Trust Regulator (TR) director-general Sok Dara recently announced an increase in legally registered trust funds, with a total of 564 cases amounting to over $1.1 billion over the past year. He is optimistic the figure will reach $1.5 billion by the close of 2023.

The figures were shared at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between TR and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The MoU aims to raise public awareness and encourage participation in Cambodia’s trust sector.

As a legal mechanism, a trust allows a property owner, or trustee, to hand over their property to a skilled, experienced individual. This ‘trust’, licensed by the TR, controls, manages and maintains the property on behalf of the owner, or a third-party beneficiary.

The system offers major benefits such as fostering trust, ensuring legal compliance, promoting transparency and efficiency, providing high flexibility and reducing operational risk.

“The launch of the trust sector in Cambodia, as well as the trust regulator, is a meticulous and well-thought-out consideration of the government,” said Sok Dara.

“With the active participation of stakeholders, especially from the private sector and all stakeholders providing services in the field of trust, Cambodia has successfully established a trust market with full operations,” he said.

Regarding the MoU with the CCC, Dara expressed that it presents new strategic opportunities to respond to market trends and regional competition.

The objective is to establish a comprehensive financial ecosystem and a synergies system, as well as to create strategic activities that attract capital flows and liquidity.

CCC president Kith Meng emphasised the role of the MoU in raising awareness about the development process of the trust sector in Cambodia.

He said that it would allow all parties to better understand what a trust is, its mechanisms and operations, and the process for legally establishing and registering a trust.

“It can also bring benefits such as closer cooperation between the TR and the private sector and attract more foreign direct investment because they are confident,” he said.

“Recognition from the TR, a state institution that evaluates in the field of trust, certainly ensures that all the requirements of the relevant regulations are met,” he added.

According to the TR, there are currently eight trust companies, eight banks, 43 physical trusts, and 10 appraisal firms that have received a licence or permit or recognition from the TR.