Sovereign Trust SA brought together experts in the field of offshore retirement planning for its fourth annual International Retirement Seminar held in Johannesburg on 22 August and in Cape Town on 25 August 2017.
The event was aimed at financial advisers who counsel clients on international pension planning, and family trust lawyers who advise on international pension structures – a growing segment of South Africans, for two important reasons.
The first is that the foreign exchange control legislation that previously forced citizens to only invest in Rands has largely fallen away leaving investors able to diversify into other markets, currencies and opportunities, and thus to hedge against currency risk and secure more stable retirement funding.
The second reason is Rand volatility. While South Africans are known to be poor savers, and it’s been estimated that only 6% can afford to retire comfortably, it’s also no secret that predominantly Rand-based investments offer no guarantees of a protected future lifestyle. Investing 40% to 50% of one’s retirement funding in a major global currency has become an imperative – and not just for the affluent. South Africans across the board are feeling the effects of our declining currency.
By way of the International Retirement Seminar, Sovereign Trust SA provides a platform for financial advisers to build trusted relationships with industry thought leaders and key influencers in order to better service their clients’ offshore retirement needs. In this way, Sovereign Trust SA is invested in building the reputation of the offshore industry as a safe and stable resource for offshore retirement planning, and also in ensuring accessibility to a wealth of financial advisers who are well-placed to advise South Africans on dependable retirement planning.
Coreen van der Merwe, Managing Director of Sovereign Trust SA, says that there have been quantum changes in pension legislation in recent years and the seminar provided up-to-date confirmation of the laws in play, as well as detail how the various available options and products can meet different retirement needs. “Our speakers have been selected for their ability to provide locally-based advisers and lawyers with correct and current information on offshore pension planning. Attendees will gain face-to-face access to international experts, which is otherwise very expensive to secure.”
Among the speakers was Peter Davis, an industry-renowned specialist international pensions technician who, in his capacity as lead of the Isle of Man and Guernsey-based PenTech Group, supplies full technical support to international pension providers and their business introducers, worldwide. Davis talked about QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes), which meet certain customs and revenue requirements in the UK and are a vehicle for transfers of UK pension benefits, and also discussed UK SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions).
Also on the agenda was an update on the relevance of 40 (EE) retirement plans, by Timothy Mertens, Sovereign Trust SA Chairman, who brings a wealth of legal experience to bear on the topic. 40 (EE) plans allow individuals and companies to base pension funds in Guernsey where it can grow in an almost-tax-free environment, making them a good option for South Africans, whether they are employed locally or overseas.
Jacques Sherman, Arton Capital Africa Managing Director, and Firas Kaysi, Arton Capital Vice-President of Business Development, shared their knowledge of second citizenship and residency options for high net-worth South Africans; and van der Merwe discussed the tax benefits and other merits of international occupational pension schemes.
Daniel Silke, Political Economy analyst, renowned keynote speaker and author of ‘Tracking the Future: Top trends that will shape South Africa and the World’ welcomed attendees; and Joanne Baynham, director and head of investment strategy at MitonOptimal SA, set the scene for investing in uncertain times – a topic of much interest to South African investors, particularly in light of the current political instability and increasing currency volatility.
Van der Merwe says that Sovereign Trust SA has seen a marked increase, from as far back as 2010, from people who want to move their money offshore and diversify their assets and investments for a more secure retirement.
“The key,” says van der Merwe, “Is always to find the structures that will deliver the right outcomes for clients’ individual requirements and then to optimise them in terms of taxation, whether for retirement funding or succession planning, or both.”
Sovereign Trust is unique in South Africa in that, through its global offices in destinations like Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Hong Kong, it is able to advise clients on where, and how much, to invest in order to achieve their retirement goals in terms of what people want to achieve, while taking their tax residency and other factors into account.
“Sovereign Trust doesn’t offer financial advisory services,” says van der Merwe. “We provide the actual investment vehicles, facilitate setting up the structures, and act as trustees. By remaining separate from the advice and planning, we remain independent and objective.”
ABOUT SOVEREIGN TRUST SA
Sovereign Trust SA is an internationally-affiliated advisor and provider of pension plans, with a broad proposition that includes offshore options. Sovereign Trust SA offers retirement solutions from a number of jurisdictions allowing a ‘best fit’ approach and optimal tax planning. In addition, Sovereign Trust SA’s personal wealth services will help you to preserve, enjoy and pass on the rewards of your success. For more, visit www.sovereigngroup.com/south-africa/ .