The first six months of 2016 have been characterised by turbulence for the world in general, and particularly for those holding significant private wealth. The key development of 2016 to date has been the publication of the ‘Panama Papers’. The response to the publication from governments and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has reinforced trends seen in prior years towards greater transparency and regulation in the domain of cross-border holding structures and in the context of beneficial ownership information.
…it has never been more important for advisers to give balanced and considered advice to families on how best to structure their arrangements, not just in the light of prevailing family circumstances and tax considerations, but also in the knowledge of the likelihood that information about the holding structure will be subjected to greater regulatory, government and potentially public disclosure in the years ahead. The paradigm that currently prevails in Western Europe is markedly different from that applicable in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
It remains to be seen whether, in the long term, many international families who have compliant structures that are fully disclosed to tax authorities will favour the United States as a tax-favoured jurisdiction from which to administer their family structures. This is on the basis that with a thriving domestic trust industry, the US could well be seen as a reputable jurisdiction which protects families from unwarranted public intrusion into their personal affairs to a greater extent than traditional offshore finance centres if beneficial ownership registers do become public in due course.
John works with family offices on a cross-border basis and deals with structuring for UK residents and resident non-domiciled families. He creates structures for active entrepreneurs to hold business interests. He is recognised as a leading authority in the area of family governance and has written and spoken extensively on this topic.
John founded RMW Law LLP in July 2011 with Samantha Morgan. RMW Law LLP is a niche legal practice dedicated to working for a limited range of international families and family offices. John remains a consultant at international law firm Withers LLP, where he was a partner from 1996 to 2011.
John has had a variety of senior posts within the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners over many years. As co-chair of the public policy committee, John has been responsible for liaising with national and supranational bodies on matters of tax policy affecting wealthy families, and has been consulted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in respect of its initiative for high net worth individuals; he has also attended a number of sessions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Private Sector Consultative Forum, where FATF seeks views from the private sector on its proposals and guidance to member states. He has been working extensively over the last 12 months with OECD in representing the views of the private wealth sector on the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard.
The publisher acknowledges and thanks the following for their learned assistance throughout the preparation of this book: