Report on the Enactment of Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts

Always revitalising and evolving


About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee (LRC) has considered whether reform of Singapore's trusts laws would be beneficial in order to provide further opportunities for business and family wealth management, social enterprise and philanthropy in Singapore.

Specifically, the LRC has considered the case for authorising by statute the creation of Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts (NCPTs) for certain purposes in Singapore. 

The LRC's report analyses the approach to NCPTs and equivalent trust models in other jurisdictions, as well as the policy considerations relevant to providing for such trusts.

Key Recommendations 

The report recommends authorising, through a standalone statute, the creation and enforcement of NCPTs. Among other aspects detailed in the report, the proposed NCPT would have the following core characteristics:

  • To qualify, NCPTs must be sufficiently certain to allow the trust to be carried out, not be contrary to public policy, and relate to any public purpose, social purpose, religious purpose, philanthropic purpose, investment and management of assets purpose or other business purposes (or a mix of such purposes). The LRC considers this an appropriately broad but practicable definition.
  • Settlors would be required to specifically designate the purposes to which the trust assets are dedicated. A designated purpose would be sufficiently specific if any given use of the fund can be said to fall either within or outside that purpose.
  • The trust would be enforceable by the person nominated as enforcer in the trust instrument, the Attorney-General, the settlor (or her personal representative), the trustee, or such person as the court considers has sufficient interest in the matter.
  • Trustees of NCPTs would be required to be licensed, although registered Private Trust Companies would also be permitted to act as restricted licence trustees.

The report notes that the decision whether to provide for NCPTs is ultimately one of policy, on which different countries have taken different views.  The LRC considers that, in Singapore's particular context, the relevant policy considerations — alongside Singapore's wider ambition to be a global wealth management centre — militate towards permitting NCPTs in the form proposed.

Project status: Completed


Areas of law

 Trust law



Click on the image above to view the full report


Last updated 31 May 2021


Law Reform Page Tag