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Standard Bank participates in webinar on international structures for South African and African Wealth

Standard Bank recently collaborated with the South African Institute of Taxation and a tax advisory firm, Tax Consulting South Africa, to host a webinar on international tax structures for South African and African Wealth.

This well-attended webinar featured guest speakers such as Judge Dennis Davis (the chair of The Davis Tax Committee) and the Director of the High Wealth Individuals Unit at SARS, Natasha Singh.

Standard Bank’s Jonathan Sprigg, Head of International Fiduciary Services, Samuel Thomas, Senior Wealth Manager, and Oscar Nzimande, Offshore Area Manager, participated in a panel discussion on offshore wealth considerations, covering topics such as the reasons to invest offshore, the difference between direct offshore investments and South African feeder products, the types of structures set up offshore and the considerations when selecting an offshore trustee.

Samuel spoke about investment diversification, emphasizing that asset allocation should be bespoke for each investor and expanding on the value of advice-based investment services. Speaking about the trends in the industry, Sam said, “Another important part in our industry now is socially responsible investment or SRI, [it] is the big theme. It’s going to get to a point where you have to opt-out of socially responsible investment rather than opt in.”

Oscar raised exchange control, tax, and Rand depreciation as considerations that should be taken into account when investing offshore, while Jonathan spoke about the difference between Jersey and Mauritius as offshore financial centers, touching on the flight connectivity of both jurisdictions, Jersey’s long offshore services history and Mauritius’s strong tax treaty network. Talking about current trends, Jonathan mentioned transparency and the importance of selecting a trustee that is up to date and aware of all the different jurisdictions’ disclosure requirements.

In a presentation on the practicalities of an offshore structure, Michael Giraud, Head of Fiduciary Services, Jersey, Chadwick Phillips, Senior Business Development Manager, and Sanmari Crous, Business Development Manager, discussed the practicalities of setting up an offshore trust and the considerations for the ongoing administration of an offshore trust.

Talking about the basics of settling a trust, Sanmari said “the weight of the implication of the transfer of legal ownership need to be understood and accepted before any discussions can be had about settling an offshore trust.” Chad went on to discuss the importance of taking tax advice before setting up a structure and understanding the different jurisdictions involved in the structure, adding that it is important for the trust documents and any ancillary documents to be bespoke and properly drafted.

“We need to be aware of the tax implications of changing jurisdictions and we need to be very aware that these families are very globally mobile,” said Michael, talking about the importance for the family to respect the structure and to keep the trustee informed of all relevant changes.

The webinar was very well-received and will hopefully be only the first in a series of similar informative events.