Singapore Expats Forum

Trust / Escrow Agent Services

Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Trust / Escrow Agent Services

Postby ctavakoli » Mon, 04 Feb 2008 3:09 pm

Hi All,

Was wondering if I might be able to get some assistance identifying a firm that can act as an Escrow Agent on a Trust Account for repeating transactions? In Canada, this would generally be a law firm or a Notary. They don't physically hold the funds being transacted between Client and Service Provider - but they do control the release of such in accordance with the signed Escrow Agreement. I.e. they're a 3rd party that releases funds to a service provider that were deposited by a Client once the services have been provisioned. Appreciate any assistance. After routinely enquiring in Singapore on this matter I'm at a dead end.

Regards,

ctavakoli

ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Postby ctavakoli » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 1:08 am

Sorry folks,

Was just hoping that someone out there who might know about this by some chance didn't see it as it dropped down, out of sight.

Appreciate any help.

ctavakoli

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 3:01 am

why are you not using Escrow?

ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Postby ctavakoli » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 3:02 pm

Sorry ksl, I don't quite understand what you're asking? I have a company and want to transact with our customers via an escrow account. In preparing for a product launch I need to identify and engage the services of an entity that can act as an Escrow Agent. Is 'Escrow' in your email referring to a particular firm?

ct

vj.cash
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu, 14 Feb 2008
Location: India
Contact:

is escrow on internet site allowed

Postby vj.cash » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 3:18 pm

is escrow account as done on internet sites like guru.com et all alllowed from singapore

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Thu, 14 Feb 2008 5:15 pm

ctavakoli wrote:Sorry ksl, I don't quite understand what you're asking? I have a company and want to transact with our customers via an escrow account. In preparing for a product launch I need to identify and engage the services of an entity that can act as an Escrow Agent. Is 'Escrow' in your email referring to a particular firm?

ct


It's many years ago since i used www.escrow.com although It was only a matter of setting up, with your own bank to recieve, the payment, when the money was released from Escrow...after the buyer had recieved the goods and was satisfied, Escrow then just transfered the money to my bank. Escrow services don't have agents that i know of.

I'm a little confused at what you are trying to achieve...if you just want to purchase goods from abroad on a repeat basis, or sell you can arrange a reimburse or export credit guarantee, with your bank, an irrevocable, letter of credit can be used, by your customers to buy, arranged at any bank.

The money is not released until the buyer has the goods, irrevocable means, the buyer cannot just say, I don't want to accept the goods, I would have though most merchant banks here in Singapore, would set it up, although i don't have a list, and it does take a while for completion.

May i ask what the product is...and why you don't take payment before sending?

This Company here does it, there are quite a few in Singapore, just search Singapore + Escrow services
http://www.yacht.fortis.com/Services_It ... Offid=1625

I can only advise more specifically, with more information on product and country of origin ect...there are high risks, to consider, when exporting and also banks, that need investigating, before going into Escrow deals, depending on Countries involved.

One thing to look out for, is the buyer setting up, a false identity, with a false escrow agent. when the bill of laden is delivered, the buyer refuses, the goods, and the goods, cannot be returned, because its not viable...these goods, would then be auctioned off, by the Customs Holding Company, and the buyer is their bidding on the goods he ordered.

Many things need to be checked out, if your talking large transactions. Though Singapore is a safe area to set up...Nigeria, buyers, would have a field day, if you get my point..it has been known to have happend.

So if its large amounts of money and goods, your better having the Chamber of Commerce involved and experienced export consultants, they normally supply export credit services, for protection.

This link www.iesingapore.com may help

ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Postby ctavakoli » Fri, 15 Feb 2008 12:14 am

hi ksl,

i greatly appreciate your post.. our products are property developments and construction services around s.e. asia. e.g. in bali - we have properties in bali we will be selling, we wish to do so in escrow, through singapore. we also offer construction services in bali - we will however transact in singapore with our customers and host our contracts / purchase agreements here - but for these services we also need to transact (a portion of the overall contract value) in escrow. the escrow agent i referred to is the body / firm or individual that controls the release of those funds in accordance with a stipulated agreement. in the case of some very simple transactions, i assume this role is largely automated, such as that of an online escrow service provider.. as far as i know, an escrow agent is not a role requiring a licence - it is of course a role that that is often awarded to lawyers / notary publics as part of their role in the conveyencing and settlement procedures.

we engaged fortis back in december and after one month of fortis telling us they were writing a proposal, they came back to us and said, sorry - blah blah blah, we can't do it. i assume it was because our deals in fy01 & 02 didn't meet their $ benchmark.. it was an unpleasant experience as they kept us on the hook for long enough to put us behind schedule in terms of engaging another service provider.

as far as i know www.escrow.com is geared at e-commerce transactions.. our transactions originate from agents around the world, not online.. but when i try to access escrow.com now to read more about their services, i receive a message, "2/14/2008 7:57:04 AM: Your access to Escrow.com has been denied.". I googled the message and it appears that this may be because i'm at the moment in indonesia travelling - it may be blocked. i will try again upon return to singapore but in the meantime i'd appreciate it f anyone can clarify further as to whether the services of escrow.com may extend to our situation.

i will have a look at www.iesingapore.gov.sg and call them, but i'm not sure they'll be able to help.

funnily enough, when i google "Singapore + Escrow services" i only get dead ends - not really much that points me to such servica providers.

i certainly hope the above clarification may enable you to provide me with some further recomendations on the matter, as it sounds like you know your way around the subject.

ct

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Fri, 15 Feb 2008 2:10 am

I do have considerable knowledge of the industry, and it would be normal for all Countries, to be investigated for risk...Bali, Indoneasia, I would presume is quite high on the list, that is used. Normally in accordance with the so called Beri report.

http://www.beri.com/quick.asp

After that, a person like myself, would check your company out, for credit ratings and references, without your knowledge, to minimise any risks for the ESCROW Company, the checks would be quite comprehensive, in several Countries of registration and practice, with property being involved, it would be more of a complexed and routine check..

There are probably many Companies around, that would look into the project, and I would of thought you would be better equiped, with an Escrow agent, in the Country where, the properties are developed, that also have office or agent in Singapore.

www.escrow.com is USA based and deal in US$, it could be arranged through them, the goods are tangible, although you would have to consult. My only concern would be the high risk factor of dealing with Indonesia, of which you must be well aware of.

I personally know expats, that have had villa's built in Bali, for there own holiday and retirement home, only to discover, the people paid to look after the property, actually took it over, and moved in.

Getting them out was a very costly affair, so I'm sure you understand the difficulties at hand, and why Escrow Companies, may wish not to get involved. This is only from my own point of view.

There are lots of Escrows about, But my suggestion is to get one in Bali, because indoniesian laws, must apply to where the property is developed, so for risk to be accepted, it will have to be minimised.

So really if the sales are going ahead from Singapore, buyers are going to need a great deal of protection...and with lawyers running off with money here in Singapore, it doesn't help the high risk matters in property transactions.

This company here deal with property and high net worth individuals and companies!

http://www.ocra.com/our_clients/high_net.asp

I'm pretty sure the people that you need to solve these issues, are your own Countries Chamber of Commerce...because of the high Country Risk factor, of a beri report, will put most Companies off.

Although a good professional company would have the expertise, to solve the problem at a price....

I wouldn't even bother with www.escrow.com unless they had some affiliation in Indonesia, drop them an email.

May I request your company name, I'm pretty cool at digging around, I may be able to turn something up you can use.

ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Postby ctavakoli » Sat, 16 Feb 2008 1:47 am

hi ksl,

thanks once again for yor time in responding.

i'll start by answering as many of the questions you included in your post as i can about why we've made certain decisions. i'll summarize the following in bullet point form only for efficiency (please don't consider it to be 'bruntish' in connotation)

1. bali is a primary market for us / within 2 years we'll be operating (building homes) in other parts of s.e. asia

2. the very risk factors you described surrounding transactions taking place in indonesia are exactly the reason we've formed a singaporean company, why all our contracts and warranties are executed in singapore, why all the transactions take place in singapore - singapore alone.

3. one of the reasons (i discovered today) i believe i may be encountering dead ends is because those who i've spoken to thus far have not understood / been able to understand that we're not seeking an escrow agent to act in a conveyencing / settlement role. what you noted about this having to take place in bali would be correct if we were also expecting from the escrow agent to settle the transfer of a property with a land title office. for all intensive purposes - let's put aside the part of our business concerned with developments (where land transfer takes place) and just look at our construction services arm. here a client owns their own piece of land and they engage our services to build a property for them. the escrow agent will not be asked to verify any deliverables in indonesia - once the project is complete and the buyer signs off that the services have been provisioned in full, the signed 'reciept of goods received' will be presented to the escrow agent, which in accordance with the escrow agreement will allow the agent to release the funds to us. if the client doesn't sign-off the funds don't get released and arbitration is called to order as per the instructions set out in the escrow agreement.

4. we are essentially looking for a fiduciary service provider - i met one tonight on a one dayer to singapore and they understood what i outlined in point 3 - whether or not a hick-up will develop between now and next week when we next talk remains unknown.

5. it still appears to me as though www.escrow.com is primarily for online transactions and vehicles - neither of which are applicable to our model

6. actually, legally the escrow agent does not need to meet any licensing requirements - they are simply custodians of a trust account but their control over it is governed by the underlying escrow agreement - so technically you could fill the role with a 7-11 shop assistant. that being said, of course if one expects to gain transparency and customer faith through the employment of such services, the 7-11 clerk might not work out - in our case we need a reputable, established service provider

7. while i understand no firm would willingly want to engage with a company with a questionable background - (which i can assure ours doesn't have given it's 2 weeks old in singapore), i still don't think this is a factor of consideration, or at least it wouldn't be if they understood what we were asking. the escrow agreement outlines that we are only paid for goods / services provisioned after they've been provisioned - if the goods aren't provisioned or the buyer is not satisfied, then they don't sign the release and the funds don't get released from trust

8. our purchase agreements and payment structure ensure a client is protected under singaporean law - no one would take any comfort in an assurance of protection under indonesian law.

9. QUOTE - "I personally know expats, that have had villa's built in Bali, for there own holiday and retirement home, only to discover, the people paid to look after the property, actually took it over, and moved in. Getting them out was a very costly affair, so I'm sure you understand the difficulties at hand, and why Escrow Companies, may wish not to get involved. This is only from my own point of view." - Yes, I've heard similar stories - though this is more applicable to a scenario that might eventuate after a properties been built, and provided to a buyer - by this time, the escrow agent's role as per the agreement is well and truly over.

ksl again, please don't take the above points to be argumentative - i greatly appreciate your assistance on this - i just wanted to summarize it from our view point. any further help / views you can provide is greatly appreciated. by the same token, i will update this posting regarding the outcome from tonights meeting.

many thanks,

ct

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Sat, 16 Feb 2008 3:13 am

ctavakoli wrote:hi ksl,

thanks once again for yor time in responding.

i'll start by answering as many of the questions you included in your post as i can about why we've made certain decisions. i'll summarize the following in bullet point form only for efficiency (please don't consider it to be 'bruntish' in connotation)

1. bali is a primary market for us / within 2 years we'll be operating (building homes) in other parts of s.e. asia

2. the very risk factors you described surrounding transactions taking place in indonesia are exactly the reason we've formed a singaporean company, why all our contracts and warranties are executed in singapore, why all the transactions take place in singapore - singapore alone.

3. one of the reasons (i discovered today) i believe i may be encountering dead ends is because those who i've spoken to thus far have not understood / been able to understand that we're not seeking an escrow agent to act in a conveyencing / settlement role. what you noted about this having to take place in bali would be correct if we were also expecting from the escrow agent to settle the transfer of a property with a land title office. for all intensive purposes - let's put aside the part of our business concerned with developments (where land transfer takes place) and just look at our construction services arm. here a client owns their own piece of land and they engage our services to build a property for them. the escrow agent will not be asked to verify any deliverables in indonesia - once the project is complete and the buyer signs off that the services have been provisioned in full, the signed 'reciept of goods received' will be presented to the escrow agent, which in accordance with the escrow agreement will allow the agent to release the funds to us. if the client doesn't sign-off the funds don't get released and arbitration is called to order as per the instructions set out in the escrow agreement.

4. we are essentially looking for a fiduciary service provider - i met one tonight on a one dayer to singapore and they understood what i outlined in point 3 - whether or not a hick-up will develop between now and next week when we next talk remains unknown.

5. it still appears to me as though www.escrow.com is primarily for online transactions and vehicles - neither of which are applicable to our model

6. actually, legally the escrow agent does not need to meet any licensing requirements - they are simply custodians of a trust account but their control over it is governed by the underlying escrow agreement - so technically you could fill the role with a 7-11 shop assistant. that being said, of course if one expects to gain transparency and customer faith through the employment of such services, the 7-11 clerk might not work out - in our case we need a reputable, established service provider

7. while i understand no firm would willingly want to engage with a company with a questionable background - (which i can assure ours doesn't have given it's 2 weeks old in singapore), i still don't think this is a factor of consideration, or at least it wouldn't be if they understood what we were asking. the escrow agreement outlines that we are only paid for goods / services provisioned after they've been provisioned - if the goods aren't provisioned or the buyer is not satisfied, then they don't sign the release and the funds don't get released from trust

8. our purchase agreements and payment structure ensure a client is protected under singaporean law - no one would take any comfort in an assurance of protection under indonesian law.

9. QUOTE - "I personally know expats, that have had villa's built in Bali, for there own holiday and retirement home, only to discover, the people paid to look after the property, actually took it over, and moved in. Getting them out was a very costly affair, so I'm sure you understand the difficulties at hand, and why Escrow Companies, may wish not to get involved. This is only from my own point of view." - Yes, I've heard similar stories - though this is more applicable to a scenario that might eventuate after a properties been built, and provided to a buyer - by this time, the escrow agent's role as per the agreement is well and truly over.

ksl again, please don't take the above points to be argumentative - i greatly appreciate your assistance on this - i just wanted to summarize it from our view point. any further help / views you can provide is greatly appreciated. by the same token, i will update this posting regarding the outcome from tonights meeting.

many thanks,

ct


I fully understand the problem now, I think you will find OCRA can accommodate, your wish, in fact I really don't see why any large merchant bank, would refuse to do it, when there is no risk involved, you should try them too, for a cheaper solution, you could probably setup a joint account whereby the money is released, when the buyer is satisfied.

I used a power of attorney to act for buyers, of very expensive cars, many years back, I also needed a substancial payment up front, for the deposit, to order the car from the factory to UK standards, the day the car was delivered ex works, the whole amount was released, and the buyer had a free weekend holiday to pick it up, a saving of over 30%, today everyone is doing it, but I was probably one of the first, back in 79, to discover the loop hole, in the customs importation procedures, to qualify the owner had to drive the car on the road in the Country, where it was manufactured. so a power of attorney allowed me to do the business for the buyer.

Hope you get it sorted, if you need more, just say, i can root them out. I'm sure there is an easy solution to this problem!


http://www.ocra.com/our_clients/high_net.asp

A fiduciary structure can help not only preserve your wealth but can also offer you greater flexibility over the management and distribution of your assets. The most common type of fiduciary structure is a trust, a binding arrangement whereby assets are transferred to a “trustee”

ctavakoli
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu, 24 Jan 2008

Postby ctavakoli » Sat, 16 Feb 2008 11:54 pm

thanks ksl - i appreciate the feedback - actually discussing it here made me realize what in my communication with these folks may have been confusing them - i.e. i wasn't explicitly saying, "i don't need you to do any conveyancing' - i thought it was clear that i didn't.. in any case, i'll keep the forum updated on our most recent engagement and how that pans out and will certainly be back asking for your help again if it falls apart (touch wood it won't)..
ct

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Sun, 17 Feb 2008 12:25 am

ctavakoli wrote:thanks ksl - i appreciate the feedback - actually discussing it here made me realize what in my communication with these folks may have been confusing them - i.e. i wasn't explicitly saying, "i don't need you to do any conveyancing' - i thought it was clear that i didn't.. in any case, i'll keep the forum updated on our most recent engagement and how that pans out and will certainly be back asking for your help again if it falls apart (touch wood it won't)..
ct


It's always helpful to have a sparring partner in business, who may unknowingly have the key, to a solution to others problems, by following correct procedures, communication is normally the failing point, where one misunderstands, the other, Your welcome anytime! :wink:

Winxkid
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 195
Joined: Wed, 11 Apr 2007

Postby Winxkid » Mon, 17 Mar 2008 2:25 am

escrow service has higher risk... you better get yourself protected :)
petsgdirectory.blogspot.com


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Business in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest