Insights

  • The High Cost of Turnover

    Sophia was not surprised when her devoted housekeeper of 18 years wanted to leave her employment to care for her elderly mother. Given Sophia’s experience managing two residences and a vacation home while raising three children, she did not stress about replacing the housekeeper.

    Eight months later, Sophia had spent in excess of $100,000.00 on salaries and agency fees employing three dishonest housekeepers. Additionally, she had the responsibility of paying for two “injured” employees, her severely damaged Lexus, and damages to a motorcyclist struck by an intoxicated housekeeper. The police had been called to Sophia‘s home twice by a hysterical housekeeper screaming to be paid. Sophia’s expensive clothing, shoes, and handbags were missing.

    How could a woman who had employed a wonderful housekeeper for so many years exercise such poor judgment when hiring new employees?

    Read the Sophia's full story here and check out the fact sheet here to understand how the consequences of household staff turnover can add up quickly.

  • 10 Jul 2019 by Nicki Colosi Trilling

    Family Wealth Security Risks

    Solutions for Families, Family Offices and Family Enterprises

    Families of wealth and business-owning families face security risks in their everyday lives. Many report that privacy and security of personal and financial data is a concern,
    yet few report confidence that these risks have been mitigated. Family wealth and activities (business, personal and online) expose families to targeted criminal activity. Multiple family members, households and generations increase the complexity and risk to the family’s security and reputation.

    THE THREAT IS GROWING

    In the Second Annual Security Study of 55 family wealth firms*, The Family Wealth Alliance found that 73% reported the frequency of security threat incidents have
    increased over the prior year. Those surveyed reported that in the last year or so at least one client household was victimized.

    Top five household attempts reported:

    1. Credit card fraud attempts were reported by nearly half of the respondents, with over 50% of incidents being carried out.
    2. Wire transfer fraud is highest in failed attempts, and fifth in those carried out.
    3. Identity theft failed attempts exceed carried out incidents (tied for third highest).
    4. Tax return fraud failed attempts exceed carried out incidents (second highest).
    5. Cyber fraud/extortion failed attempts were three times greater than those carried out.

    Read the full report here. 

  • A Perfect Pair: Donor-Advised Funds and Private Foundations

    Private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) are among the most popular ways to give, accounting for nearly 30% of all annual charitable contributions. Conventional wisdom says that based on the advantages of each vehicle, they appeal to different donors. For instance, private foundations, owing to their high degree of control and flexibility, are typically associated with larger-scale gifts, while donor-advised funds are thought to be better suited for smaller donors due to their relatively low costs and simple set-up.

    In reality, this is not a case of "either/or." Grant-making private foundation trustees can utilize DAFs in several ways to maximize flexibility and philanthropic bandwidth. That’s why private foundation trustees need to understand how DAFs work—and how they can work for foundations.

     

    Read the full article here to explore some of the most common situations where a private foundation may turn to a complementary DAF.

  • Top 5 Risks When Hiring Household and Property Employees 

     

    Candidates with problematic work histories or a variety of mental disorders are often drawn to domestic employment due to inadequate vetting policies and workplace isolation. Hiring household and property employees can be a stressful and time consuming event. Be aware of these risks when interviewing, vetting, and ultimately hiring candidates:

    1. Absence of Hiring Policies
    Have a well-developed hiring policy for each property, including job postings that are EEOC compliant, written job descriptions detailing the requirements of the job, and benefit offerings.

    2. Overconfidence in Interviewing Skills
    Successful individuals tend to overestimate their ability to evaluate candidates and their references. 

    For tips 3-5, and to read the full article, click here.

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    There is a saying in the financial management industry: “If you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office.” No two are alike. The services that a family office provides are both extensive and highly customized. Rarely do clients hear the word “no,” because each office reflects the individuals it serves. To be responsive to their clients, family offices need a customized technology solution that meets their specific requirements—enabling them to combine personalized service with efficiency and scalability.

    CHALLENGES CONFRONTING FAMILY OFFICES

    While family offices vary, they face common challenges. For example, many family offices are looking for ways to do their work faster, better, and more efficiently—and
    improved technology is often the answer. Integrated technology has become much more important for addressing issues such as:

    • Systems that do not communicate with each other
    • Information that must be manually rekeyed into multiple systems and spreadsheets
    • Extensive reconciliation required to arrive at a single source of the truth


    Read the full article  here

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    Inscribed in the first block of the first blockchain ever created are the words: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” referring to the London newspaper’s lead story of the day.


    This edition of the newspaper is now one of the most valuable crypto collectibles to date. It’s hard to deny the symbolism in the covert message encoded into the genesis block of the bitcoin blockchain.

    That message signals problems in our modern fiat financial system while introducing a novel system that replaces centralized institutional trust with a system relying on decentralized cryptographic trust.

    Today, bitcoin has celebrated its 10th birthday, despite critics predicting its doom since its inception. With bitcoin came another suite of technologies collectively known as blockchain.

    Despite the actual word “blockchain” not appearing in the original white paper published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in October 2008, it has undoubtedly become one of the most talked about buzzwords in technology and banking, as well as the larger world of finance.

     

    Read the full article here

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    • Impact investing is growing rapidly, with rising demand for strategies that go beyond traditional risk reduction approaches to produce direct benefits for people and the planet.
    • Institutional investors are among the largest sources of impact capital as the market’s evolution has increased opportunities to earn market-rate returns in scalable investments.
    • The diversity of opportunities in alternative investments across sectors and asset classes in developed and emerging markets provides a range of risk-return profiles to meet the needs of mainstream investors.
    • Potential risks — including exposure to less mature businesses, illiquidity and the wide variation of returns noted in recent studies— place a premium on due diligence in manager selection.
    • Investments in affordable housing, inclusive growth and resource efficiency demonstrate the potential for direct social and environmental impact with financial returns.

     

    Read the full article here

  • 28 Feb 2019

     

     

     

    Why should you care about Chinese onshore equities? How do you invest? Is investing in so-called ‘A-shares’ worth the risks?

    China’s Local Equity Market: ‘…How and Where and Who’, a companion piece to China’s Bond Market: ‘What and Why and When…’, seeks to answer these questions.

    Rudyard Kipling’s six honest serving-men ‘(They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who’ provides an analytical framework to help explain China’s onshore equity market.

    We look at what the A-share market is, who the players are and the factors that drive the market. We show how foreign investor access has improved over the years. We also examine the risks that demand an active investment strategy based on rigorous research.

    For investors looking for a deeper understanding, we employ our proprietary analytical framework to generate a 10-year outlook for investment returns. We also dig deeper into the small but important improvements in corporate governance. These show how efforts to make this market more professional are bearing fruit.

    Read the full report here

  • 15 Jan 2019 by Brooke Morimoto

    Arabella Advisors 

    By Kate McAdams

    I get this question fairly frequently: “Is a philanthropic advisor an actual profession?” Why yes, yes it is. And I’m proud to say I am one.

    Recently, I was able to reflect on my experience when Fidelity Charitable sought my input on the development of A Guide to Working with Philanthropy Advisors—a new resource they have developed for families and individuals. Since the resource focuses on what is, for me, a basic existential question – “What is a philanthropic advisor and when/how/why would you ever use one?” – I jumped at the opportunity to contribute my point of view.

    Read the full blog here

  • 15 Jan 2019 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

    By Bill Martin, TIAA Investments and Amy M. O'Brien, Head of Nuveen Responsible Investing

    Once perceived as a “niche” area of asset management, responsible investing (RI) now encompasses a rapidly growing, increasingly mainstream array of opportunities across asset classes. In the following article, we present an overview of Nuveen’s differentiated approach to RI in the context of our actively managed fixed income strategies. Our unique strengths in this discipline are built on nearly five decades of leadership in responsible investing and a century of managing fixed income portfolios.

    Read the full article here. 

  • 11 Dec 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

    By Richard Bloom, Jonah Gruda, James Wienclaw, Victor Miesel, Tifphani White-King, Mark O'Loughlin, Minako Steel, Theodore Westhelle, Melissa Gonzalez, David Kohn, Josh Friedman, Alexandre Maguet, PJ Manchanda, John Bowlby and Brendan Williamson

    In 2018, tax planning was significantly impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which contains arguably the most sweeping changes in US tax law since the enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The TCJA has affected many areas of taxation including international tax, individual and business income tax, estate and gift tax, state and local tax, compensation and benefits, and not-for-profit tax.

    Read the full report here

  • 06 Dec 2018 by Jasmine Morin

     

     

     

    One of the most important decisions you will make in your estate plan is choosing a trustee to serve now and in the future for trusts that may be created. As you consider your trustee options, it will help to think of your estate plan as more than just a tool for transferring your assets and saving taxes. In essence it is a program for managing your wealth for you and your family during various time frames that could last many years.

    The first time frame is your lifetime. You may retain most of the responsibility yourself during this time frame if you are savvy about investments and other financial matters, and have the time. Most people name themselves as the trustee of their revocable trust. However, you will need help if you lose interest in managing your investments, want to consider more sophisticated planning or become incapacitated at some point.

     

    Read more here

  • 05 Nov 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

     

     

    As people accumulate property or businesses, limited liability companies (LLCs) become a regular topic of discussion. In fact, I work with one client who has created four LLCs in just the last two years.

    What is an LLC? As the name suggests, it’s a special-purpose company intended to limit your liability, or exposure, to losses should somebody sue you. For example, if somebody falls down the stairs of your apartment complex owned by an LLC, assuming the LLC is structured and maintained properly, the injured person’s damages should be limited to the value of the property in the LLC, rather than your entire estate.

    You can put a variety of assets into an LLC, including real estate, publicly traded securities and business entities. The name of the LLC can be just about anything you want as long as someone else hasn’t already secured it. It could be named after your family or trust, or be something simple or creative to keep the owner anonymous. For example, it’s common for real estate LLCs to be named after the address, such as 123 Main St. LLC.

    LLCs may be a viable alternative to large umbrella insurance policies. They can also be useful for estate planning and privacy. But an LLC is complex and has its own unique costs, so it definitely requires careful review of your personal situation to see if it’s right for you.

    Here’s what you need to know as you make that decision.

     

    Read more here

  • 05 Nov 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

    Mazars’ Global Automotive Study 2018, Sustainable Mobility: Navigating the land of disruption, paints a picture of the issues driving change in the automotive industry with the aim of helping organisations to navigate the challenges and prepare for a successful, long-term future.

    With contributions from global leaders within Mazars’ automotive practice and industry experts from IHS Markit, the study looks the impact of sustainable mobility on the automotive sector, both now and in the future, including:

    • Changing consumer behaviour
    • New technologies
    • R&D and manufacturing
    • Regulation
    • Sales and investment
    • The need for new skills
    • A growing value chain
    • The publication also provides insight on the impact of sustainable mobility solutions in cities around the world, including: the UK, China, the US, France, Germany, India and Poland.

    Read more here

  • 18 Oct 2018 by Courtney Ramirez

     

     

    When we hear the term home security, many of us immediately think of alarm systems and cameras. We think about the tangible components that are often employed to secure a home or business. And while up-to-date equipment is always recommended, Hillard Heintze’s approach to securing a home goes beyond the technical.

    Remember, we are playing defense against someone’s offense. In order to be successful, we have to deny them of their desire, access and ability to harm our interests. To do this, we address four steps that describe how a potential home invasion would occur and how to best mitigate it. This prevention-oriented approach to home security ensures that most, if not all, outcomes are considered and the family is best protected.

    Read more. 

  • 01 Oct 2018 by Jasmine Morin

     

     

    Donor-advised funds, thanks to their flexibility, low costs, and tax advantages, provide an attractive vehicle for individuals and families to establish giving strategies in pursuit of their charitable objectives. Fiduciary Trust Charitable offers donor-advised funds with unique benefits.

    Charitable giving in the U.S. has grown substantially in recent years. The latest report from Giving USA highlighted that 2016 represented the most generous year on record, as families, estates, foundations, and corporations delivered approximately $380 billion in gifts to charitable causes. As giving has increased, the ways through which people give have also multiplied. One of the more notable vehicles is the donor-advised fund (DAF), which has grown in popularity over the past decade and now accounts for nearly 10% of all U.S. charitable giving.

     

    Read more here

  • 01 Oct 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

     

    With football season upon us, it is becoming obvious even after just several weeks that some teams seem ready to capture the championship while others will need to rebuild and wait for better times. If you are a fan cheering for one of these rebuilding teams, it can be frustrating to wait for your team to take the necessary steps that will allow them to thrive.

    It is no different when we make our allocation decisions. While we do not root for one asset class over another, we certainly have studied the longer-term winners and losers. The emerging markets equity asset class seems to be one of those teams that has been a long-term winner, although it occasionally suffers from some difficult years. While our analysis shows that the long-term prospects of this asset class remain robust, primarily because of demographic trends and strong long-term GDP growth projections of these countries, the shorter-term environment continues to be unfavorable.

     

    Read more here

     

  • 01 Sep 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

     

     

    In fast-growing economies, entrepreneurs play a key role in generating durable and inclusive growth. Asia's entrepreneurs can be found at the helm of start-ups, as well as companies with billions of dollars in market capitalization. Oftentimes, the sources of economic growth are assumed to be driven by top-down factors such as geography, demographics, natural resources or official policies. The role of entrepreneurs and businesses, however, cannot be overstated as they look to invest and innovate, creating growth in the process. Identifying entrepreneurial Asian companies that are true, long-term value creators requires a bottom-up investment process that draws on deep knowledge of local markets and a willingness to ignore the short-term noise and focus on long-term opportunities.

     

    Read more here

  • 16 Aug 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

     

     

    Enterprising families often have rituals that bring joy, connectedness and stability to their members. Unfortunately, these families can also breed practices that are destructive to the cohesion of the clan. One such practice is the avoidance of difficult conversations, which over time creates taboo topics in a family, their businesses, or both. Often parents, children or others in the family or business do not know how to approach subjects that cause friction, tension or hurt feelings, so that over time, these subjects simply become "undiscussable."

    Undiscussable topics are the subjects that a family is unable or unwilling to talk about in an open, honest and candid manner.

     

    Click here to read more

  • 16 Aug 2018 by Brooke Morimoto

     

     

    Investors have deserted active strategies en masse since the Great Financial Crisis and have replaced them with passively-managed portfolios. One cannot fairly and confidently attribute millions of decisions and billions of dollars’ worth of flows to any single cause. That said, conventional wisdom holds that the key force behind this huge trend has been a notion that paying active management fees for market-matching or even below-market returns was counterproductive.

     

    Click here to read more. 

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