As market conditions fluctuate, proactive financial strategies can make all the difference between safeguarding one's wealth and witnessing a potentially significant decline in assets.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of wealth management strategies in the face of uncertainty to help you navigate financial challenges.
This means spreading your investments across a variety of asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. The main objective of diversification is to mitigate risk and stabilize potential returns. In the face of financial uncertainty, diversification can serve as a buffer, protecting your portfolio from sudden market downturns. If one asset declines, the other assets may perform well and compensate for the loss. In essence, diversification is the financial equivalent of the saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." It's a prudent approach to investing, particularly during volatile market conditions.
This fund acts as a financial safety net, protecting you from unexpected expenses or income losses. The fund should ideally have enough money to cover three to six months of living expenditures. Keeping this fund in a highly liquid account, like a savings account, is recommended for easy access during emergencies.
With this buffer, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you are financially prepared to weather unexpected storms. Whether it's a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or significant repair costs, an emergency fund ensures you have the financial resources to handle these without jeopardizing your long-term financial goals.
This involves realigning the proportions of your assets to ensure they still match your desired risk level and financial goals. Market conditions can cause certain assets in your portfolio to gain or lose value, shifting your portfolio away from its target allocation. By rebalancing, you are essentially selling high-performing assets and buying more of the underperforming ones, which aligns with the principle of 'buy low, sell high'.
This practice helps keep your investment strategy on track, mitigating risks and capitalizing on market changes. Keep in mind that rebalancing should be done periodically, such as annually or semi-annually, and not in response to short-term market fluctuations.
Maintaining a long-term perspective is fundamental for effective wealth management, especially during periods of market volatility. While short-term market fluctuations can be unnerving, resisting the impulse to react hastily is important. Instead, focus on your long-term financial goals and resist swaying from your planned investment strategy based on short-term market dynamics.
Remember, the market has historically recovered from downturns, and temporary declines may provide buying opportunities for patient investors. Engaging a financial advisor can provide valuable counsel, help keep your emotions in check, and guide you in making informed decisions that align with your long-term financial objectives.
Making drastic changes to your investments during times of market volatility can be quite tempting. However, overreacting can often lead to decisions that may disrupt your long-term financial goals. Develop and stick to a disciplined investing plan, regardless of market conditions. Making rash judgments based on short-term market swings might cost you money and undermine your financial strategy.
Instead, strive to remain calm and composed, making rational decisions based on your long-term objectives and risk tolerance. Consult with your financial advisor before making significant decisions, particularly during periods of market uncertainty.
Financial planning is a dynamic process that requires regular attention and adjustments, especially amid economic uncertainty. Incorporating the proper strategy into your financial planning can go a long way in safeguarding your wealth and achieving your financial goals. It's important to remember, however, that every individual's financial situation is unique, and the best approach to wealth management will depend on personal circumstances, financial goals, risk tolerance, and life stage.
When immediate financial needs arise, quick and easy loans can be a beneficial tool. They provide immediate financial relief and are typically easy to apply for. While these loans can be a saving grace in emergencies, they should only be used wisely and sparingly, as they often come with higher interest rates.
In my view, everyone should look for advice on wealth management or succession planning. Each individual case is different and understanding your options early on will help match your ambitions and aspirations with actions.
Today, it is very common to get consultant services for financial investments either through a financial adviser, reviewing prestigious publications or listening to experts. This has become a mundane practice as it is tangible and it yields short- term gains that make it even more attractive. On the other hand, long-term wealth management is perceived as something in the distant future that is often not that optimistic and appealing to individuals.
Let me share an example that helps illustrate the different options and recommendations that adapt to different circumstances. If we have a person who is a US citizen, lives in the US and is married once with two kids. This is quite a different profile that might not need the same level of depth as a person who isn’t a US passport holder, lives in a different country, is divorced and has children from different marriages, as well as a family-run business with siblings. Both individuals will benefit from wealth management. However, the tools and services offered to each will be different.The core target audience for wealth management is residents in countries that are going through political and/or economic turmoil. It is a common practice for these individuals to invest their wealth in a different country than the one of their origin to ensure they can protect their wealth. They do so to ensure that their wealth will be managed according to their wants and needs and will be protected from local contexts.
Unfortunately, in my experience, most people do not realise the importance of wealth management until they are more mature in life or retired. It is never late, but at this stage of life, it is usually late to maximise the benefits, flexibility and outcome that can be managed with a long-term outlook. The pandemic has helped many of us realise how vulnerable we are and how quickly our lives can change. I hope that as we go back to a new normal, people keep this top of mind and reflect on planning their future to ensure it is aligned with their expectations and aspirations.
From my perspective, there are three common mistakes. The first and most common is that people think that there is a “one size fits all” solution. Word of mouth is usually a great way to spread information but when it comes to wealth planning, some people want to replicate what they have heard from families, partners, friends or neighbours. The reality is that usually each individual’s situation, wants and needs are different and therefore the “best” outcome of the planning can be quite different from case to case.
A second common mistake is to think that once the planning is done, it is done for good and it should not be revisited. This is not accurate as our personal context, the economic environment, and the laws and regulations can change, and we might need to adapt to meet the trustees’ goals.
Finally, sometimes and even without bad intentions, some local advisers or accounting advisers that are close to the individual can begin to provide advice based on what they have heard. However, in many instances, this may not be their camp of expertise and they can provide misleading information or generate false perceptions of what would or wouldn’t work for the individual.
When working with a wealth management specialist, you will be guaranteed that you’re looking beyond the context of today. An experienced professional will recommend solutions that make sense for the future while minimising any associated risks. They’ll look for alternatives that result in saving money and avoiding future bureaucracy and unnecessary costs.
An international wealth planner is a qualified professional that not only has the precise knowledge of local regulations for each individual but also those of third countries where investments usually take place.
As an example, for us in Miura, the word “client” does not exist. Our philosophy is to offer truly personalised service and therefore refer to people as our “guests” and “partners”. It can seem like semantics but it fully reflects our mindset on service. Once we define a structure, we are committed to working together in evaluating alternatives, making decisions, and pivoting if the needs or environment changes.
The first and most important difference is that a global firm has thousands of clients from across the globe and within their peer group, they “fight” with other similar companies for clients. Their business model is similar to a wholesaler and the clients are numbers that help drive efficiencies in resources. Regardless of the individuals’ characteristics, they focus on a short-term gain for each customer as they are aware that there will be high turnover as individuals also move from one firm to another looking for better fees. The revenue stream is mostly driven by new structures or dissolved structures that generate fees from the individuals.
On the contrary, a boutique firm is looking for a win-win relationship focused on long-term retention as opposed to short-term gain. The firm focuses on the “partner” or “guest” satisfaction that will generate added business. This means that the focus is more on the quality relationship than the quantity. The offering becomes personalised and strives to avoid over costs generated by a mass approach.
Another key difference is that often global firms “recommend” solutions that are first and foremost beneficial to the firm. The approach is more about “trends” or “internal interest” than the clients’ benefit. Those firms function under the assumption that clients will leave them sooner or later – they are like “constructors” who build what others recommend in a moment with the materials they have in stock.
A boutique firm has different objectives and key performance indicators. Here, the main objective is to drive excellence in the design of the structure and strive to leverage the most sophisticated tools and materials to find an ideal solution for each ‘partner” or “guest”. The adviser acts like an architect during the design of the process but then also finds ways to improve and optimise everything once the structure is implemented. The key performance indicator for a boutique firm is the excellence and satisfaction of their partners.
There isn’t. There can’t be one wealth management solution that will fit every person’s goals and objectives. Each individual is unique and therefore, each solution should be personalised.
Some larger organisations try to standardise their solutions and offer global products that drive internal efficiencies, but this does not translate into benefits for the individuals.
It’s not so much about urgency as it is about starting now. A good analogy for this is the case for health insurance. When we are healthy, we never think about it but when we need it, we feel extremely grateful that we have it.
When we think about wealth management, some people believe it is still “early” in their lives to discuss it, but the reality is that the sooner we plan for it, the better.
Everyone needs to start thinking about their wealth as early as possible, especially in the current uncertain environment. Timing is critical so book an appointment with a wealth management adviser now!
There are a few key things you can do to make sure your money is being managed in the best way possible. It's important to have a budget and to stick to it. You should also make sure you're investing your money wisely and not spending more than you can afford. Here are a few other tips to help you manage your wealth the right way.
They can give you great tax breaks while also providing you with potential profits. This is something to look into if you want to invest in real estate or other business ventures. It's important to do your research before investing in any type of partnership, however, as there are some risks involved. You can find SCSp experts who can help you make the best decision for your situation. If you're not sure if a partnership is right for you, consult with a financial advisor. Also, always remember to diversify your investments to minimize risk.
This is an important part of sticking to a budget. Every few months, sit down and look at where your money is going. Are there any areas where you can cut back? Are there any expenses that are higher than you'd like them to be? Reviewing your expenses regularly can help you stay on track with your financial goals. Additionally, it can help you identify any problem areas so you can make adjustments as needed. It's also a good idea to keep track of your spending in a budget journal or spreadsheet so you can see where your money is going each month.
One of the best things you can do for your financial future is to invest in yourself. This includes things like getting a good education, paying off debt, and building up your savings. Investing in yourself can pay off in the long run, so it's important to make it a priority. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to invest in other people, such as through a business venture, that can also be a great way to build your wealth. It's important to remember, however, that there are risks involved in any investment, so you should only invest what you can afford to lose.
It can be easy to overspend or make impulsive decisions when it comes to your finances. However, it's important to stay disciplined if you want to be successful in managing your wealth. This means setting a budget and sticking to it, being mindful of your spending, and making smart investment choices. It can be difficult to stick to a budget, but it's important to be aware of your spending patterns so you can make adjustments as needed. Additionally, it's helpful to have someone else hold you accountable for your financial goals. Whether it's a friend, family member, or financial advisor, having someone to help keep you on track can be invaluable.
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to managing your wealth is to have a plan. This means knowing what your financial goals are and how you're going to achieve them. Without a plan, it can be easy to make impulsive decisions or spend money without thinking about the long-term consequences. Having a plan can help you stay on track and make the most of your money. It's also important to review your plan regularly and make adjustments as needed.
When it comes to building wealth, it's important to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a healthy bank account. It takes time to save up money and make wise investment choices. However, if you're patient and disciplined, it's possible to achieve your financial goals. Also, remember that there will be ups and downs along the way. Don't let a setback discourage you from reaching your goals. Instead, use it as motivation to keep going. It's also important to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
Managing your wealth doesn't have to be complicated. By following these tips, you can make the most of your money and achieve your financial goals. Just remember to be patient, disciplined, and have a plan. With a little effort, you can make great strides in building your wealth. It's important to start now, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor down the line. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
Nothing in this article should be construed as advice of any kind or solicitation to work and/or invest with the author or Finance Monthly. These are the thoughts and beliefs of the author based on his personal experience and knowledge. Readers should always consult their own advisers on their wealth-related decisions.
The epidemic and the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war were the key variables impacting the wealth management business in the last 2 years. However, these events have mainly influenced the assets themselves rather than how money and other assets are managed.
The movement of the Standard and Poors 500 clearly illustrates these tendencies. This index monitors the weighted average of the share prices of 500 big businesses listed on US stock exchanges.
During the pandemic
Financial market developments in the first half of the reporting period were heavily biased toward equity markets and, in particular, riskier assets. Overall, this had a twofold effect: on the one hand, wealth management firms and their customers who switched in good times were able to expect up to triple-digit returns; on the other hand, the resulting flood of money led to a significant increase in the real estate sector and other markets.
In this situation, not only were those with substantial savings able to increase their wealth, but also many new people joined the club. They typically came from the following industries:
Of course, there were some short-term losers in this situation, including real estate developers, restaurant operators, and some players in the construction industry.
After a pandemic, in a war
The weakening of the virus and the gradual increase in general immunity made it seem for a short time that economic life would remain stagnant at this high level for some time. But experts had already sounded the alarm: we are facing a global crisis and associated inflation due to the labour shortages caused by the pandemic and the massive problems in the supply chain. Moreover, inflation has been further exacerbated by the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, skyrocketing oil and energy prices worldwide. And a major attack on the crypto market has also had a serious negative impact on financial markets already in a downtrend (especially the riskiest cryptocurrencies).
Those who did not act in time were either stuck in their positions on the stock market and the crypto market for an unpredictable period or suffered significant losses.
While 2020 and 2021 may have been a time for wealth accumulation, today's focus is on wealth preservation.
High net worth individuals and the market need fewer asset management experts
Research shows that high net worth individuals think about services quite differently than one might initially assume. For example, common sense and market logic would dictate that the number of wealth management professionals should decline during a crisis. A lower number of wealth management professionals are needed when overall wealth drops. On the contrary, research shows that demand tends to move toward asset management firms precisely because a more crisis-resistant portfolio needs to be built. Only assets managed by several firms with different strategies can be more crisis-resilient than a diversified portfolio.
Investing in Fortune 500 firms equals a balanced portfolio
Over the last ten years, many investors have depended only on the trendiest stock exchange companies. However, this strategy is only viable until there is a bull market (trending upward). Those who have followed this strategy may now realise that it makes sense to diversify much more broadly because the negative trend affects not just one sector but the entire stock market, almost without exception.
Instead of focusing on high-profile growth businesses, you may diversify your portfolio by investing in value stocks and stocks with varying market capitalisation to gain exposure to many industries. Furthermore, investing in an exchange-traded fund allows you to diversify and actively manage your assets without having to hire a financial manager.
Wealth management services that are prohibitively pricey
Many consumers misperception that this service is pricey due mainly to comparisons with typical bank costs. Private banking, asset management, and fiduciary services are more expensive than standard bank rates. However, they also offer considerably more significant potential for value generation. A professionally managed portfolio has a markedly better chance of generating significant returns in the short and long term.
Larger service providers offer better solutions in wealth management
Although many people believe that larger companies provide a higher level of service, and it may be true, this is an issue that should be considered from the perspective of individual preferences.
While small boutique agencies probably serve fewer clients than the market-leading large firms, they are also likely to devote more attention to individual clients. And it's not difficult to bring in additional staff to assist when needed.
With a larger asset management firm, the benefits of decades of experience, a high-quality track record, or standardised processes are more likely to be reasons to choose. In addition, larger institutions may not cater to customers with less than £5 million in investable assets or may only give restricted services to such clients.
In this rapidly changing environment, wealth management firms are doing everything they can to understand the needs of their clients comprehensively and to maintain and increase the assets under management.
To do this, they apply the following best practices:
When creating a wealth management plan, professional service providers typically begin with an inventory of existing assets. Assets of five million pounds can be considered a diversified portfolio that includes several types of assets. These may include:
Asset management firms evaluate this framework and learn about the client's thoughts as a first step. While some people do not care about the details, others are concerned with minor details.
Therefore, it is vital to assess the current situation and determine where the client wants to go in the short, medium, and long term. An overview of the structure is also important because an easily liquidated asset consisting solely of listed assets requires the management of artefacts and real estate.
As a result of the discussion, the trustee develops an overall picture based on which they create an asset management plan. This may include the creation of an appropriate legal form, such as the establishment of a trust for the proper management and simple inheritance of real estate and business assets.
One of the most significant global trends for the future may be a considerable increase in the number of high-net-worth individuals. Of course, this process has not just started in recent years. However, start-ups and cryptocurrencies have contributed significantly to democratising the path to wealth, making it accessible to an ever-increasing number of people.
The digitisation of the field and the use of artificial intelligence, neural networks, and learning algorithms are constantly improving the quality of services and the customer experience in countries around the world. Likely future trends include the proliferation of chatbots, which make contact even easier, and the further personalisation of portfolio management.
While the number of Russian oligarchs residing in the UK is not publicly available, at the time of writing, a significant number of them seem to have been restricted in connection with the war between Russia and Ukraine. This restriction primarily includes a complete freeze on assets managed here, including trusts belonging to them that have been uncovered to date - more than £10 billion in total. How the war will end, no one knows at this point. However, there is a good chance of long-term asset freezes that will negatively impact the value of all assets managed by the UK wealth management sector.
Other expected trends affecting the future of the industry:
2022 - Inflation, economic downturn, stock market highs and lows, cryptocurrency crash. Even with the benefit of hindsight, it will not be easy to review this year's events, even now that we are in it! However, chances are, this year will be more about wealth preservation than significant gains. So let us consider some tips on how to preserve the value of your portfolio:
2022 is the third successive year that confirms we live in very exciting and eventful times. It is truly a historical time - with all its pros and cons. However, the economy is becoming more and more unpredictable, so you may want to consider wealth management and protection as an integral part of wealth creation.
Ramesan Doraisami is an entrepreneur, investor, business adviser and international professional Speaker.
For more than 20 years, he has been investing, training entrepreneurs and working with other investors in entrepreneurship and business. During this time, he created several businesses, both as his ventures and on behalf of global clients.
In 2013 he founded Azalea Ventures Limited as his investment firm and a global consulting firm, LCL Group, based in London. For the last nine years, he has worked with start-ups and small business owners as an investor, mentor, and adviser to help entrepreneurs generate personal wealth through their businesses.
Recently Ramesan launched the Entrepreneur Success Foundry, dedicated to providing much-needed training and education to both current and would-be entrepreneurs, significantly improving their success potential. Ramesan intends to share his knowledge and extensive experience with a more significant number of entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur Success Foundry.
Sources: https://www.google.com/finance/quote/.INX:INDEXSP?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwillYrutfb3AhXjMewKHe3uCqQQ3ecFegQIGBAg https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/wealthmanagement.asp https://www.capgemini.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Top-Trends-in-Wealth-Management-2022-2.pdf https://www.wealthspire.com/blog/5-myths-financial-planning/ https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/investing/what-is-a-financial-plan https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-hits-key-russian-oligarchs-with-sanctions-worth-up-to-10bn https://www.wiseradvisor.com/blog/financial-planning/wealth-preservation-strategies/
What are the current trends shaping wealth management in the high-net-worth space?
One trend we’re seeing is the push-pull relationship whereby clients have cash on hand and want to deploy it but they have a mental block that is preventing them from deploying large lump sums of their capital. There is a reservation that real estate is potentially overvalued. There is also a reservation about geopolitical issues that affect the stock market or may affect the market in the future. We also see a lot of fortune-telling syndrome happening.
51% of Canadians still don’t have a will and money is starting to move from one generation to the other. I’ve spent 17 years in the business and now more than ever, money is intentionally being given to adult children. “Do something responsible with this X dollars” say the parents.
We work with people who are about to sell their company or are thinking about doing it and yet they have no idea what they spend each month. The second part of this situation is a spouse who has not worked for many years, who really has never been part of the finances so getting them to look at how much is being spent can be a challenge. We walk clients through an exercise called BAM. BAM stands for Bare Ass Minimum, referring to monthly expenses that exist regardless of your lifestyle spending. The baseline bills. This is the starting point for someone who is considering retiring and it is useful for clients to accumulate and wonder how much they need to build up before selling. They can accumulate a mix of cash, stocks, real estate and business equity to make a total pot, and then use the BAM to figure out how long the money will last spending X per month with 0 return. That is a starting point.
Over the near two decades in the business, I have used permanent insurance where appropriate and some years have not implemented a single policy. In other years I have encountered many clients who have effectively used the permanent insurance solution. Currently in the market with the continuous tax reforms in Canada in the government and limitations being implemented, permanent insurance seems to be more of interest to some clients now. From an estate planning tax standpoint one of the last standing advantages is the Capital Dividend Account. Life insurance death benefit is one of a few items that create a capital dividend account (CDA) which can flow money out of a company tax-free.
With the recent real estate values growing at a fast pace and the continuous business sale activity many clients are utilising reorganisations of the corporate structure. For wealthy families, they likely know they will never run out of money or assets, but if they can organise their companies in a certain fashion and it enhances their tax efficiency or enables a more seamless estate transition while they are alive or dead, this can be effective planning. We are working closely with estate lawyers and accountants to set up structures. Having investment accounts in corporations that have large corp loss carryforwards or shareholder owing allows for effective planning.
Blended families is a real thing. Wealth and blended families can be a challenge but when you have blood children involved in the family business (or family farm) and new spouses (recent or long time). Ensuring there is estate equalisation is key. More time and communication should be spent by adviser teams to get deep into the motivators of founders and also the family members involved. Dr Tom Dean’s book, Every Family’s Business, is a must-read for all family-run businesses.
At Serviss Wealth, we help clients with creating a one-page road map by using a software called Asset Map to provide a visual experience that displays all of a household’s members, entities, financial assets, liabilities, cash flows, and insurance policies.
They need to consider our help with this because being successful and running a profitable business has many dynamics to it. Over the years, successful families accumulate a number of financial buckets, property buckets and insurance buckets. Keeping track can be done by some but many of our clients come to us handing us the keys and delegating, so they can live a certain lifestyle, under a certain premise of comfort knowing their wealth, health and dreams are being constantly checking in on.
The best wealth preservation advice I can offer is to stay broad in your assets.
What are your top financial tips during uncertainty?
The best wealth preservation advice I can offer is to stay broad in your assets. There is so much conspiracy talk out there that XYZ will happen and if this happens, then that will happen so you should own all ABC assets if you want to be protected. Realty is no one knows what will happen and if you look back at history, some assets perform better than others. Some assets benefit from world events and others don’t. Having investment vehicles that are positively affected by inflation that have been around for decades and navigated through trying times has worked out fairly well in the past. Having some cash in high-interest accounts, doing some research on Bitcoin and Ethereum might be worth looking at for a host of reasons. Physical gold and a small amount of physical cash others say is prudent. Lending money to a quality source provides a different exposure and one asset class often overlooked and considered by some as risky is the Small Cap space. And looking at your own business, practice, real estate holdings, invest in yourself. Invest in what you can control. Have you cleaned up your own kitchen as best you can before exploring investments outside of your own world?
Liquidity is a concern or an area that I think many business owners are vulnerable in. A large part of their net worth is tied up in the value of their operating business. We help people find ways to extract the value out of their business but still keep the business a solid going concern for decades to come. And we help them to engage the management team in the process.
Some of the key lessons the past year has taught me is time goes by very fast. Returns for equity in 2021 for the most part were very good depending on your exposure. In late 2020 the world was unsure if it was opening up or closing down. Then 2021 was full of lockdowns, variants, some friends getting ill but not dying. And if a person watched the news, it was very bad. It was negative, scary, anxiety-ridden and not centred around wellness by any means. Yet the market roared double digits plus percent up. So, one may conclude if you are only watching the market you could have made a lot of money, but if you were watching the news you stayed out of the market.
Some of the key lessons the past year has taught me is time goes by very fast.
This is a key lesson that I learned over the last year - the good news is hard to find. If you set goals that need positivity then be aware of your news sources and the amount of time you consume. Think: Does what I am doing right now serve me and my goals?
Business partners expanding their business, initiating a succession plan, and taking on debt for the right reasons. A reference to how Dustin facilitates family meetings to bring clarity to wealth transitions be it a business, a cottage, cash or investments.
The common scenario we help our clients with is simple risk management when it comes to partnerships. The file fact pattern is this – two business partners own a manufacturing business. Partner one, John, owns 75% and partner Bill owns 25%. John is older and eventually wants to retire so he is selling 24% more to Bill. To purchase the 24%, Bill needs to come up with $3,000,000 which he does not have in cash. John has no other buyers so he needs to work with Bill and knows the company is more valuable with Bill since he has worked there for 20 years. The operating company is currently debt-free and worth about $12,000,000. This is oversimplified for this case study purpose, but financing was put in place inside the operating company and the $3,000,000 was given from the operating company to John’s holding company. Now the operating company is holding new debt and the share split is 51% John and 49% Bill. So where is the risk in this situation as it applies to if one partner dies? Well, the company now has debt, it would also lose a key contributor to the business which likely would affect the company value, which affects the families of both the deceased partner and surviving partner (who by the way now needs to pick up the slack of the partner who died). Since the goal is to sell this business to a third party within 10 years, the simple solution was to take out 10-year-term life insurance on both partners for the amount of their respective share ownership. In this case $6,000,000 each.
The question really was: John or Bob, if you died, would you want to be partners now with the deceased partner’s wife? Both answered no, so the question was how do we buy out the surviving partner’s wife as quick and easy as possible and know there is near sufficient cash to do so. Taking on large or more debt in the near future was not desired by either partner.
We then discussed if they would like to extinguish the debt at the same time if a partner died. They felt this extra $3,000,000 each was not needed since they usually carry around $2,000,000 in the bank account as afloat. We also discussed having a policy slightly above the value now to account for growth. They felt that if the company grew in 5 years, the debt would likely be a lot less and they would use new financing at that time to solve any shortfall the insurance didn’t provide. The shareholder agreement was also adjusted, and the life insurance was noted in the agreement.
For more information, visit https://servisswealth.com/
After initially building a solid practice at Investors Group, Joseph realised that as the business and the industry was evolving, they needed a change. His company joined Richardson Wealth six years ago, which has opened the door to a wider universe of alternative assets that can add value and enhance portfolio diversification – from private equity and real estate to private debt. According to Joseph, clients have responded well to the unbiased access to investment solutions, which has led to a growing referral base and the expansion into their third client segment of high-net-worth investors. Bakish Wealth’s book boasts $200 million in assets under management (AUM) across 490 households, as well as a “large insurance component.”
We speak with Mr Bakish below about the pandemic’s impact on wealth management and his advice on how to best plan for the future.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the wealth management industry and your firm?
The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a challenging year for our clients, particularly the
physicians. For them, we took special care to focus on the basics. Conducting meetings virtually instead of at hospitals allowed doctors to fit me into their schedules. It was me reaching out to say: “I’ve got this under control. While you guys handle the health crisis, I’m handling the wealth crisis.” I explained that the steps we put in place before were designed to deal with a large, exogenous shock, like a pandemic. Clients were receptive. They all take the mantra of ‘Think long-term and ignore the dips. Luckily, we didn’t get many panicked calls.
As far as how our team handled the transition to working completely remotely, they were flexible and enthusiastic. Most were dealing with young children and partners wedged up right beside them, and they handled it in stride. I’m very proud of the dedication & adaptability of our team.
What are some of the key lessons this past year has taught you?
Remaining flexible and planning for the unforeseen is essential. Moving an entire business from in-person contacts to online was a challenge so having the fewest distractions going into it was essentially in securing a seamless transition. In portfolio construction, having a holding that can adjust its equity exposure automatically really helps to improve reactivity when “black swan” events occur.
Most importantly, allowing team members to adapt on their own time and in their own way makes a great team even better.
Keep a long-term horizon and ignore short-term noise.
What are the things in your approach that set Bakish Wealth from your competitors?
A quarter of our business comes from managing what we call “unique opportunities” on a deal-by-deal basis for accredited investors and ultra-high-net-worth clients — alternative investments (a.k.a. alts) such as private equity, real estate, venture capital and private debt.
One alternative structure we use is feeder funds, which have become more accessible and reasonably priced thanks to financial innovation.
What are your top wealth management tips during times of uncertainty?
Remain invested for the long term. Keep a long-term horizon and ignore short-term noise.
Focus on client emotions in times of uncertainty and let the portfolio do its job. We have found that touchpoints in chaotic times are far more memorable than in good times and resonate better when doing annual reviews once the storm has passed. Remain confident as you are more valuable and able to influence a client’s behaviour than any media available to the public.
His focus is on advising and managing the larger and more complex structures for both institutional and private clients.
The Dixcart Group office in Guernsey was founded 50 years ago and is one of ten offices covering nine jurisdictions. Other offices are located in Cyprus, Isle of Man, Malta, Portugal (Lisbon and Madeira), St Kitts & Nevis, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK.
Dixcart globally provides effective solutions to both private and institutional clients, by establishing and managing structures in appropriate international jurisdictions as well as offering residency and citizenship advice for those clients looking to relocate themselves, their families or their business.
The Guernsey office provides wealth preservation and succession planning solutions to private clients, with extensive experience in establishing and managing family offices, trusts and foundations. Alongside this, the office also provides services to institutional and corporate group clients and offers experience in administering the varied structure types generally used. Services also include company secretarial and corporate governance support to mid-tier and listed companies.
Why do more people need to consult a professional who can help them with wealth management, especially in the current uncertain environment?
There is an ever-increasing number of individuals creating wealth. This wealth is not just generated through the traditional routes of property, businesses and investment, but also through new technologies such as e-commerce and e-gaming, as well as higher incomes being earned in sport and entertainment. Much of this newer wealth is being generated at a greater pace and a younger age.
Clients and their families are increasingly mobile with family members widely spread across multiple jurisdictions. They require professional guidance for the correct structuring and planning of their affairs to ensure compliance with the differing jurisdictional requirements, while still meeting their overall goals and objectives. The correct professional adviser will offer advice and guidance and suggest solutions that the client might not even be aware of, as well as provide the comfort of having the knowledge and experience in dealing with such technical matters. In today’s world of obligations pertaining to multiple tax treaties, exchange of information and substance requirements, together with varying regulation and legislation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, failure to comply can have substantial consequences.
With the current pandemic and its effect on the world economy, governments are going to need to fund their expensive national COVID-19 support programmes. Tax revenues will be down from traditional tax sources, and governments will look to collect additional tax from the individually wealthy.
With the current pandemic and its effect on the world economy, governments are going to need to fund their expensive national COVID-19 support programmes. Tax revenues will be down from traditional tax sources, and governments will look to collect additional tax from the individually wealthy. There is therefore even more reason for clients to ensure that their affairs are being reviewed and looked after by appropriate professional advisers.
What’s the best wealth preservation advice you can offer to our readers?
Know your goals and objectives. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and review these goals regularly. If your goals are not clear and cannot be clearly communicated, you are unlikely to attain them.
Consider how you are going to achieve these goals and objectives. You need to choose your professional advisers and service providers with your own goals in mind. Track record and experience is important but ensure that this experience is relevant to you and your circumstances. The advisers you choose must not only be good at what they do, but be professionals that you must be able to work alongside in the longer term as well.
Plan for the future. As soon as the next generation are old enough, involve them in the process. This will ensure continuity and an inflow of new ideas.
What are the current trends re-shaping wealth management?
For some time, tax has been less of a motivator in terms of wealth management with wealth protection, preservation and succession planning becoming more of a priority. This trend has been highlighted during the current pandemic as the worldwide lockdown has given people time and inclination to review their affairs. We are receiving many requests for advice on wealth protection, preservation and succession planning. Good corporate governance, transparency and tax compliance is far more important than the privacy and cheap structures of the past.
Good corporate governance, transparency and tax compliance is far more important than the privacy and cheap structures of the past.
Social and environmental concerns are much higher on clients’ agendas, particularly when looking to invest, as is reputational awareness regarding where the individual’s or family’s wealth is being managed.
Clients and their families want to be more mobile and flexible and need appropriately aligned advice.
With the potential for further lockdowns, consideration is being given as to where individuals and families wish to live. We are seeing an increase, within the Dixcart Group, of clients looking to move to jurisdictions perceived as being ‘safer’, with no doubt increased numbers of private residences.
What is the impact of ‘Economic Substance’ (ESR), as this new requirement is being introduced across circa 140+ international jurisdictions?
ESR is very much an extension of the historical ‘mind and management’ requirements and the BEPS legislation, introduced to ensure structures meet the appropriate tax residency test. Where jurisdictions already have a good track record of tax compliance and harmonisation, ESR has effectively put what was best practice for these jurisdictions, into legislation.
This has led to a review of offshore structures by clients and their advisers with questions being asked as to the structure’s purpose and whether this is still relevant under the new legislation. Decisions are then made whether to migrate them onshore or to a more suitable jurisdiction, or simply close them down.
Jurisdictions with a less favourable track record of meeting international standards are now facing an uphill battle to meet the ESR legislative requirements that they have had to implement, with the result that banking and lending institutions are reviewing all of the arrangements with structures located in these jurisdictions.
We are pleased to report that in March 2019, the EU Code of Conduct Group approved Guernsey’s substance regime. This was followed by further endorsement in July 2019 by the OECD Forum on Harmful Tax Practices, who concluded that the domestic legal framework of Guernsey was in line with agreed standards and therefore “not harmful”.
Why is Guernsey such a popular location for High Net Worth Individuals to relocate to?
Guernsey is a popular choice for individuals looking to relocate, with its proximity to the UK and mainland Europe, together with its beneficial tax regime.
Guernsey has no capital gains, inheritance or other wealth taxes. There is no VAT or goods and service tax. There is also an attractive tax cap for newcomers to the island.
The island has the added benefits of beautiful scenery and a slightly slower-paced, more traditional way of life with the reassurance of personal safety and excellent community spirit.
What sets your firm apart from other wealth management consultancies?
Dixcart Group is privately owned and completely independent. We are not tied to any other Group that may have conflicting goals, nor owned by a Private Equity House that has performance targets to be met, nor listed on the Stock Exchange with an expectation of shareholder returns.
This means that we can provide clients with impartial advice and the best solutions to meet their specific needs.
There is constant communication throughout the Group through regular meetings and more recently via electronic conferences, to ensure that everyone is kept abreast of developments in the wealth industry. There are deep friendships that run, not only within and across the Dixcart offices, but also with our clients where we have often been trusted advisers across multiple generations.
Tel: +44 (0)1481 738700
In the medical profession, Dr Rodney Peyton OBE, MD has been called the World’s #1 Surgical Coach. But that’s not all he focusses his time on - he is also an international speaker, author, entrepreneur and investor, who has shared the stage with other investors and entrepreneurs including Hugh Hilton, Steve Wozniak, Nido Qubein, Stedman Graham, George Ross and JT Foxx. We spoke with him from his beach home on the Gulf of Mexico in Treasure Island, Florida about the five fundamental success strategies for ensuring life-long, robust financial health which will allow investors and entrepreneurs, not just to survive the next inevitable downturn, but to also be in a good position to profit from the myriads of business opportunities which arise during these cycles when market sentiment is low.
For most business owners, entrepreneurs and investors, the COVID-19 pandemic was a salutary experience. With minimal warning, their wealth bucket sprung a very big leak and they watched many years of growth and investment rapidly disappear. Attention turned from Return on Investment (ROI) to survival mode and many may well never recover, despite various government bailouts. The warnings were there. This time it was a pandemic, a decade ago it was a banking crisis. With both scenarios, there was a radical clear-out of those whose underlying physical or financial wealth was not robust. This situation will be repeated, and there is no better time than right now to ensure good health in both your personal and business life.
The key objective of the five fundamental wealth strategies is to take back control and gain the freedom to fulfil your life goals. Increasing your financial intelligence allows you to move from your present reality to a future well rounded and wealthy life that you, and those close to you, desire and deserve. The goal is to develop, grow and maintain diverse passive income streams to achieve what is termed financial independence, where passive income covers all the routine living expenses which suit your lifestyle. The ultimate objective is financial freedom - your lifestyle will remain secure and free of any market forces or changes in the general economic environment.
Regardless of where the audience is from, when asked from stage about their main focus in life, the vast majority of responses fit into five categories:
Ultimately, most would argue that lifestyle is the most important category to them and that in order to achieve and maintain their standard of living, the underlying financial situation has to be stable and robust. I invite audiences to take a moment to set some goals for their own lifestyle - both in the present and post-retirement. What are their actual living costs at the moment including household, general insurance, medical, transportation, entertainment, and holiday costs? What would happen to these if they had to stop working for any reason and if the situation was to continue for three months, six months or a year into the future? Would they be able to sustain even their present lifestyle without alternative sources of income? What would happen with ill-health or after retirement?
I have found that many people, particularly professionals, would have great difficulty in maintaining their present lifestyle - especially if inflation is added to the equation. I am not a financial adviser. What I am is someone with more than 30 years’ experience, not just as a medical professional, but as an entrepreneur, investor and business owner, who has learned from personal experience. I have also had the opportunity to study and discuss wealth strategies with experts from around the globe and make them relevant for professional colleagues. This is what helped me to develop the following five fundamental wealth strategies for promoting and maintaining passive wealth.
“Multiple Streams of *Cash *Protected * by Active* Review”
Let’s explore each one of these strategies in more detail.
Controlled diversification of passive income streams is fundamental. In my experience, the main opportunities for passive income from investments are:
Commercial property such as retail centres and office buildings are, as evidenced by recent events, much riskier and should be left to professional investors.
Of all of these investments, the most secure over time is real estate. Just about every investment is linked in some way to assets, particularly property, and most successful entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen have an extensive real estate portfolio. Apart from having shares in real estate investments such as Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs), there are two main categories of real estate holdings – ‘buy to sell’ and ‘buy to hold’.
‘Buy to sell’ is analogous to buying beef cattle. Beef farmers buy stock low, spend time and energy fattening them up and hope to sell at a considerable profit. This is, however, speculative, and depends on market circumstances when the cattle come to be sold. Similarly, buying a property off-plan, or making improvements with the hope that it can be sold with a substantial profit, is also a speculative risk. Over time there will be many cycles in the value of real estate and these occur at different phases in different geographical locations. The challenge is not to get caught with a property that cannot be sustained, due to mortgage and maintenance costs, through any downturn in the cycle. A forced sale can result in considerable losses, which is exactly what happened to many investors in 2007/8 and is happening again in the recent downturn. In order to speculate successfully, significant financial backing to cover market variations is required and therefore, for most, this type of real estate investment is not a secure method of developing ongoing passive income.
By contrast, dairy farmers buy cattle which produce milk daily. He still has to feed and look after them but he has a regular supply of product to sell. Over time, profits may not be as great as with speculative investment, but there is rarely a total loss unless some disaster completely wipes out the herd. In property terms, these are called ‘buy to hold’ properties which produce rental income. Provided you buy well, the rental income covers the mortgage and maintenance costs to produce a monthly net income. Higher-end properties are higher risk as vacancy rates cause significant loss of income which will make it difficult to cover the costs. As a rule of thumb, I like all my properties to cash flow independently of each other. Often the best types of properties are those for low to middle-income groups. Even when there is a downturn in the market, property runs in cycles and providing they were bought well, short of a natural disaster or war, residential property will generally remain a good source of income in the long-term. Commercial property such as retail centres and office buildings are, as evidenced by recent events, much riskier and should be left to professional investors.
The stock market can give good returns, particularly with index-linked shares, but does require careful monitoring. For most busy professionals, such monitoring is not realistic and most rely on a company to manage their investment portfolio. Unfortunately, commission charges may have a significant negative impact on the compounded long-term gain, so be sure to negotiate rates and to be aware of high turnover, known as churning. Additionally, although the various indices eventually go up, the basket of the top companies within the index may change dramatically. The numbers may therefore increase, but an individual company may fall completely out of the index so that investing in today’s ‘top 10’ may not be the same as investing in next year’s ‘top 10’. There is a similar situation with the success record and reputation of particular fund managers who may have a good reputation in the press but remember - the past does not always equal the future.
Short-term lending for asset-based investments may produce a healthy return, often around 15 to 20% per annum. Neither the investment itself nor the success, or otherwise, of a specific business venture may be of particular interest to the investor who is generally backing the people involved, covered by the security of an asset or an insurance contract. These investments can vary between assisting builders to buy, develop and possibly flip properties to working with the film industry, not to invest in a movie itself, but to provide bridging loans between the time stars have been contracted and the banks and other institutions fund actual movie productions.
There are many other groups of assets, most of which are highly speculative. This includes everything from investing in commodities such as oil, gas, or precious metals to more specialist investments in coins, stamps, antiques, vintage vehicles or works of art. The challenge with these is that they may not be easily realisable into cash and would not, therefore, help create financial independence.
There is no such thing as a self-made millionaire – everyone has benefitted from the experience of others.
Another form of trading is in foreign exchange - or FOREX. There is great fluidity in the currency markets, and they can give high returns over even a short time span. Again, an individual wishing to undertake this form of trading would require a lot of training and these trades demand a considerable amount of time on an ongoing basis. Investing with a company with a good track record can produce a return upwards of 20% in today’s market.
Intellectual property is intangible or created in the mind. Examples would be a book, an invention, a design, a piece of art or a symbol and all intellectual property should be protected by copyright, patents, and trademarks. For professionals, one of the most frequent returns on intellectual property is in royalties which can be from book sales or the use of portions of a book, for instance when chapters are used for teaching in a university. It may also include income from subscription podcasts or webinars.
The goal is to create a balanced and diverse portfolio with multiple streams of passive income so that a downturn in one sector can be offset against upturns in others.
Cash is king. The front of the American dollar states “In God we Trust”. That is fine, but everyone else pays cash. Every month there has to be actual, passive, spendable income from investments or all the work in setting up your portfolio comes to nothing. I, along with many others, have found myself at times supporting an under-performing investment and the learning is not to become so emotionally attached to any investment that it is difficult to let go of it. It is essential to be realistic about the returns being made on any investment, which goes back to what I said earlier - cash flow is king. Is there an actual profit after every expense associated with it has been taken into account? With property, expenses include not just mortgage payments, but also the cost of maintenance, management, advertising, employees, insurance as well as any legal expenses. Will the mortgage costs change over time? What are the tax implications for any perceived profit, especially if there is a payback of mortgage principal from the rents?
It is therefore vital to have, not just book-keeping, but proper accountancy where the provided information is not just in terms of “stats” but in terms of “stats that count”. It is important that numbers are not simply crunched, but that the full story behind the numbers is evaluated in terms of quarterly and annual Profit and Loss (P&L) so that advice can be accessed in relation to the most cost-efficient way of managing any investment. There should always be two pairs of eyes on any set of accounts as well as your own.
Just about every government encourages individuals to invest in a pension, and while building up a pension fund has advantages, especially in terms of tax savings, a pension often does not provide financial independence, let alone financial freedom. Normally it will produce some level of income on which to build, but this can vary considerably if the value of the pension return is dependent on market forces.
Once a passive income stream develops, profits have to be protected and a robust tax strategy must be employed. In any jurisdiction there are mitigation strategies, such as acquiring and keeping holdings within a tax-efficient legal entity. Expert advice from those conversant and experienced in dealing with such strategies is essential. It is also important when developing these entities to include an exit strategy, both for the profits generated and for the holdings themselves.
While it is obvious that insurance has to be in place, particularly public liability, it is also important to have insurance for the principals involved in any company in case untoward events prevent them from functioning in their role. This should include full medical cover and in particular, cover for critical illness. Term insurance contracts are a relatively inexpensive method of covering the heavy loans which occur during the growth phase of a portfolio. Another vital insurance is a succession strategy in relation to how holdings may be handed over to another generation with minimal tax implications.
Finally, many investors have fallen foul of company regulations, especially with smaller entities. With corporations or companies, particular rules have been set in various jurisdictions for these to be regarded as entities in their own right and not as a simple ‘flow-through’ for investors. These companies, therefore, must follow the rules including having annual general meetings, a proper election of officers, the keeping of regular company minutes and regular filings of their status with appropriate government regulators. Failing to do so could render their company structure null and void.
While these income streams are termed passive, they require to be actively supervised and managed. Even if a reputable team is in place, be it internal or external to the organisation, the ultimate responsibility and control must remain with the investor/business owner. This requires regular and frequent analysis of the figures and validated projections against agreed goals. In other words, you need to “mind your own business”.
There is, therefore, no such thing as a truly passive income. It is a true saying that no-one takes care of your money like yourself and, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the business or investment, principals need to be actively involved. For instance, if a property is being looked after by a management company, are they keeping up with the maintenance, are the tenants content? If not, the value of the property may decrease and may lead to civil or even criminal charges, for example, if a tenant is injured because gas or electrics have not been regularly checked. Poor maintenance and management may also result in difficulties with licensing authorities. Control of these entities is generally a team sport and detailed records of any major changes must be maintained.
Benjamin Franklin said that two things in life are constant - death and taxes. There is a third - change. Whatever happens, life circumstances and the context of investing will change, requiring regular and frequent analysis of all the figures and validated projections against agreed goals with the investment strategy being altered, dependent on circumstances.
Tax laws change and therefore mitigation strategies which were appropriate at one time may no longer be available, for example, loss of tax relief on mortgage interest payments or a tax authority’s view on liability of particular legal entities.
In terms of real estate, some areas will ‘gentrify’ and increase in value whereas others will be in decline, so the value of any particular asset may vary, particularly in relation to the ability to bring in rent. Good commercial tenants may suffer in a market downturn or be affected by changes in the environment. For instance, in one of my own commercial properties, the creation of a new highway virtually destroyed the business of several tenants for more than a year. Other business owners may decide to retire and buildings may have to undergo modernisation and reconfiguration to meet market demand, or indeed be replaced in order to obtain the highest and best use of the land.
Finally, investors, entrepreneurs and business people themselves have a life cycle and what may have been appropriate when growing assets in their 40s, may not be appropriate at later stages in life when, for instance in retirement, they require a higher financial return to maintain their lifestyle.
Continuing education in relation to investments and the business environment is an absolute requirement of successful investing, as is working with appropriately experienced coaches and mentors. There is no such thing as a self-made millionaire – everyone has benefitted from the experience of others. Every investor should identify a group of successful, like-minded individuals with whom to share, compare and seek advice.
Unfortunately, when starting the process of building their portfolio and with little money to spare, many people rely on “financial advisers” who either work for a particular company (so they often do not have a personal background of entrepreneurship and investing) or are perhaps more academic and theoretical in their experience. It is important to seek advice from those who have been there before, who know, understand and have proven success in a particular business environment.
To quote Tony Robbins: “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want, copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results”. To conclude, it is essential to follow a good, well thought out ‘SYSTEM’ which stands for: Save YourSelf Time, Energy, Money.
The five fundamental wealth strategies is a proven system used by many of the world’s richest entrepreneurs to grow and develop their passive income and to protect their wealth in the long-term, no matter how personal or market conditions alter. They will work for you, provided you become financially educated and build a team of experts to support your investment strategy.
The six clear principles to follow are:
For more information, go to www.rpeyton.com
When should financial advisers, such as Wealth Managers, Bankers and Trust Officers, Tax Advisers or Attorneys call in a Personal Property Appraiser to work with their clients? Why do clients need appraisals when they want to have financial advice? To answer these questions, one only has to ask: “How can I help my clients to effectively plan their financial future, if they don’t know what all they own and how much it’s worth?”
As financial professionals know, clients have wide-ranging needs relating to personal property ownership, and the services that appraisers provide can establish a solid foundation and basis of value so that one can advise and help a client manage their assets.There are many situations when working with a qualified professional appraiser is a necessity, such as when deciding about scheduling for Insurance, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Equitable Distribution of Property, Estate Taxes, Gift Tax, Charitable Contributions, Damage Claims and Litigation for any reason.
Unlike major art collectors, the majority of clients inherit or collect bits and pieces for years, but are often unaware of what they own, or the current value. Contacting an appraiser to do an inventory and detailed
appraisal is the first step. An appraisal report is a legal document and one as important as a will. Frequently having an appraisal done will be the first time that a client’s property will have been accurately identified, described and valued for any purpose, and has proven particularly important for the recovery of items in the case of theft. Often a client’s personal property will be of greater value than their residence, and by having an appraisal to review, advisers are able to help clients make informed decisions and plan ahead. Once an
adviser has the necessary value information about the client’s property, they can make sure that there are no surprises and help them avoid potential problems with heirs or make choices that might keep them from reaching their financial goals.
Although laws may differ according to country, it is particularly important for financial advisers to work with a professional, accredited appraiser who has no vested interest in the property to be appraised.
Whether it involves fine art, a particular collection or the accumulated valuables in their residences, an appraisal report, if properly prepared by a qualified professional appraiser, will provide a defensible value at
a particular given time. A proper appraisal report should be prepared by an independent, accredited professional appraiser, who belongs to one of the major recognized appraisal organizations and is compliant with USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) which are the quality control standards for all appraisals performed in the United States and its territories. The report should be presented in a cohesive,
logical, readable manner and should provide a client with evaluations and analyses of their tangible assets. In this respect, appraisals are particularly applicable and necessary for wealth managers, trust & estate practices, the insurance industry, and to collectors.
Although laws may differ according to country, it is particularly important for financial advisers to work with a professional, accredited appraiser who has no vested interest in the property to be appraised. This will ensure that the value conclusion is independent, accurate and will clarify questions of value under any circumstances. Not only do national taxation services, but also museums, institutions, businesses, insurance companies
and collectors all require appraisal reports that are objective, true and independent of auction houses, dealers and other collectors.
Recent hurricanes, fire disasters, earthquakes and tsunami around the world spotlight how financial advisers and insurance companies working together with appraisers/valuers can help their clients to be prepared for and begin to recover from such natural disasters.
Therefore it would be prudent for those working in a financial advisory capacity to always consider working with a qualified professional appraiser, to ensure that they have all the facts needed to advise their clients on how best to prepare for the future.
About Jean O'Brien:
Jean O’Brien, Principal of JA O’Brien Associates, is an Accredited Senior Member of the American Society of Appraisers with over 30 years of experience appraising a broad range of Fine Art, Decorative Arts and Antiques. Her background includes degrees in Studio Art and Art History, ASA professional appraisal training, and over two years at Christie’s International Auction House Education Division in London, where she earned two diplomas from the Royal Society of Art.
Jean A. OBrien, ASA
Principal, J.A. OBrien Associates, LLC
4817 West 69th Street
Prairie Village, Kansas 66208, USA
Telephone: 913 722 2460
913 787 1926
How has the wealth management landscape developed recently and what has influenced this?
The thing I love the most about our industry is that it is always changing. In addition to changing market conditions, there are new products developed and made available on an ongoing basis, and most significantly - clients’ expectations, needs and objectives are always changing too. For investors entering or being in retirement, there are more potential solutions available today than ever before. From low-cost and no-load insurance products to ETFs and separately managed accounts focused on paying a reliable income stream from high-quality dividend paying stocks. It takes a lot of research and dedication to sift through it all, determine the best in class solutions, tune out the noise from product salesmen and advertisements, all the while knowing that a changing market environment may require a complete rethinking of the current strategy.
What are common misconceptions you find that clients have towards wealth management?
One of the first discussions I try to have with clients is about what they want versus what they need. Wants are often heavily influenced by personal biases and predispositions towards one type of strategy or another. Needs are driven by circumstances and personal expectations. It’s rare that these two align, so one of my jobs is to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Secondly, I explain and illustrate to clients that predicting outcomes in the short-term is nearly impossible (or at the very least based on luck not strategy), and that in order to be a successful investor, one must have a consistent replicable process to guide us in the decision-making process. If you trust the process, then you won’t be distracted by short-term events that can derail a sound long-term strategy.
If you trust the process, then you won’t be distracted by short-term events that can derail a sound long-term strategy.
Can you outline how you go about auditing a client’s needs and then designing a successful wealth management plan? What would you advise the first course of action to be?
Naturally it starts with a discussion on what brings them to me. Understanding a client’s concerns, goals and objectives has to be the first step. Then, comes the review of their existing portfolio and understanding why they are invested the way they are. By gaining insights into their past decision-making process, their current objectives and needs, we are able to tailor a set of solutions that addresses these issues.
How does your parent company, Bruderman Asset Management, assist in enhancing GGFS’ services?
Bruderman Asset Management has been deeply rooted in the asset management business since 1879 and has worked with some of the wealthiest families in the world. Because of their broad expertise and our ability to tap into these resources, we are able to provide sophisticated solutions and money management services to investors who might typically not be able to access these services. Of course, sometimes the simple solution is the best solution, but if something more complex is required, we have access to the expertise and tools required.
Do you expect any changes in wealth management in the US in the upcoming years?
A lot of advisers are retiring, and that will impact both clients and the industry. One of the reasons I developed our firm’s mentorship program almost a decade ago, is because we recognise the need to develop talent and we want to ensure that in 10 or 15 years our clients will receive the same level of expert advice they are getting today.
Market conditions and product availability will change, but what shouldn’t change is a well-thought-out, consistent, replicable and reliable investment process.
What are your top tips for wealth management in 2019?
Same as always, trust the process! Market conditions and product availability will change, but what shouldn’t change is a well-thought-out, consistent, replicable and reliable investment process. Don’t allow short-term events and ‘noise’ from the media to distract you from your long-term goals.
You recently spoke about trade deficits in the US. Can you briefly summarise how they hurt the economy?
In the short and sometimes intermediate term, tariffs act like a tax on consumers, as they raise prices. The real question is what will the long-term result be? If, this time next year, the United States has been able to negotiate better trade deals with China and Europe, as we already have with Mexico and Canada, then the short-term pain may be well worth it. From an investment perspective, it simply means that your process should guide you towards investments that are less susceptible to the impact of tariffs or the trade war – that’s our approach.
What are the benefits of having a third-party portfolio manager to manage one’s accounts?
Ron Medley: Whether using a third party or an in-house portfolio manager, a key benefit is having a relationship with the portfolio manager in order to have a communication channel that can provide feedback beyond just the price and the news headlines of the day. The ability to get a view into the investment decision-making process can help provide the necessary feedback to inoculate you from the emotion that only looking at price and headlines can generate. Once you have that feedback, you can achieve certainty of process and peace of mind, given the variety of possible outcomes from the market. As an example of our practice, we use volatility as a factor for investment selection. Our research has shown that the risk/reward of owning lower volatility portfolios has generated a couple percent more return for about the same risk as the market over the last couple decades. We construct portfolios that are dynamic in their ability to adapt when unexpected things happen in the market and we can also build custom variations of this approach, which are unique to each client. Generally, once clients learn about how we implement the investment process and experience owning a portfolio constructed and managed this way, emotional energy can be channeled toward much more productive areas.
Our research has shown that the risk/reward of owning lower volatility portfolios has generated a couple percent more return for about the same risk as the market over the last couple decades.
What mechanisms do you use when identifying risks and opportunities for MSAM’s clients?
Ron Medley: What’s most important here is the ‘What, Why and How’ for the client: What are your beliefs and your mission? ; Why are we doing this? ; How do we tap into the positive emotion that is driving you and help you step toward making your vision reality? We listen first. And then we work to understand how we can help provide clarity to help turn those emotions, concerns and goals into positive actions.
What sets your firm apart from other asset management companies?
Chris Pelley: There are almost one million investment advisers around the world. We all look about the same and most people aren’t entirely sure what we’re talking about or how to differentiate us. But we all have three deliverables as follows:
At MSAM, we add a special fourth dimension that is often the primary focus on enhancing our client relationships. We are very mindful about making useful ‘connections’ that can help our friends’ companies, careers, children and charities. We believe that the way people invest their time is even more important than the way they invest their money. We open doors that enhance the quality of their lives. They reciprocate for us too.
What are some of the challenges that investment advisers in the US have been facing over the past year in relation to changes in what customers expect in terms of products and services?
Ron Medley: We have an overabundance of investment products - there are as many funds as there are stocks they invest in, and this is not only because of the proliferation of funds and ETFs. There are also less companies going public. Although the value of the market as a whole has grown, the US market had almost twice as many public companies 20 years ago. More and more, it seems investment capital is chasing companies long before they are accessible in the public markets. Historically, over the last century, small companies offered a 3%+ return premium over large companies. But with less small companies being public, we have to find more ways to access quality small companies. Alternatives, as an asset class, have attracted a lot of investable assets and are projected to become 15% of the investable universe by 2025, a recent PwC study has shown. We’ve invested a lot of energy in developing ways to allocate to alternative asset classes, such as private equity for example, in order to continue to broaden our access to the investable universe for clients.
Alternatives, as an asset class, have attracted a lot of investable assets and are projected to become 15% of the investable universe by 2025,
What strategies do you implement to ensure that your clients’ goals and objectives are achieved?
Ron Medley: We’ve got a full toolbox to work with, but it’s all about the journey, not the destination. We follow a structured process that has certainty in its steps, use a variety of solutions, enabling and advocating client significance in purpose and making useful connections, and we work to focus client conversations in areas that will help them have the greatest impact. Through a culture of continual discovery, we make adjustments as necessary, given whatever changes life or markets bring.
Additionally, investing is not just about risk/return – it’s also about innovation, impact and purpose. When we have built a trusted relationship with a client, worked together to position a portfolio overall to take care of a client’s financial planning needs and move conversations toward fulfilling the client’s greatest purpose, I know we are on the right track. We are happy to play whatever small part we can in helping our clients change the world for the better, one trusted relationship at a time. And it all begins with a conversation.
What two or three things would you look for in an adviser if you were seeking one?
Ron Medley: Trust and a willingness to invest in the relationship to create it. I’d also want to know that they weren’t going to waste my time with a bunch of product features and benefits without a depth of expertise in the approach and the process. I’d also like to be in the hands of professionals who experience both the up and down sides of the market, and who prepare themselves for the uncertainties, instead of just reacting to whatever crosses their path.
Finally, I’d like to know that we could learn from one another and make each other better. We’re only as good as the quality of the team we surround ourselves with.
Ron Medley has a passion for building custom investment portfolios - he works with advisers and clients to build, manage, protect and transfer wealth. As the President of Moloney Securities Asset Management (MSAM), Ron leads a team of over 50 independent advisers who provide wealth management services to clients primarily in the US, with some international exposure. Ron joined the Moloney Securities family of companies in 1999, after working for a mutual fund company and an insurance company in the 1990s
MSAM is a registered investment adviser, affiliated with Moloney Securities Company, Inc., a broker/dealer. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, MSAM has a correspondent relationship with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and has advisers across the US operating as MSAM or affiliated entities.
Chris Pelley, Managing Director of the Pelley Group, has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years and has a passion for helping investors make better decisions. He’s spent over 11 years working abroad for world-class financial institutions including Shearson Lehman Hutton where he specialised in retirement planning for corporate executives in NYC. In 1994, Chris founded Capital Investment Management Company (CIMCO), with the goal of offering clients independent investment advice. In 2014, he joined RBC Wealth Management and chose to affiliate with MSAM as an independent adviser in 2016.
Equiom is an international professional services provider with a strong presence in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. The company specialises in providing bespoke solutions to both private and corporate clients to assist with all of their financial planning and wealth protection requirements. Here, Richard Tribe, Head of Equiom Private Office and Laura Brown, Senior Manager, Equiom Jersey discuss what’s involved in offering a premium service to clients.
What are the typical challenges that clients approach Equiom with in relation to the management of their finances?
Richard Tribe: Equiom Private Office deals with the more complex wealth structuring cases, where clients are seeking completely bespoke solutions.Typically this would involve a wide range of assets, often spread internationally, that perhaps need consolidating into a structure (typically a trust or foundation) that both protects the assets and affords sensible future succession planning.
Laura Brown: Confidentiality is another consideration. Many of our clients are residents in countries where significant wealth can be a security issue and so, utilising suitable structures can reduce, or remove, such concerns. Of course, the clients are always fully aware of their obligations around full disclosure and transparency for tax reporting purposes, and we work very closely with their legal and tax advisers to ensure any structuring is compliant and fit for purpose.
Can you outline the process you go through to assess your clients’ current financial situation and assist them with identifying financial goals and concerns?
Richard Tribe: We are often asked to review a client’s current situation, which can be quite an involved process. If there are structures already in existence, these will need to be looked at carefully to ensure they are still providing suitable protection. Then, we will discuss with the client their future plans and requirements, and ultimately determine how best we can achieve their goals.
Laura Brown: The concerns of wealthy families are often very similar, regardless of their nationality. As mentioned previously, protecting the family wealth is often the main priority, but educating existing and future generations is always an important consideration, as is philanthropy. We are seeing more and more families who want to give something back to society and so part of our remit is to work with them to put suitable plans into operation. Impact investing is gaining real momentum at the moment and a lot of my clients are increasingly interested in structuring part of their wealth into these areas.
Tell us about Equiom’s Private Office services. What is the typical client that they are aimed at?
Richard Tribe: Equiom Private Office (EPO) was launched earlier this year. It is not a product offering, but more specifically a specialist team dedicated to providing clients with the highest levels of professionalism and personal service. Once we understand the client needs, we can draw on the variety of expertise across the entire Equiom Group to establish the most appropriate team to provide the optimal solution. Transparency and trust are fundamental to this approach and these are established through building a deep understanding of clients’ needs and their ongoing objectives. EPO has been very well-received in the market as it is an entirely unique approach, which I believe is unmatched among other service providers.
What are the most common tax planning solutions that you offer to your clients?
Laura Brown: When sitting down with both current and prospective clients to discuss their requirements in terms of wealth and estate planning, we first have to consider the tax implications both in Jersey and in any other jurisdictions where the client resides or holds assets. Where a client is considered tax resident is an important consideration, as is where a client is considered domiciled or deemed domiciled. The changes to the UK domicile laws and how UK property is taxed when held in offshore structures, which became effective in April 2017, have had a significant impact on wealth planning for clients who either reside in the UK or hold assets there. Aspects such as these greatly influence the advice we provide to clients.
What options are available for those who want to manage tax on their estate in Jersey?
Richard Tribe: From a Jersey perspective, Equiom can offer a range of solutions to clients who are looking for effective wealth and estate planning options. One such option is a Jersey trust. The trust is Jersey law governed but does not have to have Jersey resident trustees, though in many instances having Jersey resident trustees can be beneficial. The Jersey Government does not levy fees or any other duties when creating a trust or during the life of the trust. In addition to this, Jersey law contains specific provisions which do not comply with forced heirship laws (laws of certain countries which require specific portions of a person’s estate to be left to specified persons). To put this more plainly, a settlor can transfer his or her assets to a Jersey trust during their lifetime and Jersey law will not give effect to any rule of another country relating to inheritance or succession which says that such a transfer is not allowed. This means that a Jersey trust allows the settlor the absolute freedom to decide who will inherit the trust assets.
Laura Brown: Another option is the Jersey Foundation.The Jersey Government enacted the Foundations (Jersey) Law in 2009. Foundations are required to have a charter (which is open to public scrutiny) and a set of regulations (that are private). A foundation is a legal entity that is managed by a council of persons who can be natural persons or corporate bodies though at least one of the council members must be a Jersey regulated entity (known as the qualified member).The foundation has beneficiaries but the Foundations (Jersey) Law stipulates that the foundation council will not owe fiduciary duties to beneficiaries nor will beneficiaries be entitled to information about a foundation’s assets unless the beneficiaries have a vested interest. Jersey foundations have characteristics of both a company and a trust which makes them interesting entities for taxation purposes. A Jersey foundation can be drafted in various ways which affects the tax treatment in different jurisdictions.
Equiom has been advising wealthy families and multi-national businesses for decades. The services we offer have evolved over the years with changing market needs. With a thorough understanding of the current generation and the most experienced professional team across the globe to cater to each individual situation and client, we are well placed to find the optimal solution for our clients’ needs.
For more information on Equiom Private Office or to connect with a member of the team, contact email@example.com.
Equiom (Guernsey) Limited and Equiom Trust (Guernsey) Limited are licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority. Equiom (Jersey) Limited is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Equiom (Luxembourg) S.A is supervised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), the supervisory authority of the Luxembourg financial sector. Equiom (Malta) Limited is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Equiom Trust Services Pte. Ltd. is licensed by The Monetary Authority of Singapore. Equiom Trust Services (BVI) Limited is regulated by the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission. Equiom S.A.M. is authorised to act as a trustee and fiduciary services provider by the Ministry of Finance in Monaco. Equiom Trust (South Dakota), LLC is licensed in Guernsey by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and in South Dakota by the South Dakota Division of Banking.
This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact Equiom to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstance. Equiom Group, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.