Fostering Discipline Is Paramount

PPLI Joins ‘Two Sides of the Same Coin’

To be thorough and open to new possibilities at the same time requires discipline: embracing ‘two sides of the same coin.’  In the PPLI structuring of wealthy international families’ assets, Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. strives to achieve this aim. For each new case we exam similar PPLI cases that we have handled in the past. For the specific knowledge that we will need for new cases which we might lack, we have an excellent resource of professional advisors worldwide that can be easily contacted to supply this missing knowledge for a successful PPLI structure to be created.

For our analogous examples we have one from the area U.S. tax planning and how it affects U.S. beneficiaries of Foreign Grantor Trusts, and strangely enough, one from high-fashion. This example shows us what happens when the ‘two sides of the same coin’ turn out to be the same thing, and–to change this analogy–the coin loses its luster by turning out to be a copy. In a humorous vein, you can view this also as social media bringing transparency to haute couture.

Before we share the above material, we are pleased to give you this description of PPLI from International Life Insurance edited by David D Whelehan, JD in the chapter, “International Life Insurance An Overview.

“This product is for the wealthy, “accredited” investor. They are usually very large single premium structures. It is classified more as an institutional product, as the charges and fees are quite low in comparison to retail products described above. Another advantage is investment flexibility as they generally can be invested in things not permitted in a general account retail product, like hedge funds and private equity.

Premiums and benefits can also be paid in “kind,” as opposed to in cash. In addition, the policyowner can select his, or her, own Investment Manager for just the single policy to invest according to the policyowner’s general directions. The Custodian of the underlying assets in the fund can also be selected by the policyowner. Private placement products are tailored to meet specific objectives of the client, but are carefully designed to be compliant with local tax laws, so as to enjoy the tax treatment desired.”

In the STEP Journal Melvin A Warshaw and Lawrence M Lipoff discuss a key change to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and assess what it means for advisors to trustees of foreign grantor trusts. They conclude that due to recent changes in U.S. tax law that a properly structured PPLI provides an excellent solution for U.S. beneficiaries of foreign grantor trusts.

A Simpler and Safer Strategy

“In a previous two-part article,[1] we presented US tax advisors with our highly technical analysis of a key change in the foreign tax provisions of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) impacting how trustees of foreign grantor trusts (FGTs) traditionally hold US-situs portfolio assets that potentially benefit both US and non-US heirs of a non-citizen, non-resident (NCNR) of the US.”

Trustees must analyze whether their existing single foreign corporation (FC) strategy is still viable and, if not, what steps they should take to address this US tax law change. Some advisors suggest a second FC and others a two-tier or three-tier FC structure. Leaving aside that planning variations relying on different entity structures may be one option, we believe that offshore[2] private placement life insurance (PPLI) may offer a far simpler and safer strategy.

Under pre-2018 US tax law, trustees of FGTs generally relied on a single non-US holding company to shield the NCNR grantor of an FGT from US estate tax on US-situs portfolio assets. Following the death of the NCNR, the trustees would effectively eliminate this FC by filing a post-death, retroactive (so-called ‘check-the-box’) election within 30 days of such death. Gain recognition would be avoided on the historical pre-death unrealised appreciation of the US portfolio assets, prior to elimination, i.e. liquidation, of the FC, as well as pre-2018 controlled foreign corporation (Subpart F CFC) passive income tax and related tax compliance. Plus, the US heirs would achieve a basis step-up in the underlying US portfolio assets equal to their fair market value (FMV) on the date of the election.

The Act repealed the 30-day retroactive election for tax years after 2017. Under current US tax law, a post-death ‘check-the-box’ election for the trust’s FC could cause US beneficiaries of the trust to inherit the historical pre-death unrealised appreciation in the US-portfolio assets and incur cumbersome US tax compliance. Further, if an FC is a CFC for even one day during the tax year, there could be potential phantom income for the US beneficiaries of the trust now encompassing the new US ‘global intangible low taxed income’ (GILTI) regime.

Continuing a single FC

The single FC structure continues to be effective in preventing imposition of US estate tax on the US portfolio assets held by the FC. If most of the NCNR’s trust beneficiaries are US persons (citizens or residents),[3] the trustees and US advisors must anticipate that there will now be US income tax and US tax reporting on historical appreciation of the assets held in the single FC that would eventually be recognised by the US beneficiaries after the NCNR’s death. If most of the trust beneficiaries are not US persons, it may be possible that the single FC will lack sufficient beneficial ownership by US persons to qualify as a CFC.

Side-by-side FCs

Another approach suitable for families with both US and non-US persons as beneficiaries is to have the trustees of the FGT create a second FC, which would own only non-US-situs assets. The original FC would own only US securities. The non-US portfolio assets owned by the second FC would be earmarked to benefit solely non-US persons as trust beneficiaries after the death of the NCNR. The US portfolio assets owned by the existing FC would be earmarked for the US beneficiaries. There would be no US estate tax on the non-US assets owned by the second FC. A retroactive check-the-box election could be filed for this second FC effective on the day before the NCNR’s death.

Some US advisors advocate relying exclusively on entity structuring to convert a single FC into a multi-tier FC structure involving at least three FCs. Prior to the NCNR’s death, the trustees of the NCNR’s FGT would create two FCs. These two FCs would then together equally own the shares of a third lower-tier FC. The US portfolio assets would be owned by the lower-tier FC. Following the death of the NCNR, the lower- and upper-tier FCs would be deemed liquidated for US tax purposes (by filing check-the-box elections) in a carefully scripted sequence as follows.

  1. First, the upper-tier FCs would each file a check-the-box election for the lower-tier FC, effective one day prior to the death of the NCNR. This results in a taxable liquidation of the lower-tier FC without current US income tax on the historical pre-liquidation unrealised appreciation inside the FC. However, the upper-tier FCs’ basis in the underlying US securities held by the former lower-tier FC will equal the FMV of such assets on the date of the deemed liquidation of the lower-tier FC.
  2. Second, two days after the NCNR’s death, both upper-tier FCs will make simultaneous check-the-box elections. The inside basis of the US portfolio assets previously held by the lower-tier FC prior to its deemed taxable liquidation would be stepped up or down to the FMV of such assets on the day after the death of the NCNR.

Advocates of this highly complicated, carefully scripted entity structure and serial liquidation strategy for US portfolio assets indicate that, if successful, the results should be comparable to the results under prior law. However, this is not without some new tax and reporting risks, as noted above, nor does it address the question of what the independent significant non-tax business purpose for ‘each’ of the three FCs would be.

Offshore PPLI

Assuming the NCNR is insurable, advisors should seriously consider the possibility of their NCNR clients, with significant US portfolio assets, and US persons as potential beneficiaries investing in certain types of offshore PPLI policies that in turn invest in US assets.

Purchasing an offshore US tax-compliant PPLI policy will result in no US income tax recognition in the annual accretion in the cash value growth of the policy. Holding the policy until death is equivalent to receiving a US basis step-up at death on the death benefit that is payable in cash. In planning for the US beneficiaries of the NCNR, if the revocable FGT were named as owner and beneficiary of the PPLI, this trust could be structured to pour over at the death of the NCNR to a US dynasty trust organised in a low-tax jurisdiction with favourable state trust laws. This structure will ensure that the death benefit pours over to a US domestic trust that will not become subject to foreign non-grantor trust (FNGT) tax rules.

A non-admitted offshore carrier obviates CFC status for the policy and policy owner by making a certain special US tax code (s.953(d)) election to be treated as a US domestic carrier. Aside from avoiding CFC status for the policy and its owner, making this special election causes the carrier to absorb US corporate income tax and administrative costs to comply with US informational tax reporting. The hidden benefit of an offshore carrier making this special US tax election is that it enables such a carrier to claim a special deduction of reasonable reserves required to satisfy future death benefits. The offshore carrier simply absorbs the cost of US income tax compliance including its responsibility for CFC and passive foreign investment company (PFIC) reporting. There is no look-through of an insurance policy to its owner for the purposes of applying the PFIC rules. So long as the NCNR avoids any control over the selection of specific investments made by the policy owner for the policy, investor control should not be a concern.

Our conclusion is that current US tax law provides clear support for the proposition that the PFIC and CFC rules should not apply to a US tax-compliant policy issued by a foreign carrier that files a special (s.953(d)) election with the Internal Revenue Service. This will result in the tax-free inside growth in the PPLI policy that, if held until the death of the NCNR, will result in no income tax on the death benefit. We believe that purchase of an offshore PPLI policy by the NCNR through an FGT that pours over to a US dynasty trust is an efficient, safe and simple solution that allows an NCNR to invest in US portfolio assets, and leverages that investment and all subsequent growth tax-free into policy death benefit available to US beneficiaries after such death.”

From the Wall Street Journal, we share “Fashion Industry Gossip Was Once Whispered. Now It’s on Instagram” by Ray A. Smith.

“Shortly after designer Olivier Rousteing showed his fashion collection for Balmain in Paris last September, French designer Thierry Mugler posted on Instagram.

Mr. Mugler, famous in the 1980s and early ’90s for power suits and the George Michael “Too Funky” video, posted a series of side-by-side images comparing his past ensembles to Mr. Rousteing’s new looks. Next to a Balmain black, one-shouldered jacket-dress with white lapels, Mr. Mugler posted his own similar design from 1998 with the comment: “Really?”

Along with Balmain’s dress featuring a graphic, webbed print, Mr. Mugler, who now goes by the first name Manfred, attached his own webbed design from 1990. “No comment!”

The episode surprised Mr. Rousteing. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry for him, seriously,” said 33-year-old Mr. Rousteing about 69-year-old Mr. Mugler in an interview. He denied copying the designer.

In the past, copycat allegations rarely reached beyond fashion industry gossip—or sometimes courtrooms—and rarely made it to the wider public. Now with Instagram, fashion’s favorite app, accusations spread much faster and to a wider audience. Eagle-eyed accusers can post comparison pictures and add arrows and circles to zero in on the alleged offense immediately after a fashion show, now that runway images are beamed out in real time.

High-end fashion labels are increasingly being called out on social media for copying other designers or designs, leading to back-and-forth exchanges, lawsuits and expensive apologies.

Instagram accounts, including Diet Prada, have formed to focus on designers and retailers whose creations some feel look too much like other designers’ past work. Since its 2014 launch, Diet Prada, which isn’t affiliated with Prada, has amassed more than 960,000 followers. The Fashion Law blog and CashinCopy Instagram feed also name and shame copying.”

If you are looking for a bespoke solution to your asset structuring needs, we welcome you to contact us. You will also benefit from our conservative and fully compliant methodology of using PPLI as the centerpiece of the structure. You will be pleasantly surprised to experience ‘two sides of the same coin.’

 

[1] M. A. Warshaw and L. M. Lipoff, ‘How to Navigate the Choppy Seas for Foreigners With U.S.-Based Heirs: Part I’, Trusts & Estates (June 2018), and ‘Non-Citizen, Non-Resident Options for Life Insurance’, Trusts & Estates (August 2018)

[2] All uses of ‘offshore’ and ‘foreign’ are given from the perspective of the US.

[3] All references to ‘US persons’ in this article refer to citizens and residents only.

 

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by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Change

PPLI Can Do It

Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Change

Can you use a well-established product as a process for the structuring of the worldwide assets of wealthy international families? Yes, is the resounding response from Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI).

PPLI is both a standard product and a process, and hence its versatility, and at the same time, its stability. PPLI gives a structural framework to the diverse holdings of wealthy international families. Because PPLI is a product and common in the world’s tax and legal frameworks, there is a large body of laws and regulations that give advisors–a road map to follow.

This allows PPLI to give the assets of wealthy international families full privacy and tax savings, and at the same time, compliance with the world’s tax authorities.

To explore the concept of change, our article gives you an example from the world of self-driving automobiles.   We also share with you a legal challenge to the OECD’s CRS program.

Changeless Change is also a good description of China. This ancient civilization has transformed itself into a 21st century nation in only a few short years. Shanghai, China, is the venue of the video, “Our Journey Together” Part III, of my presentation at the 5th annual FOA Forum that we offer you below.

PPLI is also known as Private Placement Variable Universal Life Insurance (PPVUL). Its name speaks to the internal workings of the product. It is both life insurance and a home for investments. This is a definition from Cornell University Law School’s Wex Legal Dictionary:

“A form of whole life insurance that combines aspects of universal life insurance and variable life insurance and provides for a death benefit and accrues cash value on a tax-deferred basis. Variable universal life insurance (“VUL”) policies allow for flexibility in premiums, death benefits, and investment options.”

So how does a product become a process, a structuring tool? PPLI is a type of PPVUL, but with very unique characteristics. These are the characteristics that allow clients to accomplish so many valuable elements in the single structure:

Open Investment Universe–Almost any asset that can be held by a trust company can become part of a PPLI policy. With proper structuring even operating businesses can be included.

Simplified Reporting–The assets inside the policy are held in separate accounts for the policyholder, meaning that they are not part of the general assets of the insurance company. But for reporting purposes, the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets.

Asset Protection–The insurance policy adds another layer of asset protection in the structure. The domicile of the insurance companies also is a help here, as they are located in jurisdictions that have strong asset protection laws, like Bermuda and Barbados.

Low Fees/Commissions–Most often there is a 1% set-up fee. And the ongoing fees are frequently less than 1% of the assets inside the policy. This contrasts sharply to the large first year commissions charged by Universal Life and Whole Life policies.

Now for our examples of how change plays out in the world today. Self-driving cars and the OECD’s CRS are concepts that did not exist a few years ago. To make their way into our everyday world is not an easy task. They both have something to offer, but they must fit into other structures that have existed for longer periods. They are like new pieces of a jigsaw puzzle introduced when the puzzle seems to be complete.

Self-driving cars Encounter Political Roadblocks” by Mike Colias and Tim Higgins of the Wall Street Journal, give us a glimpse into the process of integrating technological change into the world.

“Auto makers and other companies racing to commercialize self-driving car technology are facing pushback from local politicians, complicating their plans to bring real-world testing to more U.S. cities.

In New York City, General Motors Co. has put on hold plans to begin testing in Manhattan because Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed concerns about the technology’s safety, according to people familiar with the matter. GM said last year it would be the first company to start driverless-car testing in the city, starting in early 2018.

In Chicago, the city council’s transportation-committee chairman has vowed to block self-driving cars from operating in the nation’s third-largest metropolis, citing safety concerns and the potential for displacing taxi drivers and other jobs.

Even in Pittsburgh, a hotbed for autonomous-vehicle research and development, city officials have recently adopted more stringent requirements, demanding that driverless-car developers detail how a vehicle’s safety system works before granting permission to test on public roads.

A fatal crash in March, when an Uber Technologies Inc. self-driving test car stuck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., has fueled concerns over putting such prototypes on public roads, especially in big cities that tend to be more crowded, transportation officials say. Also, many city leaders say they want companies to show that the technology will provide wider social benefits, such as reducing congestion and helping low-income residents get around.

“It’s a lot of local politics that are difficult to navigate,” said Bradley Tusk, founder of Tusk Ventures, which works with startups on regulations and other political issues. “These are hard issues. You’re talking about small spaces that are very congested.

Meanwhile, a Senate bill that aims to establish nationwide regulations for self-driving cars has stalled in Congress. Without federal direction, cities and states are left to act on their own, creating a patchwork of rules and red tape for companies plowing billions into the technology and hoping to eventually turn their testing into profitable ventures.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has called self-driving vehicles “the biggest opportunity since the creation of the internet.” GM, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car unit Waymo LLC and others are betting these services will create a market for customers wanting to hail a robotic car much like they do an Uber or Lyft Inc. ride. Some analysts estimate that market could eventually be valued at trillions of dollars.

GM and Waymo are among companies that have been testing in a handful of U.S. communities for years and are getting closer to launching services to paying customers. GM plans to introduce a new robot-taxi service next year, likely in San Francisco, where the auto maker has done the bulk of its testing. Waymo said Nov. 13 that it will begin offering rides in self-driving cars to Phoenix-area customers in the coming weeks.

Companies say that in some cities, they are working closely with officials to assuage concerns, but much more work is needed before a wider rollout is possible.”

Barney Thompson of the Financial Times, shares with us “EU National Challenges HMRC Over New Data Sharing Rules.” CRS aims to assist governments in the fair collection of taxes, but are data protection safeguards in place to protect our rights to privacy?

“An EU national is challenging HM Revenue & Customs over new rules that require tax authorities around the world to automatically exchange information on millions of their citizens who live abroad.”

In a complaint to the UK’s data protection regulator, the EU citizen said the common reporting standard — a key measure against tax evasion developed by international experts that is now being gradually introduced by more than 100 countries — made her personal information vulnerable to cyber hacking or an accidental leak.

However, campaigners have defended the measure, saying it was an important tool in the fight against tax avoidance and evasion, notably through offshore financial centers.

The EU citizen who has made the complaint about the common reporting standard — who does not want to be identified — is currently domiciled in Italy but is described as having “a very international background”.

She lived in the UK for several years and was tax resident in Britain, acquiring a unique taxpayer reference and a national insurance number. She also still has a UK bank account with a deposit of £4,000.

Even with this relatively small amount, her bank is required under the common reporting standard to disclose certain information to the HMRC, including the account number, balance, her name, date of birth and tax number.

In turn, HMRC must pass on the information to its counterpart in Italy, which it is due to do in September.

Exchange of information would be automatic

In theory, any UK bank account holder living in another country that abides by the common reporting standard falls under the scope of its rules.

Within the EU, almost 19m people are estimated to live in a different member state to the one in which they were born.

Like the US foreign account tax compliance act, on which it is based, the common reporting standard was designed as a way to counter global tax evasion by making the exchange of information between countries automatic rather than have tax bodies request it if they suspect wrongdoing.

The standard was developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international body that co-ordinates co-operation between different tax jurisdictions.

Several countries have poor data security

In her complaint against the common reporting standard to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, the EU citizen said the exchange of information required by the rules will expose her to “a disproportionate risk of data loss and potentially hacking”.

She added: “This risk has crystallised recently in light of incidents in which HMRC has lost data concerning UK taxpayers and recent data breaches concerning UK banks.”

Her complaint cited how HMRC had lost the personal records of 25m taxpayers in 2007, as well as a media report in 2017 outlining how the tax authority’s website was vulnerable to cyber attacks. HMRC subsequently took action to fix the weaknesses.

Among the countries that have signed up to the common reporting standard are several with poor data security records, added the woman’s complaint.

Furthermore, data leaks such as during the TSB online banking failure this year and attempts by cybercriminals to hack the online tax details of British taxpayers illustrated the dangers around the mass exchange of sensitive personal information, it said.

As a result, the common reporting standard infringed the new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in May, as well as European human rights laws, said the complaint.

Rules risk ‘identity theft on a grand scale’

The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to impose temporary or permanent limits on the processing of personal data if it decides that GDPR rules are being infringed.

The office said:

“We have received a complaint relating to HMRC and the common reporting standard and will be looking into the details.”

Filippo Noseda, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Reya, who is acting for the EU national, said the data breach risks involved in the standard “could lead to identity theft on a grand scale”.

Mr Noseda acknowledged that rich clients of law firms would appreciate not having their tax details and activities shared between authorities.

But he added:

“The endgame is not to go back to banking secrecy. We need to find a system that is balanced.”

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, a campaign group, defended the common reporting standard, saying it needed to be broad to deter individuals from using offshore structures to avoid and evade tax.

“The [standard] has given the tax authorities the information they previously did not have access to, which enables them to pinpoint where tax evasion is happening,” he added.

 

“Tax avoidance and evasion are . . . deliberately and purposefully depriving tax authorities of finances.”

 

HMRC declined to discuss the EU citizen’s case but added:

“HMRC shares some personal data with overseas tax authorities to ensure that the right tax is being paid. HMRC only ever shares information when it’s entirely lawful to do so. This includes complying with applicable GDPR requirements.”

 

Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. uses a stable and well-accepted financial concept, life insurance, to structure the assets of wealthy international families. Our main tool, PPLI, is a versatile and underutilized form of life insurance that gives excellent structuring results. Please join our list of very satisfied clients by contacting us today about your worldwide assets. We are here to bring you the right kind of change that is disruptive in a positive way.

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by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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How to Climb the Mountain of Happiness

PPLI Provides Steps Up the Mountain

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) offers a structure that produces tax efficiency, enhanced privacy, and asset protection. In our opening quote, it can be likened to stepping up the mountain. PPLI is not a goal, but a financial structure that gives wealthy international families key elements of financial happiness.

“PPLI functions more like a trust, than a financial product.”

It is appropriate that this quote is from Confucius. For those unfamiliar with Confucius we will have a biographical sketch later on. What is also connected is Part I of a video that re-creates a presentation that I gave at The 4th FOA Family Think Tank Forum in Shanghai, China, which was held on the campus of Fu Dan University.  I was invited to speak by Ann Lee of the Wintel Law Firm in Shanghai.

The presentation is an introduction to Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), and the international tax planning concept of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). The two-day conference was attended by attorneys, accountants, financial planners, insurance brokers, and other professionals who work with high net worth clients in China and the Far East.

First, we have a quote about PPLI from Senior Consultant, The Voice of the Investment Management Consultant.

“Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) is much more than an insurance policy. PPLI represents one of the most powerful vehicles available to the high net worth investor in the marketplace today.

PPLI enhances both wealth creation and wealth preservation. Wealth creation is the result of the tax-free growth of the assets in the insurance contract. Wealth preservation is a result of the death benefit paid from the insurance contract.”

Much is written about tax transparency. Many of those who champion tax transparency say that it will result in a system that is more equitable and fair. Will it result in greater happiness? The conclusion of this New York Times article, Happy ‘National Jealousy Day’! Finland Bares Its Citizens’ Taxes offers a different perspective.

“Shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday, people began lining up outside the central office of the Finnish tax administration. It was chilly and dark, but they claimed their places, eager to be the first to tap into a mother lode of data.

Pamplona can boast of the running of the bulls, Rio de Janeiro has Carnival, but Helsinki is alone in observing “National Jealousy Day,” when every Finnish citizen’s taxable income is made public at 8 a.m. sharp.

The annual Nov. 1 data dump is the starting gun for a countrywide game of who’s up and who’s down. Which tousled tech entrepreneur has sold his company? Which Instagram celebrity is, in fact, broke? Which retired executive is weaseling out of his tax liabilities?

Esa Saarinen, a professor of philosophy at Aalto University in Helsinki, described it as “a fairly positive form of gossip.”

Finland is unusual, even among the Nordic states, in turning its release of personal tax data — to comply with government transparency laws — into a public ritual of comparison. Though some complain that the tradition is an invasion of privacy, most say it has helped the country resist the trend toward growing inequality that has crept across of the rest of Europe.

“We’re looking at the gap between normal people and those rich, rich people — is it getting too wide?” said Tuomo Pietilainen, an investigative reporter at Helsingin Sanomat, the country’s largest daily newspaper. …

Roman Schatz, 58, a German-born author, rolled his eyes, a little, at Finland’s annual celebration of its own honesty. “It’s a psychological exercise,” he said. “It creates an illusion of transparency so we all feel good about ourselves: ‘The Americans could never do it. The Germans could never do it. We are honest guys, good guys.’ It’s sort of a Lutheran purgatory.” …

Economists in the United States have shown great interest in salary disclosure in recent years, in part as a way of reducing gender or racial disparities in pay.

Transparency may or may not reduce inequality, but does tend to make people less satisfied, several concluded. A study of faculty members at the University of California, where pay was made accessible online in 2008, found that lower-earning workers, after learning how their pay stacked up, were less happy in their job and more likely to look for a new one.

A study of Norway, which made its tax data easily accessible to anonymous online searches in 2001, reached a similar conclusion: When people could easily learn the incomes of co-workers and neighbors, self-reported happiness began to track more closely with income, with low earners reporting lower happiness. In 2014, Norway banned anonymous searches, and the number of searches dropped dramatically.

“More information may not be something which improves overall well-being,” said Alexandre Mas, one of the authors of the University of California report. …

One of the great sports of National Jealousy Day is to publicly shame tax dodgers.

In 2015, Mr. Pietilainen found that executives from several of Finland’s largest firms had relocated to Portugal so that they could receive their pensions tax free. His reporting caused such a stir that the Finnish Parliament terminated its tax agreement with Portugal, negotiating a new one that closed the loophole.”

Now a little about the extraordinary life of Confucius from the Simple English Wikipedia. We found this section on Confucius suited our article better than the longer Wikipedia article.

“Confucius (born 551 BC, died 478 BC) was an important Chinese educator and philosopher. His original name was Kong Qiu or Zhong Ni. As a child, he was eager to learn about everything, and was very interested in rituals. Once he grew up, he worked as a state official who handled farms and cattle. Then he became a teacher.

Confucius lived in a time when many states were fighting wars in China. This period was called the Spring and Autumn period of the Zhou Dynasty. Confucius did not like this and wanted to bring order back to society.

Like Socrates, Confucius sometimes did not answer philosophical questions himself. Instead he wanted people to think hard about problems and to learn from others, especially from history. Confucius also thought that people should get power because they were good and skilled, and not just because they came from powerful families.

Confucius wanted people to think about other people more than about money or what they owned. However he also felt that there should be strong rules in society and that people needed to obey them. Confucius thought that there were five relationships people could have, and that they all had their own rules. Two people could be

  • Prince and Subject
  • Father and Son
  • Husband and Wife
  • Elder and Child
  • or Friends

These were traditional relationships called the ‘five prototypes’. Confucius said that in all these relationships, both people must obey rules. For example, a subject must obey a prince, but also a prince must listen to a subject and must rule him well and fairly.

Confucius said that people should only do things to other people if they would be okay with other people doing those things to themselves. This is sometimes called the Golden Rule and was also taught by Jesus Christ.

His students wrote down small stories about him, and things that he said. These were put together to make a book called “The Analects.”

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. the mountain that we climb is the creation of unique asset structures for wealthy international families using PPLI. We welcome you to climb this mountain with us, and achieve a structure that can give you financial happiness. Please contact us today.

 

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by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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Michael Malloy, CLU TEP in Motion

Travel Defined

Since our founder and chief advisor, Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, is traveling, we will feature him this week, and a little about his trip to Singapore and Shanghai. First, let us explore the concept of travel. What are the different forms of travel that we experience in our lives?

The obvious one is going from A to B, but there are other forms of travel. Intellectual travel is paramount to working with wealthy international families. Researching and studying the different structuring options that make themselves available when the tax laws of different countries change is an ongoing form of intellectual travel for Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc.  Michael’s CLU and TEP designations are another form of intellectual travel.

According to Investopedia,

“A chartered life underwriter (CLU) is a professional designation for individuals who wish to specialize in life insurance and estate planning. Individuals must complete five core courses and three elective courses, in addition to successfully passing either 100-question, two-hour examinations in order to receive the designation.”

Wikipedia says,

“The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) was founded by George Tasker in 1991 and is the international professional body for advisors who specialize in inheritance and succession.”

The TEP designation is awarded to advisors who have significant involvement at a specialist level with one or more of the following: planning, creation, management of and accounting for trusts and estates, executorship administration and related taxes.

Now onto Singapore and Shanghai with Michael Malloy, CLU TEP. Michael’s time in Singapore by taken up with meetings with advisors exploring ways to use Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structures for Far Eastern clients. The key six elements of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) resonate well in these jurisdictions. Singapore is a truly international financial center for Indonesia, Malaysia, and the PRC.

With the implementation of The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) clients are looking for ways to keep their financial affairs private and still be compliant with tax authorities. Using PPLI is seen as an excellent way to achieve this aim.  In 2019 there will also be new tax laws implemented in the PRC that impact client structures in BVI, the Cayman Islands, and other popular offshore destinations for PRC clients. In discussions with advisors in the PRC, advisors agreed that PPLI can be a valuable tool to assist clients in this area.

Intellectual travel and worldwide travel are both parts of Michael Malloy, CLU TEP’s world. Both are in service to our clients in keeping their affairs as private as possible and be compliant with the world’s tax authorities.

We invite you to explore how PPLI and EWP can greatly enhance the value of your assets. Please contact us for a free consultation to find out for yourself.

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Positive and Beneficial Influence

PPLI Achieves Both

A Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structure exerts a positive and beneficial interest on the assets which it holds. Let us examine how this is accomplished, and also what it means to exert influence. Babies and small children learn very soon how to exert influence on their parents.

I was having dinner with a five year old and his parents recently, and when the five year old ceased to be the center of the conversation, he would emphatically say, “I have something very important to tell you.” Of course, our conversation would cease and the five year old was very pleased!

PPLI achieves this benign influence over assets by employing the six key elements of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). I would say that this influence is much greater than benign–it is transformative. Let us briefly state the importance of these six elements in creating a transformative PPLI policy structure.

Privacy  This is a key element. With FATCA, CRS, and Registers of Beneficial Ownership our clients are looking for ways to keep their affairs private, and still be compliant with tax authorities worldwide. But as you know, it takes study and constant attention to detail to create a proper structure.

Tax Shield  In high tax jurisdictions, a tax shield is important. Why pay more tax than is necessary? If there is a PPLI structure than can give you a tax-free environment wouldn’t it be desired by our clients?

Asset Protection  Asset protection is an element that almost all clients seek. Making their assets inaccessible to former spouses, creditors, and those seeking to claim them without legal authority. An excellently crafted PPLI structure can also accomplish this for them.

Succession Planning  Especially in jurisdictions that have forced heirship rules, succession planning is vital to clients. Most clients wish to distribute their assets according to their wishes and not according to a plan that they don’t agree with.

Compliance Simplifier  In today’s world attempting to hide assets only draws more attention to them. Most clients wish to be compliant with the world’s tax authorities, and at the same time keep as much privacy as possible. Finding our way in this maze of regulations is an important element.

Trust Substitute  In some jurisdictions, in particular, those that use civil law as opposed to common law, a trust substitute would be useful. Why create an entity that in the end will just be ignored by tax and legal authorities? Why not have a PPLI structure that works both in civil and common law jurisdictions?

In the realm of politics, lobbying government officials is a method of attempting to exert influence. There is an outcry of concern when this influence is considered undue influence, and this is defined differently throughout the world. What is lobbying in one country might be considered bribery in another country.

This article by Julie Bykowicz caught our eye this week in one of our favorite publications, The Wall Street Journal,

“The New Lobbying: Qatar Targeted 250 Trump ‘Influencers’ to Change U.S. Policy. Blockaded by Mideast neighbors, the emirate employed an unconventional lobbying campaign to win over an unconventional U.S. president.”

 

“Longtime New York restaurateur Joey Allaham visited Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue late last year with an offer for lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Come visit Doha, the capital of Qatar, by invitation of the emir.

Mr. Dershowitz says he hadn’t met Mr. Allaham before and initially demurred before agreeing to go. The professor also didn’t know he was on a list of 250 people Mr. Allaham says he and his lobbying-business partner, Nick Muzin, identified as influential in President Trump’s orbit.

The list was part of a new type of lobbying campaign Qatar adopted after Mr. Trump sided with its Persian Gulf neighbors who had imposed a blockade on the tiny nation. Qatar wanted to restore good relations with the U.S., Mr. Allaham says. Win over Mr. Trump’s influencers, the thinking went, and the president would follow.”

We look forward to lobbying on your behalf to create a PPLI structure that employs all six of the key elements of EWP.

Please let us know how we can serve you to this end. Place your comments at the end of this post and sign up to get updates.

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

 

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The Art of War in Action

Achieve Stealth Victory with PPLI

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) allows you to achieve levels of legitimate privacy not possible with solely planning with trusts. The PPLI policy works in harmony with a trust to create an environment of enhanced privacy. So what war are we talking about? This war is being played out worldwide almost daily between governments and individuals on what constitutes privacy.

This war is not so simple. California just passed a landmark privacy bill, and after the bill’s passage, one aspect that remains ambiguous is what constitutes the data that can be made private at the individual’s choice. We have an excerpt below, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, by Marc Vartabedian, Georgia Wells, and Lara O’Reilly.

“One of the points of contention is likely to fall around the legislation’s definition of “personal data,” which includes broad categories such as biometric data, psychometric information, browsing and search history and geolocation data. The act’s current version states that personal information doesn’t include information that is publicly available or general enough to not identify an individual, a broad definition technology companies may lean on heavily to argue their collection of such data is justified.”

Thankfully, things are somewhat simpler in our field of planning for wealthy international families. By combining a trust and a properly structured PPLI policy, we can transfer beneficial ownership to the insurance company which creates a much welcomed benefit for families.

This is particularly true for those that reside in countries where the government is unstable or corrupt, or sometimes unfortunately both.  This issue raises real concern for the personal data of wealthy international families in the massive exchange of data now taking place under CRS.

In a recent letter to The Financial Times, Filippo Noseda, a partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP, gives us a startling example:

“In Argentina seven members of the Argentine tax authorities were arrested on February 2 for allegedly selling taxpayers’ information, showing the risks faced by citizens living in high-risk jurisdictions who for one reason or another have bank accounts abroad (Argentine police also seized $5m in cash, which gives a measure of the scale of data trafficking). Dissidents with foreign accounts will be particularly vulnerable to reprisals from their governments.”

Hiding in Plain Sight

What are the steps that allow an insurance company to become the beneficial owner of the assets inside a PPLI policy, and give clients a level of legitimate privacy not possible with other techniques?  Here they are:

  • The policyholder contributes the assets that he or she wants to protect as a premium payment, in cash or in kind, to a bespoke investment fund created by the life insurer. The life insurer opens a dedicated account at a custodian bank for the underlying assets of the policy.
  • The policyholder selects an investment strategy and nominates an investment manager. The life company formally appoints the investment manager.
  • This internal investment fund is exclusively linked to the policyholder’s life policy. The value of the PPLI policy is equal at all times to that of the underlying internal investment fund.
  • The life insurer has now become the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) of the underlying assets. In return for the premium payment, the policyholder has a “claim” on the life insurer for the value of the underlying investment fund.

This planning technique of using the insurance company as the beneficial owner of the assets in a PPLI policy is akin to what we learn in a 5th century text by Sun Tzu, The Art of War. This famous text teaches ostensibly about war, but its basic message is–avoid open conflict unless it is absolutely necessary.  A few key quotes from the book demonstrate this:

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

“A good commander is benevolent and unconcerned with fame.”

This is precisely what we do in marrying a trust with a properly structured PPLI policy.  The result is what we call Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). By finding the best of what a trust and an a PPLI policy have to offer, we create this legitimate environment of enhanced privacy without a conflict with tax authorities in any jurisdiction worldwide. This is stealth that achieves a victory by study and superior knowledge.

Please bring us your privacy concerns, so we can construct a bespoke structure that fits the aims and goals of your family.

 

  ~ by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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Different Uses of a Tax Shield

PPLI: Two Sides of One Face, Part I 

Tax Shield concepts are best understood by comparing similar Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) concepts.  In our specialty, PPLI structures for wealthy international families, an article caught our attention that highlights our topic–the difference between PPLI structuring for families strictly in the U.S. context, and those structures that work best for international families.

Our topic is much like the picture of this cat: two sides that have something in common, yet also something that can be very different.

The international families we work with may have ties to the U.S. like U.S. beneficiaries, real estate, or investments, but they also have substantial wealth outside the U.S.  Our firm is able to create structures for these international families that have a very robust character.  An odd phrase for international tax planning, but as you will read below, this robust character allows our firm many more possibilities than we have for our clients who are U.S. persons and just have holdings inside the U.S.

The article mentioned above is “Private Placement Life Insurance Primer, Recent tax law changes make for a particularly interesting time to explore PPLI,” by Brian Gartner and Matthew Phillips.

In the structuring process, one decision that is made early on in the process is whether to put the policy under U.S. tax and insurance rules (a so-called 953(d)) policy, or that of the country where the insurance company is domiciled, usually Bermuda or Barbados, a non-953(d) policy.  If we can use a non-953(d) policy, we have much more flexibility in the structuring process.

In the picture of the cat, the two blue eyes are blue, and contrast to the black and gray sides of the face.  For our discussion, the two blue eyes are what is similar to both 953(d) policies and non-953(d) policies.  So we will look into the eyes of our topic first, and discuss the similarities.

A key element in our two policy types is the tax deferral of the assets inside the policy.  This chart, courtesy of the article mentioned above, is an example of U.S. centric planning. It shows how powerful tax deferral can be in terms of what an investor keeps after taxes. The chart compares a  Taxable Investment vs. placing those same assets inside a properly constructed PPLI policy.

Another aspect where we look into the same pair of eyes and see something similar relates to trust planning with PPLI.  We quote from the article:

“Trustees are attracted to PPLI in the context of multi-generational trust planning for three main reasons: (1) assets within a trust allocated through PPLI grow on an income tax-deferred basis; (2) the trustee can make income tax-free distributions to trust beneficiaries from PPLI without having to consider the income tax consequences of liquidating assets; and (3) the trust will eventually receive an income tax-free insurance benefit, which will serve to effectively step-up the basis of the assets within the trust that are allocated through PPLI.”

In our next blog we will discuss how using a non-953 policy works with the investor control and diversification requirements of the U.S. tax code.

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 by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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Privacy Flows with EWP and PPLI

GO WITH THE FLOW

“Go with the flow” can have several meanings, and oddly enough, in the context of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) it can pertain to privacy.  As our firm specializes in structuring for international clients using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), we will discuss two recent news articles and how they relate to securing privacy, as well as full compliance, for families involved in international tax planning. The articles are interesting in themselves, and we have used them to make a few points related to our topic.

Because PPLI is issued under a variable universal life insurance contract, the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets inside the policy.  When reporting to the tax authorities of the jurisdictions involved with the policy, the insurance company becomes the owner of the assets inside the policy, even though the assets are held in separate accounts for the benefit of the owner of the assets.  It is the goal of EWP to secure as much privacy for clients that is allowable under law, and still be fully compliant with tax authorities worldwide.

Now back to our new articles and “going with the flow.” In a certain sense, the flow of information and the flow of wealth is akin to plumbing.  As long as things flow, in the direction intended there is not a problem.  When things begin to backup or flow in the wrong direction, we encounter problems.

Our first news article discusses the movement of families within the U.S. to states with no or little state income tax, and how the states that have high state income taxes like New York and California are unprepared for the loss of these tax dollars. The point is also made in the article that the states like Florida and Texas that are receiving the migrating families are also unprepared for the influx of new people in their states. In our analogy, we have a situation here where things are flowing in a direction that is not intended.

Here are a few of the salient points courtesy  of the Wall Street Journal by Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore, “So Long, California. Sayonara, New York.” 

“Since 2007 Texas and Florida (with no income tax) have gained 1.4 million and 850,000 residents, respectively, from other states. California and New York have jointly lost more than 2.2 million.”

 

“As the migration speeds up, it will raise real-estate values in low-tax states and hurt them in high-tax states.”

 

“Despite its shrinking tax base, New York spends nearly twice as much on state and local government per person ($16,000) as does economically booming Tennessee ($9,000).”

Our second news article is about the flow of information, and a possible unintended consequence of regulating it. Perhaps the pipes have been put at the wrong angles, or in the wrong place?

Again, from the Wall Street Journal by Steve Rosenbush, “The Morning Download: Europe’s New Privacy Rule, in Unexpected Twist, Helps Facebook, Google.”

The main point of the article is contained in these two quotes:

“The EU will begin enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation, “which in many cases require companies to obtain affirmative consent to use European residents’ personal information,” the Journal’s Sam Schechner and Nick Kostov report

 

“Google and Facebook, using their scale and sophistication, “are applying a relatively strict interpretation of the new law, competitors say—setting an industry standard that is hard for smaller firms to meet,” the Journal reports.”

How does our discussion of “go with the flow” pertain to the benefits of using EWP and a properly constructed PPLI policy to provide privacy?  In the first article, the families were moving to save significant tax dollars.  Inside the privacy protection of PPLI, there is a similar movement, as the assets inside the policy, if structured correctly, are in a tax-free environment.  Like the families in question, they have gone from a high tax situation to a no tax situation–if they moved to Florida and Texas where there is no state income tax.

The new privacy regulations in the second article that favor companies like Google and Facebook show how laws change over time, and when the laws change, it affects the companies subject to the regulation.  One favorable element of using PPLI for structuring is that it is subject to the insurance regulations of the tax authorities involved in the policy structure.  Insurance regulation tends to be much more simple and straightforward than tax codes, and this greatly favors families in their planning.

The insurance codes in most countries are also less subject to change than the tax codes. Insurance is also considered a vehicle that benefits the whole society. EWP structures enjoy the simplicity that insurance affords.

Our firm is here to assist you in “going with the flow” in the right direction, so please let us know your needs, and so we can find out if your situation is right for EWP and PPLI.

 

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 by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

 

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Company Review – Advanced Financial Solutions Inc

“A Secure Island in a Tax-Hungry World”

About Us

The roots of Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. reach back over 30 years, and its mission addresses the current, keen paradox of striving to achieve full compliance in tax transparency while also providing clients both privacy and tax savings.

How do we accomplish this?

By diligent, worldwide tax research, and scrupulous attention to clients’ individual needs.
We specialize in insurance solutions to achieve our results, because in most countries the use of insurance is well-established and straightforward to implement.  Within the insurance structures we create, we can usually accommodate most asset classes, and the assets can be located worldwide.

We are proud to be included in the Wikipedia article on Private Placement Life Insurance in the References and Additional Resources section with a link to our website in note number five.

We are referenced as an example of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP).  For a visual display of a typical structure, we have contributed a chart to Wikipedia Commons.

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) is essentially an insurance transaction that occurs within a private placement offering. The private placement component adds extensive flexibility to pricing and asset management offerings. Because PPLI is sold through a private placement memorandum, every situation can be individually negotiated and custom designed for the client.

Any asset that can be custodied by a reputable trust company can go into the PPLI structure. Many policies are owned by trusts which can be domiciled in jurisdictions in keeping with the client’s planning needs. In terms of asset management, it is an open architecture model where the assets can be located in multiple jurisdictions with multiple asset managers. PPLI insurance costs generally average about 1 percent of the cash value of the policy.

The cost of the death benefit varies with the health and age of the insured person, and generally policies are designed with the lowest death benefit possible. Tax and enhanced privacy benefits outweigh the costs of using a PPLI structure. Asset management fees will depend on the asset manager(s) selected to manage the assets inside the policy. The policy is fully transparent to the client, as all fees and costs are disclosed.
Our office locations are as diverse as our clients.

In California, clients are hosted in a rural setting in the oak, savannah region of the Sierra Nevada foothills.  This charming setting is about one hour’s drive from the Sacramento airport.  In New York City, 40 Wall Street is our home at the tip of Manhattan.  Our administrative office in the British Virgin Islands serves the needs of clients throughout the world.

We draw from some of the greatest expertise in the field. Our staff is composed of highly qualified financial professionals who can call upon many years’ experience in their respective fields. We believe wholeheartedly in teamwork in order to serve clients in the most beneficial and efficient way possible.

Typically, our clients are high net worth individuals and their families, who rely on us to manage their assets using a long-term yet flexible structure that suits their unique needs and wishes. We also act for banks, companies and international organizations who value our ability to provide innovative solutions quickly and reliably.

Crafting the best possible solution for a client involves bringing together knowledge from many fields, and keeping current by constant study.  Working with legal and financial experts in the fields of tax, estate planning, asset protection, investments, and insurance is what sets us apart.  We welcome the challenge of being:  A Secure Island in a Tax-Hungry World.

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We will appreciate any comments you may have, (bottom of the page).

Thank you.

~ Michael Malloy

Michael Malloy