The discussions were lively and interesting, with the highlight being the keynote address on “Brexit” by Robert Buckland QC MP. Whilst Robert Buckland is as in the dark as we are on predicting what will happen with Brexit over the coming months, his presentation provided a fascinating insight into the role of the Solicitor General for England and Wales, a role held by Mr Buckland since 2014.
Different Types of Trust Fund Assets
There were various informative talks on different assets that may be included in a trust fund, including art work, jewellery, yachts and operating businesses. The primary points for a trustee to consider included:-
- Ensuring that the trustee holds adequate insurance for a particular asset, with consideration of the location of the asset and who has access to it;
- The value and provenance of the asset. The art world can be very dangerous for the inexperienced and it is vital appropriate and professional advice is obtained before art work is purchased or sold;
- The duties of the trustee if the trust fund includes an operating business and the effect of anti-Bartlett clauses; and
- Assets such as art work and yachts are often considered to be emotional assets to a settlor or beneficiary which may reflect their passion and lifestyle.
It is becoming more and more difficult to keep up to date with the ever changing regulations especially when there are cross jurisdictional elements to a structure and it is vital for trustees to keep pace.
The US as a Trusts Jurisdiction
The US is emerging as an attractive trusts jurisdiction with favourable treatment towards the liability of trustees, the confidentiality provided by the Courts and the position the Courts take to trusts within family proceedings. The fact that the US has not currently adopted CRS may seem favourable to some however, it is important that one treads carefully to ensure there is no wrong doing by individuals or their advisors.
Zhang Hong Li & Others v DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd & others
The case of Zhang Hong Li & Others v DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd & others  HKCA 435 became the most talked about case of the conference with many discussions leading back to the duties of trustees and the importance for procedures to be put in place for trust asset reviews and for approving and rejecting investments.
The main theme to be drawn from this year’s conference is that the future of the private client market appears to be towards more bespoke trusts focussed around wealth planning for future generations rather than “standard products” and it is as important as ever for trustees to have clear, well-established relationships with settlors and beneficiaries from the beginning to ensure clarity over everyone’s circumstances.
To learn more about our work in this area please contact Esmond Brown or Melissa Wong.