Trust industry faces an end to secrecy

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  • Talking trust: Delegates pictured at the Step Conference in 2014

    Talking trust: Delegates pictured at the Step Conference in 2014

A major conference on the trust industry featuring international speakers is due to be held later this month.

The Bermuda branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Step) event will focus on major changes affecting the trust business and emerging trends.

Step Bermuda chairman Jonathan Dunlop, who is director of wealth planning at HSBC’s private banking arm, said: “There have been a lot of changes in the industry. For the industry as whole, there has definitely been a contraction over recent years, globally as well as in Bermuda.

“There are fewer opportunities for people to set up offshore trusts and if you look at all the different reporting standards and agreements on tax, in some cases it goes too far and in some cases it’s uncompetitive.”

Mr Dunlop said that a session held as part of the conference would look at the introduction of common reporting standards.

He added: “That’s a big deal because that’s coming out next year and effectively secrecy won’t exist any more — everything will be accounted for and available globally.”

Guest speakers include experts in the field from Bermuda, London and New York.

Mr Dunlop said: “It’s an international line-up — they are all very good speakers. I haven’t heard all of them before, but I have heard of them.

“We have done very well in getting international speakers in — it gives us great content for our members.”

The all-day event will be held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) on Thursday, October 15.

Topics to be covered include how to deal with requests from trust beneficiaries for information and an update on the implications of the UK budget, which includes the new deemed domicile rule and inheritance tax exposure for non-UK companies which own UK residential property — and how these changes may help boost the international trust industry.

Other speakers will discuss succession planning for international business families and the running of family offices.

And Sean Moran, of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, will lead a panel discussion on Bermuda’s business environment and how to attract new business to the Island.

Mr Dunlop said: “The event is becoming bigger — in the beginning it was very small, but it has grown over the years.”

Bookings can still be made for the conference, which runs from 9am to 5pm and includes lunch and ends with a cocktail reception.

Prices for tickets are $150 for students, $200 for Step members, $250 for non-members and $300 for a shared ticket.

For more information and booking details, visit

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Published Oct 2, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm)

Trust industry faces an end to secrecy

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