Welcome to Herbert Smith Freehills’ monthly private wealth industry updates in Asia.

Every month we survey ten Asian jurisdictions for legal developments concerning trust and estate planning which are of interest to the private wealth industry, and provide a succinct summary in a table format. The jurisdictions covered in the update are Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. We hope that these updates will prove to be a useful resource to keep private clients, business people, and lawyers abreast of legal updates in the region.

Hong Kong

New bill proposing relief for foreign taxes charged on gross income basis

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 proposes to allow a tax deduction for foreign taxes on non-interest income that were charged on a gross income basis and to allow a non-Hong Kong resident to claim a deduction for foreign taxes paid in respect of certain interest income from a Hong Kong tax treaty partner jurisdiction.  Subject to the passage of the Bill, the Bill’s provisions will apply to tax years beginning on or after 1 April 2021.


MAS publishes response to Parliamentary Questions on crypto assets

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published a reply to Parliamentary Questions about the crypto asset market in Singapore.  In his response, the Senior Minister and Minister in charge of the MAS:

  • identified two common types of crypto assets – cryptocurrencies and digital securities tokens;
  • assessed the size of the cryptocurrency market in Singapore as small as compared to that of shares and bonds, and similarly the size of the securities token market as small;
  • provided an overview of the applicable regulations; and
  • highlighted the MAS’ close monitoring of the crypto sector.


Married women’s position regarding father’s heirs improved by court judgment

India’s Supreme Court in Khushi Ram v Nawal Singh (Civil Appeal 5167/2010) considered the question of whether a married woman’s heirs from her father’s side can be considered “family” for the purposes of a family settlement, and confirmed a father’s heirs’ right to enter into a family settlement with the father’s married daughter.

SEBI issues Circular on prior approval for change in control for share transfers among immediate relatives

India’s Securities and Exchange Board has issued a Circular which clarifies the procedures for seeking prior approval for change in control with respect to the transfer of shareholdings among immediate relatives.  The circular addresses certain scenarios, including that of:

  • a transfer/transmission of shareholding in the case of an unlisted body corporate intermediary;
  • a transfer/transmission of shareholding in the case of a proprietary firm type intermediary; and
  • a transfer/transmission of ownership interest in the case of a partnership firm type intermediary.


BNM announces further liberalisation of Foreign Exchange Policy

The Bank Negara Malaysia has announced the further liberalisation of Malaysia’s foreign exchange policy, providing greater flexibility to businesses.  The relevant measures include the removal of the export conversion rule and the allowing of resident exporters to net-off export proceeds against permitted foreign currency obligations.  These measures took effect on 15 April 2021.


SECT updates filing rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand has revised the rules for filing applications and documents relating to the offer for sale of equity securities in paperless form, allowing directors to certify the information being filed with electronic signatures.  These rules took effect on 1 April 2021.


SECP advises of new company registration system

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippines has advised that it is set to implement a new company registration system called the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Company (ESPARC).

Beginning 19 April 2021, new applications for the registration of One Person Corporations, Corporations with 2-4 Incorporators, and Regular Domestic and Foreign-Owned (Stock and Non-stock) Corporations must be submitted using the ESPARC.


Key contacts

Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4025
Richard Norridge
Richard Norridge
Partner, Head of Trust & Estates Disputes & Head of Private Wealth and Charities, London
+44 20 7466 2686
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah Cassidy
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4133


The contents of this document are for reference purposes only. Some of the information comes from public sources and this may not be comprehensive, accurate or up to date; where we have relied on third party information and sources, this has not been verified by us. The document does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication, and any facts in this document should be checked for your specific circumstances at the time you wish to use or refer to them.


Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.