Family Offices, Private Trust Companies and Trust Integrity Issues: Problems and Solutions
Asian Wealth and the Global Context, Richard Nolan, Tang Hang Wu and Yip Man (eds) (2020) (CUP) (Forthcoming)
Posted: 16 Aug 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2020
In recent years, the increasing prevalence of ultra-high net-worth individuals (“UNWIs”) in Asia has placed the actions and choices of this new class of financial elites and their affairs in the spotlight. In this paper, we consider the common structures used in Family Offices and Private Trust Companies (“PTCs”) used by the ultra-wealthy, focusing on the composition of their management. Several family governance issues commonly arise in practice, such as control and management, duties owed by the managers, succession planning, and how to resolve possible conflicts between beneficiaries. These must be evaluated when considering the structures to adopt. In addition, where settlors attempt to retain considerable control over the trusts (for example, through “double hatting”), trust integrity issues may arise, raising risks of trusts being treated as sham or illusory trusts. We propose several solutions to resolve the family governance and trust integrity issues highlighted in this paper, including focusing on the importance of proper administration, succession planning and employing professionals with good trusts experience to assist in management.
Keywords: Family Offices, Trusts, Private Trust Companies, Trusts Law
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