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 Combines Beauty and Utility

Let Us Learn from a Master Thinker

Part 4

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

Professor PPLI has landed, and repeats Leonardo da Vinci’s phrase, “Can’t beauty and utility be combined.” In a sense, Leonardo’s whole life was dedicated to these words. At Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. we strive to follow in Leonardo’s footsteps in creating PPLI structures for wealthy families that give the best possible combination of privacy, tax savings, and compliance with tax authorities worldwide.

Let us first explore beauty. Beauty has many levels. At the highest level beauty embodies our finest aspirations. On a more mundane level, it comes closer to what makes us experience joy in our everyday lives.

Those of us who create Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) asset structures for wealthy clients can find beauty in a well-designed structure that is implemented successfully to achieve the aims of privacy, asset protection, and tax reduction. It is a type of architecture or engineering that uses laws, concepts, and ideas and blends them with the family dynamic and country specific challenges of each highly individual case.

George Santayana, the influential 20th century thinker, gives us his famous definition of beauty from The Sense of Beauty.

“We have now reached our definition of beauty, which, in the terms of our successive analysis and narrowing of the conception, is value positive, intrinsic, and objectified. Or, in less technical language, Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing. … Beauty is a value, that is, it is not a perception of a matter of fact or of a relation: it is an emotion, an affection of our volitional and appreciative nature. An object cannot be beautiful if it can give pleasure to nobody: a beauty to which all men were forever indifferent is a contradiction in terms. … Beauty is therefore a positive value that is intrinsic; it is a pleasure.”

The PPLI Reality Check

We all know what one person or cultural might call lovely and beautiful does not always translate to another culture. We see this when we travel to countries that have cultures, traditions, and objects quite different than our own.

This idea mirrors the many different ways that PPLI is implemented throughout the world. What works in one country, or set of circumstances, does not work in another. Through research into the tax codes and insurance regulations of all the countries and entities involved must be commenced at the very beginning of each PPLI case that comes to us.

In Part 3 of our Concept Map we made no mention of the fairy who introduced the topic of beauty. Hans Christian Andersen, the great Danish writer of fairy tales tells us, “The most wonderful fairy tales grow out of that which is reality.”

This embodies the reverse of what happens at Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. When you first come and tell us what you wish to gain by using our services, all the facts are somewhat a fairy tale, in that we don’t know if our type of structuring will work for you. Only after a detailed review of your situation, can we say with confidence, if it achieves the “reality” of a proper PPLI structure.

This detailed review, or reality check, is done at no cost to you. We wish to partner with you on a truly bespoke PPLI structure that achieves as many of the elements of Expanded Worldwide Planning, EWP as possible. These elements are privacy, asset protection, tax shield, succession planning, compliance simplifier, and trust substitute.

Details of the 953(d) Election

Now, as we promised you in Part 3, here is more detail on the 953(d) election. What is the difference between foreign and domestic insurance? In this context, we are speaking about U.S. based insurance companies as the domestic ones.

Domestic life insurance is state regulated in the U.S.. Policyholders and carriers can transact and negotiate only in the state where the carrier is licensed. The choice of investments is relatively limited, often in-house company funds only, with associated higher costs, sometimes much higher. Commissions can represent a fairly large proportion of the paid-in premium.

Foreign life insurance is regulated by the jurisdiction of the country of domicile. i.e., that countries’ financial regulator. Investment risk for variable policies is borne solely by the policyholder. The policyholder has much more flexible options, the cost of insurance is significantly much lower as the policyholder pays just the pure re-insurance cost, and brokers are paid a small percentage fee, similar to an asset management fee. In short, tax deferral remains assured, asset protection is tighter, privacy is greater, costs are lower, investment flexibility is greater and its fully compliant. At the private banking level, offshore insurance is a no-brainer.

The “953(d)” Insurance Company

The 953(d) refers to Section 953(d) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC). This is the section that allows a non-U.S. Insurance Company to make the election to be treated as a U.S. taxpayer. This election provides some very material benefits to both insurance company and policyholders.

As a U.S. taxpayer, the insurance company can invest in assets located anywhere in the world, including the U.S. and Europe. Through the policy structure, the policyholder and/or the beneficiaries can legally defer income tax and capital gains tax. Assets within the policy are paid to the beneficiaries as a tax free death benefit when the insured passes. Regardless of the location of those assets; U.S., Europe, Asia, the insurance company does not engage in trade and business in the U.S. and is not subject to state insurance laws.

Tax

The “953(d)” insurance company pays U.S. federal income tax on its worldwide income, it has therefore a US tax ID number, a “TIN”.  Moreover the policyholder is exempt from the 1% federal excise tax on premium payments as the company is treated as domestic, plus there is no state insurance premium tax.  There is no withholding tax on U.S. source dividend income. There is a U.S. DAC tax that must be paid, but it is lower than the 1% FET, currently it is 70 basis points.

For the policyholder and beneficiaries, the insurance structure itself can be used to optimize income, capital gains and estate tax planning. Additionally, there is no withholding tax on U.S. investments as the company is U.S. person with a completed W-9 form.

Legal & Compliance

The “953(d)” insurance company is treated as a domestic corporation by the U.S. government for tax purposes. The insurance company (not the policyholder) completes and submits the W-9 form to the bank facilitating compliance with U.S. domestic custodians and paying agents. This makes the 35% withholding tax under FATCA a non-issue. The company is not subject to state or federal insurance law being an offshore provider. Finally, there is no requirement to file and maintain form 720.

Combining Beauty and Utility

How did Leonardo combine beauty and utility? One need go no further than his notebooks. In her New Yorker review of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci, “The Secret Lives of Leonardo da Vinci,” Claudia Roth Pierpont conveys beautifully the magic of Leonardo’s notebooks.

“These drawings are part of a vast treasury of texts and images, amounting to more than seven thousand surviving pages, now dispersed across several countries and known collectively as “Leonardo’s notebooks”—which is precisely what they were.

Private notebooks of all sizes, some carried about for quick sketches and on-the-spot observations, others used for long-term, exacting studies in geology, botany, and human anatomy, to specify just a few of the areas in which he posed fundamental questions, and reached answers that were often hundreds of years ahead of his time. Why is the sky blue? How does the heart function? What are the differences in air pressure above and beneath a bird’s wing, and how might this knowledge enable man to make a flying machine? Music, military engineering, astronomy. Fossils and the doubt they cast on the Biblical story of creation.

“Describe,” he instructs himself, “what sneezing is, what yawning is, the falling sickness, spasm, paralysis, shivering with cold, sweating, fatigue, hunger, sleep, thirst, lust.” He intended publication, but never got around to it; there was always something more to learn. In the following centuries, at least half the pages were lost. What survives is an unparalleled record of a human mind at work, as fearless and dogged as it was brilliant.”

We attempt to be fearless and dogged in pursuit of the perfect PPLI structure for you. Please let us know how we can serve you to this end. Thank you for your continued trust and support.

 

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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Fence = Privacy–Well Sort of

Let PPLI Be Your First Defense

Part 1

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

These two neighbors are discussing a new tax law in their fenced backyard. Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) is a well-established, yet conservation ring fence for your assets. Once assets are structured properly in a PPLI policy, the insurance company becomes the beneficial owner of the assets.

According to Investopedia, “a ring fence is a protection-based transfer of assets from one destination to another, usually through the use of offshore accounting. A ring fence is meant to protect the assets from inclusion in an investor’s calculable net worth or to lower tax consequences.”

This definition reveals the etymology of the word fence. The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that in the 14th century the word fence was used as an “action of defending, resistance; means of protection, fortification.”

The advantage of an insurance ring fence is that life insurance is a common structuring tool and is used by millions around the world to provide financial security.

Now back to our two neighbors. In our scene the barbecue is pouring out smoke, and smoke can mean trouble. Indeed, it is black smoke which reminds us of a passage at the beginning of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House. We will visit Charles Dickens’s London later on, where Dickens uses fog as a metaphor for the decrepitude of polluted London in the mid-19th century. Indeed, Dickens’s London was a mixture of both fog and smoke during much of the year.

In the context of our story, smoke, whether foul or benign, can easily escape a fenced backyard. Smoke is subject to wind currents, and other atmospheric elements. PPLI structures use a “smoke free” strategy. One that is not subject to the vagaries of the weather.

A properly structured PPLI policy is a ring fence that gives wealthy clients’ assets an airtight chamber. Inside this chamber the six principles Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP) breathe clean air with no pollutants. The six principles of EWP are: Privacy, Asset Protection, Succession Planning, Tax Shield, Compliance Simplifier, Trust Substitute.

Imagine the scene in our panel taking place anywhere in the world. A government passes a new tax law and its citizens must compile with it, or face certain penalties. Tax laws change frequently and how you must compile–how much tax you must pay under the new law–does not always translate into a simple answer or number on your tax return. This is why we thoroughly research our PPLI structures, and make sure they compile with all the tax authorities involved in the locations of a client’s assets.

Let us back up briefly and visit an excellent basic description of PPLI.

Al W. King III, left, and Pierce McDowell III, are co-founders of the South Dakota Trust Company, LLC in Sioux Falls, S.D. We give you the opening paragraphs from their Trusts & Estates article, “Powerful Private Placement Life Insurance Strategies With Trusts.”

“What is PPLI?

PPLI is essentially a flexible premium variable universal life (VUL) insurance transaction that occurs within a private placement offering. The private placement component adds extensive flexibility to the VUL product pricing and asset management offerings. Because PPLI is sold through a private placement memorandum, every situation can be individually negotiated and custom designed for the client. PPLI can be for single life or survivorship and is offered only to an accredited investor.

PPLI has both a death benefit and a cash value (that is, investment account) and is generally designed to maximize cash value and minimize death benefits. Consequently, PPLI is usually designed as a non-modified endowment contract (non-MEC) policy, with four to five premiums versus a single premium policy (that is, a MEC). In this way, cash values can be accessed tax-free during an insured’s lifetime.

The PPLI cash value is generally invested among a variety of available registered and non-registered fund options (that is, hedge funds, private equity (PE) and other alternative investments).”

From Cole Porter we give you a different aspect of a fence: one that constricts and prevents the innovative structuring techniques that are possible with PPLI. The mystique of the American cowboy roaming the vast open spaces of the western U.S. comes alive in this popular song from the 1930s, Don’t Fence Me In,” courtesy of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc..

“Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above

Don’t fence me in

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love

Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze

And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees

Send me off forever but I ask you please

Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle

Underneath the western skies

On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder

Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses

And I can’t look at hovels and I can’t stand fences

Don’t fence me in

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies

Don’t fence me in

Let me ride through the wide open country that I love

Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze

And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees

Send me off forever but I ask you please

Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle

Underneath the western skies

On my Cayuse, let me wander over yonder

Till I see the mountains rise

Ba boo ba ba boo

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences

And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses

And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences

Don’t fence me in

No

Poppa, don’t you fence me in”

We now travel back to London for a discussion of privacy and data protection. This subject is key to the debate about tax that is taking place on the world’s stage. What our two neighbors are discussing in their backyard is an important topic for governments and those that advise wealthy clients. Caroline Garnham is a London attorney, who heads the firm of Garnham Family Office Services, and is one of our favorite writers on this subject.

First, we give you Dickens’s memorable depiction of foggy London.

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their skipper, down in his close cabin, fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ‘prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon and hanging in the misty clouds.”

Was Tony Blair right second time?

Is privacy and data protection a good thing or not?

Should there be a public register of what you own? Would you like your neighbours, friends, children and employees knowing precisely what you own; properties, businesses, pensions and bank accounts? Why not – if you have nothing to hide?

Tony Blair, is on record as saying that one of his greatest regrets had been his own Freedom of Information Act. Why because in his view ‘information is neither sought because the journalist is curious to know, nor given to bestow knowledge on ’the people’. ‘It is used as a weapon’.

To protect his privacy once he left office and started to make money, he erected barriers to prevent an accurate assessment of his wealth His income was channelled through a complicated legal structure. At the top was BDBCO No.819 Limited a company called either Windrush or Firerush. Windrush Ventures No.3 LP was part owned by Windrush Ventures No.2 LP which in turn controlled Windrush Ventures Ltd. The scheme’s advantage was that the LPs, or limited partnerships, were not obliged to publish accounts. Even without public registers and the protection of limited partnerships, Tom Bower, author of ‘Broken Vows’ managed to track down these details – so why do we need a public register?

Furthermore, the drive for a public register is for ownership of companies and properties, but  not of the beneficiaries of a trust – so for anyone wishing to disguise their ownerships they simply need to set up a trust – or take their assets outside the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – in which case Britain plc is shooting itself in the foot. We will get nothing and business will flee from the territories we should be protecting.

This week a Government Bill designed to protect the City in the event of a no-deal Brexit was pulled in the face of almost certain defeat after MPs added an amendment that would have forced greater transparency on the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey – the Crown Dependencies.

The idea of public registers of companies, was originally proposed by David Cameron and George Osborne in 2013 in the fight against the use of offshore financial centres to launder money using a myriad of offshore companies. It was dropped when May became Prime Minister, but resurrected by a bank benchers Hodge and Mitchell.

It is generally accepted that the UK cannot interfere in the affairs of another country even an ‘Overseas Territory’ such as the BVI or Cayman, or a ‘Crown Dependency’ such as Guernsey except in extreme circumstances.”

The UK has however intervened in the affairs of the Overseas Territories, such as in the repeal of the Death Penalty in 1991 and decriminalising homosexuality in 2,000, but has made no such intervention in the Crown Dependencies, which is why the bill had to be pulled to give time for a more detailed debate.

Hodge takes the view that a public register of ownership to stamp out the ‘traffic of corrupt money and illicit finance’ across the world’ justified such intervention! The Paradise Papers according to the campaign group Global Witness estimates that £68bn flowed out of Russia via the British-overseas territories between 2007 and 2016, – but what of other countries? To date only three prosecutions have been made. Is this a good enough justification for undermining the privacy of many others?

Andrew Mitchell takes it one stage further, ‘It is only by openness and scrutiny, by allowing charities, NGOs and the media to join up the dots, that we can expose this dirty money and those people standing behind it. Closed registers do not begin to allow us to do it’

That did not prevent Tom Bower finding out all he needed to know about Tony Blair!

The real debate needs to be on how far can we undermine the human right to privacy enshrined in many countries so that rich countries can pick out a few bad apples in a barrel of good ones?”

Find out today how an asset structuring technique–PPLI–can be both conservative and sophisticated. PPLI can give you both privacy and full compliance with the world’s tax authorities. We welcome your call or email. Contact Us right now!

 

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

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The Rainmaker Cometh

Professor PPLI’s Tanned Face

 Part 3

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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.  

Professor PPLI has arrived to educate our advisor on what PPLI can accomplish for this frustrated client. We continue our analogy of rain, and cast Professor PPLI in the role of the rainmaker, which the Cambridge English Dictionary defines as “someone who makes a lot of money for a company or who helps someone or something to succeed.” This is an apt description of Professor PPLI.  As you will find out, Professor PPLI has a studious approach to the tax savings and tax compliance benefits of PPLI, (Private Placement Life Insurance).

It is not raining in the third panel of the Concept Map which includes a palm tree. In this article, we will explore how the rain exits and how “PPLI can stop the rain.” Frequently wind can accompany rain, but it also can blow it away.

Before we detail how “PPLI can stop the rain.” Please enjoy a memorable passage from Charles Dickens on the wind from his novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Think of this wind as the same wind that blew the rain away.  This rain that so disturbed the client’s assets in frame two of our Concept Map.

“An evening wind uprose too, and the slighter branches cracked and rattled as they moved, in skeleton dances, to its moaning music. The withering leaves no longer quiet, hurried to and fro in search of shelter from its chill pursuit; the labourer unyoked his horses, and with head bent down, trudged briskly home beside them; and from the cottage windows lights began to glance and wink upon the darkening fields.

Then the village forge came out in all its bright importance. The lusty bellows roared Ha ha! to the clear fire, which roared in turn, and bade the shining sparks dance gayly to the merry clinking of the hammers on the anvil.

Out upon the angry wind! how from sighing, it began to bluster round the merry forge, banging at the wicket, and grumbling in the chimney, as if it bullied the jolly bellows for doing anything to order. And what an impotent swaggerer it was too, for all its noise; for if it had any influence on that hoarse companion, it was but to make him roar his cheerful song the louder, and by consequence to make the fire burn the brighter, and the sparks to dance more gayly yet; at length, they whizzed so madly round and round, that it was too much for such a surly wind to bear; so off it flew with a howl giving the old sign before the ale-house door such a cuff as it went, that the Blue Dragon was more rampant than usual ever afterwards, and indeed, before Christmas, reared clean out of its crazy frame.

It was small tyranny for a respectable wind to go wreaking its vengeance on such poor creatures as the fallen leaves, but this wind happening to come up with a great heap of them just after venting its humour on the insulted Dragon, did so disperse and scatter them that they fled away, pell-mell, some here, some there, rolling over each other, whirling round and round upon their thin edges, taking frantic flights into the air, and playing all manner of extraordinary gambols in the extremity of their distress.

Nor was this enough for its malicious fury; for not content with driving them abroad, it charged small parties of them and hunted them into the wheel wright’s saw-pit, and below the planks and timbers in the yard, and, scattering the sawdust in the air, it looked for them underneath, and when it did meet with any, whew! how it drove them on and followed at their heels!

The scared leaves only flew the faster for all this, and a giddy chase it was; for they got into unfrequented places, where there was no outlet, and where their pursuer kept them eddying round and round at his pleasure; and they crept under the eaves of houses, and clung tightly to the sides of hay-ricks, like bats; and tore in at open chamber windows, and cowered close to hedges; and, in short, went anywhere for safety.”

Now contrast this chaotic and disruptive wind to the placid palm tree next to Professor PPLI in panel three of our Concept Map.  Here is a description of palm trees from Wikipedia.

“Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have been important to humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods are derived from palms. In contemporary times, palms are also widely used in landscaping, making them one of the most economically important plants. In many historical cultures, because of their importance as food, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. For inhabitants of cooler climates today, palms symbolize the tropics and vacations.”

In January and February when walking the sometimes icy New York City streets, you are apt to encounter the sun tanned face or two on the crowded sidewalks. It is difficult not to have a pang of jealousy. You know that this lucky person has just returned from a pleasant Caribbean island where palm trees abound, and the bitter cold winter wind is not felt. At this time in the Caribbean, the temperatures are usually ideal–not too hot or too cold. This balance reminds us of the six principles of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP), and how these six principles together with PPLI achieve such outstanding asset structuring results.

In the STEP Journal, Simon Gorbutt TEP, Director of Wealth Structuring Solutions at Lombard International Assurance, demonstrates how the six principles of EWP solve many common issues for wealthy clients.  (Note in this article that the term “investment-linked life insurance” is used for PPLI.)

“Bill Gates once said that ‘with great wealth comes great responsibility’. Gates was referring to philanthropy, but, for many wealthy clients, the responsibility they feel is twofold: to their communities, but also to their ultimate beneficiaries, to ensure that wealth is not unnecessarily eroded before it reaches them. Wealthy clients cite succession and inheritance issues as their greatest concern in terms of wealth creation and preservation in the coming years.1 In an age of political turmoil and where globalisation and digitalisation make all manner of personal and professional change swift, ensuring the continuity of one’s legacy can be challenging, as can finding a single vehicle that delivers the flexibility and longevity clients require. However, life insurance may be that vehicle.”

Preservation

Mobile lifestyles are fast becoming the norm: a third of wealthy clients hold a second passport or nationality, 22 percent plan to buy another home in a foreign country in the next year and 41 per cent send their children overseas for education.2 However, every connection with a new country brings a risk that existing wealth structures will be rendered ineffective. A mainstay of planning in one jurisdiction, such as an excluded property trust for a UK resident non-domiciliary, may not survive elsewhere: on a move by the settlor or beneficiary to France, the trust attracts reporting obligations and, potentially, tax. Spain and other countries that have not ratified the Hague Convention of 1 July 1985 on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition may disregard it entirely. And the issue is by no means exclusively European: acquisition of US taxpayer status by a non-US resident can require a client to contend with two tax regimes simultaneously, and investment options may be constrained – e.g. by punitive tax and reporting associated with passive foreign investment companies (PFICs). While there is likely no panacea, investment-linked life insurance can go a long way towards alleviating these concerns.

Importantly, life insurance is not a uniquely civil- or common-law creation. As such, its treatment in law and tax is reasonably uniform, and a well-structured insurance policy will be immune to a move between civil- and common-law jurisdictions. Whether unchanged or with subtle amendments, it can continue to defer tax on linked investments across borders and even in the hands of dual or multi-tax residents. Further, policy assets are owned by the insurer, rather than the policyholder – a distinction that grants the policyholder exposure to investments, such as PFICs, that might otherwise be taxed unfavourably. Similarly, policy investment gains may be protected on emigration, given that, in some countries (e.g. Spain and France), life insurance is not subject to exit tax. In the meantime, the policyholder retains access to their preferred investment managers, appointed by the insurer.

Transition

Over time, life can be complicated not only by travel, but also through the gradual dispersal of family, wealth and other interests – not to mention death, separation and remarriage, and the extended families that can follow. When the time comes for assets to pass to the next generation, these intricacies can frustrate intentions. At death, a matrimonial property regime may apply and should be dealt with first. If time has been spent in various locations, assets are widely distributed or the residence and domicile of a client no longer match, there is scope for more than one succession regime to apply. Some jurisdictions recognise the concept of a deceased’s estate, while elsewhere succession is direct. Others apply forced-heirship rules, and then there is the prospect of double taxation. While the landscape has seen some simplification, e.g. with the EU Succession Regulation (the Regulation)3 and enhanced European cooperation in matrimonial property matters,4 it can be hard to ensure assets reach the right hands.

One of the attractive features of life insurance is the possibility to designate beneficiaries to whom some or all policy proceeds are paid directly when the contract ends. Amounts transferred in this way are generally excluded from the estate of the deceased and are therefore not subject to probate. In some cases, such as in Sweden, a beneficiary can automatically become the new policyholder when the holder dies. At European level, life insurance is a notable exclusion from the scope of the Regulation.5 This is not to say that a life policy in force at the holder’s death cannot be subject to the Regulation, but it provides comfort that payments to beneficiaries will be made immediately, rather than being gathered in and distributed with the broader estate. In this context, it is also significant that, regardless of the number and location of a policy’s linked investments, the policy remains a single asset with a single situs.

There can be little comfort, however, in assets reaching their destination if their value by that time has dissipated. Life insurance is not only subject to a specific legal framework, but also usually sits under a specific head of taxation. As a result, proceeds, on withdrawals or termination, can be taxed more lightly than direct investments and direct inheritance. In France, for example, death proceeds of a policy funded prior to the assured’s 70th birthday are taxed at beneficiary tax rates of 20–31.25 per cent, rather than at succession tax rates of up to 60 per cent. Even where reduced tax rates are unavailable, a life policy might be paired with high death cover from the same provider to meet, rather than mitigate, the liability.

If there is concern that when assets change hands they will be consumed by family disputes or further taxation, bespoke policy terms can reduce this risk: a couple in Spain has the option to take out joint life policies, each spouse naming the other as beneficiary should they be the sole survivor. After an initial term, the sole survivor receives a contractual right to end the policy and take the proceeds. However, the spouses can agree at the outset that receipt of this right will be delayed by a term of years or be invalidated by family disputes or remarriage during this time. Succession tax is not due until the right is received. Crossed policies such as these can smooth the transition of wealth and offer time to plan before a tax bill can arise.

Control

Two of the primary reasons wealthy individuals are concerned about intergenerational wealth transfer are that children will not know how to handle the investments and that they will be irresponsible with the money.6 Having earmarked wealth for the next generation, retaining control over how it is applied can be difficult, particularly overseas. A life policy could solve the conundrum.

In the UK, for example, where beneficiary designations are uncommon, a gift of a foreign life policy to an individual is not chargeable to income or capital gains tax and, for a domiciled (or deemed-domiciled) client, is potentially exempt for inheritance tax purposes. If there is concern that a child or grandchild may be insufficiently mature to handle the value transferred or share the family’s wealth management objectives, policy terms can be tailored before the gift so that, for a period of time chosen by the donor, the policy cannot be brought to an end and withdrawals are prohibited or capped. Elsewhere, beneficiary designations can bestow a form of veto right: although not unique to Belgium, Belgian insurance law provides that an accepting (irrevocable) beneficiary must consent to certain policy transactions, including withdrawals of policy value by the holder. A grandparent who gifts a policy to a child but is irrevocably designated a beneficiary in first rank will possess a veto right during their lifetime over access to the policy value, which value will then inure to the benefit of the child, and ultimately the grandchild as beneficiary in second rank.

Connection

Of course, circumstances may dictate that a combination of solutions or an addition to an existing vehicle is required. In this context, the incorporation of an insurance policy can enhance the efficiency of a larger plan and expand the available investment options. A practical example is the addition of US-style insurance and annuities to foreign non-grantor trusts to limit the effect of the accumulation and distribution rules.7 Similarly, should a beneficial owner spend time in a jurisdiction that disregards a foreign entity, such as a trust, or treats it as transparent (attribution rules in South Africa, or tainted protected settlements in the UK), a life policy held by the entity and compliant in the beneficiary’s country of residence can preserve tax deferral and investment flexibility.

Conclusion

As families and their wealth gradually disperse, and business and personal relationships evolve, even established planning tools can be rendered inefficient or, worse, obsolete. While no structure will weather all eventualities, the flexibility inherent in life insurance and the breadth of its recognition make it an attractive candidate for completing a modern wealth and succession plan.”

  • The Wealth Report 2016, Knight Frank
  • As above, note 1
  • Regulation (EU) No 650/2012
  • Council Regulation (EC) 2016/1103 and, in relation to registered partnerships, Council Regulation (EU) 2016/1104
  • art.1(2)(g), subject to point (i) of art.23(2)
  • As above, note 1
  • See Danilo Santucci, ‘Distribution and Throwback, Part 2’, STEP Journal (Vol25 Iss10), pp.34–35

In our next article we will discuss in more detail how the six principles of EWP in conjunction with PPLI give “magical powers” for structuring assets to achieve exceptional outcomes for clients. Let us know how we can accomplish the same for you!

 

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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The PPLI Papers

Secure Wealth and Tax Compliance Through Private Placement Life Insurance

The PPLI Papers available on Amazon

During this past week Amazon selected The PPLI Papers as the No. 1 book in their Insurance Law section. Amazon is also running a special on my book from Saturday, February 9th, to Wednesday, February 13th. The PPLI Papers will be available for a free download during this period. The print version of the book is in process, and will be available in a few weeks.
 
Here is the Amazon link to the book: https://amzn.to/2SyMKpu
 
  • We hope you take advantage of this offer!
  • Your comments and suggestions are most appreciated.
  • Let us know how you like the book, (bottom of the page).
Thank you.
~Michael
Introduction

Were you concerned about the revelations of the Panama Papers and the  Paradise Papers? If you are concerned about lack of privacy and want to structure your assets to enhance privacy, tax efficiency, and asset protection, look no further.  Here you will find an approach that gives you all the privacy you seek to retain while remaining in full compliance with tax authorities worldwide.

We are talking about the use of a specialized life insurance policy–Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI). Much more than just an insurance policy, it is a conservative approach that offers a trustworthy and reliable method of achieving these aims.

PPLI is unlike any other life insurance policy you may have encountered. To quote 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.”

The Wikipedia article, International tax planning, discusses the concept of Expanded Worldwide Planning (EWP), the overarching planning tool that emerged from the regulatory framework introduced by FATCA and CRS. This article tells us:

“At the heart of EWP is a properly constructed Private placement life insurance (PPLI) policy that allows taxpayers to use the regulatory framework of life insurance to structure assets along the client’s planning needs.”

The aim of this book is to give you a general knowledge of Private Placement Life Insurance and introduce wealthy international clients to the possibilities of structuring their assets to their greatest benefit in the wake of the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. We will offer news stories, discussions by various authors on PPLI, and related topics such as tax planning. The book consists of my articles over the last several years, and will give you access to videos on PPLI.  The diversity of the articles mirrors the diversity of PPLI structuring possibilities that are available throughout the world.

My sincere hope is that you come away with a structure that achieves your aims. For maintaining full privacy while maximizing tax savings, and asset protection, PPLI is one of the world’s best kept secrets.

 

~ by Michael Malloy, CLU, TEP

 

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Fostering Discipline Is Paramount

PPLI Joins ‘Two Sides of the Same Coin’

To be thorough and open to new possibilities at the same time requires discipline: embracing ‘two sides of the same coin.’  In the PPLI structuring of wealthy international families’ assets, Advanced Financial Solutions, Inc. strives to achieve this aim. For each new case we exam similar PPLI cases that we have handled in the past. For the specific knowledge that we will need for new cases which we might lack, we have an excellent resource of professional advisors worldwide that can be easily contacted to supply this missing knowledge for a successful PPLI structure to be created.

For our analogous examples we have one from the area U.S. tax planning and how it affects U.S. beneficiaries of Foreign Grantor Trusts, and strangely enough, one from high-fashion. This example shows us what happens when the ‘two sides of the same coin’ turn out to be the same thing, and–to change this analogy–the coin loses its luster by turning out to be a copy. In a humorous vein, you can view this also as social media bringing transparency to haute couture.

Before we share the above material, we are pleased to give you this description of PPLI from International Life Insurance edited by David D Whelehan, JD in the chapter, “International Life Insurance An Overview.

“This product is for the wealthy, “accredited” investor. They are usually very large single premium structures. It is classified more as an institutional product, as the charges and fees are quite low in comparison to retail products described above. Another advantage is investment flexibility as they generally can be invested in things not permitted in a general account retail product, like hedge funds and private equity.

Premiums and benefits can also be paid in “kind,” as opposed to in cash. In addition, the policyowner can select his, or her, own Investment Manager for just the single policy to invest according to the policyowner’s general directions. The Custodian of the underlying assets in the fund can also be selected by the policyowner. Private placement products are tailored to meet specific objectives of the client, but are carefully designed to be compliant with local tax laws, so as to enjoy the tax treatment desired.”

In the STEP Journal Melvin A Warshaw and Lawrence M Lipoff discuss a key change to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and assess what it means for advisors to trustees of foreign grantor trusts. They conclude that due to recent changes in U.S. tax law that a properly structured PPLI provides an excellent solution for U.S. beneficiaries of foreign grantor trusts.

A Simpler and Safer Strategy

“In a previous two-part article,[1] we presented US tax advisors with our highly technical analysis of a key change in the foreign tax provisions of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) impacting how trustees of foreign grantor trusts (FGTs) traditionally hold US-situs portfolio assets that potentially benefit both US and non-US heirs of a non-citizen, non-resident (NCNR) of the US.”

Trustees must analyze whether their existing single foreign corporation (FC) strategy is still viable and, if not, what steps they should take to address this US tax law change. Some advisors suggest a second FC and others a two-tier or three-tier FC structure. Leaving aside that planning variations relying on different entity structures may be one option, we believe that offshore[2] private placement life insurance (PPLI) may offer a far simpler and safer strategy.

Under pre-2018 US tax law, trustees of FGTs generally relied on a single non-US holding company to shield the NCNR grantor of an FGT from US estate tax on US-situs portfolio assets. Following the death of the NCNR, the trustees would effectively eliminate this FC by filing a post-death, retroactive (so-called ‘check-the-box’) election within 30 days of such death. Gain recognition would be avoided on the historical pre-death unrealised appreciation of the US portfolio assets, prior to elimination, i.e. liquidation, of the FC, as well as pre-2018 controlled foreign corporation (Subpart F CFC) passive income tax and related tax compliance. Plus, the US heirs would achieve a basis step-up in the underlying US portfolio assets equal to their fair market value (FMV) on the date of the election.

The Act repealed the 30-day retroactive election for tax years after 2017. Under current US tax law, a post-death ‘check-the-box’ election for the trust’s FC could cause US beneficiaries of the trust to inherit the historical pre-death unrealised appreciation in the US-portfolio assets and incur cumbersome US tax compliance. Further, if an FC is a CFC for even one day during the tax year, there could be potential phantom income for the US beneficiaries of the trust now encompassing the new US ‘global intangible low taxed income’ (GILTI) regime.

Continuing a single FC

The single FC structure continues to be effective in preventing imposition of US estate tax on the US portfolio assets held by the FC. If most of the NCNR’s trust beneficiaries are US persons (citizens or residents),[3] the trustees and US advisors must anticipate that there will now be US income tax and US tax reporting on historical appreciation of the assets held in the single FC that would eventually be recognised by the US beneficiaries after the NCNR’s death. If most of the trust beneficiaries are not US persons, it may be possible that the single FC will lack sufficient beneficial ownership by US persons to qualify as a CFC.

Side-by-side FCs

Another approach suitable for families with both US and non-US persons as beneficiaries is to have the trustees of the FGT create a second FC, which would own only non-US-situs assets. The original FC would own only US securities. The non-US portfolio assets owned by the second FC would be earmarked to benefit solely non-US persons as trust beneficiaries after the death of the NCNR. The US portfolio assets owned by the existing FC would be earmarked for the US beneficiaries. There would be no US estate tax on the non-US assets owned by the second FC. A retroactive check-the-box election could be filed for this second FC effective on the day before the NCNR’s death.

Some US advisors advocate relying exclusively on entity structuring to convert a single FC into a multi-tier FC structure involving at least three FCs. Prior to the NCNR’s death, the trustees of the NCNR’s FGT would create two FCs. These two FCs would then together equally own the shares of a third lower-tier FC. The US portfolio assets would be owned by the lower-tier FC. Following the death of the NCNR, the lower- and upper-tier FCs would be deemed liquidated for US tax purposes (by filing check-the-box elections) in a carefully scripted sequence as follows.

  1. First, the upper-tier FCs would each file a check-the-box election for the lower-tier FC, effective one day prior to the death of the NCNR. This results in a taxable liquidation of the lower-tier FC without current US income tax on the historical pre-liquidation unrealised appreciation inside the FC. However, the upper-tier FCs’ basis in the underlying US securities held by the former lower-tier FC will equal the FMV of such assets on the date of the deemed liquidation of the lower-tier FC.
  2. Second, two days after the NCNR’s death, both upper-tier FCs will make simultaneous check-the-box elections. The inside basis of the US portfolio assets previously held by the lower-tier FC prior to its deemed taxable liquidation would be stepped up or down to the FMV of such assets on the day after the death of the NCNR.

Advocates of this highly complicated, carefully scripted entity structure and serial liquidation strategy for US portfolio assets indicate that, if successful, the results should be comparable to the results under prior law. However, this is not without some new tax and reporting risks, as noted above, nor does it address the question of what the independent significant non-tax business purpose for ‘each’ of the three FCs would be.

Offshore PPLI

Assuming the NCNR is insurable, advisors should seriously consider the possibility of their NCNR clients, with significant US portfolio assets, and US persons as potential beneficiaries investing in certain types of offshore PPLI policies that in turn invest in US assets.

Purchasing an offshore US tax-compliant PPLI policy will result in no US income tax recognition in the annual accretion in the cash value growth of the policy. Holding the policy until death is equivalent to receiving a US basis step-up at death on the death benefit that is payable in cash. In planning for the US beneficiaries of the NCNR, if the revocable FGT were named as owner and beneficiary of the PPLI, this trust could be structured to pour over at the death of the NCNR to a US dynasty trust organised in a low-tax jurisdiction with favourable state trust laws. This structure will ensure that the death benefit pours over to a US domestic trust that will not become subject to foreign non-grantor trust (FNGT) tax rules.

A non-admitted offshore carrier obviates CFC status for the policy and policy owner by making a certain special US tax code (s.953(d)) election to be treated as a US domestic carrier. Aside from avoiding CFC status for the policy and its owner, making this special election causes the carrier to absorb US corporate income tax and administrative costs to comply with US informational tax reporting. The hidden benefit of an offshore carrier making this special US tax election is that it enables such a carrier to claim a special deduction of reasonable reserves required to satisfy future death benefits. The offshore carrier simply absorbs the cost of US income tax compliance including its responsibility for CFC and passive foreign investment company (PFIC) reporting. There is no look-through of an insurance policy to its owner for the purposes of applying the PFIC rules. So long as the NCNR avoids any control over the selection of specific investments made by the policy owner for the policy, investor control should not be a concern.

Our conclusion is that current US tax law provides clear support for the proposition that the PFIC and CFC rules should not apply to a US tax-compliant policy issued by a foreign carrier that files a special (s.953(d)) election with the Internal Revenue Service. This will result in the tax-free inside growth in the PPLI policy that, if held until the death of the NCNR, will result in no income tax on the death benefit. We believe that purchase of an offshore PPLI policy by the NCNR through an FGT that pours over to a US dynasty trust is an efficient, safe and simple solution that allows an NCNR to invest in US portfolio assets, and leverages that investment and all subsequent growth tax-free into policy death benefit available to US beneficiaries after such death.”

From the Wall Street Journal, we share “Fashion Industry Gossip Was Once Whispered. Now It’s on Instagram” by Ray A. Smith.

“Shortly after designer Olivier Rousteing showed his fashion collection for Balmain in Paris last September, French designer Thierry Mugler posted on Instagram.

Mr. Mugler, famous in the 1980s and early ’90s for power suits and the George Michael “Too Funky” video, posted a series of side-by-side images comparing his past ensembles to Mr. Rousteing’s new looks. Next to a Balmain black, one-shouldered jacket-dress with white lapels, Mr. Mugler posted his own similar design from 1998 with the comment: “Really?”

Along with Balmain’s dress featuring a graphic, webbed print, Mr. Mugler, who now goes by the first name Manfred, attached his own webbed design from 1990. “No comment!”

The episode surprised Mr. Rousteing. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry for him, seriously,” said 33-year-old Mr. Rousteing about 69-year-old Mr. Mugler in an interview. He denied copying the designer.

In the past, copycat allegations rarely reached beyond fashion industry gossip—or sometimes courtrooms—and rarely made it to the wider public. Now with Instagram, fashion’s favorite app, accusations spread much faster and to a wider audience. Eagle-eyed accusers can post comparison pictures and add arrows and circles to zero in on the alleged offense immediately after a fashion show, now that runway images are beamed out in real time.

High-end fashion labels are increasingly being called out on social media for copying other designers or designs, leading to back-and-forth exchanges, lawsuits and expensive apologies.

Instagram accounts, including Diet Prada, have formed to focus on designers and retailers whose creations some feel look too much like other designers’ past work. Since its 2014 launch, Diet Prada, which isn’t affiliated with Prada, has amassed more than 960,000 followers. The Fashion Law blog and CashinCopy Instagram feed also name and shame copying.”

If you are looking for a bespoke solution to your asset structuring needs, we welcome you to contact us. You will also benefit from our conservative and fully compliant methodology of using PPLI as the centerpiece of the structure. You will be pleasantly surprised to experience ‘two sides of the same coin.’

 

[1] M. A. Warshaw and L. M. Lipoff, ‘How to Navigate the Choppy Seas for Foreigners With U.S.-Based Heirs: Part I’, Trusts & Estates (June 2018), and ‘Non-Citizen, Non-Resident Options for Life Insurance’, Trusts & Estates (August 2018)

[2] All uses of ‘offshore’ and ‘foreign’ are given from the perspective of the US.

[3] All references to ‘US persons’ in this article refer to citizens and residents only.

 

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

 

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