Tanner De Witt attends Private Client Forum Asia 2019


Members of the firm’s Family and Private Client, Wills and Trusts Department attended the Private Client Forum Asia that was held at the St Regis, Wan Chai, Hong Kong on 20 September 2019.

Delegates from across the globe attended the conference, with panel speakers from Europe, Asia and the BVIs. The aim of the conference was to discuss issues currently influencing Asia, and how such issues have affected or been approached by other jurisdictions around the world.

The conference, the first to be held in Hong Kong, covered a series of 10 topics from leading professionals in the private client arena.

The conference reflected on the “greatest drivers” in Asia in 2019, which it considered to be:

  • “Maturing wealth: a move away from clients being driven by transactions and self-directed investments to wanting a broader array of advice;
  • Globalisation: the ability to fully service the client and the next generation on their journey around the world; and
  • Increased regulation: Paired with clients and their offspring living a global lifestyle, increasing regulations need to be understood and adhered to, to limit damage, including criminal and reputation loss.”

With these “greatest drivers” in mind, the conference held panel lead discussions on the following:

Matrimonial property regimes on planning, succession and transition, watch out road block ahead

This session looked at, and compared, the marital property regimes in Hong Kong, the PRC and England & Wales, focusing on, in particular:

  1. The grounds needed to file for divorce and the financial disclosure rules in each jurisdiction;
  2. The division of capital and income and how the Courts in each of the jurisdictions approach this and divide this up on divorce;
  3. The enforcement of pre and post- nuptial agreements (“PNAs”) in Hong Kong and the PRC;
  4. The impact of discretionary trusts; and
  5. Important recent case law on divorce, trusts and PNAs in Hong Kong and the PRC

Legal professional privilege: Under attack?

In this session the panel considered the recent challenges the legal profession has faced in respect of legal professional privilege, and considered, in particular, the recent case of Dawson Damer v Taylor Wessing [2019] EWHC 1258 (Ch)).

The panel also gave a multi –jurisdictional analysis of losing legal privilege across the US, UK offshore, and civil jurisdictions, and considered in which situations privilege can be “eroded”.

My case is bigger than yours: A global litigation snapshot.

This session took a different format, with members of the panel each advocating a case from their jurisdiction and its significance on private client practice, and clients in Asia. Each panel member was asked to consider the case’s impact on prevention planning, identify its risk factors, and the reputational issues that the case raised.

For advice on family law, please contact Joanne Brown.