Benedek Lewin launches new trust company
A Bermuda law firm has launched a new trust company.
Benedek Lewin has set up Omnium Trust Company, which will cater to corporate, estate planning and other legal needs.
Simon Benedek, counsel for the firm, said that, according to Bermuda Monetary Authority records, the last new trust company was set up on the island six years ago.
Mr Benedek added: “There are two reasons for it — one is it’s quite a complicated exercise to be registered by the BMA because there is a rigorous process to go through.”
And he said that the leak of millions of documents from a Panama law firm — the Panama Papers — had highlighted the need for tight regulation.
He added: “It’s also quite a mature market in Bermuda. We did it because we set our law firm up in 2014 and we saw the demand for trust companies which are in accord with our philosophy.”
Mr Benedek agreed that “there is the perception” that trusts were used to hide money from tax authorities and to mask the identities of the beneficiaries.
But he said: “Trusts in Bermuda are not vehicles used to hide beneficial owners and are not vehicles used to launder money or for illegal purposes.
“The BMA, through its register, forces companies to get to the bottom of what’s going on. There is an image problem, but Bermuda is a responsible, well-regulated jurisdiction.
“Bermuda stands out as a jurisdiction which is effectively regulated.”
Megan Benedek, CEO of the Hamilton firm, said the new company was aimed at “Bermuda-based and international clients requiring sophisticated yet cost-effective trust solutions.”
She added: “We will strive to do Bermuda proud by providing a truly first-class suite of personalised trust services to our clients.
“Our goal is to be client-focused, proactive and transparent.”
And she said that the growth of the law firm, set up just two years ago and based in Hamilton’s Par la Ville Road, would provide a boost to employment on the island.
Ms Benedek added: “The growth of our legal practice will enable us to provide additional opportunities for Bermudians and we look forward to announcing the hiring of further staff in the near future.”
Mr Benedek said: “We have lots of clients in the City of London which need new commercial trust structures, but we largely see it as Bermuda family planning.”
He added that HSBC’s sale of its trust business to the Bank of Butterfield had created an opportunity for smaller firms to join the business.
Ms Benedek explained: “Our philosophy is to be proactive, accessible client-focused and to use technology to better serve our clients.”
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