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Spotlight on wealth planners: Citi PB's Michael Troth

In part one of a four-part series, Citywire Asia speaks to Michael Troth, Asia head of trust and wealth planning and family office at Citi Private Bank.

Succession planning is a complex process that is more than simply a conversation about trusts, and there is no one solution that fits every family.

Most Asian families shy away from implementing a wealth succession plan, partly because such discussions are closely associated with death, which is a taboo subject in Asian culture.

Citywire Asia asked four wealth experts at four private banks, four questions - all so to dig deeper into the trends shaping wealth planning, in particular trust structures.

In part one of a four-part series, we speak to Michael Troth, Asia head of trust and wealth planning and family office at Citi Private Bank.

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Succession planning is a complex process that is more than simply a conversation about trusts, and there is no one solution that fits every family.

Most Asian families shy away from implementing a wealth succession plan, partly because such discussions are closely associated with death, which is a taboo subject in Asian culture.

Citywire Asia asked four wealth experts at four private banks, four questions - all so to dig deeper into the trends shaping wealth planning, in particular trust structures.

In part one of a four-part series, we speak to Michael Troth, Asia head of trust and wealth planning and family office at Citi Private Bank.

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Q: Is Asia overlooking succession planning?

Troth: I would say over the last 10-15 years there has been quite a big increase in clients engaging in succession planning.

The wealth management and private banking industries have grown. As a result, banks have expertise in this area and clients are getting access to more information on succession planning that they perhaps didn’t have before.

 

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Q: How do families confront trust issues?

Troth: They come and speak to us. What’s happening now with the growth of private banking and trust professionals within the private bank, a lot of clients are engaging in discussions very early on looking for advice.

 

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Q: Is the challenge more pronounced in family-owned businesses?

Troth: It is a little bit more challenging, and I say that because in comparison, it’s relatively easy to plan for financial assets as these assets tend to be held in Singapore or in Hong Kong or internationally. Family businesses, however, may be onshore where the clients live and they may be subjected to local laws.

The other issue of course is that family-owned businesses tend to have family members running them. For example, if you have four children, two may be in the business and two not, but they may share the total value of the business. So you need to avoid some of those inherent conflicts.

 

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Q: How are regulations changing the way families plan trust structures?

Troth: The biggest thing happening this year in Asia is the introduction of the common reporting standard (CRS) in Singapore and Hong Kong.

With CRS, information or at least part of it that families thought were confidential previously may now be disclosed. As such, the way families look at and plan today, certainly takes into account the new transparent world we live in.

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