May INsight

Kia Ora!

May brought with it an enjoyable and very valuable two-week trip to the US for me, with a week spent on each coast. I was proud to attend the America Outbound Summits in Los Angeles and San Francisco with Cook Islands Finance, the government agency tasked with promoting and developing the Cook Islands financial services industry, and to spread the word to other exhibitors and delegates on the benefits of what to many is still an unfamiliar jurisdiction. My industry overview presentation in Los Angeles, in which I focused on Cook Islands asset protection trust features and the Cook Islands International Relationship Property Trust, was followed by an engaging panel discussion in San Francisco on the benefits of forward planning and developing constructive and understanding relationships with clients and referrers alike.

At the San Francisco America Outbound Summit with Tine Ponia (Managing Director, Asiaciti Cook Islands) and Tony Fe’ao (CEO, Cook Islands Finance)

More of that followed in week 2, which saw me travelling to Orlando, Miami and Denver to catch up with some of our valued business partners. I always enjoy the immersive experience of getting to the US and spending time with so many of our clients and referrers. It helps me feel better connected to their needs and priorities, and I never fail to come away with some new learning. The use of Nevis companies as US estate tax blockers for non-US persons kept coming up in conversation and was a key takeaway for me this time around. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who found time in their busy schedules to meet with me; and my apologies to those of you I didn’t get the opportunity to catch up with, I hope I will do so on my next trip.

During the last few months a number of those we work with in the US have sought to clarify our beneficial owner reporting position under the Corporate Transparency Act. The position as regards corporate trustee reporting was complicated and unclear, but FinCEN have finally issued some long-awaited clarification in the form of updated CTA Guidelines. Our Head of Legal and Client Services, Marcos Almeida, summarises these in the first of this month’s articles and explains why the owners and officers of Southpac’s trustee companies are not required to provide beneficial ownership information under the CTA. In our second article, Head of Banking, Investment and Commercial Services Guy Carson analyses the steps taken by the S&P’s ‘Magnificent 7’ to monetise AI and maximise returns on their capital spend.

Kind regards,

Matthew Smith
Group General Manager