Take the little you have and make it work

Start where you are with what you have. Despise not the day of small beginnings. Use the little salary that you currently have to fund your dream.Dreams are expensive. Every month put aside cash to invest in your business.
Learn to cut costs,such as rent ,cell phone bills. Perform a monthly audit to see where your money goes.Then look at ways to spend less. Once the item is in good working condition do not afraid to buy it used. Try not to make excuses as to why you are not living your dreams. You cannot learn business by reading books or watching videos . You must actually start the business. Promote your business and reinvest profits in your own business.

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago and she specializes in Anti Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism . See the website http://asydneygroup.com and Instgram @asydneygrouptt WhatsApp 868 484-7778

 

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A Woman who wants nothing cannot be bought

Success comes at a price. You either pay it now or you pay it later. Peace may come after you remove yourself from a toxic situation. Joy may come after you resign from a job where you are not valued.
In my professional capacity I have been offered inducements that could cause me to retire early.I understand that nothing is free and much will be expected in return. I usually decline these valuable gifts because I take delight in earning assets myself. Further once a gift is given with the expectation of something in return ,it now enters the realm of a transaction.
I dislike that sense of obligation that is created. The expectation  that I will be at your beck and call. I refuse to live a life with such indebtedness. I prefer to take a loan from the bank and repay the money in order to acquire the asset.That way,after I repay the loan ,the asset is mine with no strings attached. Furthermore it is an insult to me if a client tries to offer me gifts with the  expectation of services outside of our agreement. A woman who wants nothing,cannot be bought. If I want it,I will acquire it without your assistance and ill intentions

The author is an attorney at law in Trinidad and Tobago and she specializes in Anti Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism . See the website http://asydneygroup.com and Instgram @asydneygrouptt WhatsApp 868 484-7778

 

What does the way you walk say about you?

I have always been teased about the way I walk. I walk quickly, I pass people by on the sidewalks as though a dog I chasing me. I am oftentimes told that I would get a speeding ticket. I simply laugh at these jokes. In response, I say that I am “on a mission”. I could be on my way to class, on my way to the office or about to meet a friend, I walk with purpose.
Increasing your walking pace by 25% was one of the confidence building exercises in the Magic of Thinking Big . The author told of the games his mother played that consisted of watching passersby and observing their walking habits. His mother advised him that there was much to learn from observing the walking habits of people. The author said that psychologists link poor posture and sluggish walking to low self confidence. Psychologists also say that our attitudes can be changed by improving our posture and by increasing our speed of movement.
The author described 3 different groups of people based on their walking patterns. The first group are the “beaten people”, they “shuffle and stumble along through their life”. The second group of people are average and so is their walk, average. The last group of people exude “superconfidence” in the words of the author. These people walk faster than average, there is a sprint in the way they walk. Their walk tells the world “ I’ve got someplace important to go, something important to do”. Moreover, it tells the onlooker that the walker will succeed at anything he is about to do. The author advised that we should “throw our shoulders back, lift up our head and walk a little faster and feel confidence grow.

The author is an Attorney at Law in Trinidad and Tobago. She is an internationally Certified Specialist in Anti Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and FIU Compliance. See the website http://asydneygroup.com for her portfolio of companies. Instagram @asydneygrouptt Whats app 868 484-7778 .

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

 

 

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

 

 

Struggling to Show  off: Young professionals ruin their  future by pretending to be rich & happy online

I have a problem with spending money before I physically have it. I do not own a purse or wallet. I am not sure what I would do with a purse, do I store receipts in it? Maybe I can collect coins and store it in a purse. Have you ever calculated how much money you require daily to survive? This is where a budget will assist you. You will make a list of your expenses and any monies that you have to collect. The trick is to limit your expenses. Brian Tracy, in his infinite wisdom, discussed Parkinsons Law . This law states that your expenditure will rise to meet your income throughout your earning years. The unfortunate result is that many will retire poor. To promote wealth accumulation,we must resist the urge to incur additional expenses to keep up appearances. According to Brian Tracy, it matters not how much we earn, instead,the amount we save and eventually invest will separate the masses. As young professionals,launching our career, it is tempting to create the impression that we are succeeding. However, seasoned business veterans will know that  to be successful , you must lose before you win. It alarmed me that many of my colleagues with no experience in running a business ,started their law practices. I think that within the next ten years they will see the fruits of their labour. At this juncture,the market is saturated with established law firms, specialist lawyers and unscrupulous persons pretending to be lawyers. Clients are not willing to pay lawyer fees yet they all want lawyers to do their matters. I see the plight of my colleagues as their purposes are being frustrated by a lack of cash flow from low clients. For this reason, I have found that it is not yet profitable to practice law as a young sole practitioner in Trinidad. The clients have no respect for the  lawyers’ time,advice or expertise. When the lawyers are not paid by clients  ,we cannot pay the rent for our decorated offices, we cannot pay our insurance, our vehicles may be repossessed for failure to make the monthly installments. Imagine that all of this is coupled with a young attorney trying to get a start on life after at least five years of intense studying. In an effort to appear to be successful imagine if this attorney takes a loan to purchase a car. After paying rent for an office that free loading clients visit and after making the car payments,the young hungry attorney eats salt biscuits and sardines regularly. This is quintessential of Parkinson’s law applied to young lawyers. There are also young lawyers who are employed by firms but they are underpaid and overworked.They are extremely unhappy and I lament that they are subject to such treatment.These same young professionals post pictures on social media that creates an illusion of grandeur. I pity their need for self aggrandizement as I know the true state of facts. I am yet to see snaps or stories of supermarket shopping or the preparation of a decent meal. Maybe food is prepared for my hungry friends at an unknown location. The effect of all of this showing off online is a new class of the young broke professionals. We go to dinners at restaurants that we cannot afford then order the cheapest appetizer on the menu.We go to events that we cannot pay for upfront and incur additional expenses by buying clothes and shoes . All of this we do to impress our equally broke friends . As we grow in our professions and we age we will be doing the same thing. We will take mortgages in areas that are above our salary. We will resent our career  ,go to a job that we hate, to pay for a car that was not in our pay grade from day one. Not to mention children will be added to the equation and of course they will be sent to private schools. We will have spouses who are struggling to show off just as much as we are…then of course comes the divorce and the battle for custody of the kids… naturally. By this time our lives will be in shambles. Our houses will be foreclosed upon and we will return to live with our parents. Then we will have mid life crises and realise that we wasted our lives keeping up appearances. We will regret failing to work on our relationships and marriages instead of posting pictures that made us appear  to be happy and successful online