STEPPING UP - ISSUE 25 (2 May 2014)
Chairperson's Message

Dear Members,

We want to keep the momentum of the Branch activities to bring members closer. The Branch has been holding an event every month and plans are made all the way to July.  Education continues to be our main thrust as we plan our calendar, but not forgetting fun events for networking purpose.

We celebrated the Lunar new year with our traditional “lo hei” networking event. The next networking event will be on 27 May. We invite members to find out more about STEP Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising. This course will be conducted here in Singapore in November. You can learn out more about the course at the event from Ken McCracken, the lead author of the course.

Around the theme of tax compliance, which has been a flavor for many months now, we had a comprehensive analysis of Singapore’s first tax anti-avoidance case, AQQ v CIT, presented by S Sharma. It was interesting to read the Court of Appeal judgement on the case and the Court’s approach in applying Section 33 of the Income Tax Act. Around the globe, FATCA is being signed up rapidly, G5 is signing a pact to effect automatic exchange of information after 2015 and OECD’s BEPS recommendations are streaming out progressively. We have to stay tuned to this development to appreciate the challenges of the environment.

We are organising a symposium with Singapore Management University (SMU) on 26 May. This is an inaugural collaboration with SMU to discuss problems relating to investments, mental capacity and issues on Asian family succession.
Leading on to our AGM on 26 June, the Special Interest Group Business Families subcommittee will be organising its first seminar since its formation last September. There will be further information about this seminar in due course. The AGM will be followed by drinks, so mark your calendar for 26 June.

Goh Seow Chee
Chairperson, STEP Singapore Branch

Singapore's Fiduciary Position - A Keynote Address to the STEP Asia Conference 2013 by Justice Quentin Loh
It gives me great pleasure to be here this morning and to have the opportunity to address this distinguished and eminent gathering of STEP practitioners and bankers. When I asked what I should talk about, I was told that I might want to talk about Singapore’s legal system in relation to the law of trusts and our jurisprudence, as it is a common refrain among foreign practitioners and private bankers in the trust and estate fraternity that Singapore does not have a body of case law, judges or legal practitioners who are knowledgeable in this area of the law.

With respect, I find such a view quite misplaced and would like to assure these sceptics that...


Contributed By: Justice Quentin Loh
“FATC-SHEET” — A preliminary guide for Singapore trustees on surviving FATCA

FATCA imposes significant due diligence, disclosure and withholding requirements on non-US financialentities (including banks, funds, trustees, trusts and holding companies) by requiring them to determinewhich direct and indirect beneficial owners are US persons1, and to report information about those US persons along with information about the underlying ‘accounts.’

Most entities (including private trust structures, corporate trust structures, and fund arrangements) thatare administered by trustees will need to be FATCA compliant so as to avoid being subject to a 30% FATCA withholding on US investments.


Contributed By: WithersWorldwide

“Up Close & Personal” – Interview with Mr. Zac Lucas
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.
Zac Lucas
Designation & Role in Organisation: Partner, Head of Private Capital,
Lawrence Graham LLP, Singapore Branch
Years in Trust Industry: Admitted as Solicitor, England and Wales, March 2000. Qualified and initially worked with Russell-Cooke Solicitors in UK, then later moved to the BVI with Harneys, and then Ogier, finally making the move to Singapore with Lawrence Graham in February 2013.

Getting to know Zac Lucas

The book I am currently reading is ... I tend to read a lot of business books, particular in my current area of professional interest which is business families, I'm trying to make my way through a number of books including, "Consulting to Family Businesses" (Hilburt-Davis and Dyer), and "Family Firms in Transition" (Carsrud and Brannback). Like most people, I'm concerned about how the regional and world economy will do over the coming years, and so I've taken to reading a number of books that try to deal with future economic projections and demographics, "Thirty Tomorrows: The Next Three Decades of Globalization ..." (Ezrati) is my most recent purchase. Having said all of that, it's not all business and economics; one of the most inspirational books I have recently read is "Running for My Life" (Lopez) an amazing story about the human spirit and will to survive and prosper.

The person(s) who have been my biggest influence is ... Professionally, I would have to say my work with David Brownbill QC during my time in the BVI was really influential. David and I worked together to create a number of trust precedents, principally using the VISTA legislation; it was fun because I would come up with wacky ideas and David would constantly and patiently consider, test and in some (most!) cases correct me, we were blending contracts and trusts, and it was a constant fight with me pushing the limits and David pulling me back – I learnt a great deal, David is a superb lawyer, it was a great period of innovation; it's nice to see that some of the precedents are still in use.

What I like most about my job/experiences in the trust industry is ... The trust industry, like most industries, is becoming a lot a more competitive, you have to be quite entrepreneurial to stay ahead, this of course can at times be quite uncomfortable but it does allow a more creative approach to professional life; if I take as an example the work we are doing with business families, it's quite amazing to consider the evolution and difference in skills this requires when compared to my earlier career in the UK.

My golden rule is ... Fairness – even a small child understands unfair treatment.

The business expression I hate most is ... Hate – pointless emotion.

Recruitment Classifieds

Business Development Manager - Trust Services position available 

The STEP Singapore website features a recruitment classifieds service for the trust industry.
Employers interested in placing job advertisements on our website may do so at only $400 per month. Details available HERE.

Upcoming Events
Networking Session featuring “An Introduction to the STEP Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising” (27 May 2014, 4-6pm, Intellioffices)
STEP Singapore is pleased to invite you to a networking session followed by an overview of the “STEP Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising” to be introduced in Singapore late November this year.
The Certificate provides advisers with a comprehensive and practical introduction to the key models and frameworks from the family enterprise body of knowledge.  It has already been successfully presented in London, Zurich, Geneva, Miami Toronto and New York.

You are invited to attend the session if you are advising on families in business and would like to find out more about the course. STEP Worldwide has generously sponsored this high tea networking session.

LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE SO REGISTER EARLY 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 May 2014!
STEP-SMU Symposium Symposium on “Recent Issues in Private Wealth and Trust Law” (26 May 2014, 9.15am-4.30pm, SMU Admin Building, Level 5)
The Symposium explores recent issues in private wealth and trust law. There will be sessions discussing pressing problems relating to investments, mental capacity and the Asian family business. In addition, there will be a session reviewing the latest Singapore case law on Equity and Trust.The Symposium concludes with a distinguished panel discussing case studies surrounding difficult issues pertaining to cross border businesses and families.
The Symposium features leading practitioners, bankers, wealth advisors and academics, and is jointly organised by the Singapore Management University and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Singapore.

For more detailed programme, please visit the Symposium website HERE.

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 19 May 2014!
Post-Event Updates
Post Event Update: Investment Risk Management – A Trustee’s Perspective (18 March 2014, 12.00-2.00pm, FTSE Room, Level 9, Capital Tower)
In an ideal world, the Trustee investment process should encompass profiling of the trust, agree upon the benchmark for asset allocation and review, evaluate and select investment manager. The reality is that Trustees are faced with settlors who are domineering in their views and influence in the way trust assets should be invested. In addition, many Asian settlors prefer to reserve investment power. Then does that mean a Trustee has lesser obligation with regards to the investment process? The answer is no. Issues get more complicated when there are operating companies held as trust assets.

The takeaway from this talk was the importance of having a Trustee investment checklist demonstrating the process the Trustee goes through in evaluating the assets held, review and update to the settlor/beneficiaries.

Contributed By: Goh Seow Chee - JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Post Event Update: Recent Developments on Tax Avoidance in Singapore – the landmark decision in Comptroller of Income Tax v AQQ (30 April 2014 12.00-2.00pm, Intellioffices)
The afternoon of 30 April 2014 was attended by 35 number of attendees, all interested to know what was deliberated and decided in the recent landmark Singapore tax avoidance case. The speaker, Mr. S. Sharma, a well known legal and tax advisor for more than 20 years in public service and in private practice, gave an in-depth look on the case.

He started out by explaining a little bit on the history of the tax laws in Singapore and how the changes of the laws later lead to the decision made on this case, on both the Comptroller of Income Tax and on the Defendant.  The takeaway points from the talk were:
  • Adopt a practical approach to tax planning
  • Maintain sufficient documentation on commercial reasons for the transaction, including financing aspects
  • Keep abreast of latest positions taken by Comptroller of Income Tax
  • Obtain external advice early
  • Scan tax horizons internationally
The talk was so well received by the attendees that many stayed back to discuss more with the speaker.

Contributed By: Linda Wong - Kensington Trust Group


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