With a focus on promoting the Cayman Islands as a leading jurisdiction for private clients, wealth management, and the administration of trust and estates, the Cayman Islands Branch of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners recently held its second international wealth structuring forum. Over 280 local and international attendees convened at the Kimpton Seafire on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 to learn more about the sophistication of the jurisdiction and the depth of expertise available within it. As was the case in 2018, the Forum was once again widely recognised as a huge success and was supported by a record crowd of local and international sponsors.
STEP, a global network of professionals who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning, has a significant membership base in the Cayman Islands comprising lawyers, accountants, fiduciaries and other wealth structuring specialists. From that membership base, and via STEP’s global network, delegates from the STEP Cayman branch joined attendees from other jurisdictions including London, New York, Beijing and Texas to take advantage of the extensive networking opportunities among fellow experts from the wealth management industry and to hear and engage with respected speakers with a wide range of experience.
The conference retained the same two-day format as the inaugural 2018 Forum, and included speakers addressing a number of interesting topics, including how trustees are responding to the growing demand to hold digital assets, notable developments in trust litigation, a review of the success of Cayman’s introduction of its Foundation Companies Law and the challenges faced by international financial centres, which might well now include the United States of America. Speakers took deep dives into recent case law affecting trustees and beneficiaries alike, including the judgments in important trusts law cases such as Mezhprom v Pugachev and Investec v Glenalla, and explored issues including the confidentiality of trust documentation and the proper litigation of family disputes. A mock court application and wealth structuring tips for PRC families and philanthropists rounded out the agenda.
STEP Cayman also showcased an array of domestic and internationally renowned speakers. These included Tara Rivers, Minister of Financial Services and Home Affairs, who provided an opening address, and keynote speakers Justice of the Grand Court Ian Kawaley and Mary Duke TEP. Highly regarded experts from the UK, Switzerland, China and the US joined speakers from local law firms and on-island trust companies to delve into other hot topics in the trusts and estates arena.
Plans for the future
Given the success of the Forum in 2018 and 2019, and with the immensely positive feedback received from delegates and sponsors at front of mind, planning for the 2020 Forum is already well under way. The Forum’s Steering Committee hopes to present a refreshed and topical agenda to potential delegates in due course, and is committed to not only continuing to present the Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction of choice but to educating branch members and other delegates about innovation, change, and issues of note for trusts and estate practitioners worldwide. Further feedback, and suggestions and contributions from branch members is always welcome.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts by STEP Cayman, and the support of sponsors, the conference continues to be a key component of the international private wealth calendar and the jurisdiction’s wider marketing efforts. Promoting Cayman via the Forum has been a successful endeavour to date, and STEP Cayman continues to work on attracting an even greater range of delegates to the island. It is already anticipated that the delegate numbers for the third year of the Forum will exceed those of 2018 and 2019. The 2020 dates, and initial programme, will be announced in the coming weeks, and potential delegates are encouraged to reserve their space as soon as possible to ensure attendance.