Life Insurance and PPLI

Life Insurance and Private Placement Life Insurance

 We found a very educative blog post about Life Insurance and Private Placement Life Insurance: “This Life Insurance Lets the Very Wealthy Invest in Private Markets and Defer Taxes,“ by Andrea Riquier

Life Insurance and PPLI“No matter who wins the White House and Congress in November, tax law changes loom large, reviving interest in a tried-and-true strategy for the ultra-wealthy.“

The blog post discusses the concept of using life insurance as an investment, particularly focusing on its tax advantages and benefits for retirement and estate planning. It highlights how life insurance can build up cash values tax-deferred and pay them out tax-free, emphasizing the potential tax benefits for wealthy families. The post also touches on leveraging life insurance for investment purposes, maximizing life cover through premium finance, and the role of life insurance in investment diversification and tax-advantaged growth.

Here are some insights:

  1. Purpose of Life Insurance for the Wealthy:
  2. Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI):
    • PPLI is a specialized form of universal life insurance available exclusively through private channels (not publicly offered). It is specifically designed for high-net-worth individuals.
    • Tax Efficiency: PPLI aims to reduce taxes on investments. By structuring investments within a life insurance policy, wealthy clients can benefit from tax-deferred growth and potentially tax-free distributions.
    • Tailored Solutions: Consulting with financial planners and insurance professionals, such as Michael Malloy and his team at EWP Financial, is essential. They can help customize PPLI policies to align with the unique needs and goals of each client.

Remember that PPLI is a sophisticated strategy, and seeking professional advice is crucial to maximize its benefits. Michael Malloy’s expertise in this area makes him a valuable resource for those navigating the complexities of wealth management and estate planning.

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC.
CEO, Founder @EWP Financial

~ Your best source for PPLI and EWP

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EWP Stories-4

Expanded Worldwide Planning
International Tax Planning
Stories
Part 4:
Succession Planning

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Many countries, primarily in civil-law jurisdictions, require forced distribution of assets at death according to strict laws and regulations. This usually takes the form of percentage shares of assets that will be distributed to spouses, children, and other close relations of the deceased. A PPLI policy purchased outside the home country of the owner or policyholder is a method to mitigate these forced heirship rules.

The PPLI policy is a contract between the owner of the policy and the insurance company to pay the beneficiary of the policy the death benefit upon the death of the insured under the contract. A typical beneficiary provision of a life insurance policy states: “unless an alternate payment plan, acceptable to us, is chosen, the proceeds payable at the insured’s death will be paid in a lump sum to the primary Beneficiary. If the primary Beneficiary dies before the insured, the proceeds will be paid to the contingent Beneficiary. If no Beneficiary survives the insured, the proceeds will be paid to your estate.”

Since a typical PPLI policy is executed outside the home country of the policy owner, the forced heirship laws do not apply, as the policy will be governed by the laws where the insurance company is domiciled.

This element of EWP, (Expanded Worldwide Planning), provides a wealth holder an excellent method to enact an estate plan that conforms to his/her own wishes, and not be dictated by the forced heirship rules of his/her home country. To be successful this needs to be well-coordinated with all the aspects of a properly structured PPLI policy, as well as all the other elements of a wealth owner’s financial and legal planning.

Here is a list of countries where forced heirship laws exist today in a variety of forms:

  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • Japan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Jordan
  • Iran
Part 1

Andre Simmons toyed with staying at the Hotel Cala di Volpe on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. He could easily afford the $41,000 nightly rate for the penthouse suite, but preferred staying on his superyacht that was anchored in Porto Vecchio near the village of Porto Cervo.

Andre liked people, so was feeling a little lonely, as he had given his crew the morning off after their voyage from Miami, Florida. They had had a rough crossing on the Atlantic, dangerously riding 30 foot swells through a nasty storm that had unexpectedly come upon them. By contrast the water in Porto Vecchio was like glass with barely a ripple on the mirror-like surface.

The weather was perfect. He decided to go for a swim before his usual breakfast of coffee, bagel, and cream cheese. The bagel brought to mind New York City and his attorney. Delaying his breakfast for a swim did not bother him, but delaying action on his attorney’s advice was causing him some worry. He had reached a state of mental paralysis on what to do about passing his billions to his wife and children. Maybe he could think more clearly after a long swim.

Andre put on his bathing suit, and went through the spa center on the lower deck which had direct access to the water. The first plunge brought an accelerating tingle of pleasure. He was powering through the water, aided by just his own arms and legs. In these first moments in the water, he felt like a splendid fish, and not the owner of a magnificent, 150 ft., superyacht that had all the amenities money could buy.

The salt water was buoyant like only the Mediterranean could be. Andre was a strong swimmer and headed out of the bay. Soon his yacht had shrunk to the size of a much more modest craft.

At first it seemed like an annoying muscle pain in his chest, as he vigorously swam out to sea. The pain persisted. His youthful athletic training told him just to ignore it. He probably needed to do more stretches. At 48 his body was beginning to show its age.

The burning pain now became intense. He saw nobody in sight. It was 6:30am. No other swimmers, no other boats, nobody to hear a cry that he now could not make.

In view of this most exclusive enclave of wealth, this gorgeous seascape took him. He helplessly sank. Water poured into his lungs. He continued to sink. This beautiful bay had claimed a billionaire. He could do nothing but yield to nature’s will.

If his dead body is not found soon, the sharks will find it. His estate will suffer the same fate, but his $10billionU.S. of assets will be found, and, since he failed to leave a will, it will meet a similar fate: not an orderly deposition of this vast worldwide financial empire, but a hacking and a continued hacking until those contesting this fortune wished it would stop. It will not stop until the last legal contestant makes their last legal challenge in five to ten years hence.

A Brief History of Forced Heirship

The notion of forced heirship originated with Germanic tribe tradition, which sought to protect the family’s legacy and tradition. The deceased’s personal property was divided into thirds–the widow’s part, the children’s part, and a third part, which consisted of clothes, weapons, and farm animals.

Forced heirship is mostly prevalent amongst civil law jurisdictions and in Muslim countries, but also occurs in other major countries such as the U.S.A. (in Louisiana) and Japan.

There is a substantial difference between civil law jurisdictions and common law jurisdictions. Civil law is rooted in Roman law, and has the functions of the legal system codified and compiled into a collection readily available for citizens to reference. This legal structure requires the judge to rely on the black letter meaning of the law and disregards individual interpretation.

Common law, however, has its rules and regulations administered by judges. This type of individual judicial administration and decision-making allows enforcement of the law to vary on a case-by-case basis rather than on the black letter meaning of the law.

Civil law jurisdiction laws are heavily based on the German Code (BGB) and the Napoleonic Code. Today, the civil law legal system has become the most widespread of all the legal systems globally. Continental Europe, as well as many former European colonies, has adopted and evolved their laws to abide by the civil law structure. This has led to a continued reliance on the notion of forced heirship. The tradition of forced heirship has historically provided a means for heirs to be guaranteed a share in a decedent’s estate

Civil Law vs. Common Law Examples of Conflict

International families can eliminate the vagaries of court decisions which hinge on details of the law like inter vivos transfers versus testamentary transfers by using a properly structured PPLI policy. This policy will secure their own estate planning wishes using a legally binding contract between the wealth owner and an insurance company with no need of court decisions in any jurisdiction.

United States and Spain

In general the domiciliary jurisdiction at the time of a testator’s death controls movable property. But in this case (Wyatt v. Fulrath, 211 N.E.2d 637,N.Y. 1965) the New York court ruled that the expressed agreement by the couple that New York law was to apply to these assets that were moved to New York. The ruling was sufficient to allow New York jurisdiction and law to override Spanish law.

The law of Spain would have prevented either spouse from agreeing that community property goes entirely to the survivor on the death of either, which was their expressed agreement in New York. Under Spanish law, the surviving spouse would only receive half of the community property deposited in the joint New York bank accounts.

United States and France

In a 2009 New York case (Re Meyer 876 NYS 2d 7, App Div 1st Dept 2009) the court made a distinction between a lifetime, inter vivos, transfer and a transfer at death by will or trust. At issue were gifts of property made during lifetime by a person who was allegedly a French domiciliary at the time she made the gifts.

The court ruled that the gifts were not subject to forced heirship claims because: “the validity and effect of these transfers, as well as the capacity to affect them, are governed by the law of the state where the property was situated at the time of the transfer.”

The Court went on to say that: “[w]e perceiver no valid policy distinction that would allow a nonresident testator to avoid French heirship claims by involving New York law with respect to assets physically situated in New York…but not with regard to previous inter vivos transfers of assets physically situated [in New York].”

Part 2

Charlotte Simmons could not say exactly why she found herself standing before Theodore Gericault’s painting, The Raft of the Medusa, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. For Charlotte museums were akin to a religious experience: a deeply internal religion of her own devising, not a religion with a recognizable label.

The tragic scene of shipwreck depicted so dramatically by Gericault had called out to her that morning, as she left her apartment near the Louvre. She was one of the first to arrive at the museum, and had the painting to herself.

This very large painting (16 ft. by 23 ft.) depicts the moment of rescue for a hurriedly constructed raft that originally held at least 147 people that was set adrift from a French naval ship off the coast of West Africa in 1816. All but 15 died before their rescue, and those who managed to survive endured starvation and dehydration and practiced cannibalism.

Her cell phone buzzed in her purse, and she sought refuge on the large, black bench in front of the painting, taking the phone against her ear, and leaning over to hide it, but the guard spotted her phone, and began moving stridently toward her.

“Bonjour,” she said in her unrecognizable, cultured accent, the product of living in three continents.

“Is this Mrs. Simmons,” said a voice devoid of any emotional signposts.

“Yes, it is.”

“Madame” began the guard. She heard her speaking English, and continued, “No mobile phones, Madame, you must leave the gallery now.”

“I have terrible news for you. Your husband is dead.”

The guard then became quite agitated, “Madame, I must insist.”

Charlotte looked up imploringly to the short, bespectacled, young woman that now stood directly above her, tears ruining the makeup on her exquisitely featured face. She barely heard the rest of the monotoned, formal rendition of finding Andre’s body floating a few hundred meters from his superyacht. The voice concluded with an obligatory condolence, and a phone number for the police in Porto Cervo.

The guard now had placed her hands on her hips. Charlotte lifted her head to see her exasperated, reddening face, now inches from hers, as she tried to make himself understood, thinking Charlotte did not understand her heavily accented English.

She became aware that others on the bench had moved away, her anguished face pushing them away, clearing a space for her, a space that held an emotion that these strangers could feel without knowing the details.

“Madame, my husband has drowned; he is dead.” The guard’s arms fell to her sides. She understood, and as if to make her meaning clearer, pointed awkwardly at The Raft of the Medusa. She was to learn later how fully she understood her grief. She meekly walked out of the room with her head bowed as if in prayer.

Charlotte returned to The Raft of the Medusa. The ocean took my Andre. This vast expanse of liquid that we mostly float above. He has sunk below to a realm no longer within reach of my love. The finality of death penetrates slowly, especially if there is no body to bear witness to a piercing grief.

She continued to stare at the painting, attempting to extract a meaning that would help her. She was now a survivor like those on the raft who had spent thirteen days at sea. The very number of days she had been absent from Andre, who is now absent from her forever.

Why a PPLI Structure Is Best

The laws governing these PPLI contracts are written specifically to accommodate international wealthy families. These laws enhance not only succession planning, but provide excellent asset protection, privacy, and tax efficiency.

A PPLI policy is not a uniquely civil-or common-law creation. Its treatment in law is more uniform than planning solely with entities like trust, foundations, and LLCs. The unique design of a PPLI policy can greatly assist in a move between civil-and common-law jurisdictions.

This can be done without the requirement of a will or trust. Upon death of the insured person(s), the value of the PPLI policy plus any death benefit is paid directly to the beneficiaries listed in the policy, and separate from probate.

If a PPLI policy is held by an entity, such as a trust, that is compliant in the beneficiary’s country of residence, tax deferral and investment flexibility can still be preserved, even if the trust is disregarded as a foreign entity.

Gift and estate planning for life policies frequently involves establishment of a specially structured insurance trust for the benefit of a spouse and/or children and descendants. The trust acquires the policy with the premiums being contributed to the trust by the settlor/insured. In this manner, the death benefit would be paid to the trust free of estate taxes rather than going outright to the surviving family members after the payment of estate taxes.

PPLI policies also could invest in PFICs without creating adverse tax consequences. From a US perspective, US persons should generally be aware that most non-US collective investment vehicles will be classified as PFICs for US purposes and subject to adverse tax charges upon generating income and gains.

Part 3

Edward Lawson had a mathematical mind. Looking out his New York Park Avenue office window onto the neatly arranged winter bedding plants, he spotted the red and green variegated ornamental cabbage peaking through the snow; seen from his tenth story window, they reminded him of little zeros.

He was taking a secret pleasure in the number and timing of the phone calls he was receiving of people soliciting a share of Andre Simmons estate. It was averaging one call every fifteen minutes. As Andre’s attorney for many years, Edward had assumed the role of executor of his estate, although it would probably take years to find out who the final executor might be. He had the relaxed air of someone who knew his difficult task was not permanent, and does not bear full responsibility for the outcome.

His job was to gather together the loose threads of Andre’s substantial financial empire. He thankfully did not have to be accountable to the many beneficiaries, many of whom would be discredited and found to have false claims against the estate by whatever court would have the ultimate authority for the case.

He knew a call was due, and here it came. “Edward Lawson.”

“Edward, I have Herve Laurent, a french attorney for you. Shall I put him through?”

“OK, Nancy.”

“Mr. Lawson, I represent Bernadette Simmons, Andre Simmons’ first wife. I wish to make my client’s situation known to you. She says she has proof that Mr. Simmons was married to his second wife in New York before his French divorce with my client was finalized, therefore, under French succession law, she has rights to a portion of his estate, as well as her two children. They will be represented each by their own legal counsels.”

In the two weeks, he had been handling this case, startling developments were routine. “Thank you Mr. Laurent. I will put you into the case. No guarantees that I can keep you informed, so please check back as things progress.”

Turning to his computer, he noted this in the file, and reflected that if France was to adjudicate the estate, and nullify the second marriage to Charlotte, this indeed would be a new development, but it was much too early to speculate.

It was time to summarize the entire situation, in case the managing partner asked him about the case. This is how it stood presently just a month after Andre’s death:

  • Andre has over a dozen business entities in multiple countries that must be sorted out. In these countries there are other partners and directors who will have conflicting claims concerning the ownership and continued operation of these companies.
  • Even though Andre Simmons is a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, New Zealand and France could claim taxes from him because he had residences there, and spent considerable time in these countries. He had extensive economic ties to all three countries with a large sheep farm in New Zealand, vineyards in France, and real estate in New York City. All three countries will make arguments that his center of economic activity or permanent place of adobe occurred in their country, although it is possible to be declared a tax resident in more than one country.
  • The U.S., France, and New Zealand have double taxation treaties with each other, and tie breaker provisions in case of conflict, but it will be far from simple to come to a decision.
  • As to future potential beneficiaries through blood dies, if past cases are any indication, they will be appearing daily. The various courts involved will be asking all these unsubstantiated beneficiaries to take DNA tests to prove a biological connection to Andre.
  • The allegation concerning the timing of his divorce to the first wife, and remarriage to Charlotte must be thoroughly investigated.

“Zero times any number equals zero,” Edward said aloud to himself. Zero was the image that came to mind at his conclusion of the summary. What a disgraceful waste of legal brain power and money. This case has the potential of another Bleak House. (The novel by Charles Dickens that depicted an epic estate contest that ended in all the estate being consumed by legal fees.) Of course, all this could have been avoided with proper planning, but now each new complexity would add months if not years to the process, and drain the estate value substantially.

Edward thought drowning the estate sounded better, but remembered Andre’s death, and forced himself back to his computer screen.

Unwelcomed Complexities by Country

The laws of succession and inheritance vary widely by country. By reviewing the laws of France, China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, we give you a sampling of the complications faced by wealthy international families throughout the world. Image a family that might have family members and assets in several of these countries, and the daunting task of settling their estate. If a properly structured PPLI policy is used, many of these complications can be avoided.

France

Before the Napoleonic Code, France did not have a single set of laws; law consisted mainly of local customs, which had sometimes been officially compiled in “custumals” (coutumes), notably the Custom of Paris. There were also exemptions, privileges, and special charters granted by the kings or other feudal lords. During the Revolution, the last vestiges of feudalism were abolished.

France’s Napoleonic code dictates how your assets must be distributed on your death. The key points are:

  • For French residents, succession law applies to worldwide assets (excluding real estate outside France).
  • For non-residents, French real estate is subject to the succession law rules.
  • Assets do not automatically pass in accordance with your will.
  • Children are protected heirs, inheriting up to 75% of your estate.
  • Spouses are not automatically protected.
  • You can use the EU succession regulations, termed Brussels IV, to opt for the succession law of your nationality instead of French law.

Brussels IV has been in place since August 17, 2015. Its intention was to simplify issues relating to succession across the EU. The objective of Brussels IV is to ensure that only one country’s laws apply to the deceased’s estate. The laws of the country in which a person is habitually resident at their death will apply to them, unless they have made a declaration during their lifetime.

Brussels IV gives residents in EU countries (with the exception of the UK, Denmark and Ireland) a single set of rules which govern the jurisdiction and applicable law in succession law matters. The new rules look primarily to the deceased’s place of habitual residence, but an individual may elect that his succession should be governed by the law of his nationality (whether or not he is a national of an EU member state). The new rules also introduced a European Certificate of Succession, aimed at facilitating the administration of cross-border estates.

China

Unlike common law countries, China possesses few legal instruments for processing a solid estate plan. But because China does not levy estate or inheritance tax, nor does it collect a gift tax, there is less demand for estate planning, which tends to focus on tax savings. However, family business succession is looming large in China, with many first generation entrepreneurs approaching retirement.

Under Chinese inheritance law, when a valid will is made, it is generally respected. So these estates pass to the beneficiaries designated in the will. When a person dies without having a valid will in place, the estate passes to heirs under the statutory succession rules.

China has a limited forced heirship regime under which dependents of the deceased are entitled to succession to the extent that they otherwise cannot support themselves, for example, those who are unable to work and have no source of income. As such, a family trust may be liable to forced heirship claims against trust assets.

Under the Chinese statutory succession rules, the first half of the estate is distributed to the spouse of the deceased as community property. The rest is distributed to the spouse, the parents and the children of the deceased in equal shares. The limited forced heirship regime cannot be avoided. All the assets, including those received by beneficiaries in other jurisdictions, are taken into account for the forced heirship regime.

For statutory succession purposes, the succession rules of the habitual residence of the deceased at the time of their death will apply, unless the asset is a real estate located in China where the Chinese succession rules will automatically apply. This can be avoided by making a will by the foreign national.

In the absence of a will, Chinese statuary succession rules apply to the deceased’s real estate in China even if the deceased is a foreign national. Chinese laws do not recognize the doctrine of renvoi. By invoking renvoi, the court could rule that the law of another country would be the most appropriate law to apply in this case.

There are no other taxes on death or lifetime gifts, unless the gifts would be deemed as a transfer of assets, for example, gifts of shares or real estate between non-family members, in which case the individual income tax on deemed gains will be imposed on the transferor.

Russia

Russian inheritance laws cover everyone who is domiciled (i.e., has his or her usual place of living, but not necessarily his or her nationality) in the Russian Federation, and also covers everyone including foreigners who own property in the Russian Federation.

Minor and disabled children of any deceased person domiciled in Russia, disabled spouse and parents, and any disabled dependants of the deceased must inherit at least one-half of the share each of them is entitled to inherit by law, irrespective of any testamentary provisions.

There are two types of inheritance: testamentary inheritance (when there is a will of a deceased) and intestate inheritance (in the absence of a will of a deceased and in other statutory cases). The deceased’s estate incorporates the items and other property the deceased owned as of the date of the opening of the inheritance, including property rights and liabilities. Rights and liabilities inseparable from the personality of the deceased (e.g., rights to alimony), personal incorporeal rights and other intangible assets are not included in the estate.

If no provisions are made in prospect of death, a complex statutory order of intestate inheritance is applied to all persons covered by Russian inheritance law. The heirs-in-law (individuals only) include children of the deceased, his or her spouse and parents, brothers and sisters, other relatives and disabled dependants of the deceased.

The tax on the assets transferred through inheritance or donation that previously existed, was abolished effective January 2006. Alongside the abolishment of inheritance and gift tax, personal income tax applies in certain instances where individuals receive gifts.

In certain cases, individuals receiving income through inheritance may also be subject to personal income tax as a regular taxable income. There is no inheritance tax in Russia. There is no gift tax in Russia, although in certain cases personal income tax may be levied. There is no real estate transfer tax in Russia, although in certain cases personal income tax may be levied. There is no net wealth tax in Russia.

Russian tax residents are taxable in Russia on their worldwide income, generally, at a 13% tax rate (including, but not limited to, gifts in various forms and inheritance in special cases). For some types of income, such as dividends and material benefit, different tax rates are applied. Russian tax nonresidents are taxable only on their Russian source of income at a 30% tax rate on most types of taxable income (including, but not limited to, income earned in Russia).

There are currently no estate tax treaties between the Russian Federation and other countries.

Saudi Arabia

To understand the basis for Islamic inheritance law, you will need to be familiar with inheritance laws in Arabia pre-Islam. The sole inheritance was given to the asaba (male relatives) of the deceased. The surviving male relatives inherited in order of family position; the son superseded the father, the father superseded the uncles and so on.

Islam has kept the position of the male inheritance principals, but with slight modifications to give women more security. Pre-Islam men inherited, but were not required to care for the females in their families with the inheritance; Islam encourages the opposite. In Islamic Inheritance, the male inherits twice that of the female, but is encouraged to care for the single women in his family from it.

Inheritance between non-Muslims is governed by the will, which has to be registered with the Shariah Court, or witnessed by two adult Muslims. Non-Muslims cannot normally inherit from Muslims and vice versa, but if there is a will which applies to less than 30% of the estate, that portion of the estate can be transmitted across religious lines. There are no inheritance taxes in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is governed by Shariah Law, which is a religious law that is based on the Quran and the teachings and practices of the Prophet Mohammed (the Sunna). It was borne out of the Islamic tradition governing all aspects of life. It regulates all of human activity, national and international, public and private, criminal and civil and is applied by courts.

Ultimately, Shariah Law has its own standards in resolving and enforcing sanctions on various cases. As such, in cases of estate settlement, inheritance and wills, certain rules apply. These cases take into consideration the allocation and distribution of shares/properties specified by the defendant or deceased to his family, company and others, following the rules of Shariah Law.

With regard to the law of inheritance, the Quran specifies that fixed portions of the deceased’s estate must be left to the so-called “Quranic heirs”. Generally, female heirs receive half the portion of male heirs. A Sunni Muslim can bequeath a maximum of a third of his property to non-Quranic heirs. The residue is divided between agnatic heirs.

Part 4

In times of grief we turn to family. We might even discover new family members, as we seek to quench the pain of our loss. This was the case with Charlotte Simmons, who found herself again at the Louvre Museum in front of The Raft of the Medusa.

She reflected on the disquiet of her own family who were scrambling to take every advantage they could to divide the family wealth, and receive the most possible for themselves, not unlike those on the raft, who had formed a bizarre family of sorts for their thirteen horrific days at sea together. These reflections did not give her all the relief she sought, but at least gave her a new perspective on her own situation.

She glanced to the side, and saw the same museum guard that had admonished her cell phone use the other day. The museum guard began, speaking rapidly in French, “Madame, I will be brief because I am on duty and need to observe the gallery as I speak. My apologies, I do not wish to intrude, but must tell you something about my life, about our lives. I have read of your loss in the newspapers.” Charlotte was startled, but with a slight nod asked her to continue.

The museum guard nervously told her story, taking in the gallery, and training her soft, kind brown eyes on Charlotte’s exquisite face. The museum guard, Rachelle Allard, was working part-time as a guard at the Louvre while studying at the Sorbonne University for a degree in Classical Literature. Several months ago her husband had been washed ashore in his native Brittany on the northwest shore of France. He had also drowned, in an accident while sailing near his parents’ home. And it turned out that Rachelle was a descendant of Charlotte Picard, the only woman who survived the sinking of the ship, Medusa, the same ship which inspired the painting that hung in front of them.

Charlotte remained silent, her mind spinning to comprehend what this vivacious, intelligent woman was telling her; an utter stranger, yet a new sister of sorts.

“Madame, I see that you wear the same belt that you wore the last time. It is a Versace with their logo, the head of the Medusa.” (Like all classical myths, the Medusa has several aspects: Medusa had the power to turn to stone all those who looked into her eyes, but also had the power to evoke love, which Versace had capitalized on to elicit love for their designs, thus the Medusa embraces both love and death. On the surface contrary aspects, but on a deeper level united with both aspects playing out in the sinking of the French ship, Medusa.)

“This is all so strange; I am not sure what all these connections mean for us, but they are real; as real as the deaths of our husbands, as real as our grief for them, and as real as the solace we can extract from this painting.

Madame, I must now go to another gallery. I hope we might meet again, but, if not, I leave you with my sincere wish for peace and joy in the new life you must create for yourself…for ourselves.” She left as tears began to fall, as tears fell in both their eyes.

What is handed down in families is a mixture of wealth and suffering. The proportions vary according to family circumstances. What the survivors make of this wealth and suffering is the beginning of a new generation, a new series of connections that either unite or oppose, much like love and death.

Conclusion

Wealthy families frequently hold second passports, and have homes in foreign countries. Over time, family events like death, separation, and remarriage complicate estate plans. All of these factors can dissipate family assets.

Life insurance is recognized in almost every country worldwide as a safe, straightforward, and simple wealth transfer vehicle. The use of PPLI only adds to the benefits, since in a properly structured PPLI policy almost any asset can be held.

A PPLI policy passes assets directly to intended beneficiaries and keeps family wealth intact, giving families the maximum amount of privacy, asset protection, and tax efficiency.

If an EWP Structure had been used…

  • In the process of creating an EWP Structure, Andre Simmons’s estate plan would have been thoroughly discussed, and a will would have been part of this process. The orderly deposition of his assets would have been formulated in detail. All bequests would have been spelled out, leaving no doubt as to how his estate would be divided.
  • An EWP Structure would address all possible issues involving succession. A trust would have been established outside of either the U.S., France, and New Zealand making the forced heirship laws of these countries mute on this point.
  • The press would have few details to speculate about involving Andre’s assets, because in an EWP Structure the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner, and these assets are not a part of a public record, such as registers of beneficial ownership.
  • The issue brought by Andre’s first wife would have been discussed in connection to the EWP Structure, so could not have been raised in any attempt to garner assets from the estate through nullifying his second marriage.
  • All Andre’s assets would be included in the EWP Structure, and provisions would have been made for all his companies continued operation or sale in the event of his death.
  • The U.S., France, and New Zealand would not be able to compete to take tax dollars from the estate, because they would have been in an EWP Structure that would place them outside the reach of all three countries.

 

by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC.
CEO, Founder @EWP Financial

Michael Malloy-CLU-TEP

Q & A – Ancient Wisdom and PPLI

Questions and Answers from the book “The Wit and Wisdom of Professor PPLI: How to Achieve Exceptional Asset Structuring with Private Placement Life Insurance”

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

 

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Socrates and King Lear Teach Us a Lesson

Ancient Wisdom and PPLI

Section 3, Part 4

In this Part of the book, Socrates and Shakespeare’s King Lear are mentioned. Professor PPLI, please tell us more about how they pertain to PPLI?

In this Part of the book, we used the death of Socrates and the wanderings of King Lear late in his life as examples of highly charged types of exile. Socrates was put to death by state officials in Athens. King Lear was left to wander in his own country after political intrigue forced him out.

Wealthy families are not immune to dramatic forms of exile, sometimes being forced to flee their own country for political and economic reasons. At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., our goal is to structure your assets into a well-organized arrangement that gives you the stability to withstand disruptive cross border changes.

This is accomplished through the conservative vehicle of life insurance that is recognized in almost all jurisdictions throughout the world as a standard financial planning vehicle. Privacy, asset protection, and tax efficiency are the hallmarks of the structures that we provide for wealthy families throughout the world.

Profession PPLI, how does Socrates’s philosophy teach you to construct better PPLI international asset structures?

Achieving the ideal international asset structure requires us to be careful listeners. We zealously guard against presenting you with a preconceived plan of our own making. In the end, the plan must be a combination of your aims and desires and our knowledge of the laws and regulations that are pertinent to the plan. What worked for one family may not be a fit for you, even though the outward facts are similar.

How can we be certain that we adhere to careful listening? One method is to follow Socrates’s famous quote: “I only know that I know nothing.” Garth Kemerling’s insightful commentary in the Great Philosophers series is helpful here:

“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.”

Professor PPLI, why would a citizen of a country wish to purchase a life insurance policy from a company outside the borders of their country?

The majority of jurisdictions in the world allow their citizens to purchase life insurance from companies outside their borders. PPLI serves this need very well.

For reasons to purchase a foreign life insurance policy, you need look no further than the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP):

  • Privacy
  • Asset protection
  • Succession Planning
  • Tax Shield
  • Compliance simplifier
  • Trust substitute

Usually several, if not the majority of these six principles, are not available in your own country. Why restrict your international asset planning to just the meager offerings that are available. Expand your vision to include the full palette of EWP. We quote the definitions of the six principles from the Wikipedia page, “International Tax Planning:”

Privacy

EWP gives privacy and compliance with tax laws. It also enhances protection from data breach and strengthens family security. EWP allows for a tax compliant system that still respects basic rights of privacy. EWP addresses the concerns of law firms and international planners about some aspects of CRS related to their clients’ privacy. EWP assists with the privacy and welfare of families by protecting their financial records and keeping them in compliance with tax regulations.

Asset protection

EWP protects assets with segregated account legislation by using the benefits of life insurance. This structure uses asset protection laws in the jurisdictions of residence to shield these assets from creditors’ claims. A trust with its own asset protection provisions can still receive additional protection with the policy.

Succession planning

EWP includes transfers of assets without forced heirship rules directly to beneficiaries using a controlled and orderly plan. This element of EWP provides a wealth holder a method to enact an estate plan according to his/her wishes without complying forced heirship rules in the home country. This plan must be coordinated with all the aspects of a properly structured PPLI policy together with other elements of a wealth owner’s financial and legal planning.

Tax shield

EWP adds tax deferral, income, estate tax benefits and dynasty tax planning opportunities. Assets held in a life insurance contract are considered tax-deferred in most jurisdictions throughout the world. Likewise, PPLI policies that are properly constructed shield the assets from all taxes. In most cases, upon the death of the insured, benefits are paid as a tax free death benefit.

Compliance simplifier

EWP adds ease of reporting to tax authorities and administration of assets, commercial substance to structures. In addition, the insurance company is considered the beneficial owner of the assets. This approach greatly simplifies reporting obligations to tax authorizes because assets in the policy are held in segregated accounts and can be spread over multiple jurisdictions worldwide.

Trust substitute

EWP creates a viable structure under specific insurance regulations for civil law jurisdictions. It also creates a new role for commercial trust companies. In most civil law jurisdictions, trusts are poorly acknowledged and trust law is not well developed. As a result, companies with foreign trusts in these civil law jurisdictions, face obstacles.

Please let us know how we can put these six principles of EWP to work for you. Contact us for a no-charge initial consultation that will be tailored to your own individual aims and desires.

 

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

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Q & A – Nothing Is Impossible

Questions and Answers from the book “The Wit and Wisdom of Professor PPLI: How to Achieve Exceptional Asset Structuring with Private Placement Life Insurance”

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP RFC

 

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Nothing Is Impossible

PPLI: Under Higher Laws

 Section 3, Part 3

 

Professor PPLI, attitudes toward a subject are a powerful force in how people perceive the subject. These attitudes are also sometimes hard to change. How does this relate to PPLI?

If you study the history of science, you can readily see how once a long held belief or attitude is changed, it becomes a new paradigm that awaits another future paradigm shift. What was thought impossible becomes possible.

A similar phenomenon exists in sports with world records. Take Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile record. In a sense, once the barrier is broken, others are given permission to accomplish the same feat. Again, the impossible becomes possible.

In the world of PPLI, I see a paradigm shift coming for professional trustees’ attitudes towards PPLI asset structuring. Professional trustees can be distrustful at first hearing of these structures, because they think they will lose control of the assets. Exactly the opposite is the case.

When assets are placed in a PPLI structure, the insurance company takes over the administration of these assets, but leaves the trustee in ultimate control. This relieves the trustee of many routine tasks, but the trustee retains their role as the ultimate decision maker, since they are the owner of the policy. They are even free to switch insurance companies, if the administration of the assets is not to their liking.

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 some 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.”

Lastly, assets within a PPLI structure are frequently held for the long term, usually until the death of the insured person, thus, the trustee can be assured of controlling the assets for a long time period.

The title of this section is “Nothing Is Impossible.” This is a big statement. What relevance does this have to PPLI?

To solve issues in the world of international asset structuring, it is sometimes necessary to ask the simple, yet sometimes profound, questions that come from children: why is the sky blue? And where was I before I was born?

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., we ask ourselves one simple question at the beginning of each client engagement:

How can we achieve the maximum amount of tax efficiency, asset protection, and privacy for this family?

Our picture in the book is telling for the answer to this question. Nobody has told the mountain goats in this picture that what they are doing is extremely dangerous and they can fall to their peril at any point.

Our task at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. is not so dramatic, but we do endeavor to achieve what might seem impossible by conventional structuring methods. How do we accomplish this? By engaging you with simple questions that bring about the answer to the important question posited above.

Ironically, our international PPLI structuring techniques are usually far more conservative than the complex trust structures that clients frequently bring us to review. Sometimes they have spent weeks pondering over this overly complex structure and still do not understand them.

We treat each of our cases as a blank canvas that confronts each painter at the beginning of a painting project. Our goal is to paint, read structure, a picture that gives a family all they desire in the realm of tax efficiency, asset protection, and privacy.

Professor PPLI, how is PPLI similar to the popular phrase, “to hide something in plain sight?”

The key to this question lies in two words–life insurance. Most all life insurance policies in most jurisdictions throughout the world offer all or some of these benefits:

  • Tax-deferred growth of internal cash value
  • Tax-free death benefit
  • No capital gains taxes
  • No income taxes
  • Ability to access Cash Value through tax-free loans
  • Ability to manage or mitigate estate taxes

PPLI now adds these benefits:

  • Invest in almost any asset class
  • Increased asset protection as insurance company becomes beneficial owner of assets in the policy
  • Simplified reporting and privacy as only total cash value is reported
  • Policy can hold CFC’s and PFIC assets on a tax-deferred basis
  • Excellent vehicle to hold real estate
  • Provided a stable, globally recognized structure for tax authorities

Most attorneys, asset managers, trustees, and accountants have received no formal education in PPLI international asset structuring, and their professional societies have scant knowledge on the subject. After they drop their frequent preconceived prejudices against life insurance, and study the subject of variable life insurance, and the tax code that supports it, they usually have two reactions.

One, is they are astounded that they have not been using this simple and conservative method from the beginning of their practice. Or, two, they think it is too good to be true and reject it, because it does not conform to the methods that most of their peers use in the field of international asset structuring.

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. we encourage you to take the path of the first reaction. To that end, we appreciate your questions and comments. Please give us your thoughts on PPLI international asset structuring.

 

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

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Q & A – How Can Nothing Exist?

Questions and Answers from the book “The Wit and Wisdom of Professor PPLI: How to Achieve Exceptional Asset Structuring with Private Placement Life Insurance”

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC

 

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How Can Nothing Exist?

The Zen of PPLI

Section 3, Part 2

Professor PPLI, in this Part of the book, you compare the contradiction of the meaning of the word nothing to how PPLI is incorrectly perceived by some people. Please tell us more.

 The contradiction arises, in part, because of a lack of knowledge about the origins of PPLI, and how it was initially conceived. PPLI was born in the U.S. in the 1980s to allow top executives at major corporations the ability to invest in multiple asset classes within their pension plans. In the 1990s, it was adopted by wealthy families to fulfill the same need, especially for international families with assets in several jurisdictions throughout the world.

The original use of PPLI very soon spawned a retail version, the Variable Universal Life (VUL) insurance policy. Compared to the original, open architecture version of PPLI described above, the retail version of the VUL can be described as life insurance with a selection of mutual funds from which the client chooses. The choice ideally corresponds to the risk tolerance of the policyowner.

All VUL insurance policies provide tax deferral.  The retail version and the original version from the 1980s, which we will call International PPLI. Whatever the asset inside the policy, be it a mutual fund, stock portfolio, yacht, operating business, or alternative investment, there is tax deferral.

Any gain on these assets passes as a tax-free death benefit to the designated beneficiary on the policy. Depending on the policy design, this gain can be accessed through policy loans. The principal, or original value of these assets, can be withdrawn from the policy too. The type of withdrawal is determined by the policy design that the policyowner chooses.

For those who are just familiar with the retail version of the VUL, and the slightly expanded asset offering of what is mostly marketed as PPLI in the U.S., the structuring possibilities of the true International PPLI seem like a contradiction. Much like one of the definitions of the word nothing, “something that does not exist.” It does not exist for them, because they have not taken the time and energy to explore the many structuring possibilities of International PPLI.

Professor PPLI, your comments in the first question remind me of the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” How does  PPLI addresses both death and taxes.

Like most aspects of PPLI, death and taxes are dealt with in a bespoke manner. The death benefit can be tailored to the estate planning needs of the family. Frequently, policies are designed with the least death benefit possible, as the policy serves more as asset structuring tool than as a vehicle to pass a death benefit to the next generation.

The timing of the liquidity event that the death benefit produces can also be somewhat calculated. PPLI policies support multiple insured lives. Also, it is possible to insure a younger family member, if the family wishes the liquidity event to be extended, and an older family member, if the death benefit is needed at an earlier date.

The topic of the tax aspects of PPLI is a large one. As an overview, here is a quote from the Tax Management International Journal by members of the

Giordani, Swanger, Ripp & Phillips law firm of Austin, Texas:

“Life insurance is a powerful planning tool due to its favorable treatment under the Code. While under §61(a)(10), gross income includes income from life insurance and endowment contracts, other Code sections — as discussed below — exclude substantial life insurance–related sums from the gross income of policyholders and beneficiaries alike.”

The favorable tax treatment mentioned above in the U.S. tax code is, for the most part, repeated in tax codes of most jurisdictions throughout the world.

Depending on the policy design and assets in the policy, this is a short list of possible tax advantages of using a PPLI policy:

–allow a tax-favored CFC investment;

–eliminate FIRPTA withholding on a U.S. real estate investment;

–avoid subpart F unfavorable tax issues;

–eliminate tax on dividend income;

–pass assets to future generations tax-free;

–eliminate capital gain and income tax;

–eliminate estate tax.

Particularly in art, Zen Buddhism is known for its simplicity. A picture of a famous Zen rock garden is shown in this Part. Professor PPLI, tell us how this relates to PPLI.

 The moving parts of asset structuring are greatly reduced for international families when they employ International PPLI. The three elements of any type of life insurance policy are the same for a PPLI policy: owner, insured, and beneficiary. When assets are placed in a policy, they become the cash value of the policy. The insurance company is now the beneficial owner of these assets–no matter what asset class or jurisdiction of the asset.

If there is a tax reporting obligation for the policy, what is reported is just one number. This one number is the total of the cash value of the policy, not any of the individual assets. Even though this is the situation for tax reporting, the assets are held by the insurance company in separate accounts in the name of the policyowner.

These assets are not part of the general account assets of the insurance company. If the company was to be liquidated or become insolvent, the assets would be transferred back to the policyowner.  This turns complexity into simplicity, similar to Zen art.

You might think that an asset structure that can deliver the six principles of EWP would be complex. Let us review the six principles: privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

The internal structure inside the policy can become somewhat complex due to the asset classes and jurisdictions involved, but it does add complexity for the international family, as the insurance company takes over the administration of these assets. This also makes life easier for the trustee of the assets. The trustee, as policyowner, still has the ultimate authority, but is relieved of much of the daily administrative functions by the insurance company. Complexity has become simplicity.

We invite you to explore the details of PPLI. Call Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. today! We offer a no-charge initial consultation.

 

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

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Q & A – Inside and Outside PPLI

Questions and Answers  from the book “The Wit and Wisdom of Professor PPLI: How to Achieve Exceptional Asset Structuring with Private Placement Life Insurance”

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU TEP RFC

Inside and Outside PPLI

Academics Teach Us a Lesson

Section 1, Part 4

 

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Professor PPLI, a key element in this discussion is magic. Give us more insight into how PPLI makes some things disappear and others appear.

This is a good way to view the topic. When we consider the six elements of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP), they can be grouped into these two categories. Elements that disappear and those that make things appear.

These categories are somewhat arbitrary, but allow you to collect certain thoughts around these six elements of EWP. We can place privacy, asset protection, and tax shield in the Disappearing Category.

Legitimate privacy allows wealthy families to conduct their affairs outside the prying eyes of those who do not have a rightful interest in their financial affairs. The tax shield in a properly structured policy eliminates taxes in most jurisdictions throughout the world. Asset protection keeps assets outside the reach of ex-spouses, and those seeking easy access to wealth without proper legal authority. This is accomplished using the correct asset protection trust in tandem with the PPLI policy, which adds another layer of protection to the trust.

In the Appear Category, we place trust substitute, compliance simplifier, and succession planning. In some civil law jurisdictions, trusts are not recognized or do not function as well as they do in common law jurisdictions. Using a PPLI policy in the structure can, in some cases, simplify and enhance the planning. PPLI is definitely a compliance simplifier. Since the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets inside the policy, reporting obligations are greatly simplified and in some cases eliminated. Since the life insurance death benefit passes directly to the designated beneficiaries, it can deliver the death benefit outside the forced heirship laws that exist in some jurisdictions.

One magical aspect of PPLI is that although it is classified as a life insurance product, it functions more like a trust. Since most policies are owned by trusts, you might say that PPLI and trusts join together and become a successful and secure asset structuring marriage. Professor PPLI, please tell us how this is possible. 

The PPLI policy provides elements which are not possible with a trust alone. A trust can accomplish many useful things such as putting into legal language the aims and goals of the wealth owners. A trust also creates an entity that can live beyond the lives of the wealth owners. The following comparison tells the story.

Trust and Insurance Comparison 

Insurance

  • Contractually based and used by millions
  • Tax deferral
  • Insurance company is beneficial owner
  • Simplified or limited reporting
  • Potentially tax free
  • No capital gains taxes
  • No trustee
  • Asset protection

Trust

  • Provides some asset protection
  • Sometimes seen as a tool for the rich
  • Requires “trustee” with full control
  • More stringent reporting requirements
  • Tax filings for trust and possibly beneficiaries required by some jurisdictions

Professor PPLI, you use two very different academic articles in this Section to illustrate a point. Please explain more fully how these two articles relate to PPLI.

Wealthy families are looking for simple and straightforward methods to structure their assets. In part, these two articles illustrate that the financial, political, and governmental aspects of our lives are in constant change. Laws are enacted which sometimes have the opposite effect than was intended by their creators, as one article proves.

Governments are seeking more ways to tax wealthy families, and this is seen by some as a societal good, and by others as governmental overreach. Once assets are properly structured inside a PPLI policy, they are somewhat isolated from these forces, and can pass to future generations according to the wishes of the wealth owners.

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

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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 RFC, @ 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 RFC, @ 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 RFC, @ 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 RFC, @ Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc

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