Sovereign Asia Focus April 2019

Date: Apr 2019

Welcome to the Sovereign Asia Focus newsletter keeping you up-to-date with news and views from around this burgeoning region – Hong Kong and Singapore, in particular, where we have long-established offices.

Singapore tightens regime for ‘accredited investors’

Singapore has tightened the eligibility criteria for 'accredited investors' (AIs) and introduced an ‘opt-in’ regime under which financial institutions are obliged to give eligible AIs the option of electing to have AI status or retail status.

The changes were introduced under the Securities and Futures (Amendment) Act 2017, which was brought into force on 8 October 2018, and are designed to ensure that AIs are made fully aware of their much higher risk exposures under the AI framework in comparison to retail investors. >> Read more

Hong Kong to introduce expanded profits tax exemption regime for funds

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council approved the Inland Revenue (Profits Tax Exemption for Funds) (Amendment) Bill 2018 on 20 February to introduce a unified profits tax exemption regime for eligible onshore and offshore funds operating in Hong Kong. It will come into force on 1 April.

Under the Bill, all privately offered onshore and offshore funds operating in Hong Kong, regardless of their structure, their size or the purpose that they serve, can enjoy profits tax exemption for their transactions in specified assets subject to meeting certain conditions. Eligible funds can also enjoy profits tax exemption from investment in both overseas and local private companies. >> Read more

Singapore prospers as international pension plan platform

There is a growing demand to set up international pension plans (IPPs) and international savings plans (ISPs) for global companies with internationally mobile employees and local employees that require pension provision where local arrangements are inadequate or absent.

Companies undertaking specialist activities or operating from regions such as Asia, invariably recruit a high proportion of their workforce from overseas. The relocation, orientation and training of expatriate employees require considerable investment from the employer, making staff retention all the more important.>> Read more

China cuts VAT rates for manufacturing and construction sectors

Premier Li Keqiang announced on 5 March that China is to lower its value-added tax (VAT) rates as part of an RMB2 trillion package to reduce costs for businesses and stimulate a slowing economy

As from 1 April 2019, the 16% VAT rate that has applied to the manufacturing sector is lowered to 13% and the 10% rate that has applied to construction and transport is lowered to 9%. >> Read more

Singapore to close 'not ordinarily resident' tax status

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget Statement to Parliament on 18 February that the ‘Not Ordinarily Resident’ (NOR) scheme, which was introduced in 2002 to attract senior management of global companies, is to be closed next year.

No individuals will be granted NOR status after 2020, although existing NORs who continue to meet the relevant conditions will be allowed to retain it until 2024. >> Read more

Pig Style – Sovereign Art Foundation

The Sovereign Art Foundation’s (SAF) ‘Year of the Pig’ public art project presented a citywide line-up of enigmatic painted pig sculptures, each representing a unique art piece as interpreted by some of today’s most sought-after local and international contemporary artists. >> Read more

Sovereign welcomes Caring Company status in HK

The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) has awarded its Caring Company Logo to Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong) in recognition of our commitment to corporate social responsibility programmes that are developed for caring for of community, employees and environment. >> Read more

Escrow services now offered by Hong Kong office

Escrow is the term used when assets are held by a neutral third party on behalf of two contracting parties, subject to a transaction between them being completed, until certain obligations or conditions under an agreement are met. >> Read more

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