Independent Wealth Management Forum 2019 HK - Exclusive Insights - Tim George

Tim George of Withers Worldwide

Oct 28, 2019

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1. Are clients seeking to make their structures simpler or more complex? Why?

Video transcript

1. Are clients seeking to make their structures simpler or more complex? Why?

There's certainly a move towards simplification; I think that's being led by jurisdictional simplification. There's an increasing reporting burden. If you look at FATCA, CRS, UBO registers, the Economic Substance Rules, (these) have led clients to look for a simplification of jurisdiction to remove such a heavy compliance burden. And then within that, once you're looking at simplification of jurisdiction, you're also looking at entity simplification. So, we're all familiar with that horrible client structure diagram that doesn't fit on an A3 page with the myriad of BVI companies. (They’re) now moving towards a simple command and control structure. So rather than having those individual companies, (they’re) looking at maybe creating a family fund, whether that's just a simple holding company, with a shareholders' agreement, or whether you're moving into protected cell companies, or segregated portfolio companies in Singapore, which have the added advantage of not only that central command and control structure, but also the ability for separate cells for different family branches. And then finally, I think the theme that we're seeing a lot of is some interest in partnership planning. So using limited partnerships as that single command and control structure, but where you have a general partner, which the patriarch or matriarch can retain control of (assets), but also passing value down to the next generation while retaining that control. And I think ‘the partnership’ is an incredibly versatile structure and I think should appeal well in Asia. And we've been incredibly busy with partnerships in the US and the UK, but only just starting in Asia.

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