving more members, we are happy to share two new initiatives. The first is an editorial board. This is led by Alexis Medina and supported by STEP branch members, Derek Too and Wendy Wong.

We are also starting our Branch’s “Business Families Special Interest Group” (Business Families SIG). The purpose of the Business Families SIG is to facilitate the means for a group of like-minded people to get together to discuss issues relating to advising clients on succession of family businesses. Oftentime, it is not just about the family’s trust structure but other ancillary issues as well, such as family harmony and other soft issues as they relate to the family. We are at the stage of designing the mechanism of the Business Families SIG. Look out for our news about this in this space.

You will already have received a STEP 2021 Member Consultation survey. Every member has a stake in STEP. With a rapidly changing environment, STEP needs to evaluate what STEP means for each member and how we leverage on our global network of branches. For a meaningful evaluation, STEP needs data and opinions from members. Therefore, I would appeal to you to send me your thoughts on how you feel STEP can complement your professional development and play a role in your practice. Please do take a few minutes of your time to complete the survey. If you have time, please join us on 1 August at 2 pm for a member consultation session.

In addition, the MAS has reached out to STEP and asked if we would like to submit our views on recent public consultation paper on amendments to the income Tax Act to incorporate changes to our Exchange of Information regime. The deadline to submit our response is 31 July and please do send your comments to the Secretariat.

The Branch’s highlight for 2013 is the annual STEP Asia Conference taking place in Singapore on 12 to 14 November. In anticipation for larger group of participates, the venue for this year’s conference is at the Marina Bay Sands. The conference has a regional focus covering onshore issues for families, trends in succession planning and case laws analysis of Hong Kong and Singapore. 

As always, we look forward to your participation and support of STEP events. 

Goh Seow Chee

Chairman, STEP (Singapore Branch), 2011-2014

Dear Members,

The first quarter of 2013 has passed as I am writing this message. It has certainly been a busy quarter for me. I don’t know where the time went!

For the Branch, we had several activities in January and February. Members who attended our Chinese New Year Lo Hei shared that they enjoyed it very much, not just the food but more importantly, the company of friends in a cozy and unique setting, seating 4 to a table, instead of the usual banquet style of 10. We encourage those who missed it to try to join us next year.

As we will retain the same format. In this issue of the newsletter, we interviewed Dr. Angelo Venardos, who is the Council Representative for Asia in STEP Worldwide. You would have read his report on STEP development after his meeting with STEP Worldwide.

The Branch has been active and has presented to Members relevant topical seminars. I feel that it is time for the Branch to expand our areas of interests, in the areas of family business succession interests and philanthropy interests, and to engage members in discussions on issues affecting the High Networth clients we serve in this region. With our collective experiences, we can get together to share our professional experiences and views.

In this respect of improving connectivity, I would like to appeal to volunteers to help the Branch fulfill this aspiration. Please express your interests to contribute and serve, to the secretariat. I really look forward to your participation in the Branch. Thank you for your support.

Goh Seow Chee

Chairman, STEP (Singapore Branch), 2011-2014

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

We had our AGM on the 28 June 2012 for the financial year ended 31 March 2012. For those members who attended the AGM, thank you for your support. It was important that the Branch adopted amendments to our constitution to align ourselves to STEP Worldwide and the rest of the STEP Branches in the world. We had David Harvey, CEO, STEP Worldwide, who attended our AGM and answered questions from the floor.

The past year has been a great experience for myself. The single activity that instantly comes to my mind would be the Branch's seminars. Besides a fantastic STEP Asia Conference, the Branch organised very successful lunch seminars. Those seminars covered a wide range of topics which were relevant in today's wealth planning toolkit. We were fortunate to have expert speakers on those topics. The Branch will strive to achieve the same success by bringing you relevant and interesting topics at our lunch seminars. It was very encouraging to see the support from members in the past and we look to see you continued support in this coming year. All these great experiences could not be achieved without a bunch of dedicated commitee members and our very abled secretariat.

I will serve as Branch Chair for the new financial year and the rest of the committee members are follows :-

  • Vice Chairman - James Aitken
  • Secretary - Lee Chiwi
  • Treasurer - Alexis Medina
  • Ordinary members - Linda Wong, Mark Smallwood, Sundareswara Sharma
  • See you at our next lunch talk on the 17 July.

Goh Seow Chee

President, STEP (Singapore Chapter), 2011-2014

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), 2011-2014

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

With the year coming to a close, most of us would take stock of what we have done over the past year and what we would like to achieve in the new year. When I take stock of the Branch's events, we tried to and we hope have achieved in presenting you with interesting and relevant lunch talks. The STEP Asia Conference was a resounding success well attended by members and international practitioners.

As President, I attended the STEP Branch Chairs Assembly in London early December where I gave the audience some insights on Singapore trust industry. I am proud to say our Branch is under the radar of STEP worldwide community showing healthy financials and activities.

In the new year, we will continue to bring you events that brings members together for networking, learning and sharing views. Finally, I would like to thank our secretariat for yet another great job done for the Branch.

Wishing you a successful and happy 2012 and look forward to your support in 2012.

Goh Seow Chee

President, STEP (Singapore Chapter), 2011-2014

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:

  1. Education & Student Liaison
  2. Constitutional Review
  3. E-Newsletter
  4. Regulatory Affairs & STA Liaison
  5. STEP Asia Conference Planning

Of course, being a Committee member has required, in addition to attending regular Committee Meetings, responding to emails, telephone calls on other business matters, as well as dealing with the other industry stakeholders such as the MAS, WMI and IBF.  All of these duties have required much time and effort, for the ultimate honour of serving you - the members of the Singapore Branch.

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 community©.

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.

Angelo Venardos

President, STEP (Singapore Chapter), 2009-2011

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

STEP Singapore has just closed a hugely successful STEP Asia Conference 2011. This conference was a sellout with 400 delegates of which 62% were delegates from overseas. For those who could not make it to attend the conference, you can read the summary in this enewsletter. Besides learning and exchanging views, it was an excellent networking time for peers in the industry. The landscape in which we operate is challenging and ever changing but I certainly think it is an interesting time for us. STEP produced a report “Future of Asian Trust and Estates Report” giving an insights on where this industry is heading. You can find the report HERE [CLICK TO DOWNLOAD]. The Committee will continue to bring to you relevant and useful seminars, look out for our next networking event in first quarter of 2012.

Finally, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed year in 2012.

Goh Seow Chee

President, STEP (Singapore Chapter), 2011-2014

Dear Fellow STEP Members,

1. Branch Activities in Q1

The following is a summary of talks held so far this year. As you can see, all events continue to attract good attendance by both STEP members and non-members. Do let us know if there is a particular subject or topic area that you would like us to try to source a speaker, or please introduce to us any speakers that you think may be of interest to our almost 440-strong Singapore membership.


2. Report: April Council Meeting

As a result of being recently elected to STEP Worldwide Council by the Singapore Management Committee, I would like to update you on the agenda and proceedings from the Council meetings I attended in London on 14-15 April.

It was an enormously important Council meeting, due to a new governance structure of Board and Council being bedded down. It was timely to talk about relationships: how these two arms of governance / consultation / representation will work together and particularly what the roles of Board members and council members are. Most importantly it was critical to focus on relationships with the wider membership and how effective communication and clarity of roles and responsibilities throughout STEP can ensure that we best serve the membership at large and build cohesion throughout the Society.

The STEP Worldwide Board has just completed its ‘blue skies’ planning. An enormous amount of progress was made over two days to analyse the Board’s interest and initial views on governance and communication, on risk, on key issues for the Board in taking up its role, on strategic issues throughout the Society and how the business plan for STEP thus goes forward.

The major items for the agenda included reports on branch development, education and public policy; the STEP brand; special interest groups; membership satisfaction survey; taxpayer’s charter; 2011/12 operational plan; finance report and budget. Read excerpts from David Harvey’s CEO report to Council HERE.

3.STEP/STA Gala Dinner Update

For those of you who have yet to confirm your individual or table booking, please note that we have todate sold 10 tables, with 3 major gold sponsorships, and aim to have a full house by late May/early June.

Angelo Venardos

President, STEP (Singapore Chapter), 2009-2011

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