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Dharshi Wijetunga, Partner

Dharshi advises clients on international succession and asset protection planning as well as the New Zealand aspects of trust and partnership structures. She takes the legal lead on cross-border projects involving families from Asia with a connection to Switzerland or the UK whether that be due to residence or wealth in the jurisdiction.

About

Dharshi is a partner in the private client team, based in Switzerland. She advises on the establishment, restructure and maintenance of trusts and wealth holding structures for individuals and business owning families. She has specific experience with clients from Asia due to the experience she gained in Singapore while working for a global private bank. As a result she acts for several ultra-high net worth individuals and families with a connection to Asia, often working hand in hand with their relationship manager or external asset manager (usually based in either Switzerland, Singapore or Hong Kong) and acting as the primary coordinator for their legal and tax needs. 

She advises both Swiss and international trustees on complex trust matters, including the New Zealand law aspects of private wealth structures. Trustees seek her out because of her commercial approach and her ability to advise on product documentation (including all aspects of trust business from take-on to exit) as well as general business and risk issues.   

Dharshi is dual qualified in New Zealand and England and Wales (non-practising). She is a member of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and is also currently sits on the STEP Zurich Committee. She is based permanently in Zurich, Switzerland.

Experience

  • Succession and tax planning for a Hong Kong client relocating to the UK, including advising on trust structures and directorships in foreign companies in the context of the upcoming move.
  • Leading on the advice for a Swiss based trustee with asset protection concerns relating to a Forbes 500 Latin American client, including the application of investment protection agreements to a New Zealand partnership and trust structure.
  • Assessing the efficiency of a trust structure for a Swiss resident (lump sum) with US connected family members.
  • Assisting a Swiss based trustee on the exit of its trust book of business to a new entity following the sale of its shares to third party. 
  • Advising an international trustee on the revamp of their New Zealand trust precedents, including drafting a bespoke New Zealand law trust deed capable of holding and managing a variety of complex assets. 
  • Establishing a private trust company structure to hold the European assets of a Latin American client. 
  • Acting as the key advisor to a large Swiss independent trustee and assisting them on a wide range of legal and trust questions relating to foreign law trusts administered in Switzerland. 
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