The Art of War in Action

Achieve Stealth Victory with PPLI

Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) allows you to achieve levels of legitimate privacy not possible with solely planning with trusts. The PPLI policy works in harmony with a trust to create an environment of enhanced privacy. So what war are we talking about? This war is being played out worldwide almost daily between governments and individuals on what constitutes privacy.

This war is not so simple. California just passed a landmark privacy bill, and after the bill’s passage, one aspect that remains ambiguous is what constitutes the data that can be made private at the individual’s choice. We have an excerpt below, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, by Marc Vartabedian, Georgia Wells, and Lara O’Reilly.

“One of the points of contention is likely to fall around the legislation’s definition of “personal data,” which includes broad categories such as biometric data, psychometric information, browsing and search history and geolocation data. The act’s current version states that personal information doesn’t include information that is publicly available or general enough to not identify an individual, a broad definition technology companies may lean on heavily to argue their collection of such data is justified.”

Thankfully, things are somewhat simpler in our field of planning for wealthy international families. By combining a trust and a properly structured PPLI policy, we can transfer beneficial ownership to the insurance company which creates a much welcomed benefit for families.

This is particularly true for those that reside in countries where the government is unstable or corrupt, or sometimes unfortunately both.  This issue raises real concern for the personal data of wealthy international families in the massive exchange of data now taking place under CRS.

In a recent letter to The Financial Times, Filippo Noseda, a partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP, gives us a startling example:

“In Argentina seven members of the Argentine tax authorities were arrested on February 2 for allegedly selling taxpayers’ information, showing the risks faced by citizens living in high-risk jurisdictions who for one reason or another have bank accounts abroad (Argentine police also seized $5m in cash, which gives a measure of the scale of data trafficking). Dissidents with foreign accounts will be particularly vulnerable to reprisals from their governments.”

Hiding in Plain Sight

What are the steps that allow an insurance company to become the beneficial owner of the assets inside a PPLI policy, and give clients a level of legitimate privacy not possible with other techniques?  Here they are:

  • The policyholder contributes the assets that he or she wants to protect as a premium payment, in cash or in kind, to a bespoke investment fund created by the life insurer. The life insurer opens a dedicated account at a custodian bank for the underlying assets of the policy.
  • The policyholder selects an investment strategy and nominates an investment manager. The life company formally appoints the investment manager.
  • This internal investment fund is exclusively linked to the policyholder’s life policy. The value of the PPLI policy is equal at all times to that of the underlying internal investment fund.
  • The life insurer has now become the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) of the underlying assets. In return for the premium payment, the policyholder has a “claim” on the life insurer for the value of the underlying investment fund.

This planning technique of using the insurance company as the beneficial owner of the assets in a PPLI policy is akin to what we learn in a 5th century text by Sun Tzu, The Art of War. This famous text teaches ostensibly about war, but its basic message is–avoid open conflict unless it is absolutely necessary.  A few key quotes from the book demonstrate this:

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

“A good commander is benevolent and unconcerned with fame.”

This is precisely what we do in marrying a trust with a properly structured PPLI policy.  The result is what we call Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP). By finding the best of what a trust and an a PPLI policy have to offer, we create this legitimate environment of enhanced privacy without a conflict with tax authorities in any jurisdiction worldwide. This is stealth that achieves a victory by study and superior knowledge.

Please bring us your privacy concerns, so we can construct a bespoke structure that fits the aims and goals of your family.

 

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

 

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No Separation of Child/Parent

PPLI: United We Stand for Tax Savings

Private Placement Life Insurance, (see PPLI in our blog) makes use of one of the simplest and oldest tax shields that exist–life insurance. Donald Trump’s very unpopular immigration policy of separating children from parents who cross the border with Mexico  reminds us of another separation that has undesired consequences for tax savings.

This separation is summarized in the catchy yet deceptive phrase, “Buy term life insurance and invest the difference.”  By taking this advice one is, to use another common phrase, “Throwing out the baby with the bath water.” We will show you by example that if you keep your investments inside a PPLI policy, you can benefit handsomely.

Before we give you an example of tax structuring using PPLI, let us return to government regulations. We used a very controversial example with Donald Trump and Mexican children, but how does our firm interact with governments worldwide on a regular basis in relation to tax structuring for wealthy international families.

The process works like this:

“The laws, tax codes, and regulations that we study to assist our clients are complex. We study these laws, tax codes, and regulations with an eye to selecting the elements that can best serve our clients.  If the tax authorities of governments think we have gone too far with our use of these laws, tax codes, and regulations, they amend them, and so the process continues.”

Clients are now looking at simple and straightforward solutions to their complex problems. Since a properly structured PPLI policy is at the heart of our planning, and insurance regulations in most countries are more long- lasting and simpler than the tax codes, we have a significant advantage in helping our clients.

PPLI solves or mitigates issues for clients involving:

  • Tax deferral
  • Income tax planning
  • Succession planning
  • Asset protection
  • Compliance
  • Privacy protection
  • Estate planning

PPLI Tax Deferral

Here is an example that involves the PPLI benefit of tax deferral.  In the right circumstances, business income can also benefit from tax deferral.  Since we are using a life insurance policy, all the assets inside the policy will pass tax-free to the beneficiaries named in the PPLI policy.

Eduardo Flores is an investor located in a high tax state in the U.S. with a combined tax rate of 53%. Eduardo is a successful businessman with $50 million of investable assets. Eduardo has been receiving a 8% return on these hedge fund investments, but realizes more than half of his profits will benefit federal and state government. See Figure 1 below.

PPLI generates $4.9 million more than a taxable hedge fund investment after 10 years. After 20 years, PPLI has outperformed by over $18 million. Held for 40 years, the PPLI policy will produce $120 million more than a taxable account.

If you buy term life insurance, and invest the difference, your investments miss out on the substantial benefit of tax deferral. Why separate yourself from this outstanding benefit. Most of us would not wish to step into Donald Trump’s shoes and be subject to worldwide criticism for an unpopular decision. Make the right decision, and investigate how PPLI can best serve many of your structuring and tax planning needs.

We are here to serve you towards this end, and very much wish to hear what you have to say about our firm and ideas. You can place any comments at the bottom of the page, and if you have interacted with us in the past, we would appreciate any testimonials in our blog or Yelp. Thanks in advance.

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

 

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