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Case details

Grand View Private Trust Company and another (Respondents) v Wong and others (Appellant) No 2 (Bermuda)

Case ID: JCPC 2020/0065

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal for Bermuda

Case summary

Issue

Was the amendment of a Bermudan trust’s beneficiaries and the transfer of the trust’s assets to another entity by its trustee (i) beyond the scope of the trustee’s powers, a fraud on the trustees’ powers or otherwise invalid, or (ii) in violation of the terms of the trust deed, so as to render the purported amendment and transfer void?

Facts

The Global Resource Trust No 1 (the "GRT") is a Bermudan irrevocable discretionary trust with a trust period of 100 years created for the benefit of the children and remoter issue of YC Wang and YT Wang living on or born after 10 May 2001. The GRT was declared on 10 May 2001 and is estimated to hold assets of over US$500m as of 2019. The Wang Family Trust (the "WFT") is a Bermuda perpetual purpose trust for a mixture of noncharitable and charitable purposes and has no human beneficiaries. It was declared by the first respondent, Grand View Private Trust Company ("Grand View") on 10 May 2001 and was transferred assets worth around US$567m at the time of its creation. Winston Wong, Riley Wong, Jennifer Wang and Tony Wang were all beneficiaries of the GRT at the time of its creation and contend on this appeal that they still are.

In May 2005, the directors of the GRT trustee determined that the GRT trustee would (i) transfer the assets of the GRT to Grand View (of which they were also directors) as trustee for the WFT, (ii) add Grand View as a beneficiary of the GRT, and (iii) exclude all of the existing beneficiaries of the GRT (including the appellants). The directors of the GRT trustee took steps to execute those decisions in September 2005. The GRT Trustee was placed into voluntary liquidation on 29 November 2006 and dissolved on 30 January 2007.

The appellants challenge the validity of the amendment of the GRT’s beneficiaries and the transfer of its assets to Grand View as trustee for the WFT. The appellants succeeded before the Bermuda Supreme Court but that decision was overturned by the Bermuda Court of Appeal. They now appeal to the JCPC.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Wong and others

Respondent(s)

Grand View Private Trust Company Ltd

Appeal

Justices

Lord Hodge, Lord Sales, Lord Burrows, Lady Rose, Sir David Richards

Hearing start date

8 March 2022

Hearing finish date

10 March 2022