Foreword, Volume 22, issue 4 - A welcome from Stanley A Barg

Thursday, 01 May 2014

We all need to keep informed of developments throughout the world that are of critical importance to our clients. STEP, through its publications and educational programmes, is instrumental in helping us do that.

The primary regional focus of the May issue of the STEP Journal is on the US and Canada. We all know of the impressive presence of STEP in Canada (turn to Nancy Golding’s interview on page 24 to find out more), but I am pleased to report that STEP continues to thrive in the US, with membership having grown to almost 1,000 members.

For those who have not already met them, FATCA, WESA, ATRA, NRT and EPA are all acronyms with which you will be familiar after a review of this issue. Louis A Mezzullo (page 37) examines the provisions relating to ‘portability’ between spouses of the unused applicable exclusion amount following changes made by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA); Lisa Collins, Aileen Collings and Jane Milton (page 31) review British Columbia’s new legislation on wills and estates – the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) – which came into force on 31 March; and of course no publication with a US regional focus would be complete without an update on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). On page 39, Mark Fleming and Ralph Awrey consider the facts and implications of Canada’s FATCA agreement with the US, while Roy Berg and Kim Moody comment on Canada’s ‘remarkable’ draft legislation. Meanwhile, NRTs are discussed by Jason Trenton and Michael Rosen-Prinz, and Kathleen Cunningham considers EPAs and s7 RAs (if you don’t know what these acronyms stand for, turn to pages 43 and 47).

Not content with delivering just one regional focus section, the Editorial Board thought STEP Journal readers might like two. In our mini-regional focus on Africa, the UAE and India, Harry Joffe presents the highlights of South Africa’s 2014 Budget (page 57), James Howe offers some tips for practitioners advising Middle Eastern family businesses (page 61), and Samira Varanasi and Abhinav Harlalka review the enforceability of prenuptial agreements in India (page 63).

A cautious approach to investing in alternatives is advocated on pages 50 to 55. Dr Ariel Sergio Goekmen outlines the risks associated with alternative investments, while Robin Newbould and Martyn White review the merits of investing in gold and paper gold.

Feature articles not to be missed include a summary of the Law Commission of England and Wales’ report on prenuptial agreements by Tracey Dargan (page 77), Ann Stanyer’s examination of a ‘wholly extraordinary’ case from the England and Wales Court of Appeal on the wasting assets exemption for capital gains tax purposes (page 78), and Ekaterina Butler’s review of the Russian Commercial Court’s approach to piercing the corporate veil in cases of tax evasion (page 64).

Our regular columnists, Martyn Gowar, Amanda Edwards, John Harper and Richard Frimston, always write on an eclectic range of topics in the STEP Journal and this issue is no exception. The EU Succession Regulation and choice of law; preferred stocks; legacies due to minors; and beauty parades are all considered. Val Cox delivers some welcome CPD news on page 29: STEP now offers three new resources, all free to members, which will provide us with additional CPD materials and planning tools. Alchemy Performance Assistant (formerly Alchemy for Managers), EBSCO’s Business Source Corporate Plus database and CiZone are all available through the CPD Centre, which can be accessed online at CPD Resources.

Meanwhile, STEP is also gearing up for one of the main events in its calendar: the STEP Private Client Awards. Now in their ninth year, these awards highlight excellence in the private client sector worldwide. The awards will be presented at an unmissable black-tie dinner on 17 September 2014 at the London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel, UK. Philip Marcovici, winner of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, in this issue (page 71) tells Hannah Downie about some of his career highlights and how STEP has helped shape the industry.

I am confident that the articles in this issue will leave us better informed and assist us in meeting the ever-changing needs of our clients.

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Stanley A Barg

Stanley A Barg is Private Client/Wealth Management counsel at Kozusko Harris Duncan.

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