Murali Pillai
3 min readMar 6, 2024


For a number of years, I have been tracking the number of trusts set up by the Special Needs Trust Company to help persons with special needs with their financial needs after their caregivers pass away. In particular, I was concerned about the access of such trust services to lower income families. I therefore sought an update of SNTC’s good work in my cut speech during the MSF COS Debate. My speech is set out below.


This year, it will be 15 years since the Special Needs Trust Company launched its trust services in October 2009 to help with the financial security of persons with special needs.

The SNTC was set up in 2008 with the support of MSF, NCSS and the Public Trustee as a non-profit trust company that provides low-cost trust services. It has been doing very good work, over the years, in plugging a gap in the local disability services landscape. To date, it has developed over 1000 trusts and developed more than 3000 care plans. We owe the board members of SNTC, past and present, a debt of gratitude.

The Government has played a crucial role in making trust services accessible by providing between 90% to 100% subsidies for the costs involved in the set-up, pre-activation, activation and post-activation of the trust accounts. Without absorbing the costs, I believe the take up rate amongst Singaporeans, particularly the lower-income families, would be much lower. As at 2022, 65% of trusts created were by families in HDB flats.

It is clear however that more Singaporean households can benefit from subscribing to such services. Our rapidly ageing population and shrinking household sizes contribute 2 drivers. In addition, there is a utilitarian reason that was mentioned by SMU Prof Tang Hang Wu, one of SNTC’s founder directors. He said “if there is no scheme in place to protect the inheritance of persons with special needs, the financial responsibility to look after these individuals will fall on the government. It is better for governments to invest ahead of time before financial abuse occurs”.

I agree with Prof Tang.

I wish to ask what steps can be taken to increase the take-up rate of trust services amongst eligible families, especially amongst low-income families. First, what percentage of families who would benefit from setting up such trusts have in fact done so? Second, how can MSF agencies, social service and grassroots organisations work together to proactively identify families that can benefit so that SNTC, working with its partners, can educate them on the benefits of the trust services?

In addition to the above, I note that SNTC has evolved to provide, not just trust services, but other offerings such as subsidised insurance term plans and special needs savings scheme (SNSS). These are steps in the right direction. So my third question is : What other plans does SNTC have to ensure the financial security of persons with special needs?

Finally, how does SNTC plan to equip itself with sufficient resources and bandwidth to ensure that its services can be scaled up to meet the larger demand anticipated for its services?



Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.