Do not let the water get inside the boat : if it does,keep your nose above the water

I listened as she explained her situation. I was sympathetic,but I told her that we were in the same boat. She was underemployed and she opined that the work felt degrading.

She knew that she could do better. Years of sacrifice and effort resulted in debt for tuition and living expenses. I told her to keep her head up. There was no shame in serving. While we are young,we ought to work to learn not earn.

We are not entitled to a dream job after graduation, we have to earn our stripes. I commended her on her successful interviews,and the subsequent employment with the company.

I advised her to do extra things with her time ,that could make extra money. Although her salary is equivalent to an entry level position ,she has to work her way up. The experience that she gains will serve her well in the future.

For those students who are graduating this year, welcome to the rat race. You will be disappointed by what the world of work has to offer to you. Be humble. You have to work to earn your dream job .

The author is a lawyer in Trinidad. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering Compliance.

Website :http://asydneygroup.com

What’s app 868 484-7778

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There are no dead end jobs,just dead end people:It is an adventure to be alive

Today is a present. Are you alive or just living ? Bills ,bills ,bills. I wish the person who invented bills will choke on his saliva. Bills are a huge inconvenience to me. But working towards generating funds to pay these bills is fun. In the absence of he responsibility to pay bills,some people may never enter into the workforce. Nevertheless,it is a blessing to be on your way to work. Some people are not economically active. Look at it as a quest. You are on a journey to make money. Do not look at it as going to your dead end job. A wise man told me that there are “…No dead end jobs,just dead end people “. Do not resent your employer,after all  the company is paying your bills,sending your kids to school. For the entrepreneurs out there,think of your job as your investor. I encourage you to view your day as an adventure,just like something I heard in the movie Peter Pan ,the version with Robin Williams.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. See the website http://asydneygroup.com .

What’s app 1 868 484-7778

Instagram :@asydneygrouptt

You created your own misfortune by not believing in yourself

Saturday morning cartoons make me feel alive.I prepared pancakes, sausages and eggs for breakfast and I watched cartoons from the 90s. 

In the evening time,I watched an episode of Johnny Bravo,where a series of unfortunate things happened to him as he lusted after yet another woman. It could have been a heat flash,but Dionne Warwick appeared in a vision to him. She warned Johnny that his failure to believe in himself and his ability to successfully pursue the woman was the cause of his perceived bad luck.

It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. In a cartoon ,a movie,a child . Just think of it as the universe’s way of speaking to you.

Believe in yourself.Believe in your dreams.Believe in your ability to execute the project. Never give up.Trust the process.

Do not let your own doubt cause you to experience bad luck.Just believe.

The author is an attorney at law based in Trinidad, she specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. 

See the website : http://asydneygroup.com

What’s app only 1 868 484-7777

Instagram @asydneygrouptt

Should you quit your job and focus on your own business: Advice to Entrepreneurs

Nine things to do before quitting your job,to run your business:

1. Ensure that your business generates enough money to pay all your recurrent expenses. Before making the great leap,determine how much money you need to cover all living expenses for each month. Then look at the income already generated from your business ,and see if enough money comes in to take care of your basic needs.

2. Consider finding another job that will equip you with the tools needed to bring more value to your own business.

3.Talk to your spouse to let them know your concerns and your desire to leave your job. This will give them notice,lest they are taken by surprise when you are home all the time. It is also a good time for your spouse to admit if they are similarly thinking about leaving their job.

4.Try to prepay some of your expenses,such as internet,electricity before you quit. This will give you a little comfort knowing that bills are paid.

5. Try to buy wholesale food items and store them. When the hard times come ,you will not go hungry.

6. Clear off major debt ,please be reminded that you can lose your house or car if you fail to make your monthly installments. 

7. Be prepared for uncertainties, business is  in and of itself uncertain. Some months will be feast,and some months will be famine. 

8. Before quitting your job,view your employer as your investor ,your financier,who is paying you a salary which you will then use to finance your dreams. 

9. Follow the proper procedure in resigning,so that you leave on good terms. If the services or products that you offer are in line with those of your former employer,you may conduct business with them.

The author is a Trinidadian attorney at law. She specialises in Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. Please see the website http://asydneygroup.com ,whats app 868 484-7778 ,Instagram @asydneygrouptt

Are Lawyers required to comply with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago?

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 “there is no evidence that the legal profession complies with AML/CFT measures in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a serious deficiency having regard for the significant role played by these professional as financial intermediaries (gatekeepers) in introducing and facilitating such a large percentage of financial transactions”.

Gatekeepers are professionals who can facilitate the entry of illicit money into the financial system . These professionals include: Accountants, Auditors, Lawyers, Notaries, Company Formation Agents.

In AML CFT terminology, lawyers fall under the umbrella term DNFB-Designated Non Financial Businesses and Professions.

The First Schedule of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) captures lawyers as listed businesses but states that the lawyer is only accountable when performing the following functions on behalf of a client:

a)Buying and selling real estate;

b)Managing of client money, securities and other assets;

c)Management of banking, savings or securities and other assets;

d)Organization of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies;

e)Creation, operation or management of legal persons or arrangements, and buying and selling of business entities.

Lawyers are susceptible to being used as a conduit to money launderers to facilitate their nefarious purposes.1

It is therefore imperative that local attorneys understand their AML/CFT obligations and comply with the FIU to safeguard their practice and to retain their reputation.

Which lawyers are at risk?

Sole practitioners, small firms and large firms are all plagued by the risk of being used by money launderers and perpetrators of other financial crimes. A risk assessment ought to be conducted to ensure that measures are put in place that are commensurate with the risks posed by the customer.

What are attorneys required to do?

  • Register with the FIU;
  • Create a Compliance Program;
  • Appoint a Compliance Officer;
  • Submit a Fit and Proper Form for the Compliance Officer to be approved by the FIU;
  • Train staff on the Compliance Program;
  • Receive internal suspicious activity and transaction memos from staff;
  • Report Suspicious Activity in the SAR/STR to the FIU;
  • Undergo Continuous training;
  • Conduct an annual internal review of the Compliance Program;
  • Conduct annual external review of the Compliance Program.

How do money launderers use the legal and professional services  law firms and sole practitioners to launder their funds?

  • Creating corporate vehicles and complex legal entities such as trusts. These obscure the links between the proceeds of crime and the perpetrator.2
  • Buying and selling property can be used in the layering stage, or in the integration stage where the asset is purchased and retained.3
  • Performing financial transactions on behalf of a client (making deposits, issuing cheques, making and receiving wires, buying and selling stock).4
  • Providing financial and tax advice. Criminals may pose as wealthy individuals who need help sheltering wealth from tax.5

The issue of lawyers  providing advice to their client is controversial, as they have a confidential relationship with their clients.6

According to the CFATF Mutual Evaluation Report June 2016 at paragraph 260 “Financial Institutions (FIs) have indicated that they have particular concerns with doing business with real estate entities and lawyers that buy and sell real estate due to concerns that there is inadequate AML/CFT understanding and application of the requirements such as CDD”.

The Evaluators at paragraph 282 of the MER requested that there be collaboration between the FIU and the Law Association to make the legal fraternity aware the AML/CFT legislative requirements as well as their obligations to implement these requirements.

The Evaluators noted at paragraph 317 of the MER that there appears to be a gap in the registration of lawyers. The majority of lawyers opined that they did not qualify for inclusion as a listed business since their services did not fall withAre Lawyers required to comply with Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Trinidad and Tobago? clearly identify who should be registered.

Penalties

For the offence of Money Laundering, the penalty :

  • On summary conviction,  is  a fine of $10M & to imprisonment for 10 years
  • On Indictment, to a fine of $25M & to imprisonment for 15 years under POCA, S 53 (1)

For the offence of the Financing of Terrorism the penalty,

  • On conviction on indictment for  Individuals $5M & 25 years imprisonment;
  • On summary conviction Legal entities $5M & 5 years imprisonment  under Anti Terrorism Act s 22 A (3) (4) .

When must legal practitioners conduct Customer Due Diligence(CDD)?

When the services provided to the client falls under those services described in the First Schedule of the POCA. This CDD must be applied on a risk sensitive basis when lawyers  establish a “business relationship” with a client, when attorneys carry out an occasional transaction, when they suspect money laundering, when they suspect terrorist financing or when they doubt the veracity of identification documents.7

When must legal practitioners conduct Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)?

For ongoing matters that present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, where the client has not been physically present for identification purposes or where the client is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).8

Kevin Shepherd back in 2002 stated that “Some believe that the special relationship between lawyers and their clients gives lawyers an early inside view into crimes that could make their insights invaluable in the war on domestic and international criminal activity.”9

Lawyers as gatekeepers must start the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. “There is just no other current way of ensuring that the information an Financial Institution (FI) receives is not just a big cobweb of complexities created by a lawyer, helping the customer protect personal identification and corporate ownership information”.10

The time is coming when lawyers will be closely observed by the regulators as powerful and effective gatekeepers. Please get your affairs in order.

 

The author is an internationally certified Anti Money Laundering specialist and  attorney at law in Trinidad .
Please see the website : http://asydneygroup.com and the associated social media pages

References

1 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/criminal-activities/anti-money-laundering-solicitors-front-line-defence

2- 6 http://aml-expert.com/study-notes/Gatekeepers:_Accountants_Auditors_Lawyers_Notaries_Company_Formation_Agents

7-8 https://www.niceactimize.com/blog/Regulation-of-UK-lawyers-as-gatekeepers-for-AML-538

9-10 http://www.cypressresources.com/blog/aml-gatekeepers-engage

 

 

Not everyone can run a Bar : Special skills are required for certain types of businesses

To succeed in business you have to be able to get into the mind of your clients. They have to see that you are on their level . They must understand you and you must understand them. I had an interesting conversation with a man who was familiar with operating a Bar. He indicated that the owner of the bar had to sit and have a drink with the patrons in order to be successful in the business. The owner of the bar had to agree to participate in card games, and outings to the beach. He explained that that there is a therapeutic element to a bar. It is the place where people come to forget their troubles temporarily. They drink and reveal all that is troubling their souls. Some patrons repeat the story everyday. A bar owner must have certain qualities in order to effectively run the bar. He must be likeable and have a smiling face. The owner or the bar tender must listen to the story of the patron,in order to understand why the patron drinks alcohol. A formidable bond must be created that will be strengthened overtime. The bar tender must listen to the patron’s problems and offer few words of advice. The goal is not to solve the patron’s problems. But to show an interest in the problems and to serve drinks as requested . 

Any person who is unable to do 50% of these things will preform poorly in business. An assessment must be conducted to determine what is required to ensure that there is a constant influx of customers. This will vary from industry to industry. But this should form a crucial part of the market research before launching into the business venture.

Please do your due diligence , lest you start a business that will not like you.

How to Register a Limited Liability Company in Trinidad and Tobago

Registering your limited liability company with the Companies Registrar has many benefits. Once you obtain the Certificate of Registration, a bank account can be opened in respect of the company and the company can enter into contracts.

There are three steps to incorporate a limited liability company in Trinidad and Tobago namely:

  1. Name Search and Reservation
  2. Incorporation documents

3.By-Laws

These will now be discussed in turn.

  1. Name Search and Reservation

This form has to be submitted to Registrar of Companies along with the necessary filing fee. The desired name for the company as well as two (2) alternative names must be included in the form. These alternative names will be considered in the event that the desired company name has already been registered or reserved. Once the name is reserved, the applicant has 28 days to complete the registration process. The applicant has to sign at the bottom of the Name Search form, an incorporator (attorney at law, accountant or specialized incorporator) can sign for and on behalf of the applicant. In the event that the proposed name and the two alternatives are rejected by the Registrar, a new name search must be filed. The Registrar may reject a company name for the following reasons :

(i) names prohibited by the Companies Act;

(ii) names similar to those already registered or;

(iii) a combination of general words that lack distinction or

(iv) names that are misleading to the public.

It is wise to be specific in stating the type of services that will be offered by your company. The Registrar can request that the applicant clarify any difficulties with the proposed name by putting a query on your application. At that point, the applicant will then satisfy the Registrar’s request by writing a letter explaining why the particular name was chosen. After filing the Name Search in the appropriate form, the applicant has to return to the office of the Companies Registrar in five to seven working days to collect the response. The date for the applicant to return will be stamped on the receipt collected after the fees are paid to the cashier. If the company name is approved, the applicant can move on to the second step, that is the incorporation documents.

  1. Incorporation documents

The four incorporation documents must be completed in duplicate and filed by the applicant along with the necessary filing fees. Be sure to keep the name approval safely and to submit same with the incorporation documents. The incorporation documents are:

(a) Articles of Incorporation;

(b) Notice of Directors;

(c) Notice of address of Registered Office

(d) Notice of Secretary(ies)

With respect to the Articles of Incorporation , the approved name of the company must be inserted. The applicant must state whether the company will be a private or public company.  The type of liability of the members must also be included whether limited or unlimited. The number of directors must be stated, by law a minimum of 2 directors are needed, a maximum of 10 directors are allowed. The name ,occupation, address and signature of the incorporator has to be included in the Articles of Incorporation. The applicant (one of the directors) also has to sign both copies of the form.

The Notice of Directors must also be completed and filed.  This form provides the names, occupation and addresses of all of the directors. It is reiterated that there must be a minimum of 2 directors and a maximum of 10 directors.

The Notice of Address of Registered Office sets out the registered address of the company. All official company documents and files must be kept here. Generally, the applicant can use his residence as the registered office, however if the applicant is seeking to open a company bank account, one bank in particular will request to see the premises to ensure that it has an office conducive to operating a business.

The Notice of Secretaries is usually filed as part and parcel of the incorporating documents. The Board of Directors will usually appoint the Corporate Secretary, a director can also act as a Corporate Secretary. The Corporate Secretary will ensure that the company complies with statutory requirements as well as ensuring that the annual returns are filed on time. Caution should be exercised in selecting a Corporate Secretary since this person can sign the documents to dissolve the company.

Once these incorporation documents are prepared and signed, an officer at the Companies Registry will review it briefly and then direct the applicant to the cashier. The applicant will pay the relevant fees and the cashier will prepare a receipt and stamp the date for the Certificate to be collected. Usually five to seven working days, may be longer. If there are further queries by the Registrar, these will have to be satisfied.  Once the applicant returns on the stamped date, and the Certificate is produced it can be collected.

3.By-Laws

The date stated on the Certificate of Incorporation will be deemed the date of incorporation of the company. This is relevant to the entering of contracts by the company and the opening of company accounts.  The next step after the issue of the Certificate is the development of By Laws to conduct the affairs of the company. This document is not filed at the Companies Registry, particularly for companies for profit. The By Laws will be kept at the registered office of the company.

 

Please be guided that Annual Returns have be filed at the Companies Registry yearly. The company must also  acquire a Board of Inland Revenue number, register for VAT where applicable, and other statutory taxes. The company may also have to be registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit if it is considered a Listed Business as per FIU Regulations.

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

About the Author:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU/Tax Compliance, and provides Corporate Secretarial Services to local and international giants in various industries. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies and add her on social media:

Website:

http://asydneygroup.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sydneygrouptt/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/asydneygrouptt/?hl=en

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-group-238922141

WhatsApp only 868 484-7778

 

 

How to make your own Contracts: A brief introduction to Contract Law: DIY

I do not trust anyone. I am suspicious of my shadow, she keeps following me around. In the event that anyone asks me to assist them financially, I prepare a legally binding contract and I kindly ask them to sign it. The degree of consanguinity is irrelevant to me, I firmly intend to litigate for the return of my pennies. People do not understand how much I value my precious treasure, it is equivalent to cursing me when you ask me to part with it. A fool and her money are soon parted, and Mother raised no fool. Please allow me to explain the Law of Contract to you to empower you to create your own enforceable contracts.

What is a Contract?

A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is intended to be legally binding.

What are the elements of a binding and enforceable contract?

Offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations.

What is an offer?

An expression of willingness to enter into a contract on stated terms proposed by the offeror provided they are accepted by the party to whom the offer is addressed (the offeree).

What is an acceptance?

A final and unqualified acceptance of the terms of an offer. The person to whom the offer was made (offeree) must accept all the terms of the offer.

What is consideration?

When each party to the contract promises to do something for the other party.

What is intention to create legal relations?

The assumption by the Courts, that the parties to the contract intended to resolve any disputes arising from the contract in a Court of Law.

Why are contracts important in conducting my transactions?

  1. a) To have a valid, enforceable Agreement that will be able to stand up in a Court of law.
  2. b) To be able to protect yourself from the other party breaking his promises.

 

It is essential to prepare contracts in respect of the following transactions because valuable assets are involved:

  • Work to Own Vehicle Arrangements;
  • Money Lending Arrangements involving friends, families and strangers;
  • Real Estate transactions;
  • Home Improvement where contractors are involved;
  • Equipment Rentals.

 

What are some essential ingredients in a valid, enforceable contracts?

  • Stating the jurisdiction in the top left hand corner for instance “REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO”.
  • The date of the Agreement;
  • The names, addresses and occupation of the contracting Parties;
  • The fees payable or consideration;
  • The date the work should start/ commencement date;
  • Dispute Resolution Clause whereby efforts can be made to resolve disputes outside of Court as a an alternative to instituting legal proceedings;
  • Signatures of the contracting Parties.

 

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

About the Author:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies and add her on social media:

Website:

http://asydneygroup.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/sydneygrouptt/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/asydneygrouptt/?hl=en

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-group-238922141

FACTS about FATCA in Trinidad and Tobago for Individuals and Companies: Must Read

“Uncle Sam wants to ensure that he collects his taxes wherever his nieces and nephews reside”. I overheard one of my bankers explaining this reasoning to another client  in response to a  query about the FATCA questionnaire. In accordance with one of our favorite superheroes in the Book of great Parables and Fables, we must render unto Caesar the taxes that are due unto him[1]. This explanation resonated with me and I want to present you herein with some facts about FATCA .

What is FATCA?

FATCA is an acronym for Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and it was introduced by the United States Government in 2009 to ensure that U.S. persons with financial assets outside of the United States are paying U.S taxes.

What is the rationale behind introducing FATCA legislation?

The main objective is to obtain information on U.S. persons who may have financial assets outside of the U.S, or those U.S. persons who may be investing and earning income through financial institutions outside the United States.

Who is affected by FATCA?

U.S. citizens or U.S. registered businesses such as limited liability companies, trusts, partnerships, estates;

US individual residents, including US Green Cardholders;

US individuals who own certain foreign financial accounts or other offshore assets;

Local businesses/companies that have U.S. ownership;

FFIs- any non U.S. financial institution (an institution that accepts deposits, invests, trades securities).

What are financial Institutions required to do with respect to FATCA?

Undertake certain identification and due diligence procedures involving new customers desirous of opening new accounts;

Report annually to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information on customers who are U.S persons or foreign entities with substantial U.S. ownership;

Close accounts of certain customers who do not wish to cooperate with the new FATCA requirements including:

(a) Non-participating financial institutions or ;

(b) Customers who fail to provide sufficient information to determine whether or not they are a U.S. person.

Who is a U.S. person for the purposes of FATCA?

A citizen or resident of the United States, including a green card holder;

A partnership, corporation, estate, trust incorporated or created under US law (US incorporated entity);

A non U.S. incorporated entity having substantial ownership held by –an individual who was born in the US or is a US citizen/resident (including a green card holder) or has a US address or a US mailing address;

A U.S. incorporated entity.

How would I know if I am a U.S. Person under FATCA?

The following are captured in this definition:

U.S. resident or citizen including US Green Card holders;

U.S. Place of Birth;

U.S. home or mailing address;

Only address is a U.S. PO Box, C/O mail address

Power of attorney or signing authority having U.S. address

A U.S. telephone number;

Standing order to transfer funds to an account in the U.S.

What are the FATCA forms?

There are various FATCA forms that are to be completed by the Applicant:

U.S. Person Status Form (Individuals only);

Non US Person Declaration;

Non US Person /Letter of Explanation of US Address;

Waiver of Confidentiality/Data Protection for US Person.

The Internal Revenue Service forms are:-

Form W9;

Form W-BEN;

Form W-8BEN-E.

Different documents are required for   individuals and for companies. There are various classification for business and companies for the IRS forms.

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

[1] The King James Version: Mathew Chapter 22 Verse 21

About the Author:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

 

 

All about Annual Returns in Trinidad and Tobago: Do not incur a penalty each month for failing to file this document

Congratulations on registering your limited liability company. Please be gently reminded that there a few post-registration considerations such as tax compliance, AML/CFT/FIU compliance for listed businesses and the filing of annual returns with the Companies Registrar every year.

Importance of an Annual Return

An Annual Return is critical to a company since this document presents a correct, updated reflection of the company’s state of affairs. This documents presents an up to date snapshot of all directors and officers of the company, share capital as well as company debts. Once this document is filed at the Companies Registry, this information will be registered with the Registrar. When conducting company business, banks and other stakeholders will request the most recent Annual Returns. From this document all present company officers and company debts can be discerned.

When should a Company file an Annual Return?

The law states that a company should file an Annual Return no later than 30 days after each anniversary date of its continuance, incorporation or amalgamation at the Companies Registrar.

What happens if a company fails or refuses to file an Annual Return?

Where a Company fails or refuses to file a document with the Registrar within the time specified in the Act, the Registrar shall be entitled to collect from that Company a penalty of one hundred dollars ($300.00) for every month or part thereof.

The Companies Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago requires companies to file an Annual Return every year even if the company has not been trading. In accordance with Section 194 (1) of the Companies Act of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, each company must file an Annual Return no later than thirty (30) days after each anniversary date of incorporation in the applicable form. At any point, the officers of the company can change directors, corporate secretaries, issue shares or acquire loans and these changes must be captured in the Registrar’s records of the company.

The following must be updated in the Annual Returns:

(a)Name of the Company

(b)The Registered Office of Company

(c) The Anniversary date of the Company

(d) Share Capital

(e)Authorized Share Capital

(f) Details of the persons holdings shares in the company

(g) The Total amount of indebtedness of the company (loans, mortgages, charges)

(h) Updated details of all directors of the company

(i) Updated details of corporate secretaries

(j) Signature of the corporate secretary or the director

 

 

Disclaimer

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney at law to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law by profession in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/FIU  Compliance, Taxation and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Kindly explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .