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Cook Islands promotes trust industry in US

Saturday 23 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National


Cook Islands promotes trust  industry in US
Trust company reps at the Cook Islands Finance exhibition table at the 19th Annual International Estate Planning Institute held in New York. From left, Tony Fe’ao, Marcos Almeida, Jenner Davis and Tine Ponia. SUPPLIED/24032245

The Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority (FSDA) promoted the Cook Islands trust industry at a major estate planning event in the United States last week.

Cook Islands Finance flew the national flag at the 19th Annual International Estate Planning Institute held in New York on March 14 and 15.

The annual event attracted nearly 260 lawyers and estate planners from around the United States and the globe.

As a key event sponsor, Cook Islands Finance hosted an exhibition booth which provided access to business and networking opportunities with some of the largest firms in the global estate planning industry.

Tony Fe’ao, the chief executive officer of Cook Islands Finance, said: “The Cook Islands Government acknowledges the need to invest in economic diversity. The trust industry has been a key economic contributor for 40 years, bringing in NZ$4.4 million in revenue to the Cook Islands Government through registration fees and taxes in 2022.”

“It was one of the few industries that continued to provide revenue to the government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As the Government agency tasked to promote and develop the financial services, it is important to showcase our world-class asset protection laws and trustee services at events and conferences, and provide a platform for trust companies to connect with business leads and opportunities and in-turn – grow the Cook Islands economy.”

Fe’ao was joined in New York by three experienced legal practitioners – Tine Ponia of Asiaciti Trust Cook Islands, Marcos Almeida for Southpac and Jenner Davis from Trustees & Fiduciaries Cook Islands.

Ponia, the managing director at Asiaciti Trust Cook Islands, who was on a strategic visit to the United States to engage with clients and explore potential trust business opportunities, joined the Cook Islands team at the conference. “The International Estate Planning Institute was an excellent opportunity to connect with wealth and estate planners from around the world and across the United States,” Ponia said.

“Having the FSDA there with its booth provided the springboard for conversations about the Cook Islands as a jurisdiction and the financial services products that we offer.

“I was very proud to talk about the strength of our laws and the depth of our judiciary which provide the comfort clients and referrers alike need to do business with the Cook Islands.”

Davis, the former CEO of Cook Islands Finance, who now resides in Upstate New York, was a welcome addition to the team.

“The US is a key client market for the Cook Islands finance industry. It’s important that the Cook Islands has a presence at industry events in the US to demonstrate our continued commitment to serving that market.”

Cook Islands based trust company Southpac was present at the conference, with head of legal and client services Almeida flying into New York to support the Cook Islands effort.

“The support provided by the FSDA has been excellent.” Almeida stated. “Having a table at the conference allowed representatives to engage with clients and promote the Cook Islands industry.”

With over 80 per cent of Cook Islands trust business coming from the United States, Fe’ao says the FSDA will continue to build on the momentum in the US at the upcoming Outbound USA Summit in May, with trust companies and other financial service providers welcome to join.