“Singapore is a highly regulated jurisdiction that is conducive to the trust business, as well as providing a haven from any geopolitical concerns,” a spokeswoman told FSA.
The JP Morgan Trust Company (Singapore) – (JPMTC SG) – will be headed by Ethan Chue, who moved to JP Morgan PB from Rothschild Trust (Singapore) in October last year. He reports to Martin Pollock, head of international trusts & estates.
Chue is joined by four trust officers and a dedicated trust compliance officer. The team will be based in Singapore and supported by private bank functions in Asia, the US and Europe, as well as trust company staff the Bahamas.
“With the establishment of JPMTC SG, we will be in a better position to support clients who have complex wealth planning needs and serve a wider range of clients in one of the fastest, wealth-generating hubs in the world,” said Kam Shing Kwang, chief executive officer of JP Morgan PB in Asia and vice chair of investment banking for Greater China at a briefing in Singapore on Thursday.
JP Morgan PB, which manages $1.4trn trillion in assets worldwide, applied to the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2018 for a license under the Singapore Trust Companies Act, which was granted in the third quarter of this year, spokeswoman told FSA.
“We hope to attract trust business not only from Asia, but from other regions,” she said.
“Until now our Asian clients have used are trust services the Delaware and the Bahamas; now they have the opportunity to take advantage of the time zone to improve efficiency.”
JPMTC SG will continue to look to build its team and operations in Asia, and the private bank continues to assess the potential for opening a trust business in Hong Kong, the spokeswoman added.
The disturbances in Hong Kong, which have entered their fifth month, had no bearing on the decision to select Singapore as the centre for the bank’s trust business, she insisted.
Technological impact on succession planning
Separately JP Morgan PB has published a paper, called “Embracing Data, Digital & Disruptions: Planning Ahead for Succession”, that examined the effects of technology disruption on family businesses.
A survey of 133 clients across Asia found that 75% agreed that their business will be significantly transformed by technology, and 85% said that their family businesses had already experienced changes, reckoned the changes had been positive.
Technological disruption varied across sectors, affecting financial services (92%) the most, and real estate and construction (43%) the least.
Data analytics, artificial intelligence and online transactions were ranked as the top disruptors to family businesses, yet only one in four family offices have integrated technological disruption into their strategic plans and are equipped to adapt, according to Karen Tan, JP Morgan’s head of wealth advisory, Southeast Asia.
Despite the transformative impact of technology, there also appeared to be no urgency to divest control of family businesses to outsiders.
Nine out of 10 next-in-line business owners intend to retain ownership, and decisions concerning the main family business continued to be made within the family. The survey also found that businesses with $1bn or more in revenues were especially disinclined to entrust non-family executives with decision-making powers.