Why Singapore Is The Place To Establish Your Family Office

Singapore - The Ultimate Location for Your Family Office

Family offices have been gaining significant traction in the financial world in recent years, and for good reason. These private wealth management entities have transformed the way affluent families manage their wealth, safeguard their legacies, and plan for future generations. At their core, family offices provide a comprehensive suite of services tailored to the unique needs and goals of high-net-worth individuals and families.

So, what exactly is a family office? In simple terms, it can be thought of as a centralized hub that oversees and coordinates various aspects of a family’s financial affairs. This includes investment management, estate planning, tax optimization, philanthropy, and even lifestyle concierge services.

The significance of family offices lies in their ability to offer bespoke solutions that align with the complex financial requirements of affluent families. By providing a dedicated team of professionals, including investment advisors, legal experts, tax specialists, and wealth planners, family offices ensure that every aspect of a family’s financial well-being is given the utmost attention and expertise.

But why should one consider establishing a family office specifically in Singapore?

The Lion City has emerged as a premier global financial hub, attracting not only multinational corporations and institutional investors but also wealthy individuals and families from around the world. Its strategic location, robust regulatory framework, political stability, and well-developed infrastructure make it an ideal destination for setting up a family office.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the purpose and benefits of establishing a family office in Singapore. By unlocking the secrets of family offices, we aim to provide valuable insights and guidance for those seeking to optimize their wealth management strategies and secure their family’s financial future. So, let’s embark on this journey and discover the untapped potential that family offices offer in Singapore.

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singapore family office

To fully grasp the significance and potential benefits of establishing a family office in Singapore, it is crucial first to understand the concept of family offices themselves.

  • A family office is essentially a private wealth management advisory firm that serves the financial needs of a wealthy family or individual.
  • It provides a comprehensive range of services, including investment management, estate planning, tax advisory, philanthropy, and even concierge services.
  • What makes the world of family offices truly intriguing is the level of customization and exclusivity they offer.
  • Each family office is tailored to the unique needs and preferences of the family it serves, ensuring that their wealth management strategies align with their long-term goals and values.
  • This level of personalized attention sets family offices apart from traditional wealth management institutions.
  • The primary objective of a family office is to protect and grow the family’s wealth while ensuring the long-term financial well-being of current and future generations. By taking a strategic and personalized approach, family offices can provide tailored solutions that align with the unique goals and values of each family.

2. Benefits Of Establishing A Family Office

  • One of the key advantages of establishing a family office lies in the ability to achieve a high degree of customization and control.
    • Unlike traditional wealth management firms, family offices are not bound by the constraints of standardized investment strategies or products.
    • Instead, they have the flexibility to create bespoke investment portfolios that align with the family’s risk tolerance, return objectives, and investment preferences.
  • Another key advantage of establishing a family office is that it offers a comprehensive suite of services under one roof, simplifying the complexities associated with managing substantial wealth.
    • By consolidating various financial functions, families can streamline their financial affairs and benefit from enhanced efficiency, coordination, and transparency.

3. Why Singapore Is The Place To Establish Your Family Office?

  • Singapore has emerged as the hub for family offices in recent years, drawing in a number of well-known individuals with extremely high net worth.
  • Google co-founder Sergey Brin, former Fosun International CEO Liang Xinjun, and Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani are some of the most noteworthy individuals who have established their Singapore Family Office.
  • An estimated 59% of family offices that are located in Asia are based in Singapore, according to a survey that KPMG published.
  • According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), in 2022, there were over 1,500 family offices in Singapore managing around S$90 billion (US$66.8 billion) in assets. This constituted just under 2% of the S$5.4 trillion (US$4 trillion) assets under management in Singapore.
  • Singapore’s unique combination of political stability, economic strength, financial expertise, favourable tax incentives, robust regulatory framework, multicultural environment, and high quality of life make it an exceptional choice for establishing and operating family offices.

4. Singapore's Robust Legal System And Political Stability

  • One of the key factors that make Singapore an attractive destination for establishing the Singapore Family Office is its robust legal system and political stability.
  • Singapore has consistently been recognized as one of the world’s most business-friendly and corruption-free countries. Its legal framework is known for its efficiency, transparency, and adherence to the rule of law. This provides a solid foundation for family offices to operate and thrive with confidence.
  • The country’s legal system is based on English common law principles, which are widely recognized and trusted by international investors. This familiarity and predictability in the legal framework give family offices peace of mind, ensuring that their assets and investments are well-protected.
  • Political stability is another crucial factor that makes Singapore an ideal choice for establishing a family office. The country has enjoyed decades of political stability, with a strong and effective governance system in place. This stability is further enhanced by Singapore’s commitment to neutrality and non-interference in international affairs.
  • Such stability and reliability in the legal and political arenas contribute to Singapore’s reputation as a safe haven for wealth management and asset protection. Family offices can confidently navigate the complex landscape of global finance, knowing that their interests are safeguarded within a stable and predictable environment.

5. Singapore’s Reputation For A Strong Regulatory Framework

  • Singapore’s attractive regulatory environment for family offices has positioned the city-state as a prime destination for establishing and operating such entities. With its robust legal framework, political stability, and business-friendly policies, Singapore offers a conducive environment for families to manage and preserve their wealth effectively.
  • The MAS has introduced a comprehensive regulatory framework to foster a conducive environment for family offices, offering flexibility in structuring and registration requirements. This regulatory clarity and stability contribute to Singapore’s reputation as a trusted and transparent financial centre.
  • Another compelling aspect of Singapore’s regulatory environment is its commitment to combating financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • The city-state has implemented stringent regulations and robust compliance measures to ensure the integrity of its financial system.
  • This not only helps protect the reputation of family offices but also enhances Singapore’s standing as a global financial hub.
  • Singapore’s attractive regulatory environment for Singapore Family Offices offers a compelling proposition for families seeking to establish their wealth management structures. The city-state’s strong legal framework, progressive policies, commitment to financial integrity, and favourable tax regime make it an ideal hub to safeguard and grow its wealth for generations to come.

6. Singapore’s Reputation As A Leading Financial Center In Asia

  • Singapore has emerged as a prominent hub for wealth management, attracting numerous global banks and financial institutions.
  • This has resulted in a highly developed and sophisticated financial ecosystem and a multitude of financial institutions, including reputable banks, wealth management firms, and insurance companies.
  • These institutions provide a comprehensive range of financial services tailored to the needs of family offices, such as private banking, investment advisory, and insurance solutions. The presence of these established and trusted institutions instils confidence. It helps family offices navigate the complex financial landscape with ease.
  • Whether it is asset allocation, risk management, or portfolio optimization, Singapore Family Offices  can leverage the expertise and resources of these financial institutions to make informed investment decisions.
  • In addition to the local investment opportunities, Singapore’s strategic location in the heart of Asia provides family offices with access to the dynamic economies of the region. With its strong trade and investment links, Singapore serves as a gateway to the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia, China, and India. This enables family offices to tap into the potential of emerging industries and capitalize on the region’s economic growth.
  • Singapore offers family offices an unparalleled investment landscape with a wide range of opportunities and access to diverse markets. Its strong financial infrastructure, strategic location, and business-friendly environment make it the ideal hub for establishing and growing a family office.

7. Singapore’s Favourable Tax Environment

  • Singapore has long been known for its attractive tax advantages and incentives, making it a sought-after destination for family offices. The city-state offers a robust and transparent tax system that is designed to promote business growth and attract high-net-worth individuals and families.
  • One of the key benefits of a Singapore Family Office is favourable tax regime in Singapore. The country has a progressive tax system with a maximum personal income tax rate of 22%, which is significantly lower than many other developed countries.
  • Additionally, Singapore does not impose any capital gains tax or inheritance tax, providing a favourable environment for wealth preservation and succession planning.
  • Singapore employs a territorial tax system, which means that only income derived from Singapore is taxable. Foreign-sourced income, capital gains, and dividends are generally tax-exempt, making it an attractive option for families with global investments and assets.
  • In addition to personal tax benefits, family offices in Singapore also enjoy favourable corporate tax rates. The corporate tax rate is a flat 17%, one of the lowest in the world. This enables family offices to optimize their tax planning strategies and maximize returns on investments. Furthermore, Singapore has an extensive network of double taxation avoidance agreements (DTAs) with various countries, providing further tax relief by eliminating or reducing the impact of double taxation on income earned abroad.

8. Singapore’s Attractive Tax Incentives For Family Offices

  • Singapore government provides a range of tax incentives specifically tailored for Singapore Family Offices.
  • One of the most notable incentives is the enhanced tier fund tax exemption scheme, which provides a reduced tax rate on specified income derived from designated investments.
  • This scheme encourages family offices to invest in a diverse range of asset classes, such as private equity, real estate, and hedge funds, while enjoying preferential tax treatment.
  • The tax advantages and incentives offered by Singapore make it an attractive destination for establishing a family office. Not only does it provide wealth preservation and succession planning benefits, but it also offers a favourable business environment that supports long-term growth and investment opportunities.

9. Singapore's Robust Infrastructure & Professional Services For Family Offices

  • Singapore boasts a robust infrastructure and a wide range of professional services that make it an ideal hub for establishing family offices. With its stable political climate, strong rule of law, and efficient governance, Singapore provides a secure and reliable environment for managing wealth and assets.
  • In terms of infrastructure, Singapore offers state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology that facilitate smooth operations for the Singapore Family Offices. The city-state’s advanced telecommunications and digital infrastructure ensure seamless communication and connectivity, allowing family offices to stay connected with their global network of clients, advisors, and investment partners.
  • Singapore is home to a vibrant professional services sector comprising legal, accounting, tax, and consulting firms that specialize in serving family offices. These professionals possess deep expertise in wealth management, estate planning, succession planning, and regulatory compliance. Their knowledge and experience enable family offices to effectively address intricate legal and financial matters, ensuring optimal wealth preservation and growth strategies.
  • Singapore’s government actively supports the establishment and growth of family offices through favourable policies and incentives.

10. Singapore's Residency Policies For Family Offices

  • Families wishing to establish a long-term presence find Singapore to be an appealing destination due to its strong school system, world-class healthcare facilities, and high quality of life.
  • Families looking for a well-rounded and fulfilling lifestyle will find the city-state even more appealing due to its dedication to sustainability, green initiatives, and urban design.
  • Family offices looking to relocate can benefit from Singapore’s friendly policies. The Singapore Global Investor Program allows family office principals to apply for permanent residency, provided they meet certain conditions.
  • Singapore’s unique combination of political stability, economic strength, financial expertise, favourable tax incentives, robust regulatory framework, multicultural environment, and high quality of life make it an exceptional choice for establishing and operating family offices. By choosing Singapore as a hub, families can unlock the hidden world of family offices and enjoy the numerous benefits that this thriving city-state has to offer.

11. Establishing A Family Office In Singapore: Key Considerations And Steps

  • Establishing a Singapore Family Office can be a strategic move for high-net-worth individuals and families seeking to optimize their wealth management and succession planning.
  • Before diving into the establishment process, it is crucial to consider key factors that will shape your family office’s structure and operations.
    • Firstly, defining your objectives and goals is paramount.
      • Determine whether you are primarily focused on preserving wealth, generating investment returns, or facilitating intergenerational wealth transfer.
    • Next, consider the type of family office that best aligns with your needs.
      • Single-family offices cater exclusively to one family, providing highly customized and personalized services.
      • On the other hand, multi-family offices pool resources and expertise to serve multiple families, offering economies of scale and a broader network.
  • Navigating the regulatory landscape is also essential.
    • Singapore has a well-regulated financial sector overseen by the MAS.
    • Familiarize yourself with the applicable regulations, licensing requirements, and compliance obligations to ensure a smooth and compliant establishment process.
  • Choosing the right professionals to support your family office setup is crucial. Engaging experienced advisors, such as lawyers, accountants, and wealth managers, who are well-versed in Singapore’s regulations and understand the intricacies of family office operations, can provide invaluable guidance and expertise.
  • Once these considerations are addressed, the actual steps to establish a family office in Singapore can be taken.
  • These steps typically include incorporating a company, obtaining the necessary licenses (if applicable), setting up governance structures, creating investment policies, and establishing operational processes.
  • It is worth noting that while Singapore offers an attractive business environment, thorough due diligence and careful planning are essential. Engaging with local experts who are knowledgeable about the local landscape can help navigate potential challenges and ensure a successful establishment.
  • Establishing a family office in Singapore can unlock a range of benefits, from efficient wealth management and succession planning to access to a well-regulated financial ecosystem.

By setting up a Singapore Family Office, families can enjoy the advantages of a strategic location that bridges the East and West, facilitating access to diverse investment opportunities and markets.

The city-state’s strong regulatory framework ensures transparency, compliance, and investor protection, instilling confidence in families as they navigate the complexities of wealth management.

Singapore’s reputation for political stability, efficient governance, and strong rule of law provides a secure environment for preserving and growing wealth across generations. The country’s well-established financial institutions and skilled workforce offer a range of specialized services tailored to the unique needs and objectives of family offices.

The Singapore government actively supports and promotes the establishment of family offices through various incentives and initiatives. From tax incentives for investment holding companies to grants for talent development and technology adoption, the ecosystem is designed to foster growth and innovation within the family office sector.

By choosing Singapore as your location, you gain access to a thriving financial hub and a supportive business environment.

We have helped many families make the right chiuces when setting up their family office in Singapore. Contact us via Lawyer Anywhere for advice on moving or setting up your family office in Singapore.


Singapore vs Hong Kong : Which Is Right For You?

Singapore vs Hong Kong - The Battle of Business Titans

When it comes to setting up a business in Asia, two prominent choices stand out: Singapore and Hong Kong. These bustling cities have long been hailed as business hubs, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. But which one is the right choice for you? 

In this article, we will dive into the battle of the business titans, comparing the key factors that make these cities attractive for starting and running a company. From taxation and legal frameworks to market accessibility and cultural considerations, we will explore the pros and cons of both Singapore and Hong Kong, helping you make an informed decision and find the perfect fit for your business ambitions in Asia.


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hong kong

1. Comparison : Company Incorporation Requirements

Companies can be formed in either Singapore or Hong Kong with little difference in paperwork requirements.


Hong Kong

Basic Requirements

- At least 1 shareholder
- At least 1 resident director
- Company secretary who is a Singapore Resident

- At least 1 shareholder
- At least 1 director (can be non-resident)
- Mandatory corporate director
- Company secretary who is a Hong Kong Resident

Other Requirements

- Paid-Up capital of S$1
- Registered office address in Singapore
- No restriction on foreign ownership

- Authorised capital of HK$10,000
- Minimum share capital HK$1
- Registered office address in Hong Kong
- No restriction on foreign ownership

Tax Residency

- To be eligible for Singapore tax residency, the management & control must be done from Singapore

- No definition of tax residency, dependent on DTA

Incorporation Time

- A Few Hours

- 7 Days

Annual Compliance

- Annual General Meeting
- Filing Annual Returns

- Annual General Meeting
- Filing Annual Returns

Audit Requirements

- Audit only required if its not an exempt private company

- Audit is mandatory

Exchange Control

- None

- None

Bank Account Location

- Anywhere

- Anywhere

2. Comparison : Taxation Regime

The tax policies of Singapore, however, provide it a significant advantage over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s jurisdiction is limited solely to its own territory, but Singapore has a territorial tax system that includes remittances. 

There is no capital gains tax in either of them. 

In both countries, dividends can be distributed free of withholding tax, and authoritative tax decisions can be obtained in advance.



Hong Kong

Tax System

- Territorial and tax on some types of remittances

- Purely territorial

Tax Exchange Information

- Yes, if request is specific and reasonable

- Yes, no court order required

Number of Tax Treaties

- 76

- 30

Corporate Tax Rate

- Up to 17%

(Effective rate is usually a lot less if companies take advantage of the tax schemes available)

- Flat rate 16.5%

Goods & Services Tax

- 8%

- None

Capital Gains Tax

- None

- None

Avoidance of Double Taxation

- Ordinary credit method
with Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) pooling allowed

- Ordinary credit method
with pooling not allowed

Tax Incentives

- Corporate Tax Rebate
- Foreign Tax Credit Pooling
- Fund Management Activities (5% or 10% corporate income tax rates)
- Global Trader Programme
- Operational Headquarters (5% or 15% corporate income tax rates)
- Partial Exemption Scheme
- Productivity & Innovation Credit
- Start-Up Tax Exemption

- None

3. Comparison : Advantages & Disadvantages


Hong Kong

- Business friendly tax incentive schemes which offer lower effective corporate tax rate (with tax incentive schemes)

- Lack of business tax incentive schemes. Flat corporate rate of 16.5%

- Extensive network of cross-border tax treaties

- Cross-border tax treaties not as extensive as Singapore but some treaties with eg. Indonesia is better suited for some businesses

- Requirement for a resident director for the incorporation of a company

- No requirement for a resident director for the incorporation of a company

- Singapore's multicultural society embraces diversity and provides a harmonious operating environment for enterprises.

- Even though English is widely used in Hong Kong, Chinese language and cultural norms exert a substantial amount of influence.

- The widespread use of the English language facilitates international business communication.

- Understanding the local culture and adapting to it can be crucial to the success of business operations in Hong Kong.

- If market access to Southeast Asia is a top priority, along with a diverse and inclusive business climate, Singapore may be the best option.

- Hong Kong may be preferable if your objectives are to have access to the Chinese market and to be a part of a thriving financial centre.

We have helped many entrepreneurs and international businesses make the right choices when setting up in Singapore. Contact us via  Lawyer Anywhere for advice on moving or setting up your business in Singapore.


Why It’s Better To Give During Your Lifetime

Why Giving Now Makes a Bigger Impact

Throughout our lives, we are often encouraged to think about the legacy we will leave behind.

While many may associate this with leaving behind financial assets or material possessions after death, a powerful alternative can have a lasting impact on both the giver and the recipient – giving during one’s lifetime.

In this article, we will explore the transformative power of giving and why it is better to share with our beneficiaries during our lifetime (while we are still alive).

From the joy of witnessing the impact of our generosity firsthand to the potential for fostering stronger relationships and instilling values in future generations, we will delve into the numerous benefits of giving during our lifetime. Join us as we discover the profound rewards of sharing our resources, time, and love with others and redefine what it truly means to leave a lasting legacy.

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1. The Immediate Impact Of Giving During One’s Lifetime

When you choose to give to your beneficiaries while still alive, you can witness firsthand the positive changes your generosity brings about.

  • This direct involvement lets you see the smiles, gratitude, and heartfelt appreciation of those who benefit from your giving.
  • It creates a sense of fulfilment and joy that cannot be replicated by giving after death.

Giving during one’s lifetime gives you a say in how your resources are used and ensures that your intentions are carried out exactly as you envisioned.

  • By actively participating in the process, you can tailor your gifts to meet your beneficiaries’ specific needs and aspirations.
  • Whether it’s providing financial assistance for education, supporting a charitable cause close to your heart, or helping a loved one start a business, giving during your lifetime allows you to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.

Giving during one’s lifetime promotes a deeper connection and strengthens relationships.

  • It opens up avenues for meaningful conversations, creating opportunities for you to understand the dreams, goals, and challenges your beneficiaries face.
  • By actively engaging with them and offering support, you nurture a sense of trust and love that endures beyond material possessions.

Giving during your lifetime allows you to experience generosity’s personal growth and transformation.

  • It cultivates a spirit of empathy, compassion, and gratitude within you, enhancing your overall well-being.
  • As you witness the positive impact of your gifts, you develop a greater appreciation for the power of giving and a desire to continue making a difference in the lives of others.

The immediate impact of giving during one’s lifetime is immeasurable.

  • It provides a unique sense of fulfilment, allows for active involvement, strengthens relationships, and promotes personal growth.
  • By choosing to give now, you can experience the transformative power of generosity and create a lasting legacy of love and kindness.



2. Instilling Values In Future Generations

Instilling values in future generations is crucial to creating a positive and compassionate society.

  • One way to achieve this is by practising the power of giving during our lifetime rather than waiting until after death.
  • By giving to our beneficiaries while we are still alive, we can actively teach them the importance of generosity, empathy, and selflessness.

When we give to our loved ones during our lifetime, we can witness our gifts’ impact on their lives.

  • This allows us to talk about why we choose to give and the values underpinning our actions.
  • By openly discussing our motivations for giving, we can inspire and encourage our beneficiaries to develop a similar mindset of compassion and giving back to others.

Giving during our lifetime allows us to be more intentional and thoughtful about the gifts we offer.

  • We can tailor our support to our beneficiaries’ specific needs and dreams, helping them achieve their goals and aspirations.
  • This personalized approach demonstrates our care and understanding and fosters a sense of gratitude and appreciation in the recipients.

Giving during our lifetime allows us to build a stronger connection with our beneficiaries.

  • Rather than simply leaving them an inheritance after our passing, we can build memories and shared experiences through giving.
  • This strengthens our relationships and creates a deeper bond based on mutual understanding and support.

Giving during our lifetime, we can actively contribute to addressing immediate needs and positively impact the present.

  • Whether supporting educational pursuits, providing financial assistance, or donating to charitable causes, our gifts can make a tangible difference in the lives of our beneficiaries and the broader community.

Giving to our beneficiaries during our lifetime allows us to instil values in future generations and fosters open communication, personalized support, stronger relationships, and immediate positive impact.

  • By embracing the power of giving in the present, we can shape a more compassionate and generous world for future generations.

3. Redefining The Meaning Of Leaving A Lasting Legacy

When it comes to estate planning and leaving a legacy, many people focus on what they will leave behind after their death.

  • They may consider passing on their assets, property, or wealth to their beneficiaries through a will or trust.

A growing movement encourages individuals to consider giving to their beneficiaries during their lifetime rather than waiting until after death.

  • The power of giving during your lifetime should not be underestimated.
  • By giving to your beneficiaries while you are still alive, you can see the impact of your generosity firsthand.
  • You can witness the joy and gratitude on their faces, and you have the opportunity to be actively involved in how your gifts are used.

One of the key benefits of giving during your lifetime is the ability to provide support and assistance when it is most needed.

  • Whether it’s helping a child with college tuition, supporting a loved one in starting a business, or providing financial assistance during a difficult time, giving while you are alive allows you to offer immediate help and make a real difference in the lives of your beneficiaries.

Giving during your lifetime allows you to pass on financial assets, values, and wisdom.

  • By engaging with your beneficiaries, you can share your experiences, provide guidance, and instil important life lessons.
  • This type of personal connection and mentorship is invaluable and can shape the lives of your loved ones in profound ways.

Giving during your lifetime can also give you a sense of fulfilment and purpose.

  • Knowing that you have positively impacted the lives of your beneficiaries and contributed to their success can bring immense joy and satisfaction.
  • It allows you to create a better future for those you care about actively.

While there is certainly value in leaving a financial inheritance after death, redefining the meaning of leaving a lasting legacy involves recognizing the power of giving during your lifetime.

By actively giving to your beneficiaries while you are still alive, you can make a tangible, meaningful impact on their lives.

It’s not just about leaving behind material possessions but about creating a legacy of love, support, and empowerment that will be remembered long after you’re gone.


SFO vs MFO : Which Is Right For You?

Building Wealth : SFO or MFO - Find Your Perfect Fit

Managing the wealth and assets of a family is no small task.

As families accumulate wealth and grow, the need for dedicated financial management and advisory services becomes apparent.

This is where family offices come into play.

However, there are 2 distinct types of family offices to consider: single and multi-family.

Each has its unique advantages and considerations.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between single and multi-family offices, helping you determine which option fits you and your family’s financial needs.

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1. Single Family Office (SFO)

  • A SFO is a private wealth management firm that is dedicated to managing the financial affairs of a single high-net-worth family.
  • It provides tailored and personalised services to meet one family’s needs and goals.
  • These offices are typically established by ultra-high-net-worth individuals or families who have substantial assets and complex financial affairs to manage.
  • A SFO office operates as a private entity, often with a dedicated team of professionals, including financial advisors, investment managers, tax experts, and estate planners.
  • The primary focus of a SFO is to provide comprehensive financial and investment services, including asset allocation, wealth preservation, tax planning, philanthropic strategies, and generational wealth transfer.
  • One of the key advantages of a SFO is the level of customisation and control it offers.
    • Since it caters to a single family, the office can tailor its services to meet its unique needs, values, and long-term objectives.
    • This personalised approach allows for a deep understanding of the family’s financial situation and goals, resulting in more effective and efficient wealth management strategies.
  • A SFO offers a high degree of privacy and confidentiality.
    • As a private entity, it operates independently from external influences, ensuring that sensitive financial information remains secure.
    • This level of privacy is essential for families who prioritise the protection of their wealth and prefer to keep their affairs out of the public eye.
  • However, establishing and maintaining a single-family office can be complex and costly.
    • The initial setup costs, including hiring a dedicated team and implementing necessary infrastructure, can be substantial.
    • Ongoing operational expenses, such as salaries, technology, and office space, add to the financial commitment.
  • Therefore, a single-family office is typically more feasible for ultra-high-net-worth families with significant assets under management.

2. Multi-Family Office (MFO)

  • A MFO is a comprehensive wealth management solution designed to serve the needs of multiple high-net-worth families.
  • A MFO combines resources and expertise to provide various financial services to multiple families.
    • In a MFO, families pool their resources to benefit from shared services such as investment management, tax planning, estate planning, philanthropy, and other specialised services.
    • This pooling of resources allows for cost efficiencies and access to a broader range of expertise that might not be feasible for individual families to obtain independently.
  • One of the key advantages of a MFO is the ability to access a team of professionals specialising in wealth management.
    • This can include investment professionals, tax advisors, estate planners, legal experts, and more.
    • The expertise and knowledge offered by a MFO can help families navigate complex financial matters and make informed decisions.
  • A MFO can also provide a platform for networking and collaboration among families.
    • Families can benefit from shared experiences, insights, and best practices.
    • This collaborative environment can foster community and provide opportunities for intergenerational wealth preservation and education.

3. Single Family Office (SFO) vs Multi-Family Office (MFO) : Which Is Right For You?

When selecting the correct type of family office for your needs, there are several key considerations to remember.

Understanding the benefits and differences between SFO and a MFO is crucial in making an informed decision.

1. Complexity of Wealth Management

  • SFOs are typically established by ultra-high-net-worth families to manage their wealth exclusively.
  • This level of exclusivity allows for highly customised and personalised services tailored specifically to the family’s unique financial goals and needs.
  • MFOs serves multiple wealthy families, offering a broader range of services catering to various needs.
  • Consider the complexity of your wealth management requirements and whether a more personalised approach or a more comprehensive offering is better suited for your family.

2. Cost Considerations

  • Establishing and maintaining a SFO can be a significant financial investment.
  • The costs associated with staffing, infrastructure, and ongoing operational expenses can be substantial.
  • Joining a MFO allows for cost-sharing among multiple families, potentially reducing individual costs.
  • It is crucial to assess your financial capabilities and determine the level of investment you are comfortable with before making a decision.

3. Privacy And Confidentiality

  • SFOs provide higher privacy and confidentiality due to their exclusive nature.
  • Since they serve only one family, there is less risk of sharing sensitive information with external parties.
  • MFOs may have more shared resources and personnel, which could compromise confidentiality.
  • If privacy is important to your family, a SFO might be preferred.

4. Access To Expertise And Resources

  • MFOs often boast a diverse team of professionals with a wide range of expertise, including investment management, tax planning, estate planning, and more.
  • This breadth of knowledge can be advantageous, providing access to specialised services and a wealth of experience.
  • A SFO can focus solely on the needs of one family, potentially providing a deeper level of expertise in specific areas.
  • Consider the scope of services you require and the level of specialisation you prefer when weighing your options.

Choosing between a SFO and a MFO ultimately comes down to your family’s unique needs and preferences.

Both options offer various advantages and considerations that should be carefully evaluated.

It is essential to carefully consider your family’s unique circumstances, preferences, and long-term goals when choosing between a SFO and a MFO.

Consulting with a trusted financial advisor can help you navigate this decision-making process and ensure you select the option that best aligns with your family’s needs.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to find a family office that provides the necessary support and guidance to safeguard and grow your wealth for future generations.

When protecting your family, it’s vital to get the right advice. If you’re unsure whether you need to join a MFO or set up your own SFO, speak to us over video consultation via Lawyer AnywhereWe can discuss your needs and recommend the best solution for you.


The Rise of External Asset Managers (EAM)

Ultimate Guide For Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) Clients

The world of finance is constantly evolving, and the rise of External Asset Managers (EAMs) is a testament to this fact. EAMs are independent professionals who manage the assets of Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) clients. They offer clients personalized investment solutions, access to a wider range of investment opportunities, and a level of service that traditional wealth management firms cannot match. As the number of UHNW individuals continues to grow, so does the demand for EAMs.

In this article, we will explore the rise of EAMs, their benefits, and why they are fast becoming the preferred choice for ultra-high-net-worth clients. Whether you are a client seeking to build your wealth or an EAM looking to expand your business, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of EAMs.

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1. The Rise Of External Asset Managers (EAMs)

  • In the ever-evolving landscape of wealth management, a new player has emerged to cater specifically to the needs of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients – External Asset Managers (EAMs).
  • With the increasing complexity of financial markets and the growing demand for personalized and tailored investment strategies, EAMs have gained significant traction in recent years.
  • So, what exactly is an EAM?
    • In essence, an EAM is an independent professional or a team of experts who provide comprehensive wealth management services to affluent individuals and families.
    • Unlike traditional private banks or wealth management firms, EAMs operate as external entities, offering a more flexible and client-centric approach to managing finances.
  • One of the key reasons behind the rise of EAMs is the desire for greater transparency and control over investment decisions.
    • UHNW clients often have unique financial goals, preferences, and risk tolerances that require a customized approach.
    • EAMs, with their specialized expertise and deep understanding of the market, can offer tailored strategies that align with the specific needs and objectives of their clients.
  • Another factor contributing to the surge in popularity of EAMs is the growing importance of holistic wealth management.
    • These professionals go beyond mere investment advice and asset allocation. They provide comprehensive services, including financial planning, tax optimization, estate planning, philanthropy, and even lifestyle management.
    • By offering a wide range of services under one roof, EAMs simplify the complexities of managing substantial wealth and ensure a seamless experience for their clients.

2. How EAMs Differ From Traditional Wealth Management Solutions

When it comes to managing the wealth of UHNW clients, traditional wealth management solutions are often the go-to choice.

However, in recent years, there has been a noticeable rise in the popularity of EAMs.

But what exactly sets EAMs apart from traditional wealth management solutions?

EAMs offer a level of independence that is not typically found in traditional wealth management firms.

  • EAMs are typically independent entities or individuals who work outside of large financial institutions. This independence allows EAMs to provide a more personalized and tailored approach to managing their clients’ assets.
  • Unlike traditional wealth managers who often work within a specific framework or set of products, EAMs have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of investment options. This freedom enables them to create bespoke investment strategies that align with their client’s unique financial goals and risk tolerance.

Another key differentiator is the level of transparency offered by EAMs.

  • While traditional wealth management firms may have complex fee structures and hidden costs, EAMs are known for their transparent and straightforward fee arrangements.
  • Clients can have a clear understanding of the fees they are paying and the services they are receiving, promoting trust and accountability in the client-advisor relationship.

EAMs often prioritize building long-term relationships with their clients.

  • They take the time to truly understand their clients’ financial aspirations, family dynamics, and philanthropic endeavours.
  • This holistic approach allows EAMs to provide comprehensive wealth management solutions that extend beyond traditional investment advice.

EAMs offer a fresh and innovative approach to managing the wealth of UHNW clients. Their independence, flexibility, transparency, and personalized approach set them apart from traditional wealth management solutions.

As the demand for customized and client-centric services continues to grow, EAMs are becoming an increasingly attractive option for those seeking a tailored and holistic approach to wealth management.


3. Factors Contributing To The Increasing Popularity Of EAMs

Several factors have contributed to the surging popularity of EAMs among UHNW clients. Understanding these factors will provide valuable insights into why EAMs have become the go-to choice for managing substantial wealth.

Customized Investment Solutions

  • EAMs offer highly personalized investment solutions tailored to the unique needs and preferences of each client.
  • Unlike traditional wealth management firms, EAMs have the flexibility to design bespoke investment strategies that align with the client’s specific investment goals and risk tolerance.
  • This level of customization is a key factor in attracting UHNW clients who value tailored approaches to wealth management.

Independence and Objectivity

  • EAMs operate independently from financial institutions, giving them freedom from potential conflicts of interest.
  • This independence allows EAMs to provide objective advice and make unbiased investment decisions solely in the best interest of their clients.
  • UHNW individuals often seek out EAMs for their impartiality and the assurance that their wealth is managed solely with their goals in mind.

Access to Exclusive Investment Opportunities

  • EAMs have established extensive networks and relationships with a wide range of investment providers, financial institutions, and alternative investment opportunities.
  • This gives them access to exclusive investment opportunities that may not be readily available to the general public.
  • UHNW clients are attracted to EAMs because they can tap into these exclusive networks and gain access to unique investment avenues, potentially leading to higher returns and diversification.

Enhanced Privacy and Confidentiality

  • EAMs prioritize client confidentiality and privacy, which is of utmost importance to UHNW individuals.
  • Unlike traditional wealth management firms that operate with a larger client base, EAMs typically work with a smaller number of select clients.
  • This exclusivity ensures a higher level of privacy, as EAMs can focus more on protecting sensitive client information and maintaining utmost discretion.

Holistic Wealth Management Services

  • EAMs provide comprehensive wealth management services beyond traditional investment management. They often offer a range of financial services, including estate planning, tax optimization, philanthropic strategies, and family office services.
  • This holistic approach appeals to UHNW clients who seek a one-stop solution for managing their complex financial affairs.

The increasing popularity of EAMs among UHNW clients can be attributed to their ability to offer customized investment solutions, independence, access to exclusive opportunities, enhanced privacy, and holistic wealth management services.

These factors have positioned EAMs as trusted partners in managing and growing substantial wealth for discerning individuals.


4. Key Considerations For UHNW Clients When Selecting An EAM

  • When it comes to selecting an EAM for UHNW clients, several key considerations should not be overlooked.
  • These considerations play a crucial role in ensuring a successful partnership that aligns with the unique needs and objectives of UHNW individuals.
  • First and foremost, reputation and track record are paramount.
    • UHNW clients should thoroughly research and evaluate the EAM’s reputation in the industry, taking into account their years of experience, client testimonials, and performance history.
    • It is essential to choose an EAM with a proven track record of delivering consistent results and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.
  • Another crucial consideration is the EAM’s expertise and specialization.
    • UHNW clients often require highly customized and sophisticated wealth management strategies.
    • Therefore, it is important to assess whether the EAM has the necessary expertise and experience to manage the complexities associated with substantial wealth.
    • This may include expertise in tax planning, estate planning, philanthropy, alternative investments, and international wealth management, among others.
  • Accessibility and personalized service are also vital factors to consider.
    • UHNW clients expect a high level of personalized attention and service.
    • They require an EAM who is readily available, responsive, and willing to take the time to understand their unique financial situation, goals, and preferences.
    • The EAM should have a dedicated team that can provide personalized advice and support tailored to the client’s specific needs.
  • Transparency and fee structure are additional considerations that should not be overlooked.
    • UHNW clients should have a clear understanding of the EAM’s fee structure, including any potential conflicts of interest.
    • It is crucial to select an EAM that prioritizes transparency and provides comprehensive reporting on performance, fees, and any potential risks associated with investment strategies.
  • Lastly, the cultural fit between the UHNW client and the EAM should be taken into account.
    • Building a successful long-term relationship requires trust, open communication, and a shared vision.
    • UHNW clients should feel comfortable and confident in the EAM’s ability to understand their values, priorities, and aspirations.

Selecting an EAM is a critical decision for UHNW clients.

By considering the reputation, expertise, accessibility, transparency, and cultural fit of the EAM, UHNW clients can ensure they partner with a trusted advisor who can effectively manage and grow their wealth while maintaining the highest level of personalized service.


5. Potential Challenges And Risks Associated With EAMs

While EAMs offer a range of benefits for UHNW clients, it is crucial to be aware of the potential challenges and risks that may come with this approach.

  • One of the key challenges is the risk of conflicts of interest.
    • EAMs typically work with various clients and may have relationships with different financial institutions.
    • This can create a situation where they are incentivized to prioritize certain products or services that may not align with your best interests.
    • It is important to thoroughly assess the EAM’s independence and ensure that they have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
  • Another challenge is the potential lack of transparency.
    • Unlike traditional wealth management firms that operate within a regulated framework, EAMs may not always be subject to the same level of oversight.
    • This can make it difficult to assess their track record, financial stability, and adherence to industry standards.
    • Conducting thorough due diligence and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help mitigate this risk.
  • Operational risk is another aspect to consider.
    • EAMs often rely on third-party service providers for various aspects of their operations, such as custodial services or trade execution.
    • Any disruptions or failures within these service providers can have a direct impact on your investments.
    • It is crucial to understand the EAM’s contingency plans and risk management protocols to ensure the continuity and security of your assets.
  • EAMs may have limitations in terms of the range of investment opportunities they can offer.
    • They may have preferred investment strategies or limited access to certain markets, which could potentially impact your portfolio diversification.
    • Evaluating the EAM’s investment approach, expertise, and network can help determine if their offerings align with your investment goals.
    • As with any investment strategy, there is always the risk of market volatility and economic downturns. EAMs are not immune to these factors, and it is important to have a comprehensive risk management plan in place to protect your assets during challenging times.

By being aware of these potential challenges and risks associated with EAMs, you can approach your engagement with them in a more informed and cautious manner.

Thoroughly researching and selecting reputable EAMs, maintaining open communication, and regularly reviewing your investment strategy will help mitigate these risks and ensure a successful partnership.


6. Best Practices For UHNW Clients To Maximize Their Experience With EAMs

To maximize their experience with EAMs, UHNW clients should follow some best practices.

  • Firstly, it is crucial to define your goals and objectives clearly.
    • Communicating your financial aspirations, risk tolerance, and long-term plans with your EAM will enable them to develop a customized investment strategy that aligns with your unique needs.
  • Secondly, maintaining open and transparent communication is essential.
    • Regular meetings and updates with your EAM will ensure that both parties are on the same page and allow for adjustments or realignments as needed. This collaborative approach fosters a strong relationship built on trust and understanding.
  • Diversification is key.
    • UHNW clients should work with their EAMs to diversify their portfolios across various asset classes, geographies, and industries.
    • This helps to mitigate risks and capture potential opportunities in different market conditions.
  • Another best practice is to stay informed and educated about the latest developments in the financial industry.
    • UHNW clients should actively engage with their EAMs to understand the investment strategies being employed and stay updated on market trends and economic indicators.
  • It is important for UHNW clients to regularly review and evaluate the performance of their portfolio with their EAM. By analyzing the returns, risks, and overall performance, adjustments can be made to optimize the investment strategy and ensure it remains aligned with the client’s objectives.

By following these best practices, UHNW clients can maximize their experience with EAMs and achieve their long-term financial goals with confidence and peace of mind.


As the financial landscape continues to evolve, individuals with significant wealth must stay informed about the benefits and considerations of working with EAMs.

Remember, your wealth is worth protecting and growing, and EAMs can be a valuable resource in achieving your financial goals.

When protecting your family, it’s vital to get the right advice. If you’re not sure whether you need to appoint an EAM or set up your own family office (SFO), speak to us over  video consultation via Lawyer Anywhere. We discuss your needs and recommend the best solution for you.


CMS Licence : Your Hassle-Free Guide To Getting Licensed

Get Your Singapore CMS License Easily

Are you looking to start a business in Singapore that involves financial services and products?

If so, you will need to obtain a Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The CMS licence is a crucial licence for any company that deals with securities, derivatives, and fund management. The process of obtaining a CMS licence can be complicated and time-consuming. Still, it is necessary to ensure that your business complies with the rules and regulations set out by the MAS.

In this article, we will demystify the CMS licence application process and guide you through the necessary steps to obtain a CMS licence in Singapore. We will provide you with all the necessary information to get your licence hassle-free, from understanding the application process to meeting the requirements and finally submitting your application.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction to the Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence

  • The Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence is a crucial regulatory requirement for any entity in Singapore that wants to provide specified financial services to clients.
  • It is issued and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is the central bank and financial regulatory authority of Singapore.
  • The CMS licence serves as a regulatory framework that ensures the integrity, stability, and transparency of the financial markets in Singapore.
  • It also helps to protect investors and maintain the reputation of Singapore as a global financial hub.

2. Who Needs A CMS Licence?

  • Any person or entity offering any of the regulated financial services in Singapore must hold a CMS licence unless they fall under a specific exemption.
  • This includes individuals or companies involved in activities such as dealing in securities, futures contracts, leveraged foreign exchange trading, fund management, or providing financial advice.
  • Entities that operate collective investment schemes, offer custodial services, or engage in the trading of commodities futures contracts may also need a CMS licence.
  • The scope of the CMS licence can vary depending on the specific activities being conducted.
    • For instance, a CMS licence for fund management may not cover other regulated activities, and a separate licence may be required.
  • Exemptions from the CMS licence requirement exist for certain entities, such as licensed banks, finance companies, and insurance companies regulated by MAS.

To determine if you require a CMS licence, it is recommended to consult the MAS website or seek professional advice from lawyers who specialize in CMS licensing.

Understanding the regulatory landscape and ensuring compliance with MAS guidelines is essential for operating legally and successfully in the capital markets industry in Singapore.


3. Step-By-Step Process Obtaining A CMS Licence

Obtaining a CMS licence in Singapore may seem like a complex and daunting process. Still, with the right guidance, it can be a hassle-free experience.

In this section, we will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you understand the requirements and procedures involved in obtaining a CMS licence.

– Step 1 : Determine The Scope Of Your Activities

  • The first step is to identify the specific financial activities you plan to undertake.
  • This could include dealing in securities, providing fund management services, or operating a securities-based crowdfunding platform.
  • Understanding the scope of your activities is crucial as it will determine the type of CMS licence you need to apply for.

– Step 2: Meet The Eligibility Criteria

  • Once you have determined the scope of your activities, you must ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the MAS.
  • This includes having a track record of financial soundness, a qualified management team, and sufficient resources to carry out the proposed activities.

– Step 3 : Prepare The Application Documents

  • Next, you will need to prepare the necessary documents for your CMS licence application.
  • This typically includes a business plan, financial statements, compliance manuals, and other supporting documents. It is important to ensure that all documents are accurate, complete, and comply with the MAS’s guidelines.

– Step 4 : Submit The Application

  • Once you have prepared all the required documents, you can submit your application to the MAS.
  • The application process may involve multiple rounds of reviews and clarifications, so it is essential to respond promptly and address any queries or concerns raised by the MAS.

– Step 5 : Compliance & Regulatory Checks

  • Upon submission of your application, the MAS will conduct thorough compliance and regulatory checks to assess your suitability for the CMS licence.
  • This may include background checks on key individuals, verification of financial resources, and assessment of your risk management framework.

– Step 6 : Approval & Licensing

  • If your application meets all the requirements and passes the regulatory checks. In that case, you will receive approval from the MAS and be issued the CMS licence.
  • This allows you to legally operate your financial activities in Singapore and offer your services to clients.

It is important to note that the process of obtaining a CMS licence may vary depending on the specific nature of your activities and the complexity of your application.

Engaging the services of lawyers specializing in CMS licence applications can greatly simplify the process and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate the process of obtaining a CMS licence with confidence and ease, allowing you to focus on growing your business in the dynamic and thriving capital markets of Singapore.


4. Preparing The Application Documents

  • Preparing the application documents for a CMS licence in Singapore can be a complex and time-consuming process. However, with the right guidance and understanding of the requirements, it can be a hassle-free experience.
  • The first step is to gather all the necessary documents and information required for the application.
    • This includes your company’s incorporation documents, such as the certificate of incorporation and memorandum & articles of association.
    • Additionally, you will need to provide details of your company’s key personnel, including their qualifications and relevant experience in the financial industry.
  • You will need to prepare a comprehensive business plan that outlines your company’s proposed activities, target market, and financial projections.
    • This business plan should demonstrate your understanding of the capital markets and how your services will benefit clients.
  • In addition, you will also be required to submit various supporting documents, such as audited financial statements, compliance manuals, and risk management frameworks.
    • These documents should highlight your company’s financial stability and its ability to comply with regulatory requirements.
  • It is crucial to ensure that all the application documents are accurate, complete, and well-organized.
    • Any discrepancies or missing information could potentially delay the licensing process.
    • To avoid such issues, it may be beneficial to engage the services of a lawyer who specializes in regulatory compliance and licensing.
  • By thoroughly preparing the application documents and seeking expert advice, you can navigate through the process with ease and increase your chances of obtaining your CMS licence in Singapore.
  • Remember, the key is to provide a clear and compelling case for your company’s suitability and commitment to operating within the regulatory framework of the capital markets.


5. Submitting The Application To The MAS

  • Once you have gathered all the necessary documentation and completed the required preparations, it’s time to submit your application for the CMS licence to the MAS. This step is crucial in obtaining the necessary regulatory approval to operate as a financial services provider in Singapore.
  • Before submitting your application, it’s essential to ensure that all the required forms are completed accurately and all relevant information is provided.
  • The MAS provides detailed guidelines and instructions on the application process, which should be meticulously followed to avoid any delays or complications.
  • The application submission process typically involves the following steps:
    • Online Submission
      • The MAS has implemented an online portal known as the MASNET system, which allows for the electronic submission of CMS licence applications.
      • You will need to register for an account on the MASNET system and complete the online application form, providing all the necessary details as required.
    • Supporting Documents:
      • Along with the application form, you will be required to submit various supporting documents, such as your business plan, financial statements, compliance policies and procedures, and details of key personnel.
      • It’s essential to ensure that these documents are complete, accurate, and in line with the MAS’s requirements.
    • Application Fee
      • The submission of the CMS licence application involves the payment of a non-refundable application fee.
      • The fee amount varies based on the scope and complexity of the financial services you intend to provide.
      • It’s important to review the fee structure provided by the MAS and ensure that the correct payment is made.
    • Application Processing
      • Once your application is submitted, the MAS will review and assess the application, including the supporting documents provided.
      • This process may take some time, and the MAS may request additional information or clarification during the evaluation process.
      • It’s important to promptly respond to any queries or requests from the MAS to avoid delays in the application process.
    • Approval or Rejection
      • After a thorough review, the MAS will notify you of the outcome of your CMS licence application.
      • If your application is approved, you will receive the necessary licenses and approvals to commence your financial services operations in Singapore.
      • In case of rejection, the MAS will provide reasons for the decision, and you may have the opportunity to address any deficiencies or reapply if necessary.
  • Navigating the application submission process for the CMS licence may seem daunting. Still, with careful preparation, attention to detail, and adherence to the MAS’s guidelines, obtaining the necessary regulatory approval can be a smooth and hassle-free experience.


6. Assessment & Review By The MAS

  • Once you have submitted your application for a CMS licence, it will go through a thorough assessment and review process by the MAS.
  • During the assessment process, the MAS will carefully review your application, including the information provided, supporting documents, and any additional clarifications requested. The purpose of this review is to evaluate your eligibility and suitability to operate as a licensed capital markets services provider in Singapore.
  • The MAS will assess various aspects of your business, including your financial stability, risk management framework, compliance policies and procedures, as well as the competence and integrity of your key personnel.
    • The assessment will also consider the nature of the services you intend to provide, such as dealing in securities, fund management, or providing financial advice.
  • It is important to note that the assessment and review process may take some time as the MAS conducts a thorough and meticulous evaluation.
    • The duration can vary depending on the complexity of your application, the completeness of the information provided, and any additional queries or follow-up actions required.
  • During the review stage, MAS may request further information or seek clarifications on certain aspects of your application.
    • It is important to respond promptly and provide the requested information to avoid any delays in the assessment process.
  • Once the assessment and review are completed, MAS will communicate its decision regarding your CMS licence application.
  • If approved, you will be issued a CMS licence, allowing you to operate within the regulated framework of Singapore’s capital markets.
  • However, if your application is rejected, the MAS will provide reasons for the decision. It is important to carefully review the feedback provided and consider any necessary improvements or adjustments to your application before reapplying.


7. Common Challenges When Applying For A CMS Licence

Applying for a CMS licence in Singapore can be a complex process with various challenges and considerations to keep in mind.

Understanding these challenges upfront can help streamline your application and increase your chances of obtaining the license hassle-free.

  • One common challenge is meeting the regulatory requirements set by the MAS.
    • The MAS has specific criteria and regulations that must be adhered to, including capital adequacy, risk management frameworks, and compliance procedures.
    • Ensuring that your business meets these requirements and has robust systems in place can be a significant challenge for many applicants.
  • Another consideration is the extensive documentation required for the application process.
    • The MAS requires detailed information about your business, including its structure, ownership, financials, and compliance frameworks.
    • Gathering and organizing this documentation can be time-consuming and may require the assistance of legal professionals to ensure accuracy and completeness.
  • Demonstrating a track record of good governance and integrity is crucial.
    • The MAS places great emphasis on the fitness and propriety of the individuals involved in the business.
    • Background checks, including criminal records and references, may be conducted on key personnel, directors, and substantial shareholders.
    • Any issues in these areas can delay or even jeopardize the approval process.

The application timeline can be lengthy, and the review process may involve multiple rounds of queries and clarifications by the MAS.

It is important to be patient and responsive during this period, as delays in providing requested information can further prolong the application process.

Considering these challenges, it is highly recommended to engage the services of lawyers who specialize in CMS licence applications.

These experts have in-depth knowledge of the regulatory requirements. They can guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your application is comprehensive, accurate, and meets the expectations of the MAS.


8. Tips For A Hassle-Free CMS Licence Application Process

Applying for a CMS licence in Singapore can seem like a daunting task. Still, with the right approach and preparation, it can be a smooth and hassle-free process.

Here are some tips to help you navigate through the CMS licence application process successfully:

Tip 1: Understand The Regulatory Requirements

  • Before starting the application process, thoroughly research and understand the regulatory requirements set by the MAS.
  • Familiarize yourself with the relevant legislation, guidelines, and codes of conduct to ensure compliance.

Tip 2: Seek Professional Advice

  • Engage the services of reputable lawyers who specialize in CMS licence applications.
  • They can provide valuable guidance, assist in preparing the necessary documentation, and ensure that your application meets the regulatory standards.

Tip 3: Prepare A Comprehensive Business Plan

  • A well-defined and detailed business plan is crucial for your CMS licence application. It should outline your business objectives, target market, financial projections, risk management strategies, and compliance procedures.
  • The business plan should demonstrate your understanding of the market and your ability to operate as a licensed entity.

Tip 4: Establish Robust Internal Systems And Controls

  • The MAS places great emphasis on the implementation of effective internal systems and controls to ensure the integrity of capital market activities.
  • Develop robust policies and procedures covering areas such as risk management, compliance, internal audit, and client onboarding.
  • Document these processes thoroughly to demonstrate your commitment to regulatory compliance.

Tip 5: Demonstrate A Strong Track Record And Relevant Experience

  • MAS looks for applicants with a proven track record and relevant experience in the financial industry.
  • Highlight your team’s expertise, qualifications, and experience in your application.
  • Provide evidence of successful financial transactions, client testimonials, and any industry recognition or awards.

Tip 6: Conduct A Thorough Self-Assessment

  • Before submitting your CMS licence application, conduct a rigorous self-assessment to ensure that all requirements are met.
  • Review your documentation, internal systems, and controls to identify any gaps or areas for improvement.
  • This proactive approach will not only streamline the application process but also increase your chances of approval.

Tip 7: Be Prepared For The Vetting Process

  • Once your application is submitted, be prepared for the vetting process, which may involve additional inquiries, requests for clarification or interviews.
  • Respond promptly and cooperatively to any queries from the MAS to demonstrate your commitment to transparency and compliance.

Navigating the licensing process can often be confusing and overwhelming. Still, with our hassle-free guide, we aimed to demystify the process and provide you with clear steps to follow. By obtaining a CMS licence, you can unlock a world of opportunities in the financial services industry in Singapore.

Remember to consult with legal and regulatory experts to ensure compliance with all requirements.

Good luck on your licensing journey, and may your business thrive in the dynamic capital markets of Singapore!


Ultimate Guide To Singapore Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence

The Ultimate CMS Licence Guide

Singapore has long been recognized as a leading global financial hub, attracting investors and businesses from around the world.

If you are looking to establish a financial services firm in Singapore, obtaining a Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence is a crucial step. However, navigating the regulatory landscape and understanding the requirements can be complex and overwhelming.

In this article, we will provide you with all the essential information, tips, and best practices to ensure a smooth and successful application for your CMS licence. Whether you are a new start-up or an established financial institution looking to expand your operations in Singapore, understanding the process of obtaining a CMS licence is essential. From understanding the different types of licences to preparing the necessary documentation and meeting the regulatory criteria, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and insights needed to navigate the licensing process with confidence and achieve your business goals in Singapore’s thriving capital markets.

Table of Contents

cms licence

1. Introduction to the Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence

  • Any business wishing to conduct regulated services under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) must obtain a CMS licence.
  • The regulated services under the SFA are:
    • Dealing in Capital Markets Products
    • Advising on Corporate Finance
    • Fund Management
    • Real Estate Investment Trust Management
    • Product Financing
    • Providing Credit Rating Services
    • Providing Custodial Services for Securities
  • The CMS licence is issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
  • The CMS licence serves as a regulatory framework that ensures the integrity, stability, and transparency of the financial markets in Singapore.
  • It also helps to protect investors and maintain the reputation of Singapore as a global financial hub.


2. Understanding the Regulatory Framework

  • The MAS is the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing capital markets activities in the country. They have put in place a comprehensive framework that governs the licensing process and ensures compliance with regulations.
  • To start, it’s important to identify the specific type of CMS Licence that is required for your business activities.
  • The MAS has categorized the licences into various regulated activities.
  • Once you have determined the category of licence you need, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the applicable regulations.
  • The MAS has published detailed guidelines and regulations that outline the licensing process, including the necessary documentation, financial requirements, and fit and proper criteria for key individuals within the organization.
  • It is advisable to engage with a professional service provider or consultant who specializes in CMS licence applications.
    • They can provide valuable insights, assistance, and guidance throughout the entire process.
    • They will help you gather the required documentation, prepare the necessary forms, and navigate the complex regulatory landscape.
  • It’s important to note that obtaining a CMS licence is not a one-time process.
    • The MAS requires licensees to comply with ongoing regulatory obligations and reporting requirements.
    • This includes maintaining proper internal controls, risk management processes, and complying with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regulations.


3. Types of Capital Markets Services Licences

There are several types of CMS licences available, each catering to different activities within the capital markets.

It is crucial to understand the various licence types and their specific requirements before applying.

– Dealing in Securities

  • This licence allows businesses to conduct activities such as trading, buying, and selling securities on behalf of clients. It is required for brokerage firms and securities trading companies.

– Fund Management

  • This licence is necessary for businesses involved in managing funds, such as hedge funds, private equity firms, and asset management companies. It covers activities like portfolio management and investment advisory services.

– Real Estate Investment Trust

  • This licence is specific to entities managing or operating real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Singapore. It includes activities related to the acquisition, management, and disposal of REIT assets.

– Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading

  • Businesses offering leveraged foreign exchange trading services fall under this licence category. It covers activities like margin trading and providing forex trading platforms.

– Securities Financing

  • This licence is required for businesses involved in securities financing activities, including securities lending, borrowing, and repurchase agreements.

– Custody

  • Entities offering custody services, such as safekeeping and administration of assets, require a CMS 6 licence. This includes banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions.

– Recognized Market Operator

  • This licence is applicable to businesses operating exchanges, trading facilities, or alternative trading systems in Singapore.

It is essential to determine the specific licence(s) relevant to your business activities to ensure compliance with the MAS regulations.

Each licence has its own set of requirements, including minimum capital, track record, and fit-and-proper criteria.

Seeking professional advice and guidance throughout the application process is highly recommended to increase the chances of obtaining a CMS licence successfully.


4. Eligibility And Criteria For Obtaining A CMS Licence

To be eligible for a CMS licence, the applicant must meet several requirements set by the MAS.

The Applicant must be a company registered under the Companies Act and have a permanent place of business in Singapore.

  • This ensures that the business has a physical presence and can be held accountable within the country.

The Applicant must have a minimum paid-up capital of S$250,000, which demonstrates the financial stability and capability to conduct capital market services.

  • It should be noted that the required minimum paid-up capital may vary depending on the specific type of CMS licence being applied for.

The next crucial aspect is the “Fit and Proper” criteria. The Applicant must demonstrate that they possess the necessary integrity, competence, and financial soundness to operate in the capital markets.

  • This involves submitting detailed information about the company’s directors, shareholders, and key executives, including their qualifications, experience, and track record.

The Applicant must also have robust internal policies, procedures, and risk management systems in place to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and protect the interests of clients.

  • These policies should cover areas such as customer due diligence, anti-money laundering measures, and governance structures.

Meeting these eligibility and criteria requirements is crucial for a successful CMS licence application.

It is advisable for potential applicants to thoroughly review the guidelines provided by the MAS and seek professional advice from experienced lawyers to ensure compliance and increase the chances of obtaining the licence.  


5. Compliance And Ongoing Obligations

  • Compliance requirements and ongoing obligations are crucial aspects of obtaining and maintaining a CMS licence in Singapore.
  • As a regulated financial institution, it is vital to adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by the MAS to ensure the integrity and stability of the capital markets.
  • One of the primary compliance requirements is the establishment of robust internal controls and risk management systems.
    • These systems should be designed to identify, manage, and mitigate potential risks associated with your business activities.
    • They should also include procedures for client onboarding, transaction monitoring, and reporting suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.
  • Additionally, licenced entities are expected to implement comprehensive compliance policies and procedures that cover a wide range of areas, such as anti-money laundering (AML), countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), and data protection.
    • These policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to align with the evolving regulatory landscape and industry best practices.
  • Ongoing obligations include the submission of periodic reports and statements to the MAS, which may include financial statements, regulatory returns, and audit reports.
    • These reports provide transparency and accountability, allowing the MAS to assess the financial health and compliance of licenced entities.
  • Furthermore, licenced entities must appoint a compliance officer who is responsible for overseeing and ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements.
    • The compliance officer plays a crucial role in the implementation and maintenance of effective compliance measures within the organization.
  • Regular audits and inspections by the MAS may also be conducted to assess the licensee’s compliance with regulatory requirements.
    • These audits aim to identify any deficiencies or gaps in the licensee’s compliance framework and provide recommendations for improvement.
  • It is important to note that non-compliance with the CMS licence requirements and ongoing obligations can result in severe penalties, including fines, restrictions on business activities, or even revocation of the licence.
  • Therefore, it is essential to prioritize and dedicate sufficient resources to compliance efforts to avoid potential legal and reputational risks.
  • Navigating compliance requirements and ongoing obligations can be complex and daunting, especially for new entrants in the capital markets industry.
  • Seeking professional advice from experienced lawyers can greatly assist in understanding and meeting the regulatory requirements, ensuring a hassle-free journey towards obtaining and maintaining a CMS licence in Singapore.


6. Benefits Of Obtaining A CMS Licence

Obtaining a CMS licence in Singapore comes with a range of benefits for financial institutions and individuals in the financial services industry.

Here are some of the key advantages:

– Enhanced Credibility

  • Acquiring a CMS licence demonstrates your commitment to regulatory compliance and adherence to high professional standards. This enhances your credibility among clients, investors, and industry peers, instilling trust and confidence in your services.

– Market Access

  • With a CMS licence, you gain access to a broader market and a wider range of potential clients. It allows you to offer regulated financial services to both retail and institutional clients in Singapore, expanding your business opportunities and potential revenue streams.

– Expanded Product Offering

  • The CMS licence enables you to provide a diverse range of financial services, including fund management, securities trading, corporate finance advisory, and more. This allows you to cater to the specific needs of your target market and diversify your revenue sources.

– Competitive Advantage

  • Having a CMS licence sets you apart from unlicenced competitors and positions you as a trusted and reliable player in the industry. Clients and investors are more likely to choose licenced entities over unregulated alternatives, giving you a competitive edge in the market.

Regulatory Support

  • Obtaining a CMS licence means you will have the backing and support of the MAS, the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing the financial services sector. You can benefit from regular guidance, updates on regulatory changes, and access to resources that help you stay compliant.

– Global Recognition

  • Singapore’s financial regulatory framework is well-regarded globally. Holding a CMS licence demonstrates your compliance with international standards and positions you favourably when expanding into other markets or collaborating with international partners.

– Business Sustainability

  • Compliance with regulatory requirements, including obtaining a CMS licence, ensures the long-term sustainability of your business. It helps mitigate legal and reputational risks, protects clients’ interests, and safeguards the integrity of the financial system.

Obtaining a CMS licence in Singapore offers numerous benefits, ranging from credibility and market access to expanded product offerings and regulatory support.

It is a crucial step for financial entities and professionals looking to operate within the regulated financial services landscape in Singapore.


7. Alternatives To Getting A CMS Licence

While obtaining a Capital Markets Services Licence (CMSL) in Singapore is a common approach for businesses operating in the financial services industry, it is not the only option available.

Depending on the nature of your business and the specific services you provide, there are alternative routes you can consider that may be more suitable for your needs.

– Utilize an Exemption

  • The MAS provides certain exemptions to licensing requirements under specific circumstances.
  • For example, suppose your business falls within the designated exemption categories. In that case, you may be exempted from the need to obtain a CMS licence.
  • It is crucial to thoroughly understand the eligibility criteria and ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.

– Partner with Licenced Entities

  • Rather than obtaining a CMS licence yourself, you can explore partnerships or collaborations with existing licenced entities.
  • By teaming up with a company that already holds a CMS licence, you can leverage their regulatory compliance and benefit from their established infrastructure.
  • This option allows you to focus on your core business while still accessing the capital markets.

Engage in Regulated Activities under Licensing Exceptions

  • Certain activities may be exempted from licensing requirements under specific circumstances.
  • For instance, if your business provides financial advisory services to accredited investors, you may benefit from licensing exceptions.
  • However, it is essential to review the conditions and limitations associated with these exceptions carefully.

Remember, while exploring alternatives to obtaining a CMSL may offer flexibility, it is crucial to prioritize compliance with Singapore’s regulatory framework.

It is highly recommended to consult with legal professionals specializing in financial services or regulatory compliance. They can provide tailored guidance based on your specific circumstances and help you make informed decisions.


8. CMS Licence Application Timeline

Remember, obtaining a CMS licence is not just a legal requirement but also a testament to your credibility and commitment to operating in the capital markets industry in Singapore.

Obtaining a CMS licence is a significant milestone for any financial services firm operating in Singapore.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, seeking expert guidance, and ensuring compliance with the MAS regulations, you are on the right path to securing your CMS licence and unlocking a world of opportunities in the dynamic capital markets industry.


Asset Management Is NOT Wealth Management


When it comes to managing your finances, there are a lot of different terms and concepts to understand. Two of the most common terms you’ll hear are “asset management” and “wealth management“. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different types of financial services. Understanding the differences between asset management and wealth management is crucial when planning your financial future.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at these two concepts and explore the key differences between them. We’ll examine how they work, what their goals are, and how they can help you reach your financial goals. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of which approach is right for you.

Table of Contents

wealth management

1. Understanding The Importance Of Financial Management

  • Financial management plays a crucial role in our lives, whether we realize it or not.
  • It encompasses a wide range of practices and strategies aimed at achieving financial goals, maximizing wealth, and ensuring a secure future.
  • Within the realm of financial management, two terms often crop up: asset management and wealth management. While they may seem similar, they have distinct differences that are essential to understand.
  • Asset management primarily focuses on managing investments and optimizing their performance.
  • Wealth management takes a more holistic approach to financial management.
  • By recognizing the unique focus and services provided by each, you can make informed decisions about which approach best aligns with your financial goals and aspirations.


2. Key Differences Between Asset Management And Wealth Management

  • Asset management primarily focuses on the management of investments and portfolios.
    • Asset managers are responsible for making investment decisions on behalf of their clients, aiming to maximize returns while minimizing risks.
    • Asset management typically involves active portfolio management, including buying and selling securities, monitoring performance, and adjusting investment allocations as needed.
  • Wealth management takes a more comprehensive approach to financial planning.
    • It goes beyond investment management to encompass a broader range of services that address clients’ overall financial well-being.
    • Wealth managers work closely with clients to develop personalized financial plans that consider various aspects of their financial lives, such as retirement planning, tax optimization, estate planning, and risk management.
    • They take a holistic view of clients’ wealth and guide multiple financial areas to help them achieve their long-term financial goals.
  • While asset management focuses on optimizing investment portfolios, wealth management takes into account the broader financial picture, incorporating various aspects of financial planning.
  • It is important to recognize that the distinction between asset management and wealth management may vary among financial institutions and professionals.
  • Some firms may use these terms interchangeably, offering similar services under different names.
  • Therefore, individuals seeking financial services should carefully evaluate and clarify the specific offerings and expertise of the professionals or firms they consider engaging with.


3. Scope And Focus Of Asset Management

  • Asset management is a crucial component of financial planning and investment strategies.
  • The scope of asset management primarily revolves around the management of investments and portfolios on behalf of clients, with the goal of maximizing returns while minimizing risk.
  • Asset managers are responsible for making informed investment decisions, analyzing market trends, and actively monitoring the performance of the assets under their management. They employ various strategies, including diversification and asset allocation, to optimize returns and achieve the client’s financial objectives.
  • Asset managers work closely with their clients to align investment strategies with their risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial goals.


4. Benefits & Drawbacks Of Asset Management


  • One of the primary advantages is the expertise and knowledge provided by professional asset managers.
    • These professionals possess a deep understanding of financial markets and investment strategies, allowing them to optimize the performance of your assets.
  • Another key benefit of asset management is the diversification it offers.
    • By spreading investments across various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, the risk is minimized.
    • This diversification can help mitigate the impact of market fluctuations and protect your investments from significant losses.
  • Asset management services typically provide regular monitoring and reporting on the performance of your investments. This allows you to stay informed about how your assets are performing and make informed decisions based on this data.


  • One of the main concerns is the cost associated with these services.
    • Asset managers typically charge fees based on a percentage of the assets they manage, which can eat into your overall returns. It is crucial to carefully consider the fees and ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Asset management may not be suitable for everyone. If you have a limited amount of assets or prefer to have more control over your investments, managing your assets independently may be a more suitable option.

Asset management can be a valuable tool for individuals and businesses seeking professional guidance and expertise in managing their assets.

However, it is essential to carefully evaluate the benefits and drawbacks and determine if they align with your financial goals and preferences.


5. Scope And Focus Of Wealth Management

  • Wealth management is a specialized field within the financial landscape that focuses on the holistic management of an individual’s or family’s financial affairs.
  • The scope of wealth management encompasses various aspects of an individual’s financial life, including investment management, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, and risk management. The goal is to provide comprehensive financial advice and services that align with the client’s long-term financial objectives.
  • The key aspect of wealth management is the emphasis on long-term financial planning. Wealth managers take a holistic view of their client’s financial situations and strive to develop strategies that align with their client’s goals and aspirations. They understand that wealth is not just about maximizing investment returns but about achieving financial security, lifestyle aspirations, and leaving a lasting legacy.
  • Wealth managers work closely with their clients to understand their unique financial circumstances, goals, and risk tolerance. They develop personalized strategies to help clients grow and preserve their wealth over time.

Wealth management often extends beyond an individual’s finances. Wealth managers may also guide philanthropy, charitable giving, and intergenerational wealth transfer. They understand the importance of addressing not only immediate financial needs but also the broader implications of wealth for future generations.


6. Benefits & Drawbacks Of Wealth Management


  • One of the primary benefits of wealth management is the comprehensive and personalized approach it offers.
    • Wealth managers work closely with clients to understand their financial goals, risk tolerance, and unique circumstances.
    • They develop tailored strategies to help clients achieve their objectives, such as investment planning, tax optimization, estate planning, and retirement planning.
    • This holistic approach provides clients with a clear roadmap for their financial future, giving them peace of mind and confidence in their financial decisions.
  • Another advantage of wealth management is access to a wide range of financial services and expertise.
    • Wealth managers often have extensive networks and can connect clients with specialists in various areas, such as legal, tax, and insurance professionals.
    • This collaborative approach ensures that clients have access to the best advice and solutions for their specific needs.
  • Wealth management can provide clients with a disciplined investment approach.
    • Wealth managers monitor and manage portfolios on an ongoing basis, adjusting strategies as market conditions change.
    • This active management aims to optimize returns while managing risk, helping clients navigate market volatility and achieve long-term financial growth.


  • One key consideration is the cost associated with these services.
    • Wealth managers typically charge a fee based on a percentage of assets under management, which can be higher than other investment options.
    • Individuals need to weigh the potential benefits against the fees to determine if wealth management is the right fit for their financial situation.
  • Another drawback is the potential lack of control for individuals who prefer to have a hands-on approach to their finances.
    • Wealth management involves entrusting financial decisions to professionals, which may not align with the preferences of some individuals who prefer to have more control over their investment strategies.

Wealth management offers personalized and comprehensive financial solutions, access to expert advice, and a disciplined investment approach.

However, individuals should carefully consider the associated costs and their desired level of control before deciding if wealth management is the right choice for them.


7. Common Misconceptions About Asset Management And Wealth Management

Misconception #1 – Asset management and wealth management are only for the ultra-rich.

  • While it’s true that these services are often associated with high-net-worth individuals, they are not exclusively reserved for the wealthy.
  • Asset management focuses on managing investments and optimizing portfolio performance. In contrast, wealth management takes a more holistic approach, encompassing not just investments but also financial planning, tax strategies, estate planning, and more.
  • Both asset management and wealth management can be beneficial for individuals at various income levels who are looking to grow and protect their assets.

Misconception #2 – Asset management and wealth management are only relevant for older individuals or those nearing retirement.

  • In reality, these services can be valuable for individuals of all ages and life stages.
  • Whether you are just starting your career, planning for your child’s education, or preparing for retirement, asset management and wealth management can help you navigate the financial landscape and make sound financial decisions.

Misconception #3 – Asset management and wealth management are only about generating high returns on investments.

  • While investment performance is certainly a significant aspect, both asset management and wealth management also focus on risk management, diversification, and aligning investments with your specific financial goals and risk tolerance.
  • These services aim to provide personalized strategies that not only maximize returns but also protect and grow your wealth over the long term.

It’s essential to debunk these misconceptions and understand the true nature of asset management and wealth management.

By doing so, you can effectively leverage these services to optimize your financial situation, regardless of your income level, age, or financial goals.


8. Choosing The Right Approach For Your Financial Needs

  • Choosing the right approach for your financial needs is crucial when it comes to managing your assets and wealth.
  • While asset management and wealth management may seem similar, they have distinct differences that can impact your financial goals and objectives.
  • Asset management is ideal for individuals or businesses looking to grow their assets through strategic investment decisions.
    • Asset managers analyze market trends, assess risk levels, and make investment recommendations that align with their clients’ financial goals.
    • They often specialize in specific asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, or commodities.
  • Wealth management takes a more comprehensive and holistic approach to managing finances.
  • It encompasses a broader range of services beyond investment management, including financial planning, tax optimization, estate planning, and risk management.
    • Wealth managers work closely with clients to understand their overall financial situation, long-term goals, and lifestyle aspirations.
    • They provide personalized advice and strategies that go beyond just investment management, taking into account factors like retirement planning, generational wealth transfer, and philanthropic endeavours.
  • To choose the right approach for your financial needs, it is essential to assess your goals, risk tolerance, and the complexity of your financial situation.
  • If you are primarily focused on growing your investment portfolio, asset management might be the right choice.
  • However, suppose you require a more comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses various aspects of your financial life. In that case, wealth management may be the better fit.
  • Ultimately, seeking professional guidance from a reputable asset manager or wealth manager can help you navigate the financial landscape and make informed decisions that align with your unique needs and objectives.

Remember, the right approach for you may evolve as your financial situation and goals change, so it’s essential to review and reassess periodically to ensure you stay on track.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2022 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

When managing your finances, it’s essential to get the right advice. If you’re unsure whether you need to hire an asset manager or a wealth manager, speak to us via video consultation via Lawyer AnywhereWe can discuss your needs and recommend the best solution for you.


Trusts : How Does It Work? Why Create One?

The Power of Trusts : A Must-Know Guide

Estate planning is not just about writing a Will.

It is about preparing for the future and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by creating a Trust.

However, Trusts are often misunderstood and can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with them.

This article will talk about what Trusts are and why you might want to start one.

From understanding the different types of Trusts available and how they work to learning about the tax advantages and the importance of choosing the right Trustee, we will cover everything you need to know about Trusts and how they can help you plan your estate effectively.

Table of Contents


1. Importance Of Estate Planning

  • Estate planning is a crucial aspect of financial management that often goes overlooked or misunderstood.
  • Many individuals believe that estate planning is only relevant for the ultra-wealthy or elderly individuals. Still, in reality, it is essential for everyone, regardless of their age or financial status.
  • At its core, estate planning involves making decisions about how your assets will be managed, protected, and distributed in the event of your passing or incapacity.
  • It encompasses the creation of legal documents such as Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and Trusts, all of which work together to ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of.
  • Estate planning is not just about wealth preservation or end-of-life arrangements; it is about taking proactive steps to protect your assets, provide for your loved ones, and maintain control over your affairs.
  • By starting the process of estate planning, including the creation of Trusts, you are taking a vital step towards securing your legacy and ensuring that your wishes are upheld, bringing peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones.

2. What Is A Trust?

  • When it comes to estate planning, one term that often comes up is “Trust.”
  • But what exactly is a Trust, and why does it matter in estate planning?
  • Put simply, a Trust is a legal arrangement that allows a person or entity, known as the “Trustee,” to hold and manage assets on behalf of another person or group, known as the “Beneficiaries.” 
  • The primary purpose of a Trust is to provide a mechanism for managing and distributing assets in accordance with the wishes of the person who created the Trust, also known as the “settlor.”
  • By setting up a Trust, the Settlor can establish specific instructions for how their assets should be handled and distributed, both during their lifetime and after their passing.

3. How Do Trusts Work?

  • In a Trust, there are 3 main parties involved: the Settlor, the Trustee, and the Beneficiaries.
    • The Settlor, also known as the trust creator, is the person who creates the Trust and transfers his assets into it.
    • The Trustee is responsible for managing and distributing the assets according to the terms outlined in the trust document.
    • The Beneficiaries are the individuals who will benefit from the assets held in the Trust.
  • While there are many different types of Trust, they all work similarly.
  • First, you (the Settlor) decide the purpose and goals of the Trust, such as asset protection, estate planning, or charitable giving.
  • Next, you’ll need to choose a Trustee who will be responsible for managing the assets.
    • This can be a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional trustee.
    • Once these decisions are made, you’ll need to draft a trust document that outlines the terms, conditions, and instructions for the Trust.
  • Transferring assets to the Trust is a critical part of the process.
    • This typically involves changing the ownership of the assets to reflect the Trust as the new legal owner.
    • Real estate, financial accounts, business interests, and other valuable assets can be transferred to the Trust.
    • This transfer ensures that the assets are held and managed by the Trust, providing the Settlor with peace of mind that their wishes will be carried out.
  • Once the Trust is created, the Trustees will be responsible for the management and administration of the Trust.
    • One of the main responsibilities of a Trustee is to oversee the distribution of trust assets to the beneficiaries according to the guidelines outlined in the trust document.
    • This includes managing any income generated by the Trust, ensuring bills and expenses are paid, and making investment decisions to grow the Trust’s assets.


4. Why Do You Want To Create A Trust?

You should think about creating a trust if you want to:

  • Protecting your hard-earned assets ensures that they are preserved for your intended beneficiaries.
  • Keep all your financial affairs, beneficiaries, and the terms of your estate plan private.
  • Preserve your assets while minimising taxes and probate costs.
  • Specify detailed instructions for how your assets should be managed and distributed.


5. Reasons To Create A Trust

You Have Children

  • There are immediate and long-term advantages to setting up a trust fund for your children.
  • For example, if descendants are minors, assets can be placed in trust and passed on later when they are legally adults or  attain milestones like graduation, marriage, or having their first child.
  • This way, your children can receive assets at a time that makes sense, rather than all at once.

You Have A Loved One With a Disability

  • Your loved one with a disability deserves the best care possible.
  • Contribute to guarantee their ongoing care after you pass away.
  • One way to ensure that essential benefits are not jeopardised when leaving money or property is to establish a special needs trust.

Legacy Planning

  • You have worked your whole life to build up a legacy. A trust can help optimise the legacy you leave to your beneficiaries.

Your Collection of Valuables

  • It has taken you years and many incredible journeys to amass your priceless collection of artwork. When considering how to establish a trust, be sure to take this into account.
  • One way to leave valuable artefacts to loved ones, a museum, or a charitable cause is through a Trust.

 You Have A Loved One With An Addiction Or Mental Illness

  • Worried about leaving a loved one money in your Will if they have a history of financial difficulties or mental illness? You can still give care in other ways.
  • Make arrangements for your loved one’s distribution of funds through a Trust with specific terms and conditions.


6. Types Of Trusts & Their Purposes

When it comes to estate planning, Trusts are powerful tools that can provide security, privacy, and control over your assets.

However, understanding the different types of Trusts and their purposes is essential in order to make informed decisions.

  • Revocable Living Trust
    • This type of Trust allows you to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime while also providing a seamless transition of those assets to your beneficiaries upon your death.
    • One key advantage is that it avoids probate, which can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Irrevocable Trust
    • As the name suggests, an irrevocable trust cannot be modified or revoked once established.
    • This type of Trust is commonly used for asset protection, tax planning, and charitable giving.
    • By transferring assets into an irrevocable trust, you effectively remove them from your estate, potentially reducing estate taxes.
  • Testamentary Trust
    • Unlike a revocable living Trust, a testamentary Trust is created through a Will. It only goes into effect upon the grantor’s death.
    • This type of Trust allows for greater flexibility in specifying how assets should be distributed to beneficiaries, especially if there are concerns about their ability to manage the assets themselves.
  • Special Needs Trust
    • This Trust is designed to provide for the financial needs of a beneficiary with special needs. It allows assets to be managed on their behalf, ensuring their continued care and support.
  • Charitable Trust
    • If you have philanthropic goals, a charitable Trust can be an excellent option.
    • By establishing a charitable Trust, you can provide ongoing support to your chosen charitable organisations while potentially receiving tax benefits.

Understanding the different types of Trusts and their purposes is crucial in tailoring your estate plan to meet your specific goals and needs.

Consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of trusts and ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.


7. Choosing A Trustee For Your Trust

  • Choosing a Trustee for your Trust is a crucial decision in the estate planning process.
    • A Trustee is responsible for managing and distributing the assets held within the Trust according to your wishes.
    • They play a vital role in ensuring that your estate is handled properly and in the best interests of your beneficiaries.
  • When selecting a Trustee, it is important to consider several factors.
    • Trustworthiness is paramount. You need someone reliable, honest, and has the financial acumen to handle the responsibilities associated with managing a Trust.
    • They should have a good understanding of your goals and values and be capable of making sound financial decisions on behalf of your beneficiaries.
  • Additionally, consider the individual’s availability and willingness to take on the role of Trustee.
    • Managing a Trust requires time, attention, and organisation.
    • It may involve handling investments, distributing funds, filing tax returns, and communicating with beneficiaries.
    • Ensure that the chosen Trustee can fulfil these duties effectively.
  • Another aspect to consider is the relationship between the Trustee and your beneficiaries.
    • There must be a level of Trust and open communication between them. This will help facilitate a smooth administration of the Trust and minimise conflicts or misunderstandings down the line.
  • In some cases, individuals may choose to appoint a professional Trustee, such as a bank or trust company.
    • These entities have the expertise and experience to handle complex trust matters.
    • While they may come with higher fees, they offer a level of objectivity and professionalism that can be beneficial, especially in situations where there are complex family dynamics or substantial assets involved.
  • Ultimately, the choice of Trustee is a personal decision that should align with your unique circumstances and goals. It is advisable to consult with an estate planning lawyer who can provide guidance and help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs.
  • Remember, choosing the right Trustee is crucial for the successful administration of your Trust and ensuring that your wishes are carried out accurately and responsibly.


8. Steps To Start A Trust

  • When it comes to starting a Trust, finding an experienced lawyer and creating a trust document are crucial steps in the process.
  • While some may consider creating a Trust on their own, it is highly recommended to seek professional guidance to ensure that your Trust is properly established and legally binding.
  • The first step is to find a reputable lawyer who specialises in estate planning and trusts.
    • Look for someone who has a strong track record in handling similar cases and has a deep understanding of the legal complexities involved.
    • A skilled lawyer will be able to guide you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and ensure that your Trust is tailored to your specific needs and goals.
  • Once you have chosen your lawyers, they will work closely with you to create a trust document. The trust document is a legally binding agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the Trust.
    • It specifies important details such as the assets included in the Trust, the beneficiaries who will benefit from the Trust, and the appointed Trustee who will manage and distribute the assets according to your wishes.
  • It is important to have open and clear communication with your lawyers.
    • Be prepared to provide them with all the necessary information regarding your assets, beneficiaries, and any specific instructions you may have.
    • Your lawyers will use this information to draft a comprehensive trust document that reflects your desires and protects your assets.

Remember, the process of creating a Trust requires careful consideration and expert legal advice.

By finding lawyers who specialise in trusts and working closely with them to create a well-crafted trust document, you can have peace of mind knowing that your estate planning needs are being handled professionally and effectively.


Trusts offer numerous benefits, such as ensuring privacy, minimising taxes, and protecting assets for future generations.

By understanding the importance of Trusts and how they can be utilised in estate planning, you can take proactive steps to secure your assets and provide for your loved ones as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Singapore is a popular destination for establishing trusts due to its robust trust regime and attractive asset protection and succession provisions. In addition, the strict client confidentiality and banking secrecy laws make Singapore the ideal trust jurisdiction for those who need a trust.

Remember, consulting with a professional estate lawyer is always recommended to tailor a Trust to your specific needs and circumstances. With proper planning and the establishment of a Trust, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets will be managed and distributed according to your wishes, and your legacy will be preserved for generations to come.

When protecting your loved ones, getting the right advice is vital! If you’re not sure whether you need to set up a trust or if you want to set up your trust, speak to us over video consultation via Lawyer AnywhereWe can discuss your needs and recommend the best solution for you.


FATCA & CRS: Get The Answers You Need

FATCA & CRS Made Easy : Uncover the Answers You're Seeking

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) are initiatives designed to combat tax evasion and ensure proper tax payment.

You may be affected by one or both of these initiatives, depending on your country of residence and the country in which your financial accounts are held.

If you are unsure whether these initiatives apply to you, consult a professional.

What Is FATCA?

  • In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed FATCA into law.
  • It is intended to combat tax evasion by U.S. citizens and residents who maintain accounts abroad.
  • FATCA requires foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report information regarding accounts held by U.S. taxpayers to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States.
  • FATCA targets only tax evasion committed by U.S. persons.

What Is CRS?

  • In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed FATCA into law.
  • Developed in response to a request from the G20 and endorsed by the OECD Council on 15 July 2014, the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is a single global standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information.
  • CRS requires financial institutions to report to the respective tax authorities information about accounts held by residents of participating countries.
  • Over one hundred jurisdictions have committed to implementing CRS, with the first exchanges occurring in September 2017.
  • CRS targets tax evasion committed offshore based on an account holder’s country (or countries) of tax residence. 

How Do FATCA & CRS Affect Me?

  • Both FATCA and CRS require financial institutions to collect information on their clients and report it to the relevant authorities.
  • This includes the client’s name, address, date of birth, account balance, etc.
  • FATCA compliance is required if you are a U.S. taxpayer who holds assets outside the country.
  • CRS compliance if you are a resident of a country that has implemented the CRS.
  • CRS became effective in Singapore on 1 January 2017.
  • Since 2017, all Singaporean financial institutions would require you:
    • to submit a self-certification form with a declaration of your tax residence upon account opening.
    • provide a copy of an identification document to substantiate your self-declaration of tax residency.

3. How Do I Determine My Countries of Tax Residency

  • As a general rule, you are a tax resident of the country where you live. 
  • However, the rules regarding tax residency vary from country to country.
  • They may include other factors such as nationality, employment or place of abode.
  • To better understand your tax residency, you should consult: – The OECD website, which lists the requirements for specific jurisdictions.

4. How Will My Information Be Reported?

  • The details of your financial assets held at the financial institution and the information provided on your self-certification form will be reported to IRAS.
  • IRAS will then exchange the information with the applicable tax authority in the jurisdiction where you are reportable.
  • Your tax residency determines your reportable status and whether Singapore has signed an agreement to exchange financial account information with that jurisdiction.

5. What Happens if I Do Not Provide my Self-Certification Form?

  • All financial institutions in Singapore are mandated by law to comply fully with FATCA and CRS.
  • If you do not respond to their requests for self-certification, your records with the bank may be reported to IRAS.
  • The bank may be unable to open new accounts or provide you with new products or services.