The findings come from Skandia International’s third quarter 2013 survey of more than 300 advisers based in the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
The company, which is part of Old Mutual Wealth, found 61% of advisers based in Asia currently recommend the use of a professional trustee to their clients. This compares with 40%, 39% and 12% in Europe, the Middle East and the UK, respectively.
Conversely, advisers in the UK are more likely to recommend a friend or family member takes on the role of trustee – a role Skandia describes as a “significant responsibility”.
The company said only 4% of advisers in Asia would recommend a friend or family, rising to 16% in the Middle East, 20% in Europe and 21% in the UK.
Mike Leeson, head of sales for Hong Kong and North East Asia at Skandia International, said: “With the wealth of first generation entrepreneurs growing, and their average age increasing, succession and generation planning is becoming increasingly important.
“Trusts have become a core component of wealth planning and can offer an effective way for high net worth clients to successfully pass on their wealth to the next generation. This aspect of holistic financial planning is becoming more valuable than investment advice alone.
"On large complex estates, the role of trustee is even more important and delegating this responsibility to a professional trustee, who understands the legal and reporting framework, can bring considerable peace of mind to the client.”
Skandia explained the role of trustee can be complicated, involving reviewing documents, maintaining trust records filing the appropriate tax return and undertaking yearly trust and asset reviews
Furthermore, Skandia said, depending on the jurisdiction governing the client’s tax liability, there may be tax to pay on the creation of the trust, or at some future date and that a professional trustee will handle the “complex task of calculating the tax liability and can add real value to the management of the trust”.
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