Moving Mount Everest
One goal of Private Placement Life Insurance (#PPLI) is to change an asset’s location. Can PPLI move Mount Everest? Not literally, but it does an excellent job of moving the assets of wealthy international families. Moving these assets where? Into a PPLI policy that gives these assets tax-deferral, asset protection, and passes them to beneficiaries as a tax-free death benefit.
We share with you Part II of Our Journey Together video that introduces PPLI and presents the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP): privacy, asset protection, succession planning, tax planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.
Depending on the aims of the PPLI structuring, different sets of laws must be adhered to. For families that have a connection to the U.S., the IRS rules related to diversification and investor control must be followed. For clients with no connection to the U.S., these rules do not apply, and we must look to the country of the families’ tax domicile and the domicile of the insurance company for guidance.
This allows, in many cases, for PPLI structuring options not available to those families with a connection to the U.S. We have for you below the provisions of Barbados law that pertain to variable insurance. As you can read, they are simple, straightforward, and have few restrictions as to the assets that can be placed in a PPLI policy.
Many of our PPLI policies are written through companies domiciled in Barbados. Gregory J. Dean and Michael A. Heimos wrote a chapter in International Life Insurance, edited by David D. Whelehan, entitled, “A Jurisdictional Survey of the Asset Protection Merits of International Life Insurance and Annuities.” We quote from the section on Barbados.
“Barbados has sophisticated insurance laws rivaling any in the world, and a mature insurance industry, governed by the Insurance Act, 1996 (referred to in this section as the “Act”). There are detailed provisions addressing generally defined long term business, group life, “industrial life insurance,” etc. The entirely of Barbadian insurance law is present in public legislation.
On August 17, 2001 the Governor-General of Barbados assented to several pieces of legislation that amend Barbados’ laws governing key aspects of banking, insurance and investment in the island. They are: the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2001-30; the International Business (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2001-29; the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2001-25; and the Exempt Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2001-27.
The acts allow for structures that are often seen as beneficial, if not necessary, for institutions in the offshore mutual funds, banking and trusts, captive insurance and commercial insurance industries to operate, in Barbados and elsewhere. As pointed out below, there also are aspects of the amendments regarding insurance that apply to the interests of local citizens and residents as well. The new acts are, largely, quite praiseworthy.”
Movable assets can be legally contested, especially in matrimonial disputes. We give you an article later on that is focused on just such a dispute.
Here is the section on Variable Insurance Business of the Barbados insurance code.
“CHAPTER 310 INSURANCE
An Act to revise the law regulating the carrying on of insurance business in Barbados in order to strengthen the protection given to policyholders; to increase the capital and solvency requirements of insurance companies; to expand the existing regulatory framework to include the regulating of all insurance intermediaries; and to give effect to matters related thereto.
PROVISIONS RELATING TO VARIABLE INSURANCE BUSINESS
(5) The Supervisor may attach such further conditions to the issue of approval under subsection (1) as are relevant to the nature and class of the variable insurance business that the insurer intends to carry on including
(a) requiring the insurer to disclose to any applicant for a policy any one or more of the following:
(i) a statement of the investment policy of any separate account maintained in respect of such variable insurance policy including a description of the investment objectives intended for the separate account and the principal types of investments intended to be made, and any restrictions or limitations on the manner in which the operations of the separate account are intended to be conducted;
(ii) any restrictions or limitations on the manner in which the operations of such variable insurance policy are intended to be conducted;
(iii) a statement of the charges and expenses in respect of such variable insurance policy;
(iv) a summary of the method to be used in valuing assets in respect of which benefits under such variable insurance policy are to be determined; and
(v) illustrations of benefits payable under the variable insurance contract;
(b) requiring that any material contract between an insurer and suppliers of consulting, investment, administrative, sales, marketing, custodial or other services with respect to variable life insurance operations shall be in writing and provide that the supplier of such services shall furnish the Supervisor with any information or reports in connection with the services which the Supervisor may request in order to ascertain whether the variable life insurance operations of the insurer are being conducted in a manner consistent with this Act, and any other applicable law or regulation;
(c) requiring the insurer to furnish, in such manner and at such times or intervals as may be prescribed, such information relating to the value of benefits under the policies as may be prescribed, whether by sending notices to the policy-holders or depositing statements with the Supervisor;
(d) requiring that the variable insurance policy be in a specific form or contain such mandatory provisions as may be prescribed in any regulations;
(e) requiring that the insurer maintain reserves in addition to any reserves which the insurer is required to maintain under this Act;
(f) restricting the descriptions of property or indices of value of property by reference to which benefits under the policy will be determined in accordance with the regulations prescribed for such purpose; or
(g) regulating the manner in which and frequency with which property of any description is to be valued, for the purpose of determining the benefits, and the times at which reference is to be made for that purpose to any index of value of property in accordance with the regulations prescribed for such purpose.”
The disputed matrimonial asset that we mentioned earlier is a yacht, Dubai Court Overrules English Possession Order for Superyacht, and comes to us from the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) Industry News publication.
“Tatiana Akhmedova’s English court order against her Russian ex-husband Farkhad Akhmedov, vesting her with possession of his GBP350 million yacht, has been rejected by a Shari’a court in Dubai, where the vessel is currently detained.
The yacht, the MV Luna, is part of the GBP453 million financial remedy awarded granted to Mrs Akhmedova on their divorce in 2015. Ever since, her former husband, an oil tycoon, has been trying to put his assets beyond her reach. According to her lawyers, Withers, he hid assets in a Bermuda trust with the intention of evading his legal obligations to his wife, and launched a counter-claim that they had already divorced in Russia. This claim was only recently dismissed in a Russian court.
In December 2017, Haddon-Cave J in the England and Wales High Court set aside Mr Akhmedov’s dispositions of assets and money into the trust, in an unusual example of a court judgment that pierced the corporate veil. His bank accounts and other assets were frozen under worldwide freezing orders obtained in England, Liechtenstein and the Isle of Man. Haddon-Cave ordered him, and a Liechtenstein Anstalt that he controlled, to vest the yacht in his wife’s name to be sold on her behalf (Akhmedova v Akhmedov, 2018 EWFC 23 Fam).
By this time, Mr Akhmedova had sailed the Luna from its usual home in Turkey to Dubai, hoping to find some recourse through the Dubai legal system. Mrs Akhmedova thus applied to the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) court for a freezing order against both Mr Akhmedov and the Liechtenstein Anstalt, in the hope that the DIFC would issue a court order recognised by the Dubai courts themselves. This order was granted, and later supported by the DIFC Court of Appeal, and Mrs Akhmedova applied to the Dubai courts for a precautionary attachment of Luna. This too was granted, enforcing the boat’s detention in Dubai.
However, Mr Akhmedov then filed a claim in Dubai that his dispute with his ex-wife was a matrimonial rather than one of commercial debt, and so should have been determined by the Dubai courts in accordance with Shari’a law.
In the latest development, the Dubai’s Court of First Instance has dismissed Mrs Akhmedova’s application for possession, and ordered her to pay expenses and legal fees. The vessel, meanwhile, remains in dock at Prince Rashid Harbour in Dubai.
A spokesman for Mrs Akhmedova said the significance and the substance of the Dubai court’s ruling are not yet clear, as all that has been handed down at this stage is the decision. An appeal will be considered once the full judgment together with reasons is available, the spokesperson said.”
PPLI structuring allows us to move an asset, not physically, but into a structure that allows all of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP)to function. This gives wealthy international families enhanced privacy and tax benefits, and makes them fully compliant with the world’s tax authorities.
We welcome your thoughts and comments on how we can make this happen for you. You can share them at the bottom of this article or you can Contact Us for more information.