FORGING AHEAD IN THE WORLD OF TRUST SERVICES

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Many people assume that trust services are available only to the privileged few, but the CEO of UBB Amanah Berhad, Aida Othman, shares with Top 10 of Malaysia on why this essential service is redefined and thus making it affordable for everyone to secure their legacy and the future of their loved ones.

As a former practising lawyer, Aida Othman had seen many people faced financial difficulties when they find themselves in dire straits particularly in the event of an emergency or death. The victims of such financial hardships are usually children who are too young to understand the legal and regulatory implications, and sometimes are exploited or neglected by their loved ones due to ignorance or greed.

Having seen and advised clients on such matters, Aida aims to increase awareness among the general public about the importance of trusts as part of legacy planning and protection through her current role as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBB Amanah Berhad, a licensed financial company that provides trust services and solutions.

“After practising law for several years, I progressed into the financial industry of which I had spent a further sixteen years working and gaining valuable insights about the financial regulatory environment and investment matters”, says the CEO of UBB Amanah Berhad.

“Along with my legal and compliance background and having studied the trust industry, I can see a lot of possibilities in the trust industry that are yet to be explored. The advantages of having a trust created for your family are limitless.”

UBB Amanah Berhad offers a variety of trust services and solutions for clients who wish to protect their legacies for the benefit of their beneficiaries. As trustees, UBB Amanah Berhad’s obligation is to ensure that every instruction given by the client in relation to the trust created, is always executed without any compromise.

Aida shares, “When I first became the CEO of the company about five years ago, our aim was to change the general mindset that trust services are not merely seen as an exclusive service reserved for the privileged few. It was the prevailing view that only the super wealthy could avail themselves of the benefits of a trust.”

“I wanted to redefine that model of trust services and create an essential service that was affordable for everyone. My hopes and vision are to have UBB Amanah’s name synonymous with trusts in Malaysia, as a household name and a go-to brand in estate planning and creation of trusts that people will regard as an affordable, creative and dependable advisor in their legacy planning. We are also aiming to be the first trust company to be listed on the BURSA Malaysia.”

The CEO adds, “People should view trust services as a mechanism to secure themselves and their families from the unforeseen vagaries and hardships of life. I’m thankful that over a period of time, with the trust products that we have created, people are beginning to have a different mindset about trusts.”

The clientele of UBB Amanah Berhad has, indeed, increased and expanded across Klang Valley as well as in Penang and Johor, so much so that regulatory authorities have begun to take notice of them as a creative and dependable advisor in legacy planning.

One of its popular trust products is UBB Cash Trust which offers a safety net for clients where they can place a sum of cash in a trust that will be made available to their named beneficiaries in the event of an emergency or death. UBB Cash Trust is a simple product yet easily accessible particularly during such unfortunate times when the families are strapped for cash.

“For instance, the release of insurance monies could take longer than expected, depending on the circumstances of the death. Similarly, anything belongs to the estate of the deceased cannot be released or withdrawn until a Grant of Probate is applied or a Letter of Administration is authorized by the Court.”

Aida continues, “Such delays put the family of the deceased under tremendous financial distress especially if the deceased was the sole breadwinner of the family. A cash trust is aimed at resolving this problem instantly as the monies are released to the named beneficiaries within seven days upon receiving the relevant documents.”

“The funds can be used by the beneficiaries to pay immediate bereavement expenses including legal fees incurred in accessing inheritance. The cash trust fund helps to alleviate financial issues faced by the family.”

Another trust product of UBB Amanah Berhad which will be popular among Malaysians is the Education Trust, an upcoming product expected to be launched in March 2020. The purpose of the education trust is for parents to set up a fund for their children’s education if they may not live to see it through.

“A trust is created for the child’s education until the child attains a certain age as predetermined by the parents. The trust ensures that the child’s education is never compromised upon the death of a parent or guardian.”

As Aida and her team work in changing general perceptions about trust services in the industry, their efforts were met with resistance. They had faced many challenges, most of which were attributed to the public’s lack of knowledge and exposure to the trust industry.

“It is natural that in the process of redefining the way we do things that we come across challenges as people are hesitatant to accept new ideas. However, we believe that the trust industry has a lot more to offer than what was before,” says the CEO.

“I took it upon myself to break down walls and create new and acceptable approaches and ideas by educating and creating awareness about what trusts can offer as well as giving clarity on the real benefits of taking an extensive approach in trust services and solutions.”

It was an uphill battle to be transformative in the industry but Aida overcame those challenges with the support and encouragement from her family especially her parents, and the invaluable insights and guidance from the company’s Board of Directors.

“It is the combined alchemy of these factors that shaped me into what I am today. I also believe that we can become whatever we want to be as long as we believe in our abilities, we know what to do and work toward getting things done.”

Aida is equally grateful for her highly motivated team of professionals at UBB Amanah, whom she believes play an important role in the growth and success achieved by the company.

“I once read a story about John F. Kennedy who visited the NASA Headquarters, asking the janitor there, why he seemed to be enjoying his job so much. The janitor responded, ‘I am helping to put a man on the moon!’. I was amazed by how inspirational a leader must be for the janitor to feel that he was also an important part of that mission.”

“I aspire to be that kind of leader – a leader who ensures that everyone in the company, even the cleaning lady, feels a sense of belonging in the organisation, and that they are an integral part of the company’s success. I’d like to think that UBB Amanah is more than just a company – we are a family,” smiles the CEO.

As UBB Amanah Berhad continues to tap into the increasing potential of trust services and solutions in the industry, Aida and her team maintain that the creation of trusts is a vital part of legacy planning and protection, so that clients’ family members and loved ones can continue to enjoy the same benefits and advantages of that legacy.

That said, Aida advises the public to have some basic knowledge about the trust industry first before creating a trust for their beneficiaries. “Before you create a trust, make sure that you do the necessary research first about the industry. Do your homework on the range of trust products and services, and engage an organisation that has the right knowledge and expertise in running a trust.”

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