2018 April: A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Alaska has provided further evidence that asset protection is best served offshore.
Alaska is one of 17 states in the U.S. to have enacted laws allowing for the creation of self-settled discretionary trusts that are protected from creditor claims. However the Supreme Court’s decision strongly suggests that such protection is only possible where the settlor resides in and his/her assets are sited in the state that enacted those laws.
2018 March: The Financial Services Development Authority has produced its Summer 2018 issue of the Cook Islands Review. The Cook Islands Review is a periodic newsletter taking a look at recent activity, news and events within the Cook Islands financial services industry as well as upcoming matters of interest. The Cook Islands Review can be accessed by clicking here or going to the FSDA website home page and clicking on the “News” tab and then “Publications.”
2018 February: An article titled “To protect and to preserve” by Alan Taylor, FSDA Marketing Director, was published February 2018 in the STEP Journal, Vol 26, Issue 1.
In the Article, Alan considers the importance of incorporating appropriate asset protection in wealth and succession planning. The article can be viewed here.
2018 January: The Cook Islands competent tax authority published guidance notes to assist Cook Islands financial institutions in their reporting obligations under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
As part of its commitment to the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes (AEOI), the Cook Islands has previously enacted the Income Tax (Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2016, the Income Tax Amendment Act 2017, and promulgated the Income Tax (Automatic Exchange of financial Account Information) Regulations 2017.
2016 November: The Cook Islands is complying with its international obligations in relation to anti money laundering and the countering of terrorist financing and transparency and the exchange of financial information to combat tax evasion. It continues to work with international organisations such as the FATF and the OECD as it is committed to providing financial services in accordance with international standards and best practice.
The following summarises the Cook Islands achievements to date in meeting international regulatory standards.
According to the recently published Wealth X 2016 report on Family Wealth Transfer (the “Report”), the world’s “ultra wealthy population” (“UHNWIs”), being those individuals with a net worth of at least USD30m, has grown to 212,615 with a combined wealth of USD30 trillion. Despite continued global economic uncertainties and geopolitical events, these numbers continue to grow year on year. However what is more astounding than the levels of wealth being generated are the amounts that will be transferred to the next generations over the coming decades.
In June of this year the Cook Islands passed the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Act 2016 (the “Act”). The Act sees the formalising of many years of effort by several organisations, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, as well as certain Pacific Island states, to provide Pacific Island states with direct support to finance immediate disaster relief and advisory services on the financial management of natural disasters.
Tamatoa Jonassen, CEO of the Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority,
Ora was fully represented at a STEP conference held in Auckland, New Zealand earlier this year. Of most interest were discussions around the Clayton case, a matrimonial relationship property, which from observations has turned the spotlight on where New Zealand Trust law stands on some fundamental issues, more particularly whether creditors now have wider access to reach into trust assets as result of this case.
The Vaughan Road Property Trust (“the Trust”) was settled by Mr. Clayton in 1999 when he was still married to Mrs.