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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

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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

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