Asian Wealth Solutions Forum 2019 - Exclusive Insights - Lee Woon Shiu

Woon Shiu Lee of DBS Private Bank

Nov 13, 2019

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1. Why are there more and more SFOs (Single-Family Offices) and MFOs (Multi-Family Offices) and which jurisdiction is winning their favours, why and how?

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1. Why are there more and more SFOs (Single-Family Offices) and MFOs (Multi-Family Offices) and which jurisdiction is winning their favours, why and how?

There's a trend globally of more and more families awakening to the idea that planning doesn't just involve trust and foundations. They can go deeper and go broader in what they do for planning, and family offices have actually taken up that space. So in terms of Asian clients, we see Singapore taking up, actually, a lot of attention in the eyes of ultra-high net worth families, and because Singapore has one of the most attractive regimes for family offices to be established. We had the good fortune that we have both the EDB and MAS, both collaborating to form a family office development team to make sure that the legalities, the legislation, and the ecosystem for family offices in Singapore is enhanced year after year. So, suffice to say that that was the contributing factor in allowing family offices throughout the last three years to increase by four times. And also, MAS just announced that there'll be four initiatives that they will introduce to make this even more attractive. It will have a family office circle, or network, for family offices to be based in Singapore and to network with each other. That's number one. Number two, they will have deal Fridays where they will introduce private equity deals to these families. That also comes from a very, very detailed understanding by the MAS that families in Asia, when they start family offices, they are looking not just at plain vanilla investment solutions, but more at opportunities for private equity investments and VC investments. And providing that sort of deal for the platform is also another reason why MAS, EDB is able to attract more families to Singa-pore. Number three, MAS and EDB also are working very hard to make sure that they upskill the entire profession. So they have announced that, come 2020, there will be a family office professional's up-skilling committee where they will look at the skill sets required of family office, preferably before they can practice, and that's something which they're looking at in a very, very extensive way right now, and we are involved in that discussion with them as well. And number four, MAS, EDB is also doing the net-working overseas. They've been very actively accompanying, not just banks, but also going to confer-ences in other countries like Europe and US to speak to family offices which are more mature and at-tract them to come to Singapore to set up satellite family offices. So, all of that rim of activities and initiatives is really making Singapore the go to jurisdiction for family offices that stays in Asia.

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