JohnHunter, head of banking and fiduciaries at Finance Isle of Man. There is no requirement for the

wealthy family to actually reside on his island, confirms MrHunter. “In fact I know a fewenjoy their time in various locations, but use the Isle ofManas the centre for the family’s wealth and succession planning,” he says. The island offers special grants

families to structure and domicile their assets. Numbers of family offices setting

up in Singapore – believed to be in their hundreds – increased fourfold between 2017 and 2019, with 2020 numbers expected todemonstrate a further hike, says Mr Lee. “For political reasons, the

wealthiest families in China have to invest heavily in their domestic markets,” he says. “But at the same time, theywould like to have the resources for the best access to international markets,which iswhy theywant to find a good landing point, with tax benefits, status and immigration possibilities. Those concerns cause them to turn to Singapore.” This notion of competing hubs,

still relatively newto the family officeworld, is likely to gain traction. “The Singapore authorities have taken something very traditional and given it a new, innovative twist to provide family offices with tax benefits, permanent residency status and employment passes for staff,” says Mr Lee. “It’s a very refreshing newchapter to the narrative and many family offices like that.”

SINGLECENTRE Other small centres are joining the fray. “Rather than having all assets held in different jurisdictions,where each will need to demonstrate substance, consolidation into a single, tax-neutral jurisdiction brings a solution to the challenges aswell as synergy of costs,” says

Global highway: wealthy Chinese families are using Singapore to access international markets

and preferential tax treatment to familieswhowant to establish a presence andmake use of local services including banks, lawfirms, shipping and aircraft registers and the IT infrastructure. “The emphasis should be on

which jurisdictions can best meet the family’s global needs, at a cost considered acceptable,” he says. But smaller territoriesmay

struggle to keep up with old stalwarts. “People have still been moving to theUKduring the pandemic. That trend has not slowed and we have been busy getting them structured properly for themove,” says Pictet’sMsdeAngelo. Asian families are particularly

drawn to the UK,nowbuying up rural properties. “During the pandemic we sawfamilies with their children in home learning, whowanted to get them out of London, giving them space and air to breath. The English countryside is an alluring place to be. These are all positives for the UK,” she says. This quest for family security has

Wehave have to find find somebody

who can understandwhat clients fromthat region need andwhat is in their interests


been one of the pandemic’s key takeaways for private banks, with amuch deeper “thought process” about future living patterns, says MsdeAngelo.“We are seeingmuch greater introspection aboutwhat wewant our lives to look like and where wewant to live, making our environment around us the best it can possibly be.”

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