Ancient Wisdom and PPLI

Socrates and King Lear Teach Us a Lesson

 Part 4

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 Our next few articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI Defines Nothing. We also offer you over the next five Parts, “She Was Good For Nothing,” by Hans Christian Andersen. This charming fairy tale supports our theme of nothing.

We introduce examples from ancient history and literature, ancient wisdom, to explain how PPLI can be a perfect fit for international families who seek privacy, tax efficiency, and asset protection. PPLI works excellently in multi-jurisdictional planning for those families seeking domiciles outside their home countries for political and economic reasons.

It is interesting to note that both Socrates and Shakespeare’s King Lear were in a sense exiled in their own kingdoms. Socrates put to death by state officials in Athens, and King Lear left to wander in his own country after political intrigue forced him out. These are highly charged dramatic events. It is sometimes equally so for wealthy international families. More about Socrates and King Lear later in our article.

An article in International Advisor, Who is advising Asia’s ultra wealthy?” by Kirsten Hastings focuses on the role of independent asset managers (IAMs). IAMs are key players in the team that we assemble to achieve a properly structured PPLI policy. Frequently there are multiple IAMs on our teams to accommodate the many asset classes that become part of the PPLI policy. Here are some highlights from this article.

“Wealth in Asia is rising faster than in any other part of the world, meaning that increasing numbers of incredibly rich people need expert advice.

These ultra-high net worth individuals can be beyond the reach of financial advisory and wealth management firms.

And rather than turn to private banks, many are seeking the services of independent asset managers (IAMs).

Also known as external asset managers (EAMs), they have a long history in Europe and the US but were a rarity across Asia as recently as 10 years ago.

The Association of Independent Asset Managers (AIAM) was founded in Singapore in 2011 and only opened in Hong Kong in 2015.

So, what do they do?

Independent asset management involves a client opening an account with a custodian bank, which may be a private bank, and placing assets in the account, according to a 2018 report from recruitment specialists Selby Jennings.

The client then gives the IAM authority and power of attorney as a third party to represent them in managing the investment portfolio and asset allocation.

The assets remain in an account in the client’s name at all times, but the IAM makes decisions on how the assets should be managed.

In addition to investment advice, IAMs also offer tax and succession planning along with a host of other, very bespoke services.

With the high net worth population of the region set to increase by over 40% every year over the next decade, the number of IAMs is also projected to increase – by 25% in Singapore and 50% in Hong Kong, Selby Jennings added.

Insurance and IAMs

“IAMs are starting to realise that the investment returns they generate for their clients could be wiped out by market volatility or different taxes when rebalancing the portfolio or realising the gains.”

He said they are increasingly exploring the functions of insurance to “supplement their client’s planning”.

“Due to the complex needs of the high net worths and global tax frameworks, we see a lot of IAMs are considering different wealth structures like PPLI (private placement life insurance) and are exploring insurance as an asset class.””

International Life Insurance

In keeping with our cross-border and international theme, we quote 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.”

Socrates Ignorance

 Garth Kemerling’s insightful commentary in the Great Philosophers series gives us an excellent interpretation of what Socrates means by one of his most famous quotes, “I only know that I know nothing.”

It is important to note that Socrates himself did not claim to know better than others. He frequently emphases that he is ignorant of the answer. The importance of this helps to draw the line between dogma and genuine philosophy. It is one thing to state one’s opinion of how things are and should be. Powerful institutions such as religions and political systems are built upon such dogmas and the demands that others abide by them. Socrates, on the other hand, started from a position of ignorance and sought the truth. In the end, he has no dogmatic program for us to follow, just a method for seeking the truth for ourselves, without any guarantee that we will find it. Philosophy as practiced by Socrates is an open system.

When he finds that the experts are just as ignorant about what things really are, he reasons: “I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, I am better off then he is – for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know.” Socrates concludes that it is better to have ones ignorance tan self-deceptive ignorance. Socrates may not know the ultimate answers to the questions he raises, but he knows himself. It is this self-knowledge and integrity that constitutes the wisdom of Socrates. The open invitation is for all of us to ask ourselves how much we truly know of what we claim.”

Part 4 of “She Was Good For Nothing” by Hans Christian Andersen:

“After he had gone my mistress called me in to speak to me; she looked so grave and yet so kind, and spoke as wisely as an angel indeed. She pointed out to me the gulf of difference, both mentally and materially, that lay between her son and me. ‘Now he is attracted by your good looks, but that will fade in time. You haven’t received his education; intellectually you can never rise to his level. I honor the poor,’ she continued, ‘ and I know that there is many a poor man who will sit in a higher seat in the kingdom of heaven than many a rich man; but that is no reason for crossing the barrier in this world. Left to yourselves, you two would drive your carriage full tilt against obstacles, until it toppled over with you both. Now I know that Erik, the glovemaker, a good, honest craftsman, wants to marry you; he is a well-to-do widower with no children. Think it over!’

“Every word my mistress spoke went through my heart like a knife, but I knew she was right, and that weighed heavily upon me. I kissed her hand, and my bitter tears fell upon it. But still bitterer tears fell when I lay upon my bed in my own room. Oh, the long, dreary night that followed-our Lord alone knows how I suffered!

“Not until I went to church on Sunday did peace of mind come after my pain. It seemed the working of Providence that as I left the church I met Erik himself. There were no doubts in my mind now; we were suited to each other, both in rank and in means; he was even a well-to-do man. So I went straight up to him, took his hand, and asked, ‘Do you still think of me?’

” ‘Yes, always and forever,’ he said.

” ‘Do you want to marry a girl who likes and respects you, but does not love you?’

” ‘I believe love will come,’ he said, and then we joined hands.

“I went home to my mistress. The gold ring that her son had given me I had been wearing every day next to my heart, and every night on my finger in bed, but now I drew it out. I kissed it until my lips bled, then gave it to my mistress and told her that next week the banns would be read for me and the glovemaker.

“My mistress took me in her arms and kissed me; she didn’t say I was good for nothing, but at that time I was perhaps better than I am now, for I had not yet known the misfortunes of the world. The wedding was at Candlemas, and for our first year we were quite happy. My husband had a workman and an apprentice with him, and you, Maren, were our servant.”

“Oh, and such a good mistress you were!” said Maren. “I shall never forget how kind you and your husband were to me!”

“Ah, but you were with us during our good times! We had no children then. I never saw the student again. Oh, yes, I saw him once, but he didn’t see me. He came to his mother’s funeral, and I saw him standing by her grave, looking so sad and pale-but that was all for his mother’s sake. When his father died later he was abroad and didn’t come to that funeral. He didn’t come here again; he became a lawyer, and he never married, I know. But he thought no more of me, and if he had seen me he would certainly have never recognized me, ugly as I am now. And it is all for the best!”

Then she went on to tell of the bitter days of hardship, when misfortune had fallen upon them. They had saved five hundred dollars, and since in their neighborhood a house could be bought for two hundred, they considered it a good investment to buy one, tear it down, and build again. So the house was bought, and the bricklayers and carpenters estimated that the new house would cost a thousand and twenty dollars. Erik had credit and borrowed that sum in Copenhagen, but the captain who was to have brought the money was shipwrecked and the money lost.”

Both Socrates and King Lear ended their lives tragically, yet were both noble in spirit. Socrates accepted his death in an herotic fashion. Lear was reunited with his daughter, Cordelia, yet they died in the confusion of battle between the warring parties at the end of the play. How is this related to PPLI?

Great art strives to ennoble us. This is why it is great, and rises above mere entertainment. At Advanced Financial Solutions our aim is to rise to the highest level of structuring for wealthy international families, giving both maximum privacy, and compliance with tax authorities worldwide.

Our quest is not outwardly considered art, but inwardly its goal is the same–uncompromising excellence. We invite you to partake of this excellence by contacting us today to find out if PPLI structuring is right for you.

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

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Nothing Is Impossible with PPLI

PPLI: Under Higher Laws

 Part 3

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Our next few articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI Defines Nothing. We also offer you over the next five Parts, “She Was Good For Nothing,” by Hans Christian Andersen. This charming fairy tale supports our theme of nothing.

Winnie-the-Pooh gives us one of his most often quoted and enjoyable quotes that reveals new insight into our theme of nothing:

“People say nothing is impossbile, but I do nothing everyday.”

One thing it brings to mind is how we sometimes come to an understanding through both effort and relaxation. We give you examples of this phenomenon from several authors below.

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) was born out of the necessity to achieve greater tax efficiency, privacy, and asset protection in one low cost structure with institutional pricing. This PPLI structure is made possible through the laws and regulations of life insurance. A much more stable and straightforward body of law than the more politicized tax laws and regulations worldwide. Our goal at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. is to make possible what is impossible with most asset structuring techniques available to wealthy families today.

In a Wealthmanagement.com article, “Private Placement Life Insurance Primer, Recent tax law changes make for a particularly interesting time to explore PPLI,”  Brian Gartner and Matthew Phillips explain why trustees are particularly attracted to PPLI.

“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.”

Relax and Create with PPLI

Author, Jonah Lehrer, gives us an explanation of why relaxation is a key ingredient to creativity in an article by Leo Widrich, “Why We Have Our Best Ideas in the Shower: The Science of Creativity.”

“Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease–when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain–we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere.

In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights.

‘That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,’ Bhattacharya says. ‘For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.’ It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our e-mail, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been their all along–we just weren’t listening.”

PPLI on Vacation

 One definition of vacation is “to vacate to leave empty.” This definition is in keeping with the above description of how we can have our best thoughts when we are relaxed. Amanda Foreman in “The Ancient Origins of the Vacation” gives us a brief history of the concept of vacation.

 “Finally, Americans are giving themselves a break. For years, according to the U.S. Travel Association, more than half of American workers didn’t use all their paid vacation days. But in a survey released in May by Discover, 71% of respondents said they were planning a summer vacation this year, up from 58% last year—meaning a real getaway, not just a day or two to catch up on chores or take the family to an amusement park.

The importance of vacations for health and happiness has been accepted for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks probably didn’t invent the vacation, but they perfected the idea of the tourist destination by providing quality amenities at festivals, religious sites and thermal springs. A cultured person went places. According to the “Crito,” one of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates’ stay-at-home mentality made him an exception: “You never made any other journey, as other people do, and you had no wish to know any other city.”

The Romans took a different approach. Instead of touring foreign cities, the wealthy preferred to vacation together in resort towns such as Pompeii, where they built ostentatious villas featuring grand areas for entertaining. The Emperor Nero was relaxing at his beach palace at Antium, modern Anzio, when the Great Fire of Rome broke out in the year 64.

The closest thing to a vacation that medieval Europeans could enjoy was undertaking pilgrimages to holy sites. Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, where St. James was believed to be buried, was a favorite destination, second only to Rome in popularity. As Geoffrey Chaucer’s bawdy “Canterbury Tales” shows, a pilgrimage provided all sorts of opportunities for mingling and carousing, not unlike a modern cruise ship.”

Part 3 of  “She Was Good For Nothing” by Hans Christian Andersen:

“The boy cried too, as he sat alone beside the river, guarding the wet linen. The two women made their way slowly, the washerwoman dragging her shaky limbs up the little alley and through the street where the Mayor lived. Just as she reached the front of his house, she sank down on the cobblestones. A crowd gathered around her.

Limping Maren ran into his yard for help. The Mayor and his guests came to the windows.

“It’s the washerwoman!” he said. “She’s had a bit too much to drink; she’s no good! It’s a pity for that handsome boy of hers, I really like that child, but his mother is good for nothing.”

And the washerwoman was brought to her own humble room, where she was put to bed. Kindly Maren hastened to prepare a cup of warm ale with butter and sugar-she could think of no better medicine in such a case-and then returned to the river, where, although she meant well, she did a very poor job with the washing; she only pulled the wet clothes out of the water and put them into a basket.

That evening she appeared again in the washerwoman’s miserable room. She had begged from the Mayor’s cook a couple of roasted potatoes and a fine fat piece of ham for the sick woman. Maren and the boy feasted on these, but the patient was satisfied with the smell, “For that was very nourishing,” she said.

The boy was put to bed, in the same one in which his mother slept, lying crosswise at his mother’s feet, with a blanket of old blue and red carpet ends sewed together.

The laundress felt a little better now; the warm ale had given her strength, and the smell of the good food had been nourishing.

“Thank you, my kind friend,” she said to Maren, “I’ll tell you all about it, while the boy is asleep. He’s sleeping already; see how sweet he looks with his eyes closed. He doesn’t think of his mother’s sufferings; may our Lord never let him feel their equal! Well, I was in service at the Councilor’s, the Mayor’ parents, when their youngest son came home from his studies. I was a carefree young girl then, but honest-I must say that before heaven. And the student was so pleasant and jolly; every drop of blood in his veins was honest and true; a better young man never lived. He was a son of the house, and I was only a servant, but we became sweethearts-all honorably; a kiss is no sin, after all, if people really love each other. And he told his mother that he loved me. She was an angel in his eyes, wise and kind and loving. And when he went away again he put his gold ring on my finger.”

Using a conservative PPLI asset structuring plan can help you relax in relation to worldwide tax authorities. In a properly structured PPLI policy, you will be in full compliance, yet your assets will be in a tax-free environment, and will pass as a tax-free to the heirs of your choice. We welcome you to take a vacation from more complicated and aggressive strategies, and call us today for a no obligation initial consultation. One Worldwide Toll-Free Number to Serve You: +1 877-811-5846

 

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

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Frozen Cash Value Unfrozen

A PPLI Policy For Today’s World

 Part 5

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 Our next few articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI meets Leonardo da Vinci.

 Like few profound thinkers Leonardo da Vinci was able to cross-fertilize many disciplines. To name a few art, science, aviation, engineering, music, and elaborate pageants at Italian courts. Many advisors lack knowledge of the outstanding properties of Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), because it is a combination of several disciplines: investing, life insurance, asset protection, and estate planning.  This inability to grasp the many planning possibilities of PPLI brings to mind this thought of Leonardo:

“Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.”

“Cold weather becomes frozen” prefigures one of our main topics, Frozen Cash Value life insurance. Much more on this topic later.

We are also led to the overarching planning concept that informs our PPLI planning, Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) which embodies these six characteristics: privacy, asset protection, succession planning, tax shield, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

In this series, our earlier articles spoke about the advantages of using PPLI companies domiciled in locations such as Barbados, Bermuda, and other jurisdictions with insurance codes that enhance the possibilities of structuring assets with PPLI. For those with a connection to the U.S., we stressed the importance of using PPLI companies that have made a 953(d) election. We now will add a powerful third element, a PPLI policy that is termed Frozen Cash Value. This is a policy that fails to meet the IRS’s various cash value tests for code section 7702, and qualifies as life insurance under 7702(g).

Here we have a flowchart courtesy of  John Adney, Esq. Davis & Harman LLP  Brian G. King, FSA, MAAA Ernst & Young LLP  Craig R. Springfield Davis & Harman LLP, Esq. This flowchart was part of their “Life Insurance Boot Camp” presentation

History of the Frozen Cash Value Policy

 Let us start at the beginning. To my knowledge the first person to recognize the outstanding potential of using a Frozen Cash Value policy for wealthy clients was Prof. Craig D. Hampton. He called his concept The Hampton Freeze, and wrote an article by the same name in Offshore Investment, in October 1994. Here is Prof. Hampton’s account of his first client presentation using the Frozen Cash Value concept.

“I was visiting a gentleman at his home in the Piccadilly district of London. It was explained to me that his net worth exceeded US$100 million by a substantial margin. I noticed the presence of a computer terminal on a large desk in his den. It was surrounded by reams of paper dealing with offshore investing.

It soon became apparent that his affluence was due to his own efforts when he said to me: “You’re a bright young man who obviously knows his craft. But what can you tell me that I don’t already know about finances?”

I leaned forward and made this simple statement: “Through the creative use of international life insurance, your financial affairs can be arranged so that you will never have to pay income taxes for the rest of your life!” The gentleman took serious notice, and thus was born The Hampton Freeze.”

“The Freeze” Works If You’re Too Rich, Too Old, or Not in Good Health.

Frank Suess’s article, “Never again pay income taxes for the rest of your life,” in The Daily Coin, speaks further about the FCV policy.

“PPLI to this day, is an important tool in our offering. Over the years, many of our clients have employed this tool, which beyond the tax benefits, effectively integrates the benefits of legal asset protection, global investment flexibility, privacy and generational planning features.

While I am not aware of any insurance carrier, today, offering a PPLI policy called the Hampton Freeze, Prof. Hampton’s concept has certainly lived on. Since his article in 1994, a series of products has been created by the industry. These policies are generally referred to as limited cash value policies. The most commonly used product is called a Frozen Cash Value policy. So, the “Freeze” has lived on at least partially.

And, what’s most intriguing about it: It’s valid to this day! While most other effective offshore income tax planning tools have gone to the wayside over the past years, the Freeze, and the concept presented in Prof. Hampton’s article, still works.

You may now wonder how the Freeze works. I recommend you read the article. In brief, it is based on the US tax code (‘the Code’) and its articles relating to life insurance, primarily in section 7702. While ordinary PPLI policies will have their limitations when it comes to insured persons that are too old or in bad health, and no common products will be available for very large premiums, the Hampton Freeze does not know such limitations.

Let me explain in brief, without boring you with technicalities. The Code defines a number of actuarial rules regarding the cash value and the face amount of life insurance policies. They must meet certain minimum risk coverage (death benefit) levels in order to be tax-compliant.

Therefore, based on actuarial best practices and the limitations of reinsurance levels available internationally, you will not have access to the tax freedom offered if you’re too rich. In other words, the limitations of reinsurance are, internationally, at a level of roughly US$40 to US$50 million of life risk. If you’re premium is too high, you will not be able get a policy. In order to keep within the actuarial tests defined by the Code, there will not be enough re-insurance available. Thus, no policy. Equally, you will not have access to the tax freedom of PPLI if you’re in bad health. You will fail at the medical. And, you are locked out of the world of PPLI if you are too old.

The Hampton Freeze removed those limitations. Thus, the largest policies written today frequently make use of the limited cash value concept born in 1994. We too regularly make use of this planning tool. My utmost respect and gratitude to you Prof. Hampton! Good work indeed!”

To complete our history of the FCV policy, Gerald Nowotny, an excellent commentator on many aspects of PPLI, gives us this note from his article, “Frozen Cash Value Life Insurance – A sophisticated tax planning solution for ultra-high-net-worth taxpayers.”

“My experience with FCV policies goes back to 1999, when Scottish Life and Annuity offered a FCV policy. The life insurer secured a favorable opinion from a large law firm. In fact, I’ve reviewed at least four favorable opinions on FCV from large law firms over the course of the last 10 years.”

Leonardo and FCV Both Solve Important Issues

Just as a FCV policy will solve many issues facing wealthy clients today, Leonardo solved many issues during his lifetime, even before his contemporaries thought of them as issues! Here is an excerpt from Fritjof Capra’s book, Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius.

“Leonardo da Vinci, the great genius of the Renaissance, developed and practiced a unique synthesis of art, science, and technology, which is not only extremely interesting in its conception but also very relevant to our time.

As we recognize that our sciences and technologies have become increasingly narrow in their focus, unable to understand our multi-faceted problems from an interdisciplinary perspective, we urgently need a science and technology that honor and respect the unity of all life, recognize the fundamental interdependence of all natural phenomena, and reconnect us with the living Earth. What we need today is exactly the kind of synthesis Leonardo outlined 500 years ago.”

Commentators of tax issues frequently site 7702(g) as a catchall section of the tax code whereby policies that do not qualify under other sections of 7702 can still have the tax benefits of life insurance.

Michael Kitces’s article, “The Tax-Preferenced Treatment of Life Insurance Policies,” gives us this about 7702(g). His comments echo these commentators, but it is framed in a positive light.

“To further encourage the use of life insurance, Congress has also provided under IRC Section 7702(g) that any growth/gains on the cash value within a life insurance policy are not taxable each year (as long as the policy is a proper life insurance policy in the first place). As a result, if a permanent insurance policy is held until death, the taxation of any gains are ultimately avoided altogether; they’re not taxable under IRC Section 7702(g) during life, and neither the cash value growth nor the additional increase in the value of the policy due to death itself are taxable at death under IRC Section 101(a).”

PPLI gives wealthy families many benefits that cannot be achieved by any other type of planning. Please give us the opportunity to structure your assets to achieve these exceptional benefits. Each family situation is unique. Let us help you explore the PPLI potential of your unique situation, so you can achieve these exceptional benefits. Contact Us!

 

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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Overcoming Obstacles Gracefully

Let PPLI Show the Way

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) is a vehicle to overcome obstacles for structuring assets for wealthy international families. This is greatly aided by the concept of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). Sometimes inspiration is necessary to overcome obstacles. To find this inspiration look no further than the remarkable life of Helen Keller. We will learn more about her amazing life later on, but first, let us focus on EWP.

We find the definition of EWP in the Wikipedia page International tax planning. Here is the opening paragraph:

International tax planning also known as international tax structures or expanded worldwide planning (EWP), is an element of international taxation created to implement directives from several tax authorities following the 2008 worldwide recession.

Further explanation is given in the Principles section:

EWP allows a tax paying entity to simplify its existing structures and minimize reporting obligations under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and CRS. At the heart of EWP is a properly constructed Private placement life insurance (PPLI) policy that allows taxpayers to use the regulatory framework of life insurance to structure assets along the client’s planning needs.

These international assets can also comply with tax authorities worldwide. EWP also brings asset protection and privacy benefits that are set forward in the six principles of EWP below. The other elements in the EWP structure may include the client’s citizenship, country of origin, actual residence, insurance regulations of all concerned jurisdictions, tax report requirements, and client’s objectives.

Planning with trust and foundations frequently offer only limited tax planning opportunities, whereas EWP provides a tax shield. Adding a PPLI policy held by the correct entity in the proper jurisdiction creates a notable planning opportunity.

The Six Principles of EWP

To address the obstacles in structuring assets for wealthy international families, these six principles are incorporated in the solution to produce the best possible planning outcome for the family.

Privacy

Asset Protection

Succession Planning

Tax Shield

Compliance Simplifier

Trust Substitute 

The Life of Helen Keller

We return to Wikipedia for this summary of the remarkable life of Helen Keller:

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. The dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker made widely known the story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum and sponsors an annual “Helen Keller Day”. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Thankfully in our EWP and PPLI structuring we do not face the tremendous challenges faced and overcome so gracefully by Helen Keller. She can serve as a model for all of us for what is possible in the face of extreme difficulty. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

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

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The Rule of Law in Action

PPLI Brings Ultimate Sophistication

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) brings the words of Leonardo da Vinci to life:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

The transformation from simplicity to sophistication can be accomplished through the rule of law. In our PPLI work for wealthy international families, we must frequently turn complex and sometimes contradictory tax laws into a simple, understandable, and workable structure.

Detailed analysis of the laws that govern the nationalities and residences of the family members must be undertaken. We welcome this challenge and enjoy the process. This thorough and meticulous study is highly individual to each family, so our short article is not the appropriate place to give a detailed example. Further on, we will bring you some humorous and not-so-humorous news stories on the rule of law.

There are always three elements in a PPLI policy: the owner of the policy, usually a trust; the life or lives insured; and the beneficiary of the PPLI policy’s death benefit. The domicile of each of these three elements must be studied. The domicile of each of these elements of the PPLI policy might be different, and a misinterpretation of the laws that affect each could lead to a wrong result in structuring for the family.

We diligently pursue this study. We frequently adjust the PPLI structure to make the elements work for the family, ensuring compliance with all the tax authorities involved. The rule of law also has its light side too. As we read in this recent Wall Street Journal article, by Josh Jacobs and Matthew Dalton. What we find humorous is not the present-day rodent situation in Paris, but the legal argument put forward in the 16th century when France was faced with a similar problem.

In France, Even the Rats Have Rights

Rodents overrunning Paris have defenders who say the varmint has a right

 to inhabit the City of Lights too.

‘Rat-Prochement’

PARIS—Rats were popping up at supermarkets, parks and nurseries when a city official convened a crisis meeting last fall to discuss ways to cull the population.

That was the first time Geoffroy Boulard, mayor of the 17th arrondissement in northwestern Paris, realized the rodents are backed by a vocal lobby. Ten protesters stepped forward to denounce exterminators’ plans to poison the animals. They urged a more humane method: Deploy birth-control drugs.

In the Middle Ages, people were helpless to stop the creatures from invading pantries and destroying crops. Lacking effective poisons, authorities took to bringing legal charges against rats for their misdeeds, according to “The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals,” a lengthy history by E.P. Evans.

The rats weren’t defenseless in such cases. When an ecclesiastical court in Autun, France, brought charges in the 16th century against a group of rats for destroying the local barley crop, a well-known lawyer named Bartholomew Chassenée was appointed by the court to represent them. Mr. Chassenée mounted a vigorous response.

“He urged, in the first place,” Mr. Evans wrote, “that inasmuch as the defendants were dispersed over a large tract of country and dwelt in numerous villages, a single summons was insufficient to notify them all.”

Now a more serious issue that relates to the families that we serve from the website of the international law firm, Mishcon de Reya.

Legal challenge to Common Reporting Standard

(CRS) and Beneficial Ownership (BO) registers

Mishcon de Reya has taken legal steps against the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Beneficial Ownership registers to call into question the wider repercussions for fundamental rights and the relationship between individuals and the State.

Our contention is that the publication of sensitive data concerning the internal governance and ownership of private companies by the Beneficial Ownership Registers is not necessary to achieve the stated objectives.  Similarly, we believe that the exchange of information under the CRS is excessive, as information is exchanged indiscriminately and affects all account holders regardless of the size of the account.

Our firm is dedicated to putting the rule of law to the best use for our PPLI clients. We invite you to join our group of satisfied, wealthy, international families by contacting us today.

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

 

 

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How Is Change Implemented with PPLI?

Change Comes Slowly to PPLI

 Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) gives wealthy international families a conservative structure to achieve enhanced privacy and a tax free environment for their assets. At first glance, it would not seem that PPLI would share something in common with Ralph Lauren, the well-known fashion designer, but read on, and you will see how they are connected.

PPLI structuring is basically using available laws and regulations to the best possible advantage for each unique family situation. Why not take a “straight and narrow” route and avoid issues with the tax authorities of all the countries involved in the structure?

Life insurance is well established in the laws and regulations of most countries in the world.  It is considered a benefit to society: 

“Life insurers are vital to an efficiently functioning modern economy and society and are a key contributor to long-term economic growth and improved living standards,” states a 2016 report by The Brattle Group, “The Social and Economic Contributions of the Life Insurance Industry.”

Because life insurance permeates the social fabric at all economic levels, the laws and regulations on life insurance tend to be more stable and less subject to political change. Later on we will give you an example of how a tax law change in the U.S. is playing out in a complex manner that will take many years to fully resolve.

What are a few key elements that show us why it is vital to use life insurance in structuring for wealthy international families?  Here are two significant ones:

Simplified Reporting

A compliant PPLI policy is an asset that can hold various investments, including multiple underlying traded or non-traded companies as well as private equity. The insurance company is legally seen as the owner of these investments, hence this simplifies the reporting requirements under most reporting regimes. CRS reporting is also simplified and limited, based on correct structuring at the inception of the process.

Asset Protection

 PPLI can offer privacy and, in some cases, significant protection from creditors. Assets held in a PPLI policy are held in a Separate Account and are protected from the assets of all other policyholders and the general account of the insurance Company.

Here is our example of how a recent tax law change is playing out in the U.S.

New Hampshire Fights Supreme Court

Sales-Tax Ruling

Retailers in five states without a sales tax face new burdens

 

New Hampshire is one of five states without a broad-based statewide sales tax, a status that had insulated retailers from a task familiar to businesses elsewhere. That cushion lasted until the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, which lets states require retailers to collect sales taxes even if those businesses lack a physical presence in the state.

States with sales taxes are still figuring out how they’ll approach out-of-state retailers. New Hampshire, with a special legislative session scheduled for Wednesday, isn’t waiting to respond. Its reaction to the court’s decision will spur the next round of skirmishes over cross-border sales-tax collection.

States with sales taxes are working on their regulations to get out-of-state sellers registered in their systems and collecting the tax. In some cases, they need to wait for their legislative sessions for new or revised laws.

Does all this sound familiar?  Change the actors and subject matter in the play and you have the worldwide reactions to implementing FATCA, CRS, Registers of Beneficial Ownership and other mandates from governments and regulatory bodies around the world.

Although far from timeless, our firm’s PPLI structures that use life insurance as its core element have withstood many years of changes in transparency, tax legislation, and calls from government officials to end “aggressive tax planning.” Planning with life insurance could be seen as the eye of the hurricane–an area of calm in the midst of constant change. We achieve outstanding results without being aggressive.

We thank Ralph Lauren for his quote, and enjoy the challenge of securing exceptional results that have weathered many storms. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

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

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What Is Money?

Fungibility Is Key to PPLI

At the center of a Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structure is fungibility. For PPLI this means in essence taking assets in a taxable environment into one that is tax-free. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fungibility derives from the Latin verb fungi meaning “to perform (no relation to the noun “fungus” or the plural “fungi.”)

If something is fungible it is mutually exchangeable like an ounce of gold, or in other circumstances, as we will read further on in our article, the U.S. dollar held in the form of $100 bills.

This mutual exchange for a taxable environment for one that is tax-free is accomplished in PPLI by using life insurance. Perhaps a fungible transaction is not quite the right analogy.

Life insurance in the structure functions more like a membrane, where once the assets are properly structured inside the PPLI policy, the assets become recharacterized into a solution that has both outstanding tax benefits as well as enhanced privacy. Clients also can permeate this membrane for tax-free distributions on the income from the assets.

Worldwide life insurance has a tax-favored status, and this exchange from taxable to non-taxable can be accomplished with the creation of a PPLI structure that takes into account these key elements in a wealthy family’s situation:

  • Nationality of the family members;
  • Country of residence(s);
  • Location and type of assets;
  • Laws pertaining to trusts, life insurance, and other entities to be used;
  • Aims and goals of planning.

Once these elements are researched and analyzed, a tailor-made structure can be created for the family.  Wealthy international families are drawn to PPLI structures, in part, because of the legitimate enhanced privacy that can be accomplish inside this structure.

Governments and their tax authorities are in place, in the highest form, to secure the public good through the collection of taxes. Their citizens also have rights to privacy and, within the realm of law, to protect their private property from harm. Therefore, there is a built-in tension between these two aims.

Another built-in tension can occur in the financial world.  What happens when a country’s institutions don’t support a traditional banking system? One occurrence is that new systems are created to support the unique circumstances.  Let us take the extreme example of Somaliland.

For this example teaches us one of the underlying properties of what we call money: a means to facilitate a transaction. We are thankful to Matina Stevis-Gridneff in a recent Wall Street Journal article for these excerpts.

“An Isolated Country Runs on Mobile Money”

 

“HARGEISA, Somaliland—Hyperinflation and economic isolation have pushed this poor, breakaway republic closer to a virtual milestone than most other countries in the world: a cashless economy.

The continent, home to many of the world’s frontier economies, has come closest to skipping, or “leapfrogging” as it’s often called, traditional brick-and-mortar banks and going straight to heavily using phones as wallets.

And nowhere are the benefits of mobile money more apparent than in Somaliland, where the extreme economic and financial conditions have allowed Zaad, a service from the main local telecom, Telesom, to catalyze commerce in one of the most isolated parts of the world.

Once a week, Abdulahi Abdirahman hauls two bulky, heavy sacks of shillings from his gas station across Hargeisa to the money-exchange area downtown and, several hours later, returns with just a few dollar notes in his back pocket and his Zaad wallet loaded up.

Clients pay Mr. Abdirahman in Somaliland shillings. He needs to pay suppliers in dollars. Using Zaad, he gets half the payments in mobile money, meaning the cumbersome ritual has become more manageable in these times of high inflation.”

Money in Action Using PPLI

Now, again courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, by Joe Craven McGinty, we find another example of how money works in the real world.

“Cash Flow or Cash Stash? How Money Moves Around”

 

A record level of U.S. cash is circulating, but Americans aren’t spending the bulk of it.

So, where’s the money?

Up to two-thirds—or as much as $1.07 trillion—is held abroad. About $80 billion is held domestically by depository institutions. And the rest—as little as $453 billion—is in the hands of domestic businesses and individuals.

Last year, according to figures published by the Fed, $1.6 trillion was in circulation, including $1.3 trillion in $100 bills, or 80% of the total. In 1997, $458 billion circulated, including $291 billion in $100s, or 64% of the total.

The circulating currency held abroad could range from one-half to two-thirds of the total, the Fed estimates, or a range of $800 billion to $1.07 trillion.

Wealthy families worldwide have the option of creating their own unique structures using PPLI. These structures can become, in effect, private banks. By uniting PPLI with family assets and a bespoke banking relationship, much is achieved that cannot be accomplish in any other way. Please let us know how we can assist you in this endeavor. We welcome your questions and comments.

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

 

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PPLI Hits the Mainstream with Bloomberg

EWP: A Giant Structuring Tool

Since we work with wealthy international families, we are expert in using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) as a structuring tool. Our approach is called Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). A few weeks ago Bloomberg ran an article on PPLI, “How to invest in Hedge Funds and Pay No Taxes.” We offer quotes and a video about the article below.

First some basics on EWP, and how a properly structured policy can excellently serve the needs of wealthy international families.

  • All assets inside the PPLI policy receive tax deferral, not only investments, but business income too.
  • The assets pass tax-free to the beneficiaries named in the policy. In a properly structured policy one creates a tax-free environment for these assets. Assets can be located anywhere in the world.
  • Because life insurance is used, FATCA and CRS reporting is greatly simplified, and in some cases, is eliminated.
  • Families receive enhanced privacy, because the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets inside the PPLI policy.
  • The EWP structure provides excellent asset protection.
  • The EWP structure is low cost with fees averaging 1% of assets.
  • The EWP structure is fully compliant with the tax authorities of all tax jurisdictions.
  • Should an untimely death of the wealth creator occur, his family is protected with a tax-free death benefit.

More on Product vs. Structure

The Bloomberg article mentioned above speaks about PPLI as a product, which of course it is, but most importantly it is an EWP structuring tool. One quote from the article is of note:

“When I would talk about it years ago, people looked at you funny,” said Edward Gordon, founder of Preservation Capital Partners. Lawyers for the wealthy hadn’t heard of PPLIs and often dissuaded their clients from trying a product that “sounded too good to be true,” he said. Now, “it’s reaching somewhat of a tipping point.”

Unfortunately, the ignorance of PPLI’s planning possibilities even goes beyond lack of knowledge.  Many asset managers naively sell against insurance structuring, and do not realize that the unique tax advantages of PPLI will give the assets they manage a significant boost in performance.  This is especially true for long-term investments, and those intended for future generations.

Here are some other key quotes from the Bloomberg article by Heather Perlberg and Ben Steverman.

“This is a sexy product that people get excited about owning and tell their friends about,” said Aaron Hodari, a managing director at the advisory firm Schechter Wealth. “It’s an alternative investment that allows you to invest in hedge funds and defer or eliminate taxes.”

“Athletes, celebrities, and family offices are embracing private placement life insurance, or PPLI, as a way to preserve wealth for their heirs. It’s a strategy that’s perfectly legal and has existed for decades. While insurance funds are typically a way to protect assets from lawsuits, the main appeal of PPLIs is that they can help investors avoid taxes on capital gains, ordinary income and high-net-worth estates.”

Bloomberg’s Peggy Collins now offers us a short video about the Bloomberg article:

We invite you to explore with us the structuring possibilities of PPLI and EWP. As always, your comments and questions are indeed welcomed and appreciated.

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

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Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate

PPVA vs. a “Blocker” Corp. Structure 

A sizable portion of the $350-500U.S. billion foreign inbound investment in the U.S. annually is placed in real estate. A Private Placement Variable Annuity (PPVA) can greatly reduce taxation and reporting requirements on these investments. The PPVA structure outlined in this blog is superior to the usual blocker corporation structure.

For the main points in this blog, we are indebted to Gerald Nowotny, a U.S. attorney, who writes frequently on Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) and PPVA topics. Mr. Nowotny’s recent article on PPVAs,“It Do Me Good!”  is our source.

According to Mr. Nowotny, the PPVA structure accomplishes several important tax and non-tax objectives:

  • “Avoidance of the need on the part of the foreign investor to file a U.S. income tax return and falling under the scrutiny and jurisdiction of the IRS.

 

  • Recharacterization of income that would be otherwise subject to taxation at the top corporate rates into interest and dividend income that is subject to lower tax rates under applicable tax treaties with the U.S.

 

 

  • Minimization of corporate taxation on the “blocker” corporation structure frequently used as part of this planning.”

Our blog is usually about the uses of PPLI structures for wealthy international families.  At times the use of a PPVA structure makes more sense, so we give you an example from Mr. Nowotny’s article to illustrate this point.

We have changed the example used in Mr. Nowotny’s article slightly, because we favor using offshore companies,who in this case, have made a 953(d) election. We have found that this results in more streamlined compliance reporting.

PPVA Structuring Example

Acme Investment Management is a real estate investment management organization investing in several different U.S. real estate markets. Acme creates an insurance dedicated fund (IDF) with the life insurance company, Corona Life, that will issue the annuity. We quote from the full article:

“Based upon the total premium (investment) commitment, Corona charges the policyholders 25 basis points per annum. The total cost per year is $250,000 per year. Over the course of the twenty year life of the fund-the total projected PPVA costs are $5 million. The total cost of the PPVA is roughly equal to the investor’s tax liabilities using the blocker corporation in the first 2-3 years.

The PPVA will not have any withholding for FIRPTA. Under the treaty, annuity income is not subject to U.S. income and withholding taxes. Therefore, neither Acme nor Corona will be required to withhold anything on its distribution.

Assume the same facts as the description above except for the fact, that the PPVA structure has no tax leakage. Corona does not have any withholding tax obligation on the income distributions of  any of the annuity payments or at liquidation of the investments. Corona is not subject to withholding under FIRPTA on the sale of the real estate.”

Please let us know how a PPVA structure can assist you in planning for the U.S. real estate investments of non-U.S. persons. We welcome your questions and comments.

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

 

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