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SwissIndependent Trustees (SIT)




Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends


I would like to pass on the best wishes of the Board and Management of SIT to all of you in these challenging times. I know that it is exceptionally difficult for everyone, with many of you directly affected by or supporting the effort to combat the virus in various parts of the world.


These are difficult times, but they will pass and in the interim we will do everything we can to assist you along the way.


While everybody’s focus needs to be around the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones, we as SwissIndependent Trustees remain committed to ensure the continuity and excellence of service to our clients and families.


In such a rapidly evolving situation we have worked tirelessly to deal with the constant changes, and would like to thank my team for their efficient and focused response.


As you may be aware, we have been fortunate enough to arrange our staff so that we still have an effective presence in the office and those who are working from home on rotation have full access to office systems to enable them to carry out their day to day activities. We are also taking advantage of all available technologies to stay in constant contact with our colleagues and professional advisors to ensure that matters are dealt with efficiently and timeously.


We hope you will bear with us during these uncertain times and all at SIT, in Geneva and South Africa, wish you and yours all of the best.


Thank you for your support.





'Distilling simple

solutions from the chaos

of complexity.'

News & Publications

  • STEP Private Client Awards –SwissIndependent Trustees as a Finalist in the Multi-Family Office Team of the Year : September 2019
    SwissIndependent Trustees is absolutely delighted to announce that we have been selected as a finalist at the STEP awards in the ‘Multi-Family Office Team’ of the Year category. ​ Our CEO, Steven Stein comments as follows:​ “I am very proud of our team for receiving what many consider to be the most prestigious accolade in our industry. We look forward to continuing to support our families in the unique way that we do”.
  • Control Of Trusts - Recent decision in the UK Chancery Division : October 2017
    JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev ​ In a recent decision taken in the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division), Birss J examined the nature of deeds creating five discretionary trusts. ​ Mr Pugachev was a Beneficiary, a Protector and indeed the Settlor of all of the trusts. ​ The Court found that none of the protector’s powers in the trust deeds were fiduciary in nature, and on the facts presented the powers were “purely personal powers which may be exercised selfishly”. Indeed, Birss J found that the Settlor’s intention in the setting up each of the five trusts was simply to retain control of the assets and to mislead third parties as to their true nature. ​ This case is a solid reminder for all practitioners as to risk posed by structures when control is retained by those other than the Trustees. ​ To read the judgment in full please click here.
  • Nom-Dom Update : July 2017
    Having been in limbo in recent months, the UK Treasury has now published new updated draft legislation that introduces a deemed domicile status for individuals for income and capital gains tax, which will operate retrospectively from 6 April 2017. The draft legislation and guidance can be found here.
  • Non-Dom Update : April 2017
    In April this year, the uk government suspended the provisions in the Finance Bill affecting non-doms, until after the recently called UK election on the 8th June. There is no certainty as to what provisions will and will not survive and on what date the provisions will come into force. However, most commentators are surmising that most of the provisions will be reintroduced at some point later in the year.
  • Non-Dom Update : December 2016
    Further to our note of October 2016, we have more news about the UK tax changes. The UK Finance Bill was published on 5th December and unfortunately there are some provisions about loans which were not publicised during the Autumn Statement or in any of the consultation documents before or since. In other words, it was a complete surprise. In effect, it is proposed that any loans used to acquire or hold UK property, directly or indirectly, will be liable to inheritance tax (IHT). This is quite a novel and ingenious solution to the problem of how to deal with debt used to reduce the taxable value of UK property. The consequence of this change, which will take effect from 6th April 2017, is that the lender will be treated as holding 'relevant property' for IHT purposes. There are no grandfathering provisions, meaning that they will catch existing loans that are still outstanding as at 6th April 2017. If the ultimate owner is a trust then the usual anniversary and exit charges will apply, as will the gift with reservation of benefit rules, which will potentially lead to double charges to IHT. If the owner is an individual then the value of the loan will be inside his or her estate on death. All companies will be looked through to either an individual or a trust. These rules are clearly of some significance to structures which hold debt used to acquire or maintain UK residential property and it is important to consider, reasonably urgently, what re-structuring needs to be done to mitigate the effects of these new rules. If you have any queries relating to this or to any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at the address on our site.
  • Update : October 2016
    Recent announcements from the UK government have been well reported relating to the proposed changes to the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals. Whist the government is still finalising its consultation process it is envisaged that significant changes will come into force in April 2017. In short, there are two categories of client structures that will be affected: 1. Any structure which holds UK property; and 2. Any structure with beneficiaries or settlors who are resident in the UK. The proposed change will mean individuals resident in the UK for at least 15 out of the last 20 will be deemed domiciled in the UK. Deemed domiciled individuals will then be subject to the same the income tax, CGT and IHT regime as UK-domiciled individuals. This will have significant consequences for trusts if the settlor is UK resident as it is possible that the trust will then become liable to tax. Beneficiaries who are resident in the UK may also be adversely affected. The IHT reforms are more sweeping in that they will catch any structure which owns UK residential property, regardless of the residence status of its settlor or beneficiaries. It is likely that all structures holding UK residential property will therefore need to be reviewed and re-structured if practical or advisable before April 2017. Whilst the changes proposed are challenging and require careful planning, they are not without their opportunities. For example, it is proposed that there will be a period from April 2017 to April 2018 to enable the rebasing of assets and the "cleansing" of mixed funds held in the hands of persons currently not domiciled in the UK. The latter measure will enable individuals and their structures to separate mixed funds into capital, income and capital gains, thereby potentially enabling the remittance of clean capital to the UK. In addition it may be useful to have certain assets revalued as at 5th April 2017. We are working closely with clients and advisors on these changes and recommend any non-UK domiciled individuals review their position as soon as practical.
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