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Spotlight on wealth planners: UBP's Faye Ong

In the part two of a four-part wealth planning series is the interview with Faye Ong, South Asia head of wealth planning at Union Bancaire Privée

Citywire Asia asked four wealth experts at four private banks, four questions about trends shaping wealth planning, in particular trust structures in the region. 

Part two of the four-part series presents the interview with Faye Ong, South Asia head of wealth planning at Union Bancaire Privée.

In the previous installment, we spoke to Michael Troth, Asia head of trust and wealth planning and family office at Citi Private Bank.

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Citywire Asia asked four wealth experts at four private banks, four questions about trends shaping wealth planning, in particular trust structures in the region. 

Part two of the four-part series presents the interview with Faye Ong, South Asia head of wealth planning at Union Bancaire Privée.

In the previous installment, we spoke 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?

Ong: We are starting to see an increasing trend where the ultra-HNW Asian families are starting to plan early.

We have seen this particularly in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where a lot of wealth has been generated primarily from family businesses.

 

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Q: How do families confront trust issues?

Ong: They work with advisers to design a trust structure where the distribution plan for the assets can be designed accordingly whereby distribution can be staggered or upon certain conditions being met.

There are other options that can be considered, such as distributing only the income earned from the interest from the trust fund and keeping the capital intact, or keeping children by marriage out of the succession plan, to name a few.

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

Ong: The challenge of succession planning tends to be more pronounced because in these cases, it is usually the first generation business owner who would have struggled to build the family business.

Having said that, we now see an increasing number of clients who are willing to confront the problem head on, sometimes they may choose to sell the business and have a liquidity event. At other times, they may choose to hire professional managers, should they still prefer to retain the business.

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

Ong: The recent developments in the tax and legal regulatory landscape have forced Asian ultra-HNW families to rethink the way they structure their trusts, which usually hold liquid assets and a jumbo insurance policy.

Common Reporting Standards (CRS), for example, has virtually rendered privacy obsolete. Asian clients have tended to traditionally plan their trust structures with confidentiality in mind. This no longer works; and clients need to understand and realise that the use of trust structures are now for succession planning purposes only.

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