Trust News

PreceptGroup International sees six-fold increase in people setting up trusts since 2008

PreceptsGroup International has seen a significant increase in people interested in setting up trusts over the years. From around 20 trusts set up annually in 2008, about 120 to 140 trusts are established annually now, a six-fold increase.

Responding to a Straits Times article dated 28 October 2022 and titled “More parents interested in setting up trusts for their children”, PreceptsGroup International chief executive officer, Mr Lee Chiwi, affirmed the growth in the establishment of trusts in Singapore and a broadening awareness of their value to safeguard assets. “Quick wealth in the hands of the beneficiary could dissipate in a short while,” said Mr Lee.

Trusts help to distribute wealth more systematically and efficiently, for the long term.  A trust is a legal arrangement that allows an individual to place his assets such that an appointed trustee can managed them on behalf of the beneficiaries. Trusts allow wealth to be distributed to beneficiaries over a longer period of time as opposed to handing over assets outright soon after the death of the individual who set up the trust.  

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Lee added that PreceptGroup is also sensing that, with the rising cost of living as well as the negative experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are more conscious of vulnerable times ahead for their families. “They want to provide for them and make sure there are funds for that rainy day,” he added.

Trust News

PreceptsGroup International’s Lee Chiwi shares tips on trusts on Straits Times podcast

Chief executive officer of PreceptsGroup International, Mr Lee Chiwi, was invited to speak on Invest Talk, a podcast by The Straits Times that is held every first and third Monday of the month. The podcast took place on 19 December 2022.

In the 14-minute podcast, Mr Lee shared tips on:

  • What’s important as you start on estate planning
  • Why and how a trust can come in useful for young beneficiaries
  • Why it makes sense to do a nomination of CPF funds into a simple trust to avoid issues
  • How taxes may be an issue when it comes to estate planning
  • Trusts for special needs individuals

You can listen to Mr Lee’s expert views on “Invest Talk Podcast: Tips on Legacy Planning and Setting up Trusts” at:


ANNOUNCEMENT: Acquisition of PreceptsGroup deal completion by BMH

Message from PreceptsGroup CEO, Lee Chiwi

We are pleased to announce that British & Malayan Holdings Limited (BMH) has completed the purchase of 35% of PreceptsGroup International Pte. Ltd. (PGI) as of 5th April 2023.

BMH has a close to 100 years history in Singapore and we are very excited to embark on this new journey with BMH.

This is a new milestone in our corporate history.

We value your continued support in providing estate planning solutions through PreceptsGroup.

Please also see below message from the Chief Executive of BMH.

Message from BMH Group CEO, David Koay

On behalf of the board of BMH, we are pleased with the acquisition of PGI group.

BMH group is the oldest independent licensed Trustee services group that is listed on the SGX. The Group was incorporated since 1924.

We look forward towards working closely with Chiwi and team in establishing mutual synergies of PGI group, being an extended family of BMH.


PRESS RELEASE: IFPHK and Estate Planning Practitioners (Hong Kong) Limited Signed MOU to Cultivate Estate Planning Talents in the Territory

(Hong Kong – 21 September 2022) To step up efforts to cultivate trust and estate planning talents, the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK) and Estate Planning Practitioners (Hong Kong) Limited (EPPLHK) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, offering training opportunities to skilled financial planners in Hong Kong.

The Estate Planning Practitioners Limited is the body which promotes estate planning as a professional practice throughout Asia via training, seminars, conferences and exchange of ideas. The Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (AEPP®) designation is awarded by EPPL based in Singapore. It is authorized by the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners (SWWEPP), United Kingdom. There are over 6,000 designees in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and now planning to extend its member scale to Hong Kong.

Leveraging IFPHK’s professional position in the financial planning education, together with EPPL’s extensive experience in estate planning and consultation in South East Asia, the parties collaborate on a new qualification, namely, Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (AEPP®) Certification Program, that will cultivate local talent such as financial planners, wealth managers, family office professionals for essential succession and estate/legacy planning knowledge.

Under the MOU, EPPLHK will be responsible for designing course contents to help industry practitioners with gaining first-hand experience of estate planning knowledge. As the exclusive education provider partner, IFPHK will be delivering the trainings in a structural way via e-learning platform and virtual class coordination.

At the MOU signing ceremony, Mr. Dennis Lau, CEO, IFPHK remarked, “It’s our honour to work with EPPLHK to cultivate future estate planning professionals in Hong Kong. The collaboration with EPPLHK marks a further milestone for IFPHK, allowing us to strengthen a connection with an international institution in our financial services professional network. In view of the rising demand for trust / estate planning professionals, this partnership plays a significant role in enhancing our talent pool to support the fast-growing financial services industry. We look forward to supporting more academic-business
exchange and collaborations.”

EPPLHK’s Director Ms Cindy Wong added, “As part of EPPLHK’s strategy, this partnership demonstrates our deep commitment to cultivate future estate planning talents in Hong Kong to meet the growing needs in wealth transition and succession planning. We believe that through the AEPP® certification program the financial professionals will be well equipped to engage with their clients effectively to create holistic solutions and sustainable client relationships. We emphasize putting knowledge to practice and aims to support the AEPP® designees with trust advisory services to apply what they have learned and enhance their value proposition.”

This new programme focuses on the practical application of a holistic approach in the wealth accumulation, preservation, and transition for the high-net-worth individuals. The financial professionals will find themselves well positioned to add value to the high-net-worth clients who are seeking an array of expertise to address their high-priority concern of passing down wealth.

Public registration for the first intake of Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (AEPP®) Certification Program will open in the first quarter of 2023. The course consists of a total of 12 training hours in an online mode with a hybrid format, comprising 6 hours of pre-recorded videos and 6 hours of live webinar. These videos will be accessible via FPLearning, the brand-new eLearning platform of IFPHK. Approximately one week after the viewing period, the 6-hour live webinar will be scheduled for an interactive session with the trainer.

Curriculum of the AEPP® Certification Program (Hong Kong)

Topic 1: Family Inheritance (1.5 hours)
Topic 2: Basic and Process of Wealth Planning (1 hour)
Topic 3: Family Business (2 hours)
Topic 4: Family Wealth (1 hour)
Topic 5: Family Members (0.5 hour)
Topic 6: Dynamic Solutions of Wealth Planning (6 hours)

Upon completion of the course and passing the exam, the participants will be given the eligibility to apply for the AEPP® designation. They will also be included in the directory of designees where their profile will be searchable online.

For more details on the AEPP® Certification Program in Hong Kong, please contact Ms. Chris Lam, Senior Manager, Professional Development and Training, IFPHK at

EPPL (Hong Kong)’s Director Ms Cindy Wong (Left) and IFPHK’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Dennis Lau sign a collaboration agreement.


IFPHK was established in June 2000 as a non-profit professional organization. It aims to be recognised in the region as a premier professional body representing financial planners dedicated to upholding the highest professional standards for the benefit of the public. The Institute is the sole licensing professional body in Hong Kong authorised by the Financial Planning Standards Board Limited in the US to grant CFP® certification and AFP® certification to qualified financial planning professionals in Hong Kong and Macau. Currently, there are more than 203,000 CFP certificants in 26 countries/regions; the majority of these professionals are in the U.S., Canada, China, Australia and Japan, and approximately 4,100 CFP certificants are in Hong Kong. It represents more than 7,400 financial planning practitioners in Hong Kong, including 1,200 Qualified Retirement Adviser. They are from such diverse professional backgrounds as banking, insurance, independent financial advisory, stockbroking, accounting, and legal services.

For Media Enquiries

Ms. Agnes Lee Tel : (852) 2982 7875 Email :
Ms. Cally Wong Tel : (852) 2982 7863 Email :

香港財務策劃師學會與 EPPL (香港)簽署合作備忘錄 培育本地遺產策劃人才

(香港 – 2022 年 9 月 21 日)為加強培養信託及遺產規劃人才,香港財務策劃師學會(IFPHK)與遺產規劃師(香港)有限公司(EPPLHK)近日簽署諒解備忘錄,為香港資深財務策劃師提供進修增值機會。

EPPL 總部設於新加坡,通過培訓、研討會、會議和意見交流,在全亞洲推廣遺產規劃專業。AEPP®認證是由 EPPL 授予的,並得到英國的遺囑撰寫者和遺產規劃從業者協會(SWWEPP)授權。在新加坡、馬來西亞、印尼有超過 6,000 名持證人,EPPL 正計劃擴展其會員規模到香港。

憑藉學會在財務策劃教育的專業地位,以及 EPPL 在東南亞地區豐富的遺產規劃和諮詢經驗,雙方將合作於本港推出一項全新的資格認證 – Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (AEPP®) 教育課程,培育本地人才,如財務策劃師、財富經理、家族辦公室專員等,並傳授基本繼承和遺產/遺產規劃知識。

根據諒解備忘錄,EPPL (香港) 負責設計課程內容,確保學員獲得遺產規劃知識的第一手經驗。作為獨家教育合作夥伴,香港財務策劃師學會將為學員提供多元靈活的培訓方式,例如電子學習及網絡研討會。

香港財務策劃師學會行政總裁劉振輝先生在簽署儀式上表示:「我們很榮幸能與EPPL(香港) 合作,為香港培育未來的遺產策劃專才。與 EPPLHK 的合作,是學會另一個里程碑,使我們加強與金融服務業網路中的國際機構的聯繫。鑒於對信託及遺產規劃專才的需求不斷增加,這種夥伴關係加強我們的人才庫,在支持快速增長的金融服務業方面發揮了重要作用。我們期待著支持更多的學術/商業交流和合作。」

EPPL (香港) 董事黃素敏女士補充說:「作為 EPPLHK 策略的一部分,這次合作表明了我們對培養香港未來的遺產規劃人才的深切承諾,以滿足日益增長的財富轉移及管理繼承的需求。我們相信 AEPP認證課程能夠使金融業專業人士更好的裝備自己,以便為客戶提供更全面完善的解決方案,建立可持續的客戶關係。我們強調專業知識的實用性,致力透過為 AEPP持證人提供的專用信託諮詢服務讓他們學以致用,提升他們自己的競爭力。」


Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (AEPP®)認證首個公開課程將於 2023 年第一季度接受報名。該課程共有 12 課時,採用混合模式,包括 6 小時的預錄視頻和 6 小時的現場網路研討會。這些視頻將通過 IFPHK 全新電子學習平臺 FPLearning 獲取。在觀看期結束後大約一周,學會將安排 6 小時的現場網路研討會,與講師進行互動交流。


主題 1:家庭繼承(1.5 小時)
主題 2:財富規劃的基本和過程(1 小時)
專題 3:家族企業(2 小時)
議題 4:家庭財富(1 小時)
主題 5:家庭成員(0.5 小時)
主題 6:財富規劃的動態解決方案(6 小時)

完成課程並通過考試後,學員將獲得申請 AEPP®認證的資格。他們還將被列入持證人名冊,公眾可以在網上瀏覽其認證資料。

有關 AEPP®認證課程之詳情,請以電郵方式 ( 聯繫香港財務策劃師學會專業發展及培訓部高級經理林沛欣女士。

EPPL(香港)董事黃素敏女士 (左) 與 IFPHK 行政總裁劉振輝先生 (右) 簽署合作協定


香港財務策劃師學會於 2000 年 6 月以非牟利專業學會之形式成立,宗旨是代表財務策劃師成為 區域首要的專業學會,並致力提高財務策劃的專業標準,以裨益公眾。學會獲得美國的財務策劃標 準制定局授權為唯一可以在香港及澳門頒發 CFP® 資格認證及 AFP® 資格認證的專業學會。現時 全球有超過 203,000 名 CFP 持證人,分佈於 26 個國家或地區,其中以美國、加拿大、中國、 澳洲及日本佔大多數,而香港則有接近 4,100 名 CFP 持證人。 作為香港財務策劃界的代表,學 會現有會員共有超過 7,400 名,包括 1,200 名核准退休顧問持有人。會員來自不同的專業背景, 如銀行、保險、獨立理財顧問、股票買賣、會計 及法律等。 


李玉芳 電話: (852) 2982 7875 電郵:
黃樂琦 電話: (852) 2982 7863 電郵:


AEPP® Certification can bridge the talent gap in estate planning in Hong Kong

1. Can you tell us more about EPP HK?

Incorporated in Hong Kong in June this year, EPP HK extends the services of EPPL beyond its current geographical scope in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to service the needs of the dynamic Hong Kong market. EPP HK is an education platform that seeks to equip financial services practitioners in the Hong Kong market through the AEPP® certification programme, which focuses not only on the imparting of knowledge in estate and succession planning, but also on its practical application.

Besides training, EPP HK will also provide trust advisory services to complement the education services. This combination of services makes EPP HK unique as it allows the financial services practitioners who have completed the AEPP® certification programme to tap the trust advisory services that are tailored to their or their clients’ specific needs, enhancing overall professionalism. While the majority shareholder of EPP HK is Estate Planning Practitioners Limited in Singapore, the trust advisory services will be carried out independently. We are also in the process of applying for the Trust and Corporate Services Provider licence in Hong Kong.

2. What potential do you see in starting the AEPP® certification programme in Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong trust industry is facing a talent gap, according to the Hong Kong Trust Industry Report 2021 by KPMG and the HK Trustee Association. Over the past few years, there have been ongoing developments to raise the level of professionalism and competence in the industry. The Trust and Corporate Service Provider licensing regime launched in 2018 was part of efforts to heighten professionalism. In the same year, the Hong Kong Trustee Association embarked on an accreditation programme on the Trust Training Certificate to achieve the same goals and the programme has been well received by industry practitioners who are keen to upgrade the skills of their workforce.

I believe the AEPP® certification programme can help to close the talent gap by contributing to the nurturing of talent and the building of relevant estate planning skills. I see the potential for growth of the AEPP® certification programme in the Hong Kong market, specially when the wealth planning and trust industry has shown resilience amid the challenging environment.

The trust industry in Hong Kong continues to grow, according to the Asia Wealth Management Activities Survey by the Securities and Futures Commission published in July 2021, registering a 17% year-on-year increase as of December 2020, bringing AUM to US$578 billion while the wealth and asset management business grew 21% year-on-year with AUM reaching US$4,505 billion.

Having a presence in the Hong Kong market also allows EPP HK to capture growth opportunities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), with the opening up of the financial services industry in China, like the recent launch of GBA Wealth Connect. The AEPP® certification programme in Hong Kong could benefit from the potential demand for skills upgrade training and development driven by rising private wealth and growing interest in private trusts in the local market as well as in the North Asia region.

3. What is your biggest challenge given the current situation in Hong Kong?

All forays into new markets have one thing in common – a steep learning curve. I expect EPP HK to face similar challenges including, amongst others, fierce competition and limited funding. The biggest challenge at the moment is the lack of recognition of AEPP® certification in this region. While the AEPP® certification programme has witnessed healthy and steady growth over the past few years in Southeast Asia, it remains relatively unknown to financial services practitioners here. Creating awareness of the AEPP® certification programme and the value it offers will be a crucial step for EPP HK to gain foothold in the new market.

4. What are your plans for the AEPP® certification programme in Hong Kong?

The AEPP® certification programme consists of various modules covering different topics and jurisdictions. For the launch in Hong Kong, a course programme tailored to the Hong Kong market was designed by our trainer who has diverse and extensive experience in the practical field. Going forward, the plan is to roll out the other modules in Hong Kong as well as continuously develop the programme to
ensure its relevance and usefulness to the AEPP® designees and to upgrade the skills of the workforce in the trust industry in Hong Kong.

We also aim to tap the Continuing Education Fund in Hong Kong (similar to IBF-FTS funding) to help grow the business and boost the recognition the AEPP® certification programme. Additionally, we would like to increase the level of interaction in AEPP® communities across different countries and strengthen the network.

5. What advice can you offer to financial services practitioners who want to be or are practicing in Hong Kong?

Fruitful and fulfilling opportunities await you, but opportunities always favour those who are well prepared. So, equip yourself well.

Cindy Wong

Director, Estate Planning Practitioners (HK) Limited (EPP HK)
B.Bus, MBA, AEPP®, STEP Affiliate


What family offices need to know about the changes to Sections 13O and 13U

Edwin Leow and Shaun Zheng of Nexia TS Tax Services assess the new criteria for family offices introduced by the MAS in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently announced new stricter criteria for family offices to receive tax incentives in Singapore. The new rules came into effect on 18 April 2022, whereby funds that are managed and/ or advised directly by a family office which is:

  1. An exempt fund management company which manages assets for or on behalf of the family(ies); and
  2. Is wholly owned or controlled by members of the same family(ies),

must meet the updated conditions, applicable to Section 13O and Section 13U of the Income Tax Act of 1947, and are set out below:

Before the introduction of these new conditions, there was no requirement for a Resident Fund to have a minimum AUM and minimum number of investment professionals. Further, there was no requirement for both the Resident Fund and Enhanced-Tier Fund to invest in local investments previously.

Although these appear to be an additional set of stringent requirements being introduced, it is not inconceivable as Singapore continues to see more family offices being set up. With the city-state now firmly rooted as the leading destination of choice for family offices, the Government can afford to further refine conditions to help meet other broader policy objectives.

For example, the measures on minimum business spend and hiring will help stimulate the local economy, create new jobs and further raise professionalism in the asset management industry. Also, to continue defending its position as the country of choice, the local investment requirement will help to further shine a light and/ or serve as indicator as to whether the family offices are committed to invest in Singapore talent and local investments, coupled with the inimum AUM requirement, which should serve as an effective filter to exclude those families who do not wish to or do not want to grow their AUM, and are using Singapore as a safe harbour for a portion of family wealth.

It is expected that family offices will soon acclimatise to these additional requirements even if there is still intense competition among regional financial centres for investor dollars. Singapore’s political stability, economic progress and first-in-class healthcare facilities and education system, among others, should continue to triumph and be at the top of mind as these HNW individuals go about planning and safeguarding their private wealth and legacy.

Edwin Leow

Director, Head of Tax
Nexia TS Tax Services Pte. Ltd.

Shaun Zheng

Director, Private Wealth and Asset Management Tax Lead
Nexia TS Tax Services Pte. Ltd.


Thoughts from Lee Chiwi, CEO of PreceptsGroup International

As I reflected upon the article, it connected with what we at PreceptsGroup do for our clients.

At the National level, the government unveiled the unprecedented $60.1 billion COVID-related measures ($55 billion under Unity and Resilience Budges and additional $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget) to help everyone here in Singapore, practically anyone who has a stake here. The ability of the Singapore government to do this and probably reasonably unique compared to other counties had to do with the building and setting aside of past reserves over the years through prudent spending. The tapping on the reserves was in anticipation that someday, Singapore might need it in a crisis such as the present pandemic. This unlocking of the reserves requires the sanction of the President, so there are checks and controls. In Singapore, we are fortunate to have our reserves held in a “mega trust fund” which operates at the national level when difficulties arise.

What we are experiencing now nationally, has its parallel with the trust structure that we set up for families. This is the part that many clients do to create reserves at the family unit level.

In the Straits Times on 27 Mar2020, one of the articles of a columnist’s headline read “No more denying the importance of having deep reserves”.

Over the life of the trust, the surplus of the family’s wealth is set aside and the initial trust fund is built up. Income of the trust fund is accumulated and this is added to the family fund as a reserve and resources for the rainy day. When the rainy day comes along which impact the lives of the family members, that is the time when the reserves are needed. The unlocking comes with the trustee and the protector giving consent to the draw down of the funds to assist the family member in many scenarios of adversity-loss of job, inability to work, medical illness and emergencies, creditor attack, loss of menta capacity etc.

Today the pandemic is very much on our minds and with government intervention, we are all fortunate and many of us will ride through the crisis. But what future crisis lurks round the corner? How should we brace ourselves and our family members for such future uncertainties? A takeaway for families is that we should all do our part to create that family reserve for the future rainy day. Set up your family trust if you have not done so! At PreceptsGroup, “Leaving precepts for families” is what we do to help clients with their legacy plans.

In the meantime, stay healthy!”

At a time when many people are staying home, many are thinking of their family matters, in particular what happens to their loved ones in unfortunate circumstances. This period is when their estate and succession plans take centre stage.

However, with the advent of technology, people are likely to take the easy route of doing their Wills online, giving them a false sense of security.

What they do not realise is “If you make any mistakes whilst writing your Will and you don’t realise before you’re able to write a new one, there could be questions regarding your intentions or problems executing your Will when you’ve died. This may result in your estate not being distributed how you would have liked which could easily cause unnecessary problems and upset for your loved ones during what will undoubtedly be a difficult time.

Given the complexity of modern families, a simple or DIY Will may not be suitable. We always say there is no one-size fits-all when it comes to Wills so we recommend in all cases to seek the advice and the services of a professional to ensure that your wishes are correctly recorded.”

At the same time, Wills Disputes are on the rise, with many claims that the Will has failed to make reasonable provisions.


The Custodian – PreceptGroup Newsletter

CEO Message:

After establishing the Rockwills Singapore Group of Companies in 2008 for more than 12 years, I had the opportunity to execute a management buyout in September 2019. It was a harmonious exercise as the acquisition was amicable and the relationship remains strong with Rockwills Malaysia Group of companies. I am director of Rockwills Trustee Bhd and some of the current directors continue to serve on both of the group’s boards. Together we have a sizeable pool of mutual clients appointing our respective Trustee companies as the Executor and Trustee for their Estates.

With the acquisition, we also took the opportunity to rebrand ourselves and in the process take stock of the business and, our directions for the future. The brand had to reflect the core values that our company serves in helping our clients create legacies for their families. The meaning of “Precepts” resonates with our business as a Precept refers to a rule, directive or principle, that guides one’s actions. It could be the words to live by and to help guide one in making a decision. Using legal structures and estate planning tools, we help our clients establish the guiding posts for their future generations to live and build on and maintain their core family values.

In the past ten years, we have established very good foundations in the estate planning and trust administration industry. In this issue, our team will share about how we have helped several families resolve challenging estate administration cases. We are committed to share these experiences so that our clients can avoid painful mistakes that could break up family relationships and cause anxiety.

One of our visions is to continue to expand the core expertise of the Estate Planning industry so as to bring legacy planning services to a wider pool of clients, including mass affluent, and High net worth clients. We believe that we must share our expertise and develop our network regionally as the whole region also face aging population challenges. We are also determined to invest and maximize technology in our services and work.

It is an exciting period of growth for our company and we are ever thankful to our clients and partners who share our journey together so far. We thank you for your trust in us and we shall continue to strive to be a game changer in Estate & Succession planning for you as well as the industry.

By Lee Chiwi
– CEO, PreceptsGroup



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