By Tuala Tapuitea Lafaialii-Petaia
The Samoa International Business Finance Centre Ltd. (Samoa IBFC) in collaboration with China Offshore hosted a Webinar session for Professionals from mainland China on Wednesday 31st March 2021, to foster greater interest in Samoan solutions, familiarize the participants with the solutions available and provide a forum to raise any issues for clarity.
The Webinar session was attended by several Professionals from different Entities, as well as Senior Executives of renowned Trust Companies.
The Webinar included presentations highlighting the International Finance solutions offered by Samoa, as well as the developments in the international financial market and Samoa’s approach to the same. The event was an opportunity for Samoa to further discuss any issues raised by the attendees, and facilitate any questions that required clarification.
Samoa Wealth Management Solutions
Samoa continues to offer attractive wealth management solutions for Succession and Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Avoidance of Probate, Retention, and Continuity of Control, and mitigation of taxes amongst other benefits. These solutions are available through Samoan international companies, Foundations, Trusts, Special Purpose International Companies, and International Partnerships and Limited Partnerships which are registered and administered by the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA).
Although Samoa’s focus has traditionally been on International Companies (IC’s), the reinvention of the Samoa Trustee Companies Acts 2017 showcases an array of options available to Trust Companies Service Providers (TCSP) to establish trust office in Samoa in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Requirements for an application for a Trustee Companies Service Provider (“TCSP”) License
The Trustee Companies Act 2017 provides for companies incorporated domestically to be licensed to carry on business as a Trustee Company servicing only non-residents of Samoa. There are three (3) types of license available under the Act:
- Service Licence for all financial services business except Trust business;
- Trust Licence for the provision and administration of trust services
- Composite Licence for both Services and Trusts.
Each type of license may be operated by a Trustee Company or managed for a Trustee company. The manager may be either another Samoan licensed trustee company or a Samoan firm of lawyers or accountants.
The Private Trust Company (PTC) is also available under the Trustee Companies Act 2017. The PTC is a solution for international estate planning (IEP) that suits family needs from time to time. An attractive feature of the PTC is that it is exempted from licensing requirements but governed by specific conditions/requirements.
Additionally, there is a ‘managing license’ option that enables a TCSP overseas to set up an office in Samoa through a Samoan law firm, accounting firm, or company to manage its office and business. This is an excellent avenue for those wishing to utilize Samoan solutions but is unable to visit our jurisdiction due to the global pandemic.
A number of matters are dealt with to meet modern regulatory requirements and yet enable the Samoa International Finance Authority (“SIFA”) to work TCSPs to ensure compliance in the least intrusive manner.
The Samoa Trustee Companies Act 2017 is the first legislation to adopt the Global International Finance Centre Supervisors (GIFCS) best practice standards. Samoa adopted the GIFCS best practice standards to ensure that the trust industry strikes the balance between providing the latest and innovative solutions to customer needs, and achieving compliance ratings to International standards.
Samoa IBFC will continue to provide information for interested users of Samoa international finance solutions. Whilst the international market has undoubtedly been impacted by seismic shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Samoa like many other international financial centers continues to pursue strategies to keep the Global market informed of continuing developments and issues that Samoa’s financial industry encounters.