STEP Hong Kong has been established since 2002. Our growing membership includes professionals from the professional trustee, legal, accounting, and financial services fields. We welcome all professionals and students with a trust and estate focus, whether working with private or corporate clients.
We are committed to working with members and local government for the promotion and enhancement of the Hong Kong Trust industry, and the professional development of our members through access to STEP world-wide resources, regular seminars and the bi-annual STEP Asia conference.
The executive committee meets once a month to discuss topical issues affecting the trust and estate planning industry in Asia. Detailed business is conducted through sub-committees, which welcome support from branch members.
Co-Chairs: Katharine Graves and Stacey Devoy
The inaugural meeting of the sub-committee took place in January 2020. Members were of the view that STEP members would benefit from seminars and ad-hoc case law updates of relevant decisions handed down by the Hong Kong courts in family matters, and the creation of resources such as best practice checklists, etc. The consensus was that topics such as pre-nuptial agreements had been widely covered previously and a wider range of issues with which members might be faced when dealing with families would be of most use. Examples include giving disclosure, provision by trusts for 'second families' and procedural issues associated with court proceedings such as joinder/intervention to jurisdiction/Beddoe applications. Members might have other issues with which they are commonly faced that they would like to see addressed. An opportunity to meet and gather views from STEP members was suggested by way of a 'speed dating' drinks event. Unfortunately social distancing measures introduced before the event meant this was deferred but it is hoped this can take place during the summer. The sub-committee hopes to present a STEP seminar to members in the autumn on the disclosure obligations of trustees who become caught up in family court proceedings.
- Mental Health, Elder and Capacity Law
This new sub-committee focuses on the areas of mental health, elder and capacity law. We believe it is important to develop STEP HK’s expertise and specialism in this area as HK faces an increasingly elderly population, and mental health and capacity issues remain lesswell understood here than in some other jurisdictions. To that end, the initial focus of the sub-committee will be on educating STEP members and others on the current legal framework, areas for development, and supporting academic research in this area. The subcommittee has already arranged a joint training session with the Private Wealth Management Association on the role of committees. It is also looking at how STEP can support a research proposal from HKU on empowering people with mental disability in Hong Kong. Our sub-committee is made up of solicitors, barristers, trust providers and academics. We have been meeting once every two months both physically and virtually to brainstorm and work on ways to raise awareness and collaborate with other institutions to promote mental health, elder and capacity law in Hong Kong.
- Wills and Estates Sub-Committee
Temporary Chair: Tariq Dennison
The sub-committee was formed in 2019 with the aim of raising and promoting best practices in the matters of wills and probate in Hong Kong. The sub-committee will meet monthly and also plan talks or events. The sub-committee welcomes suggestions from members in this regard.
- Legislation and Regulatory Sub-CommitteeLegislation and Regulatory Sub-Committee
Chair: Richard Grasby TEP
The sub-committee reviews pending legislation and regulatory proposals relevant to members and actively engages with membership and local government where appropriate. In recent years a number of branch members have worked tirelessly on the Joint Committee for Trust Law Reform and regulation of Trust or Corporate Services Providers to promote the updating of Hong Kong’s trust legislation.
- Education and Training Sub-Committee
Co-chairs: Katharine Graves TEP, Joanna Caen TEP, Melanie Ison TEP and Erik Wallace TEP
The sub-committee provides regular educational seminars of relevance to members, which are presented by members or external speakers. We welcome our international STEP colleagues as speakers. Subjects range from estate and succession matters, regulatory and best practice matters, asset protection, taxation issues, and financial planning.
- Marketing and Communications Sub-Committee
Co-chairs - Silvia On TEP and Aurora Wong TEP
The Hong Kong Branch Editorial Team was set up in 2014 with our first Hong Kong Branch Newsletter issued in October 2014. We welcome articles from members to provide update information about the Trust Industry in the region and any topics which may be of interest to our members. Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like to contribute any articles.
- China Development Sub-Committee
Chair - Michael Olesnicky TEP
This sub-committee is a joint initiative with the Hong Kong Trustees’ Association and meets regularly as and when required to discuss topical issues related to the growing need for trust and succession planning services in mainland China, and to provide educational updates to members.
- Philanthropy Group
Coordinating Officer - Michelle Chow
The STEP Hong Kong Philanthropy Group was set up in January 2011. It is a satellite of the Philanthropy Advisors Global Special Interest Group (SIG).
The group consists of STEP and non-STEP members, including private bankers, trust professionals, lawyers, accountants , heads of family offices, and people who run grant-making foundations and operating charities. The group meets informally once a month at lunchtime and has a speaker on a topic of common interest. Topics are chosen by the planning committee and at the suggestion of members of the group.
- Dispute Resolution Hong Kong
Coordinating Officer - Simon Ng TEP
The sub-committee was created to promote (1) knowledge and best practices in relation to private wealth (in particular trust and succession) disputes involving Hong Kong; and (2) the effective use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in such disputes. Regular meetings are hosted for which the participation of interested practitioners is welcomed. Specific workshops and seminars are also arranged by the sub-committee from time to time.
- Policy Sub-Committee
Chair: Bernard Rennell TEP
The Subcommittee was formed in 2019 with a view identifying and recommending changes to law and / or regulation that may be sensibly be of benefit to the industry, clients and practitioners. Whereas the Legislation and Regulatory Subcommittee focuses on proposals and consultation papers put forward by legislative and regulatory bodies, the policy Subcommittee sees its remit as more ‘blue sky’, ie seeking to identify areas for review or improvement which may not presently be the focus of relevant legislative or regulatory bodies. The Subcommittee welcomes suggestions from members in this regard.