Southpac Offshore Planning Institute 2019 – Four Seasons Resort Nevis – A Brave New World: Asset Protection in a Modern Environment
Southpac held the 2019 Offshore Planning Institute at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, in May, following on from Southpac’s successful Las Vegas conference in 2017. With more interest from the industry, the programme was ambitiously extended to three days from its original two days, to cater to attendees arriving from all corners of the world.
Planning for the conference began in mid-2018 with the organisation of the programme, speakers and venue. Speakers from all sectors relevant to international planning practices provided valuable insights including materials, anecdotes, case studies, legal cases and some interesting discourse over the three day programme. Sponsors of the event were able to provide specific information on their businesses which were included in all promotional materials, throughout the conference venue and also in the 340-page conference handout booklet.
The conference began with a short introduction from Southpac’s Managing Director Tarita Hutchinson. Elridge Glasford, General Manager of Southpac Trust Nevis Limited, was originally supposed to do this but was hospitalised before the first day so was not able to attend, although we are pleased to report he is now recovering well.
The 2019 programme was put together with Day 1 covering fundamentals for newcomers to the asset protection space. This started with an initial session from Southpac’s Marcos Almeida and Vibha Vallabh who discussed the Fundamentals of Asset Protection. Vibha covered some significant recent cases, which have major ramifications for trustees and asset protection specialists.
Vibha was joined by her colleague Matthew Smith for a presentation on Asset Protection Structures. Matthew described various asset protection structures commonly used, exploring their strengths and weaknesses, before Vibha introduced a brand new structure – the Foundation-Trust structure. This structure, developed by Southpac in response to recent case law, gives specific advantages to those looking to combine control with effective asset protection without compromising the integrity of a trust – more information on this can be found here.
Attorney Wayne Patton then took the stage with Matthew to present Completing the Asset Protection Toolkit. This section had a wealth of information on Southpac’s application and due diligence requirements, the effect of international anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislation, client onboarding and fraudulent transfers from a USA perspective.
In their presentation Drafting the Asset Protection Trust Agreement, attorney Howard Rosen and Vibha gave some very enlightening examples of good drafting practice interspersed with interesting personal cases and anecdotes. Howard also provided information on choice of jurisdiction, trustee and protector and what constitutes duress.
Patricia Donlevy-Rosen covered Immoveable Assets – Real Estate Equity Investment Structures. This was of particular interest to many present as it covered structures that can be put in place to protect bricks and mortar investments located onshore and ensure these can benefit from the levels of protection afforded by an offshore structure. Patricia also covered recent changes that have led to the development of the structure.
John Mulvey and Ryan Griffiths of New Zealand Vault addressed the conference on the Precious Metals Landscape in 2019. They discussed recent changes in the market and how these have led to New Zealand becoming a premier jurisdiction in the precious metals storage space.
To finish off the day a cocktail event was held which was sponsored by platinum sponsor, Capital Security Bank.
The second day kicked off with Global Updates, covering New Zealand, LATAM, Europe, USA, Cook Islands and Nevis, with a range of speakers who covered recent developments across these jurisdictions.
Les Khan of the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit then spoke of investment opportunities available in the jurisdiction and the development happening over the next few years on the island, as well as on the St Kitts & Nevis investment fund.
He was followed by a passionate presentation from the Nevis Tourism Authority’s Greg Phillip, who covered the benefits tourism brings to Nevis, and why Nevis is a great destination for those looking for some well-deserved time off work.
After morning break (sponsored by the Bank of Nevis), Tarita Hutchinson then took to the stage to give the Opening Remarks of the conference and to introduce Nevis Premier the Honourable Mark A.G. Brantley. We were greatly honoured that Minister Brantley chose to speak at the conference. Minister Brantley spoke at length on various changes and conditions which the European Union has sought to impose in recent years and which have put a great deal of pressure on the financial regulators of many Caribbean jurisdictions, including Nevis. Minister Brantley also touched upon some of the changes that were likely to result from the new Nevis International Trust Ordinance.
Afterwards, attorneys Jeffery M. Verdon and Craig Redler addressed delegates on Current Trends and Strategies Shaping the Industry. This presentation covered the importance of due diligence, source of funds and KYC (Know Your Customer/Client), the importance of managing client expectations in regards to reporting requirements and how important active trust management and cyber security have become in modern times.
The first of the greatly anticipated Q&A panels, which were a favourite of the 2017 conference, was held before lunch. Legal Challenges to Asset Protection Structures saw attorneys Jeffrey M. Verdon, Jonathan Gopman, Eli Akhavan, Craig Redler and Vibha Vallabh discuss the ins and outs of trust structures, challenges to them, best practices and the pitfalls.
After the lunch break, Howard was joined onstage by tax attorney Leslie A. Share to present on Onshore Tax Considerations for Asset Protection Strategies. This was a detailed and engaging discussion of the tax implications of setting up an offshore trust including information on changes to US estate tax laws, issues with domestic verses foreign trusts and common tax problems encountered with funding an offshore trust structure.
Alan Taylor and Heidi Lynn Sutton covered Global Tax & Regulatory Trends from the Cook Islands and Nevis perspective, and discussed in further detail some of the topics, which had been introduced earlier in the day by the Honourable Mark A.G. Brantley, especially the new tax standards being imposed by the European Union on both jurisdictions.
Following by a break, which was sponsored by BFI Infinity, Gerard Field, CEO of platinum sponsor Capital Security Bank, spoke about Custodial & Banking Solutions for the International Experience. He discussed the issues of being a relatively new and smaller player and working with large multi-national banks and explained how Capital Security Bank has sustained and raised its profile over the years by making the banking process more simple for new customers.
The final panel for the day was Tips and Challenges for Funding the International Structure Part 1, which featured Matthew Smith and banking sector representatives Gerard Field and Michael Alexander Kaufmann of EFG. Gerard and Michael reviewed issues encountered by international clients in opening, funding and managing new accounts and, once again, the importance of due diligence and KYC were covered. There was also an interesting debate on banks’ approaches and attitudes towards two very modern-day sources of wealth: cryptocurrency and the legal cannabis industry.
The final day of the conference began with New Applications for Swifter Processing. Matthew Smith introduced CheckID, a quick and simple due diligence product, which allows users to run background and ID checks on potential clients without expensive long-term contracts. Marcos Almeida then took the audience through Online Offshore Companies, which lets customers set up Cook Islands or Nevis limited liability companies online with a simplified and automated application process. Finally, Gerard Field went through Capital Security Bank’s ID Scan app, which enables users to provide copies of their passport or driver’s licence via mobile phone, which can then be verified.
We were privileged to host Professor Jerome Hesch who spoke on Techniques for Passing on the Family Business, some of the tax implications and issues encountered and how to potentially overcome these. Professor Hesch drew on his vast experience to take attendees through a detailed case study where income tax and family planning would be essential. He went through a real life example which made the subject come alive.
Attorney Douglass Lodmell, of Conference gold sponsor Lodmell & Lodmell, PC, gave the audience an informative and dynamic insight into Navigating the Bridge Trust. An interesting combination of both onshore and offshore asset protection strategy The Bridge Trust combines the simplicity and ease of use of onshore asset protection with the option to take ownership of trust assets offshore should an event of duress take place. This was another presentation that was met with great interest.
Leading on from the break, sponsored by Alliance Trust Company of Nevada, was the Foreign and Domestic Hybrid Structures Panel with Douglass Lodmell & Alliance’s Greg Crawford. Greg and Douglass spoke about domestic trusts and the benefits available to US citizens, with Douglass tying this to his previous presentation on Bridge Trusts.
Neal Rubin of platinum sponsor City National Rochdale then talked about the Client Onboarding Experience. Talking through CNR’s Investment Questionnaire and their Enhanced Due Diligence Questionnaire, he also covered the US economic outlook, investment strategies and CNR’s own financial indicators – Neal made it clear how important these indicators are for wealth management and general investment strategies.
Following this came Tips and Challenges for Funding the International Structure Part II, a panel featuring investment advisors Neal Rubin, Daniel Zurbruegg, Jamie Vrijhof-Droese and Dominique J. Spillmann and moderated by Matthew Smith. This was a detailed look at opportunities and strategies in funding trust structures and how to make the most of an offshore trust.
After lunch, sponsored by gold sponsor Lodmell & Lodmell, Dave Wolf from Clarity Life Insurance spoke about Insurance as a Planning Tool and covered the importance of insurance in asset planning and protection. This was particularly relevant to exposed individuals who may not yet have a robust offshore asset protection plan, Dave explained. He gave further information about Private Placement Life Insurance and how best to combine this with an asset protection structure.
Following on from Dave’s presentation, attorneys Peter Strauss & Matthew Brosman of the Strauss Law Firm presented on Using Captives as Part of the Asset Protection Plan, which covered in detail the potential for use of captive insurance companies in the asset protection space.
The Insurance Practical Considerations Panel saw Dave Wolf, Daniel Zurbruegg, Jeffrey M. Verdon, Peter Strauss and Matthew Brosman discuss in more detail some of the material covered in the two previous insurance presentations as well as their own experience in the insurance space and how insurance can be best used in asset protection structures.
Following the final break of the day, sponsored by WHVP, we were treated to Around the World – Lessons from the Past for the Future presented by Sune Sorensen. This was a detailed look at the ever-changing nature of global financial environments in a variety of contexts which investigated how they have changed over time and how they may trend in the future.
The final panel of the day, Adapting for Success in a Disruptive World, featured Sune along with some of the younger asset protection professionals attending the conference, Ariel R. Enisman, Colin Ley, Marcos Almeida and Matt Brosman. The panel discussed some of the main topics from Sune’s presentation and gave their thoughts on where they see the asset protection industry moving in the future.
Tarita Hutchinson closed by announcing the location of our next conference, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada, in 2021. If you are interested in sponsoring, speaking or attending, please get in touch as soon as possible (please email [email protected]).