Organised by Nexia SSY, Singapore, three conferences were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July this year: The APAC Regional Conference, The International Tax Conference, and The Managers and Future Leaders programme.

I attended the International Tax Conference as Chair of the Nexia Transfer Pricing Business Group.  Having the opportunity to attend the conference confirmed the power of meeting people and creating connections. 

Collaboration is key

At this year’s Nexia International Tax conference, my objective was to engage with delegates across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, from Singapore and India to Hong Kong, China and Australia, to strengthen our Transfer Pricing relationships with the view to winning new work and developing strong working relationships to support our multi-territory Transfer Pricing projects and create great client service. The key to any conference is making the most of having other service line and territory specialists in the room and learning about the key current Transfer Pricing issues in their particular jurisdictions and the opportunities for collaboration.

It is also important to understand the client base and type of Transfer Pricing projects each country is involved in. For example, the Transfer Pricing teams in many Nexia countries concentrate on inbound work, so they’re not likely to have any outbound referrals due to their own client base. These territories are more likely to be service providers for our multi-territory Transfer Pricing projects, such as India, Eastern Europe and China.

Other territories are key global locations for corporate headquarters, and these territories lead the way on developing multi-service line Transfer Pricing projects for the benefit of other Nexia firms, for example the UK, USA and Germany. 

In my experience, the type of Transfer Pricing project undertaken in a location has a direct correlation with the type of audits carried out by that particular Nexia firm. International HQ companies are fairly key to our ability to win the multi-territory Transfer Pricing protects. In the UK, we have many Transfer Pricing only clients that approach us initially for these services.

An important goal for the Nexia Transfer Pricing Business Group is to improve and extend the capability of member firms under the network in delivering Transfer Pricing services in each relevant country. Working with each region to help grow their own technical expertise, and in turn being well-equipped to deliver these services, is something I’m incredibly proud of. The knock-on effect for us is that it increases our Transfer Pricing service line’s ability to win larger projects.

My best tip for any conference is to go into the conference sessions early and sit at an empty table and wait and see who sits with you! I also employ this strategy at breakfast and dinner. Leave your UK colleagues and go out and meet new international contacts.

Attend a session

To help deliver their strategy, Nexia has developed business groups across the globe for member firms to join. These include Transfer Pricing, VAT/Customs, Corporate Tax, Global Mobility, Private Wealth, and more.

Since becoming Chair of Nexia’s Transfer Pricing business group in October 2022, I’ve led various meetings including;  a monthly meeting with Nexia’s Collaboration Executive for Advisory and Tax on Transfer Pricing and the bi-monthly community calls with international Transfer Pricing member firms (please contact me if you would like to attend!) in which we deliver Transfer Pricing presentations and training for others within the Nexia network, and the bi-monthly Transfer Pricing Core Committee meetings where we organise Transfer Pricing training and deliver the Nexia strategy into the Transfer Pricing service line. Our community calls have grown in size and scope over recent years – this reflects incredible global engagement within Nexia on this service line, which continually grows in importance for our international clients following base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and a change in focus on international tax.

It was a privilege to chair the session in Kuala Lumpur. 

Make memorable moments

The Transfer Pricing session was set out for more advanced Transfer Pricing specialists for this particular conference and was full of confident engagement, lively debate on current Transfer Pricing topics, and insightful commentary. Our attendees offered perspectives on our various presentations from their respective countries. When people come together and engage in this way, it makes for a more memorable experience and knowledge-exchange.

With incredible hospitality from our hosts Nexia SSY in Kuala Lumpur, we also took a trip with other member firms to a local pewter factory, where we had the chance to be hands-on by making our own pewter bowls using a hammer, wooden mould and flat disc of pewter!

Learn as much as possible!

Attending a range of talks on different topics from various regions allowed us to network and collaborate, but also to understand the latest Transfer Pricing trends in certain countries. This equips us with the right knowledge to support our international clients. I also attended the international corporate tax sessions and the Tax Assembly.

We heard about new green tax incentives from our hosts in Malaysia and the opportunities for entrepreneurial businesses focusing on the environment and clean technology. Sustainability was an important theme that ran throughout the conference, as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), which is a critical area of focus for the wider network. From Singapore, we heard about the various attractions for family offices and foreign investors.

Our colleagues in China summarised the increasing coordination of the different elements of the tax authority including VAT, customs and tax, and the operation of tax risk evaluations on taxpayers, by using big data and information sharing.

There was also an insightful conversation on the future of taxation in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau from our China colleagues in our Transfer Pricing session. Brian Bay also highlighted the topic of offshoring manufacturing functions in China. His presentation made comparisons between Transfer Pricing methodology in China and how it’s implemented in member countries of the OECD; this was invaluable information, as it provided us with ideas for implementing manufacturing in China, moving it out and the important aspect of bringing cash out of the country, for our clients.

Final thoughts

My strategy for any Nexia conference is to make new friends and network like mad (at breakfast time, at lunch time, in the hotel lift, on the bus taking us to dinner, in the bar, at dinner and in the conference breaks). It’s always such a rewarding experience to meet like-minded professionals, but to also grow those relationships over the length of the conference and retain them afterwards. If I hadn’t sat with people at lunch or had a conversation with someone over dinner (or on the way to the pewter factory), we currently wouldn’t have new members of our Transfer Pricing business group, ready to join our next community call and present a topic.

With more members in the group, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of helping to further upskill local countries in Transfer Pricing, which are new to Transfer Pricing legislation, so that our clients have reliable contacts internationally, as well as in the UK, to discuss any international tax matters when they need to and for us to become involved with even more interesting cross border projects.

Being a part of the Nexia network is invaluable. Alongside the talks, the networking, and the learning, we still have to uphold our commitment to our clients by supporting them – even when we’re halfway across the world! This wouldn’t be successful without a strong team and network behind me.

If you’re part of one of Nexia’s member firms and are interested in joining the Transfer Pricing business group’s community calls to learn more about transfer pricing, please get in touch with Dawn Ross.