The True Value of Zero = Privacy

Professor PPLI Explains Zero

Part 1

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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.

Zero is a powerful number. Any number multiplied by zero becomes zero. Yet, zero is also nothing. How does this nothing relate to the topic of our using of Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) to structure the assets of wealthy families? Unless you understand how PPLI works with the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP), you will understand  nothing about PPLI. PPLI makes these six principles come alive like nothing else in the realm of asset structures.

First, we will explore the concept of nothing from a mathematical  perspective, then move on to its relationship to EWP, and conclude with how this all relates to one of the six principles of EWP, privacy.

The Power of Zero

Doctor Ian at the Math Forum demonstrates how multiplying any number by zero equals zero.

“1 * 0 = 0

27 * 0 = 0

1,887,457,234,543,243,113,946 * 0 = 0

When you multiply one number by another, you can think of starting at some point (‘the spot marked X’, or wherever) and moving some distance away from it. To move, you need to know two things:

  1) how many steps you’re going to take

  2) how big each step will be

Now, if each step is of zero size, then you can keep taking them, and you’ll never move anywhere. (Move a step of length zero. You’re still where you started. Do it again. Still there. Keep doing it… how many of those steps will you have to take to actually move somewhere?) So any number times zero is still zero.

Also, if you’re not going to take any steps, it doesn’t matter how large a step you would take, since you’re not going to take it. So zero times any number is still zero.”

For our exploration of zero in the world of PPLI tax structuring, we can think of zero as the actual insurance policy that holds a family’s assets in separate accounts in the name of a custodian such as a trust company, which will be in the name of the beneficial owner of the assets–the insurance company. The assets do not change, but how they are structured changes.

Since you can place almost any asset that can be held by a trust company into a PPLI policy, the insurance policy acts like the empty box that we use to explain the concept of zero. The empty box is an abstraction, yet like the PPLI policy, it is the vehicle that can help achieve the six principles of EWP for wealthy families.

Brian Resnick’s article, “The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained,” on Vox gives us:

Zero is in the mind, but not in the sensory world,” Robert Kaplan, a Harvard math professor and an author of The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero says. Even in the empty reaches of space, if you can see stars, it means you’re being bathed in their electromagnetic radiation. In the darkest emptiness, there’s always something. Perhaps a true zero — meaning absolute nothingness — may have existed in the time before the Big Bang. But we can never know.

Nevertheless, zero doesn’t have to exist to be useful. In fact, we can use the concept of zero to derive all the other numbers in the universe.

Kaplan walked me through a thought exercise first described by the mathematician John von Neumann. It’s deceptively simple.

Imagine a box with nothing in it. Mathematicians call this empty box “the empty set.” It’s a physical representation of zero. What’s inside the empty box? Nothing.

Now take another empty box, and place it in the first one.

How many things are in the first box now?

There’s one object in it. Then, put another empty box inside the first two. How many objects does it contain now? Two. And that’s how “we derive all the counting numbers from zero … from nothing,” Kaplan says. This is the basis of our number system. Zero is an abstraction and a reality at the same time. “It’s the nothing that is,” as Kaplan said.”

Since  we are exploring zero as an abstract concept, we will put it to another use below when we discuss privacy. In a sense everything can only be defined through its relationships with other elements and factors. Not wishing to be alone in stretching our meanings too far let us hear from Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

How Zero = Privacy?

Now let us equate privacy with Mr. von Neumann’s first box above. Remember this first box is described as an “abstraction and a reality at the same time.” This can equally be said of a term like privacy. Privacy can be defined in the abstract, but it is how it is interpreted in reality that counts.

In many jurisdictions, privacy is considered a fundamental principle. In the U.S the right to privacy is stated in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

A right to privacy is explicitly stated under Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations General Assembly:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Caroline Garnham of Garnham Family Office Services in London writes with clarity and understanding about issues affecting wealthy clients. What follows is a telling description of a government’s thirst for tax dollars trampling on its citizens fundamental privacy rights. These are excerpts from her article, “It isn’t fair? Part 3.” How is “tax fairness” playing out in Great Britain today? This article relates recent incidents and key players in the drama.

“Edward Troup, now Sir Edward Troup was appointed Executive Chair and Permanent Secretary to HMRC in April 2016, for which he was knighted in the 2018 new year’s honours list. He was the former head of the firm’s tax department and the most brilliant brain I have ever encountered.

‘Tax law does not codify some Platonic set of tax raising principles. Taxation is legalised extortion and is valid only to the extent of the law’ – a point of with which I concur.

We have tightened our grip on those who deliberately cheat the system and continue to pursue those who refuse to pay what they owe.’

But the question now is, has HMRC gone too far?

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, EAC, published its findings in December 2018, and thinks so!

A ‘careful balance must be struck between clamping down and treating taxpayers’ fairly. Our evidence has convinced us that this balance has tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer expects.’

In 2000 some employers set up Employee Benefits Trusts for their employees.

This arrangement was considered effective in avoiding tax.

In 2010 HMRC warned that such arrangements were unacceptable, and that those who used such an arrangement had to repay the loan, pay the tax or face fines.

It is clear from what has already been published that the information to be received by HMRC this year from offshore financial institutions under the Common Reporting Standard once analysed will be used to attack settlors of offshore trusts. The first such attacks are expected in about six months.

HMRC has said that it will first go for well-known names with significant assets in trust. It has been advised to attack structures which have Persons of Significant Influence on the basis of sham. It will then look very closely for clauses in the Trust Deed once provided absolving the Trustee from any form of liability and duty to interfere. This it will take as further evidence that the Trust was nothing more than a nominee arrangement and tax the settlor as if no trust had been set up together with 200% penalties.”

Part 1 of “She Was Good For Nothing” by Hans Christian Andersen:

 “The mayor was standing at his open window; he was wearing a dress shirt with a dainty breastpin in its frill. He was very well shaven, self-done, though he had cut himself slightly and had stuck a small bit of newspaper over the cut.

“Listen, youngster!” he boomed.

The youngster was none other than the washerwoman’s son, who respectfully took off his cap as he passed. This cap was broken at the rim, so that he could put it into his pocket. In his poor but clean and very neatly mended clothes, and his heavy wooden shoes, the boy stood as respectfully as if he were before the king.

“You’re a good boy, a well-behaved lad!” said the Mayor. “I suppose your mother is washing down at the river, and no doubt you are going to bring her what you have in your pocket. That’s an awful thing with your mother! How much have you there?”

“A half pint,” said the boy in a low, trembling voice.

“And this morning she had the same?” continued the Mayor.

“No, it was yesterday!” answered the boy.

“Two halves make a whole! She is no good! It is sad there are such people. Tell your mother she ought to be ashamed of herself. Don’t you become a drunkard-but I suppose you will! Poor child! Run along now.”

And the boy went, still holding his cap in his hand, while the wind rippled the waves of his yellow hair. He went down the street and through an alley to the river, where his mother stood at her washing stool in the water, beating the heavy linen with a wooden beater. The current was strong, for the mill’s sluices were open; the bed sheet was dragged along by the stream and nearly swept away her washing stool, and the woman had all she could do to stand up against it.

“I was almost carried away,” she said. “It’s a good thing you’ve come, for I need something to strengthen me. It’s so cold in the water; I’ve been standing here for six hours. Have you brought me anything?”

The boy drew forth a flask, and his mother put it to her lips and drank a little.

“Oh, that does me good! How it warms me! It’s just as good as hot food, and it isn’t as expensive! Drink, my boy! You look so pale, and you’re freezing in your thin clothes. Remember it is autumn. Ooh, the water is cold! If only I don’t get ill! But I won’t. Give me a little more, and drink some yourself, but only a little drop, for you mustn’t get used to it, my poor dear child!”

And she walked out of the water and up onto the bridge where the boy stood. The water dripped from the straw mat that she had tied around her waist and from her petticoat.

“I work and slave till the blood runs out at my fingernails, but I do it gladly if I can bring you up honestly, my sweet child!””

We hoped you enjoyed this article and the beginning of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale. Nothing turns out to be an exciting topic for us, and we will continue our lively topic in the next four articles. Please bring us your PPLI questions and inquiries. We enjoy all opportunities to discuss our favorite topic, and bring you an asset structuring tool that offers so many exceptional benefits. Contact Us!

 

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

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PPLI for Wealthy International Families

– Including Wealthy U.S. Families

PPLI’s Beautiful Architecture

 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 meets Leonardo da Vinci.

 What does beauty have to do with Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI)? This is what we will explore in our article today. The tax compliant, conservative PPLI structuring techniques employed by Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. have their own language of beauty which Leonardo da Vinci exemplified visually in his painting techniques.

We will also answer the question: why it is important for U.S. families, as well as wealthy international families that have a connection to the U.S., to use a life insurance company based in Bermuda, Barbados, or other offshore location that uses a 953(d) election? This PPLI structure offers these families the most advanced, yet fully compliant, asset structuring possibilities that are available. It is not a question of onshore vs. offshore, but what lies between as we will reveal in our article.

How is this connected to Leonardo da Vinci? It is connected to his painting technique called chairocurso or sfuamto. It came from his attention to the area between light and dark.

In the first panel of our Concept Map we explored the dark smoke that comes out of the backyard barbeque. In this article we will concentrate on the area that is between light and dark.

The Encylopedia of Fine Art gives us this definition of sfumato as:

In fine art, the term “sfumato” (derived from the Italian word fumo, meaning “smoke”) refers to the technique of oil painting which colours or tones are blended in such a subtle manner that they melt into one another without perceptible transitions, lines or edges. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) himself described sfumato as a blending of colours “without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke.” It is as if a veil of smoke has been placed between the painting and the viewer, toning down the bright areas and lightening the dark ones, so as to produce a soft, imperceptible transition between the differing tones. Typically involving the use of a number of translucent glazes to create a gradual tonal spectrum from dark to light, Sfumato is classified as one of four painting modes of Renaissance art, the others being Unione, Cangiante, and Chiaroscuro.”

PPLI: The Unifying Structure

So what is between light and dark? In English, the word between comes from the Old English word betweonum, meaning “in the space which separates or midway.” What we call the region between light and dark is in reality a unifying factor. This will be seen more clearly shortly when we delineate the winning combination of entities called: The Unifying Structure.

Wouldn’t your planning possibilities increase many fold if you were considered a U.S. person just for federal income tax purposes, but not regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC)? Remember a PPLI death benefit is exempt from federal income tax purposes. The assets inside a properly structured PPLI policy are shielded from all taxation. If the policy is not under the regulation of the SEC, you can invest in almost any asset that can be held by a trust company:

  • Real estate
  • PFICs, PFHCs, CFCs
  • Closely held companies
  • Operating businesses, if structured properly
  • Image rights
  • Patents and trademarks
  • Stock portfolios
  • Cash
  • Art and collectibles

Yes, you do have the best of two worlds! If you are subject to the U.S. tax system, this combination of an insurance company based in Barbados, Bermuda, or similar jurisdiction that has a 953(d) election, is very much worth your consideration.

In our next article, Part 4, we will give you more detail on the 953(d) election. The Unifying Factor exists when the structure takes advantage of using the insurance regulations of a country like Barbados, Bermuda, or other country that has constructed its insurance code to accommodate the most advanced possibilities of PPLI. When this is combined with a 953(d) election one achieves The Unifying Factor.

Let us see how light and dark is seen from the standpoint of physics courtesy of Astroquizzical from Jillian Scudder, “Can light exist without darkness.” 

“To the great dismay of the great existentialist thinkers, scientifically speaking, this is not that difficult a question to tackle.

From a physics perspective, “light” is just a series of particles zooming through space, a little beam of radiation heading outwards in the cosmos. An individual particle of light usually doesn’t care whether it’s surrounded by lots of other photons, or whether it is off on its own in the universe, traveling a unique path.

Darkness is usually described simply as the absence of light; this description also works pretty well as a physical description. By this standard, “light” and “darkness” are just a binary toggle between “radiation” or “not radiation”.

The question here is asking if you can have only radiation – only light – and skip the “no radiation” part entirely. If you remove darkness, could you still have light? If you’re thinking about darkness and light in terms of a yes/no toggle, then this is perfectly possible. You just hold the toggle at “yes” at all times. The individual light particles won’t care that they’re not letting “not radiation” not have its times – they’re simply travelling forwards.

The ways that our universe produces light are also independent on a lack of light nearby. Stars form light as a byproduct of the incredible pressures at their centers, and are most often formed in clusters – with tens to hundreds of other stars forming nearby. New stars only unveil themselves to our eyes by using the light they give off to burn away the dust and gas that hid them in darkness.

There are two major reasons for darkness in the universe. The first is to be in shadow. The physical blocking of light by an object is an easy way to be in darkness. That’s all night is on Earth, after all – you’re in the shadow of the planet. The second is that the universe hasn’t existed for an infinite amount of time. If the universe had already existed for an infinite amount of time, our skies would be brilliant with light both day and night, as the light from every star in the universe streamed towards us, brightening our skies. In that case, the only sources of darkness would be the shadows. In that universe, perhaps we would be asking the question the other way around – is there any darkness without the light?”

Our last analogous article shows us light and dark in the realm of symbolism courtesy of the Pen & the Pad, “Dark & Light Symbolism in Literature,” by Diane Kampf.

“Symbolism is the use of imagery to emphasize deeper meanings and emotions. Two common symbols used in literature are darkness and light. Darkness is often used to convey negativity: evil, death or the unknown. Light is used to convey something positive: goodness, life or hope. Some of the most-studied literature contains symbolic uses of darkness and light.”

The Bible

It could be argued that the Bible serves as the basis for almost all themes found in Western literature. At the heart of biblical themes is the concept of good vs. evil. Goodness is often portrayed as some element of light. In Genesis, God creates light and calls it good. In the New Testament, Jesus himself is described as the light of the world. The visions of heaven described in the Revelation of John contain imagery of light.

Shakespeare

 Most academic studies in literature include at least one play by Shakespeare and dark and light symbolism abound in many of his works. In “Macbeth,” darkness is used a number of times to symbolize death. The famous line, “Out, out brief candle,” refers to Lady Macbeth’s suicide. Banquo’s torch is extinguished at the moment of his death. In “Romeo and Juliet,” light is used to show Juliet’s beauty and her dazzling influence on Romeo. When Romeo first sees Juliet, he says, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!” (Act I, scene 5, line 45) Even when she dies, her brightness endures. When Romeo finds her in the tomb, he says,

“A grave? O, no, a lantern, slaughtered youth, For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes This vault a feasting presence full of light ” (Act V, scene 3. lines 84-86)”

We opened our article discussing beauty–and we have not forgotten it. More on beauty in Part 4. We look forward to your comments, and assisting you with your clients that can benefit from PPLI structuring. Please let us know how we can help you!

 

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

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Elegant Simplicity Revealed

The PPLI Insurance Code

 Part 2

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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.

Although the basic framework of Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) policies is similar, each client situation is unique, and, therefore, calls for a new area of study. We use our past experience to bring the best possible outcome to a new set of circumstances.

Our past cases serve as a guide for new cases, but not as a rigid set of rules to follow. Previous cases at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. become a broad outline that guides us in the “undiscovered country” of the brand new PPLI challenge that presents itself.

Discovery is an endless process. As the Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi puts it,

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.”

One of our goals in these articles is to prepare the mind to accept such a simple tool to solve complex client issues.

Advisors tend to use the tools that they are familiar with. PPLI is not taught in law schools, so attorneys and other tax advisors must find it in the midst of their law practice. PPLI is also not well known by most insurance agents and brokers throughout the world.

Where did PPLI come from?

Here is a very brief account of its beginnings by Monroe Diefendord, Jr., and Gerald Nowotny, Private Placement Life Insurance, A Sophisticated Investment Solution for High Net Worth Investors.

“The advent of PPLI began around 1992-1993 following the use of similar products (without hedge funds) by large corporations. Al Block, a substantial corporate owned life insurance (COLI) producer, placed the first high net worth policies with CIGNA. The offshore PPLI marketplace developed in 1995-1996 around two separate and distinct themes. Wealthy families emigrating to the U.S. used PPLI and private variable deferred annuity (PPVA) contracts as part of their “in bound” tax planning. Tremont developed a small Bermuda-based life insurance company around the same time.

PPLI policies were created with this issue in mind, namely; “How does the high net worth investor combine the strong tax advantages of life insurance with a life insurance product that offers customized investment options for the sophisticated investor in a product that is institutionally priced?” 

Tax Code vs. Insurance Code

 What is simpler?  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci. What we are calling the Insurance Code are the sections of the tax code that pertain to PPLI. They are for the most part sections 7702, 101, 817(h), and the various revenue rulings that address investor control: Rev. Rul. 77-85, 1977-1 C.B. 12; Rev. Rul. 82-54, 1982-1 C.B. 11; Rev. Rul. 2003-91; Rev. Rul. 2003-2 C.B. 347 (Jul. 24, 2003).

When you compare these sections and revenue rulings to the rest of the entire tax code that address the multiplicity of issues that face wealthy families, the conclusion is clear: what we are calling the Insurance Code is a vastly simpler body of knowledge. But simple is not simplistic, as a PPLI structure solves many planning issues in an elegant, conservative, and straightforward manner.

Sometimes we understand something by comparing it to its opposite. If a PPLI structure is a tool that gives assets the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning EWP–privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, trust substitute–what is its opposite? Let us consider a black hole, as just recently, scientists have been able to photograph it.

We further the analogy by positing–PPLI brings light to what can frequently be the complexity, read darkness, of clients’ worldwide assets. Darkness because these assets are usually not structured into a complete easy to understand structure.

Hannah Devlin of the Guardian gives us, “Black hole picture captured for first time in space breakthrough, Network of eight radio telescopes around the world records revolutionary image.

“Astronomers have captured the first image of a black hole, heralding a revolution in our understanding of the universe’s most enigmatic objects.

The picture shows a halo of dust and gas, tracing the outline of a colossal black hole, at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55m light years from Earth.

The black hole itself – a cosmic trapdoor from which neither light nor matter can escape – is unseeable. But the latest observations take astronomers right to its threshold for the first time, illuminating the event horizon beyond which all known physical laws collapse.

The breakthrough image was captured by the Event Horizon telescope (EHT), a network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations from Antarctica to Spain and Chile, in an effort involving more than 200 scientists.

Sheperd Doeleman, EHT director and Harvard University senior research fellow said: “Black holes are the most mysterious objects in the universe. We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have taken a picture of a black hole.”

However, the observations do not yet reveal anything about the black hole’s inscrutable interior.

“The black hole is not the event horizon, it’s something inside. It could be something just inside the event horizon, an exotic object hovering just beneath the surface, or it could be a singularity at the centre … or a ring,” said Ziri Younsi. “It doesn’t yet give us an explanation of what’s going on inside.” Ziri Younsi, a member of the EHT collaboration who is based at University College London.”

The last paragraph is of particular interest in that Mr. Younsi is attempting to describe something that in our everyday world on earth could not exist–a black hole. Luckily we do have the vocabulary to describe what we are calling its opposite: a properly structured PPLI policy which delivers the six principles of EWP to wealthy clients worldwide.

We return to the world of tax with an introduction to the draft of an article by Emily Cauble, Professor of Law at DePaul University, on the subject of simplifying the U.S. tax code, “ Superficial Proxies for  Simplicity in Tax Law,” 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. 329 (2019). To continue with our theme of simplicity, as you will read, this is not so simple!

“Simplification of tax law is complicated. Yet, political rhetoric surrounding tax simplification often focuses on simplistic, superficial indicators of complexity in tax law such as word counts, page counts, number of regulations, and similar quantitative metrics.

This preoccupation with the volume of enacted law often results in law that is more complex in a real sense. Achieving genuine simplification — a reduction in costs faced by taxpayers at various stages in the tax planning, tax compliance, and tax enforcement process — often requires enacting more law not less. In addition, conceptualizing simplicity in simplistic terms can leave the public vulnerable to policies advanced under the guise of simplification that have real aims that are less innocuous.

A perennial example involves lawmakers proposing a reduction in the number of tax brackets under the heading of simplifying tax law. In reality, this change does very little, if anything, to simplify law in a meaningful sense, and its truer aim is to reduce progressivity in the tax code.

Although the tax legislation ultimately enacted in December 2017 did not change the number of brackets applicable to individual taxpayers, political discourse preceding its enactment once again touted a reduction in the number of tax brackets as a simplifying measure.”

If you wish to keep things simple and at the same time achieve results not possible with other structuring methods, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.

 

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

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Transformation Abounds

Professor PPLI and the Caterpillar

Part 5

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Our next series of articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue.  

In our earlier articles we entertained several views on the word rain, and explored various ways that the English language used the word rain in colorful ways to describe its effect on a client’s assets. Professor PPLI has a rye sense of humor! You will receive more in this vein further in our article from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Professor PPLI meets his match in the person of the Caterpillar.

We also cast life insurance, in particular Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), in the role of a protective outer garment that can protect client’s assets against the assault of the rain.

Now I ask you to exchange this protective outer garment for one of nature’s most magical acts: the Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Changetransformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The cocoon, like PPLI, does indeed provide protection, and the amazing transformation that occurs inside the cocoon is analogous to the transformation of client’s assets once they enter the PPLI policy.

From the Scientific American, Ferris Jabr brings us

“How Does a Caterpillar Turn into a Butterfly? To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself. But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures”

“As children, many of us learn about the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly. The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.

But what does that radical transformation entail? How does a caterpillar rearrange itself into a butterfly? What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?

First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out.”

Like the transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly, the of re-characterizing of assets inside a PPLI becomes an equally magical experience. Once assets are placed inside the PPLI policy, these assets take on the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP): privacy, asset protection, succession planning, tax shield, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

We are not finished with the Caterpillar, and now reveal him in a new guise. Because Professor PPLI has such a rye sense of humor, we now switch to a master of quizzical, British humor, Lewis Carroll, in Alice in Wonderland.  The very idea of raining inside an insurance policy is puzzling, and brings to mind an equally puzzling exchange between Alice and the Caterpillar.

“’Who are you?‘ said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. ‘Explain yourself!’

‘I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.’

‘I don’t see,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,’ Alice replied very politely, ‘for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’

‘It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis — you will some day, you know — and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’

‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,’ said Alice; ‘all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.’

‘You!’ said the Caterpillar contemptuously. ‘Who are you?’

Which brought them back again to the beginning of the conversation. Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar’s making such very short remarks, and she drew herself up and said, very gravely, ‘I think, you out to tell me who you are, first.’

‘Why?’ said the Caterpillar.

Here was another puzzling question; and as Alice could not think of any good reason, and as the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.

‘Come back!’ the Caterpillar called after her. ‘I’ve something important to say!’

This sounded promising, certainly: Alice turned and came back again.

‘Keep your temper,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Is that all?’ said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.

‘No,’ said the Caterpillar.

Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said,

‘So you think you’re changed, do you?’

‘I’m afraid I am, sir,’ said Alice; ‘I can’t remember things as I used — and I don’t keep the same size for ten minutes together!’

‘Can’t remember what things?’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, I’ve tried to say “How doth the little busy bee,” but it all came different!’ Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.”

Alice’s state of mind reminds me of tax advisor who doesn’t understand PPLI. These advisors can’t conceive of an insurance policy accomplishing more than a trust. But in a sense, this can be seen with a little reflection–these advisors are mostly in the business of creating trust, or giving tax advice, and think that insurance is beneath their dignity. Much like Alice regards the Caterpillar.

Ironically, most PPLI policies are owned by trusts. PPLI greatly expands the trust’s possibilities by coupling amicably with a properly structured PPLI policy.

Tax in the Real World 

I think most people would agree that in an ideal society, taxation would promote the common good. But putting this into practice is extremely difficult. Who to tax and how much to tax is much debated throughout the world, and countries approach this dilemma in many different ways, depending on the type of government and their societal goals.

Strong central governments are able to implement their programs with greater ease than in societies that are more pluralistic and democratic, but this is still no guarantee that the programs implemented will be successful, and promote the common good.

Promoting the common good reminds me of the quest to rid the world of the One Ring in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Written during the time of World War II, Tolkien’s epic novel offers us an example of a quest to rid the world of a device, the One Ring, that had the ability to unleash destruction and enslave the peoples of Middle Earth. In the end, service and steadfast devotion won out over greed and power.

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. our quest is to give you maximum tax efficiency and privacy while maintaining your compliance with the world’s tax authorities. Our PPLI structuring uses a simple, straightforward, and traditional tool–life insurance. Our service and steadfast devotion to your needs produces exceptional results. Please let us know your situation so we can create a plan that works for your own unique set of circumstances.

 

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

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Assets for a ‘Rainy Day’

PPLI Keeps You Dry

 Part 2

 Our next series of articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue.  

“I understand it is raining on my assets.”

This Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) client is frustrated and resorts to a seemingly obtuse statement to his advisor. Let us examine his statement more closely. If something valuable would be left out in the rain, it might be spoiled. Indeed, even a PPLI asset can take a turn for the worse.

Perhaps he intended to use the colloquial phrase it is “raining on my parade.” Perhaps English is not this client’s first language, and he is using an idiom of his first language, and translating it literally into English. But whatever is occurring with the rain and his assets, IT IS NOT GOOD. At this point, it is doubtful whether PPLI is of any use to this dissatisfied client.

In the Introduction to her book on idioms, As Right As Rain, Caroline Taggart tells us:

“The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as ‘a group of words established by usage having a meaning not deductible by the meanings of the individual words’ (my italics); other dictionaries emphasize the same point. An idiom, by definition, doesn’t make sense.

Isn’t that fun? Or is it just baffling?

Take the book title, for instance. Why do we say ‘as right as rain’ rather than ‘as right as snow’ or ‘as right as wind’? Or why should rain, or any other climatic feature, be more right than anything else?

Why, to take another example, why do we cry over spilled milk rather than spilled wine or spilled tea? Why is a wild idea pie in the sky or a piece of surprising news a turn up for the books?

A foreigner learning English might well ask these questions and be told, ‘Because it just is, OK?’ That’s because a newcomer to the language has to learn the exact form of the idiom–nine times out of ten, if you translate it from one language to another, it means nothing, and if you alter a single word, it means even less. (To give someone the cold elbow? To bring home the pork? I don’t think so.) But if you want to delve deeper, to find out where these apparently absurd expressions come from in the first place, you might choose to pick up this book. It’s an attempt  to reduce the bafflement, and increase the fun.”

The expression “as right as rain” offers a positive response to this phrase, but the client’s  continence suggests this client is not happy.  Enough of our conjectures. Let us give this client a persona.

We take the liberty of making him Gary Barnett, who “remade Manhattan’s skyline and spurred a supertall-tower boom with One57. In a faltering real estate market, he’s hoping to sell the ultra-rich on Central Park Tower,” according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Man behind Billionaires’ Row Battles to Sell the World’s Tallest Condo,” by Katherine Clarke and Candace Taylor.

Mr. Barnett could use our services, as PPLI can provide excellent structures for real estate. As we have now made him our client, let us learn something about him from the Wall Street Journal article we mentioned previously.

“A self-described “poor boy from the Lower East Side,” Mr. Barnett grew up as Gershon Swiatycki, the son of a Talmudic scholar. His entry into the world of luxury goods came in 1980s, when he met his late wife Evelyn Muller, whose father owned a diamond business. Mr. Barnett traded precious stones in Belgium for over a decade before starting to invest in U.S. real estate.

Arriving at the sales office in a dark suit with black sneakers and a bold, flowered tie that he said is “probably 20 years old,” the 63-year-old developer is an unlikely purveyor of luxury homes. An observant Jew who largely eschews the flashy trappings of the industry, Mr. Barnett lived in Queens until moving recently with his wife and children to the heavily Orthodox suburb of Monsey, N.Y., about an hour’s drive north of the city. (He keeps a one-bedroom unit at One57 to make more time for work.)

Mr. Barnett’s refusal to give up the antiquated flip phone is a source of indulgent eye-rolling from colleagues. He often avoids computers, said a person who has worked with him; instead, his assistant prints out his emails and leaves them on his desk, where he annotates them in what one employee describes as “serial-killer scrawl” for staff to decipher.

He’s “a total nerd,” real-estate agent Nikki Field said affectionately. “He’s not a New York developer personality in any way.”

Other Manhattan developers thought Mr. Barnett was crazy when he started building One57 in 2010, the depths of the real-estate downturn. And after no major U.S. lenders would back him, he turned to the Middle East to obtain financing from two of Abu Dhabi’s wealthiest investment funds.

His gamble paid off handsomely. As One57 started sales, U.S. economic growth snapped back. As one of the few new luxury condo buildings on the market, One57 attracted billionaires from Russia, China and the Middle East. The condominium is the first ever New York City building to break the $100 million threshold for a single condo.”

Frequently, at the beginning of a discussion on a topic new to them, clients have an incomplete or erroneous understanding of the topic. An advisor does well not to trample on the client’s understanding. The process of understanding frequently needs to occur in an atmosphere where there is a respectful give and take.

In the end, unless a true mutual understanding is reached no meaningful understanding has been achieved at all between the client and the advisor, and the client usually does not become a client of the advisor. In the end, what is left is a topic or concept with two different understandings, and both understandings think that they are correct.

What if one of these understandings is actually false?

There have been many discussions of late on “fake news,” what constitutes it, and how it is created, and how it affects our lives. Let us examine the strange case of Claas Relotius.

With PPLI our company is careful to discern at the beginning of a discussion whether PPLI is in fact the right planning choice for the client. By analyzing the structure thoroughly, we insure a more successful PPLI outcome at the end of the process.

Here we have an award winning journalists, who evidently was the perpetrator of “fake news” for many years. We are grateful to another Wall Street Journal article, “Germany’s Der Spiegel Says Reporter Made Up Facts,” by Bojan Pancevski and Sara Germano.

“BERLIN—Europe faces its largest journalistic scandal in years after Der Spiegel, the continent’s biggest-selling news magazine, said one of its star reporters fabricated facts in his articles for years.

The magazine’s disclosure, which came after a colleague raised concerns about a recent piece on supporters of President Trump in rural America, was made as Europe’s established media faces attacks by populist forces at home and abroad.

Claas Relotius, an award-winning journalist, resigned from the magazine last week after admitting to making up parts of his reporting in the past decade, Der Spiegel said late Wednesday.

Mr. Relotius couldn’t be reached for comment.

According to the magazine, Mr. Relotius, 33, invented characters, dialogue and events in his coverage of subjects ranging from a Guantanamo inmate who no longer wanted to leave the prison to civil war orphans in Syria.

“We must see what control mechanisms failed, whether they did or whether we were negligent,” Steffen Klusmann, who will become the magazine’s editor in chief next year, said in a video interview posted on the magazine’s website.

Major news organizations have faced a number of crises in recent decades over reporting that was later determined to contain fabricated material.

In seven years writing for Der Spiegel, Mr. Relotius became one of Germany’s most highly regarded journalists, accumulating 10 coveted awards.”

How does one protect oneself from the rain?  Usually by providing some cover, like a waterproof outer garment. Let us cast life insurance into the role of this protective outer garment. In our next article, we will divulge how PPLI provides this protection. Please let us know how we can keep your assets ‘as right as rain.’ PPLI can solve a myriad of asset structuring needs. Your suggestions and comments are very welcome. Please write them at the bottom of this article or Contact Us directly.

 

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

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PPLI and Understanding

How do we achieve understanding?

Part 1

 Our next five articles will comprise an in-depth look at the five main components of our PPLI Concept Map: Professor PPLI to the Rescue. 

How we arrive at understanding is a process that is comprised of several steps. Since the main function of our firm, Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., is using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) to structure the assets of wealthy families, we must impart an understanding of PPLI daily. Let us examine what we do to achieve the exceptional results that we accomplish for these families in using PPLI.

First, let us look at an academic definition of understanding from Wikipedia.

“Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge that are sufficient to support intelligent behavior.

Understanding is often, though not always, related to learning concepts, and sometimes also the theory or theories associated with those concepts. However, a person may have a good ability to predict the behavior of an object, animal or system—and therefore may, in some sense, understand it—without necessarily being familiar with the concepts or theories associated with that object, animal or system in their culture. They may have developed their own distinct concepts and theories, which may be equivalent, better or worse than the recognized standard concepts and theories of their culture. Thus, understanding is correlated with the ability to make inferences.”

Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding.” This is key. This “relation between the knower and an object of understanding” is something one must find out in the midst of explaining a concept like PPLI to a client. One might call the process divining their attitude towards the topic in the midst of explaining the concept to the client.

This is most readily heard in a tone of voice, and seen in body language. When a client does not understand something or his or her interest wanes, it is time to switch to another way of explaining the topic.

The advisor in our Concept Map has not given this client a satisfactory explanation of PPLI, and the client is not shy about letting him know his feelings!  Perhaps this client was not given the basics of PPLI, and this is the source of his consternation.

Let us proceed to an excellent source of knowledge about PPLI that does give the basics and more, “Using Life Insurance and Annuities in U.S. Tax Planning for Foreign Clients by Leslie C. Giordani, Esq., Michael H. Ripp, Jr., Esq., and Mari M. Reed, Esq.* Giordani, Swanger, Ripp & Phillips LLP Austin, Texas from The Tax Management Journal. This article discusses the use of PPLI for non-U.S. persons from a U.S. tax perspective.

INTRODUCTION: AN ELEGANT SOLUTION TO DIFFICULT PROBLEMS

U.S. tax planning for foreign clients involves complex issues and even more complicated rules. Advanced planning can, however, provide significant opportunities for clients to minimize or avoid costly tax consequences. The issues faced by these clients include high tax liabilities associated with potential accumulation distributions from undistributed net income earned in foreign trusts and taxation of an NRA’s U.S.-source income and an NRNC’s U.S.-situated assets.

As discussed in this article, investing a foreign client’s funds in a life insurance or an annuity policy can provide an elegant solution to many of these issues and numerous additional benefits. Life insurance and, to a lesser extent, annuities have long been favored under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Further, life insurance and annuities can be used as: (1) estate planning tools to mitigate estate tax liability and facilitate the orderly disposition of assets at death; (2) asset security vehicles, offering both financial privacy and protection from future creditors; and (3) mechanisms to augment the philanthropic goals of charity-minded clients.

In some cases, life insurance and annuities can also reduce or defer clients’ income tax liabilities through tax-free growth inside properly structured policies and via the avoidance of taxes and penalties associated with certain distributions from foreign non-grantor trusts. Finally, investing in life insurance or an annuity contract can also ease clients’ income tax compliance burdens. This article addresses the ways in which life insurance and annuities can be employed to maximize the benefits of these powerful planning tools, focusing on ways to minimize or avoid U.S. income and transfer taxes for foreign clients. We will examine the fundamentals of life insurance and annuities including the various types of life insurance available in the marketplace and basic structuring issues relating to annuities.

We will discuss the U.S. tax rules that must be satisfied for a contract to qualify as life insurance or an annuity and, in some cases, a variable contract. We will analyze the U.S. income tax treatment and estate tax treatment of life insurance and annuities. Finally, we will discuss applications of life insurance and annuity planning to several key international estate planning topics, including the use of foreign trusts, pre-immigration planning, and the benefits of annuities for temporary U.S. residents.

Understanding Includes Trust

The process of understanding also must include some element of trust. This is mostly built over a period of time, but even at the initial client/advisor meeting this bridge must be crossed by the client for the relationship to continue.

In her excellent articles, “Notes from Caroline,” Caroline Garnham a London attorney who works with UHNW clients, gives us a story about a client that gives us an insight into the world of a UHNW client. The story reveals a certain aspect of this element of trust which is stated succinctly in the aphorism: to understand a person one must walk in the other person’s shoes. Ms. Garnham does an excellent job of describing what it is like to walk in the shoes of an UHNW client.

“George a PR agent, who acts for one of the wealthiest people in the Sunday Times Rich List, arranged to meet his client in a country golf club. George arrived at the agreed time, but still hovering above him was his client’s helicopter and it wasn’t making an approach to land. George phoned to find out why.

The client refused to land due to a charge of £95. George offered to pay – he hadn’t spent two hours travelling to a far-flung golf club only to have the meeting cancelled. The client – in a rage – refused to let him pay. This was a matter of principle. So, George had to plead with the golf club to waive its fee which it eventually did, and George’s client finally landed.

Surely the golf club should be encouraging their members to arrive by helicopter and governments should encourage the rich to live in their country, as it adds cachet to the club. By charging a fee, the club was in severe danger of losing one of their most prestigious members, purely through greed. Their thinking was if you can afford a helicopter you afford a landing fee. As in France – if you are wealthy you can pay a wealth tax. It’s like saying if you drive to the club in a Bentley you pay a parking fee, but if you arrive in a Toyota you don’t.

UHNW individuals are being fingered for money ALL THE TIME. It is hardly surprising therefore that they fly off the handle and appear difficult when they are being fleeced for yet more cash. Being pestered for money is a way of life for them, and most of them hate it, which is why they want to preserve their privacy and live in countries which appreciate their contribution.

We may watch their antics with surprise, but most of us do not know what it is like to be wealthy. However, as advisers, we need to understand them.

UHNW individuals are looking for people they can trust. But trustworthy people cannot be bought with money, because their precious quality is an attitude rather than a product. UHNWs want advisers who care for them, who see them as people rather than money mountains. Unfortunately, there are many organisations which stifle any attempt on well-meaning advisers to provide a personal service for their clients.”

One wise person said that, “We have two ears, and one mouth, because we need to listening twice as much as we speak.” It is not possible to present PPLI to a client unless one knows how they think about it. The advisor finds out by listening to what the client says and not giving a lecture.

Obviously, the understanding that we speak about has not been achieved here, so please follow us to Part 2, and find out more. We hope you enjoy this new format, and look forward to increasing your understanding about PPLI. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.

 

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

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Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Change

PPLI Can Do It

Resolving the Contradiction of Changeless Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exchange of information would be automatic

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

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

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

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

Several countries have poor data security

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules risk ‘identity theft on a grand scale’

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

The office said:

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

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

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

But he added:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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How to Climb the Mountain of Happiness

PPLI Provides Steps Up the Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Never Underestimate the Power of Persistence

PPLI Delivers Persistence

At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. in our quest to solve difficult client issues using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) structuring, we have found that being persistent is a great benefit. Since we have clients throughout the world in diverse financial environments, our problem solving expertise is key to a successful outcome.

By way of analogy we give you an example from science. Have you ever wondered how water can travel from the roots of a tree to the top? Consider the height of coastal redwood trees in California, reaching up to 379 feet (115.5 m) in height (without the roots). Part of the solution is a persistent chain of water molecules that travel skyward to the top of these giant trees.

First let us give you some examples of being persistent in our PPLI structuring  for our clients.

Unique Solution #1

A Chinese family came to us for succession planning for offshore companies owned by the family. They wished to pass these offshore companies located in various parts of the world to their son, who is a green card holder residing in the U.S. Besides transferring the companies at the death of the wealth owner via a properly structured PPLI policy, the son wished to take the profits from the companies and invest them in real estate projects outside the U.S. We created a PPLI structure for the family that accomplished all of these aims. The PPLI structure also gave them tax-deferral on all the future revenue from the companies.

Unique Solution #2

An Israeli client who resides in Italy has a company where all the revenue is generated in Italy. He is also a U.S. green card holder, but spends very little time in the U.S. He had a Nevada company that did the processing of his customers orders which came from customers worldwide. The client wished to re-structure to lessen his U.S. tax burden which we accomplished for him using a 953(d) offshore PPLI policy.

Unique Solution #3

A young entrepreneur with worldwide holdings in sports, natural resources, gaming, and content management wishes us to check his compliance with FATCA and CRS. He is a U.S. green card holder as well as a UK resident, and citizen of an African country. He had created a dozen companies with excellent potential. We brought him into compliance with tax authorities worldwide with a PPLI structure. We gave his revenues a boost, because in the PPLI structure all the profits become tax-deferred. We protected his family with the low-cost death benefit of the PPLI policy.

We are grateful to Mark Vitosh of Iowa State University for his article in Scientific American which excellently explains how water can reach the top of the tallest trees in the world.

“There are many different processes occurring within trees that allow them to grow. One is the movement of water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves in the canopy, or upper branches. Water is the building block of living cells; it is a nourishing and cleansing agent, and a transport medium that allows for the distribution of nutrients and carbon compounds (food) throughout the tree. The coastal redwood, or Sequoia sempervirens, can reach heights over 300 feet (or approximately 91 meters), which is a great distance for water, nutrients and carbon compounds to move. To understand how water moves through a tree, we must first describe the path it takes.

Water and mineral nutrients–the so-called sap flow–travel from the roots to the top of the tree within a layer of wood found under the bark. This sapwood consists of conductive tissue called xylem (made up of small pipe-like cells). There are major differences between hardwoods (oak, ash, maple) and conifers (redwood, pine, spruce, fir) in the structure of xylem. In hardwoods, water moves throughout the tree in xylem cells called vessels, which are lined up end-to-end and have large openings in their ends. In contrast, the xylem of conifers consists of enclosed cells called tracheids. These cells are also lined up end-to-end, but part of their adjacent walls have holes that act as a sieve. For this reason, water moves faster through the larger vessels of hardwoods than through the smaller tracheids of conifers.

Both vessel and tracheid cells allow water and nutrients to move up the tree, whereas specialized ray cells pass water and food horizontally across the xylem. All xylem cells that carry water are dead, so they act as a pipe. Xylem tissue is found in all growth rings (wood) of the tree. Not all tree species have the same number of annual growth rings that are active in the movement of water and mineral nutrients. For example, conifer trees and some hardwood species may have several growth rings that are active conductors, whereas in other species, such as the oaks, only the current years’ growth ring is functional.

This unique situation comes about because the xylem tissue in oaks has very large vessels; they can carry a lot of water quickly, but can also be easily disrupted by freezing and air pockets. It’s amazing that a 200 year-old living oak tree can survive and grow using only the support of a very thin layer of tissue beneath the bark. The rest of the 199 growth rings are mostly inactive. In a coastal redwood, though, the xylem is mostly made up of tracheids that move water slowly to the top of the tree. Now that we have described the pathway that water follows through the xylem, we can talk about the mechanism involved. Water has two characteristics that make it a unique liquid. First, water adheres to many surfaces with which it comes into contact. Second, water molecules can also cohere, or hold on to each other. These two features allow water to be pulled like a rubber band up small capillary tubes like xylem cells.

Water has energy to do work: it carries chemicals in solution, adheres to surfaces and makes living cells turgid by filling them. This energy is called potential energy. At rest, pure water has 100 percent of its potential energy, which is by convention set at zero. As water begins to move, its potential energy for additional work is reduced and becomes negative. Water moves from areas with the least negative potential energy to areas where the potential energy is more negative. For example, the most negative water potential in a tree is usually found at the leaf-atmosphere interface; the least negative water potential is found in the soil, where water moves into the roots of the tree. As you move up the tree the water potential becomes more negative, and these differences create a pull or tension that brings the water up the tree.

A key factor that helps create the pull of water up the tree is the loss of water out of the leaves through a process called transpiration. During transpiration, water vapor is released from the leaves through small pores or openings called stomates. Stomates are present in the leaf so that carbon dioxide–which the leaves use to make food by way of photosynthesis–can enter. The loss of water during transpiration creates more negative water potential in the leaf, which in turn pulls more water up the tree. So in general, the water loss from the leaf is the engine that pulls water and nutrients up the tree.

How can water withstand the tensions needed to be pulled up a tree? The trick is, as we mentioned earlier, the ability of water molecules to stick to each other and to other surfaces so strongly. Given that strength, the loss of water at the top of tree through transpiration provides the driving force to pull water and mineral nutrients up the trunks of trees as mighty as the redwoods.”

In some ways we are taught to see scientific processes like this as an inevitable result of something–something ordinary. But an inevitable result of what? That is the point. From another perspective, it is the inevitable result of something miraculous. Let us call it the miraculous persistence of nature.

Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. enjoys being persistent in finding PPLI structuring solutions for our worldwide client base. Please contact us for a unique solution to your asset structuring needs.

We invite you to put our persistency to the test!

 

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

 

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‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’

PPLI Brings You Home

Wealthy international families can create a tax compliant and enhanced privacy Home for their assets using Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI). The concept of Home is a powerful one for all of us.

At this point in the digital age, you could consider a smartphone to be a type of Home for information. A smart phone can organize and personalize different elements of our lives to bring them to a place that gives us a sense of security much like a physical Home does.

We all like to arrange our contacts, notifications, sounds, and other features to suit our personal taste. The key word here is personal.

“PPLI can do the same for the assets of wealthy international families that are spread throughout the world.”

Our featured news article uses personal in another sense. We are widening our concept of Home to include ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is.’ For Kris Goldsmith what spurred him into action was misinformation that was being spread over Facebook about U.S. Veterans. This emotional element of Home can be a strong force in our lives.

“PPLI is a welcomed unifying element for the assets of wealthy international families.”

Let us review all that can be included in the assets of wealthy international families by visiting the Wikipedia page on Assets:

“In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned by the business. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value and that is held by a company to produce positive economic value is an asset. Simply stated, assets represent the value of ownership that can be converted into cash (although cash itself is also considered an asset). The balance sheet of a firm records the monetary value of the assets owned by that firm. It covers money and other valuables belonging to an individual or to a business.

One can classify assets into two major asset classes: tangible assets and intangible assets. Tangible assets contain various subclasses, including current assets and fixed assets. Current assets include inventory, while fixed assets include such items as buildings and equipment.

Intangible assets are non-physical resources and rights that have a value to the firm because they give the firm some kind of advantage in the marketplace. Examples of intangible assets include goodwill, copyrights, trademarks, patents and computer programs, and financial assets, including such items as accounts receivable, bonds and stocks.”

“With proper structuring most all the assets mentioned above can be included in a PPLI policy.”

Let us return to ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is,’ by following the trail of Kris Goldsmith in his search for disinformation as it related to the Vietnam Veterans of America. Our source is The Wall Street Journal article, Army Veteran Wages War on Social-Media Disinformation,by Ben Kesling and Dustin Volz. If you change the subject matter, Mr. Goldsmith’s search could be ours.

We all have topics that compel us to act in one way or another, if what we see on Facebook or in the media strike the right emotional cord for us. This emotional cord is ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is.’

Kris Goldsmith’s campaign to get Facebook Inc. to close fake accounts targeting U.S. veterans started with a simple search.

He was seeking last year to gauge the popularity of the Facebook page for his employer, Vietnam Veterans of America. The first listing was an impostor account called “Vietnam Vets of America” that had stolen his group’s logo and had more than twice as many followers.

Mr. Goldsmith, a 33-year-old Army veteran, sent Facebook what he thought was a straightforward request to take down the bogus page. At first, Facebook told him to try to work it out with the authors of the fake page, whom he was never able to track down. Then, after two months, Facebook deleted it.

The experience launched him on a hunt for other suspicious Facebook pages that target military personnel and veterans by using patriotic messages and fomenting political divisions. It has become a full-time job.

Working from offices, coffee shops, and his apartment, he has cataloged and flagged to Facebook about 100 questionable pages that have millions of followers. He sits for hours and clicks links, keeping extensive notes and compiling elaborate spreadsheets on how pages are interconnected, and tracing them back, when possible, to roots in Russia, Eastern Europe or the Middle East.

“The more I look, the more patterns I see,” he said.

Facebook’s response to his work has been tepid, he said. Company officials initially refused to talk with him, so he used a personal contact at Facebook to share his findings. Lately, the company has been more active.

Facebook didn’t respond directly to a list of questions about Mr. Goldsmith’s research, but a spokesman said the company had 14,000 people working on security and safety—double the amount last year—and a goal of expanding that team to 20,000 by next year.

In a statement, the spokesman said the company relied on “a combination of automated detection systems, as well as reports from the community, to help identify suspicious activity on the platform and ensure compliance with our policies.”

About two dozen of the pages Mr. Goldsmith flagged, with a combined following of some 20 million, have been deleted, often coinciding with Facebook’s purges of Russian- and Iranian-linked disinformation pages—including a separate crackdown by the company last week on domestic actors.

The determination and persistence of Mr. Goldsmith reminds us of how at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc., we pursue all available avenues to successfully place assets into a properly structured PPLI policy. The results include both a fully compliant structure, and one that also produces enhanced privacy for the family, as for reporting purposes, the owner of the assets inside the PPLI policy becomes the insurance company.

You have an open invitation to find ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ with us. We welcome your comments and questions on how to find the right Home for your assets with Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. by using PPLI. Please contact us today for an initial consultation at no charge.

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

 

Michael Malloy Information

 

#michaelmalloy #michaelmalloysolutions #advancedfinancialsolutions #ppli