We offer three different service levels that include financial planning and investment management: Professional, Executive, and Concierge. We offer a fourth service level of Investment Management Only which is typically for clients with smaller investment accounts. As clients’ needs may change over the years, clients may change service levels after the first year of engagement (or as specified in the terms of the wealth management agreement). This document describes our different levels of engagement with our clients while the actual fees for the various service levels are listed in our fee schedule.
The Professional Service Level is suitable for clients with less complex situations and typically smaller investment accounts. This service level includes the following financial planning services:
Investment Management: Investment assets are managed using the methodology described in the Investment Management Service Level and our Investment Principles.
Retirement Planning: after analysis of client’s wealth, including reviewing Social Security Statements, we look for opportunities to improve the efficiency of clients’ retirement savings and determine if adjustments are needed. Based on this analysis we make recommendations, which may include maximizing employer matches, increasing level of contributions made to employer offered retirement plans, opening individual retirement accounts, opening employer retirement accounts for the self-employed or saving through non-tax advantaged accounts. The review and selection of investment options for accounts not managed by us, annuities and small business retirement plans are not included in this service level. *
Tax Planning: we review our clients tax returns with the main purpose of finding tax optimization opportunities. We do not audit tax returns or review them with the goal of identifying tax preparation errors, although we do inform clients if in the process of our tax planning review, we detect any potential form errors or omissions. Examples of tax planning opportunities we look for include maximizing use of itemized/standard deductions, IRA contributions, Roth IRA conversions, the use of tax credits such as the child tax credit, foreign tax credit, education credits, dependent care credits, premium tax credit etc., Schedule E non-complex rental activity tax efficiency, Schedule C non-complex business activity tax efficiency, tax efficient use of carry over balances such as PALs, NOLs, capital losses and foreign tax credit carry forwards. Not included in the services level is small business, multistate and cross-border tax planning or advice on executive compensation. *
Estate Planning: we discuss with our clients their estate planning goals and we educate them about estate planning, including lifetime gifting, to understand who their intended beneficiaries are and if they have any legacy and charitable intentions that need to be addressed. We review their current set of estate documents, including wills, powers of attorney, health directives, living wills and HIPPA authorizations. We also review life insurance, retirement accounts, brokerage and bank account beneficiary designations for consistency with the intended goals. When discrepancies are detected, we make recommendations such us changing beneficiary designations, updating estate documents, etc. We are not attorneys, so we do not provide legal advice and we do not write estate documents. Clients implement recommendations by working with their own attorneys. Not included in the service level is the coordination with clients’ attorneys, the use of trusts, international estate planning and estate and inheritance tax planning. *
Insurance Planning: we discuss the role of insurance in mitigating risk in our clients’ lives and review our clients’ existing insurance coverage to determine if there are any gaps that may need to be addressed. Insurance planning includes the analysis and coverage recommendations for the following types of insurance: life, health, car, homeowners, renters, landlord, umbrella, etc. We are not insurance agents or brokers, so we do not sell insurance products and clients work with their agents to implement insurance recommendations. Not included in this service level are detailed insurance policy analysis and comparisons, coordination with insurance agents and brokers, international insurance coverage and other more complex situations. *
Miscellaneous Financial Planning Questions: we are available to answer client questions throughout the year on various issues such as primary and vacation home purchasing and financing, saving for children’s college education, cash flow and home budget management, employee benefit annual elections, health insurance options, including HSAs, tax and banking questions, etc. Sometimes clients may have questions that require extensive research, calculations and modelling. When this is the case, we will inform the client that the question exceeds the scope of their engagement and that the service may be retained as an add-on financial planning project at our hourly fees. *
* Financial planning services beyond the scope of the service level may be provided to clients at their request on a project basis, when advisor capacity allows it, by mutual agreement with their advisor/s. Engagement letters between the client and advisor, describing the scope of the financial planning services, the fee and the delivery deadlines, are required prior to the commencement of any such projects.
The Executive Service Level is suitable for clients with more extensive financial planning needs and typically more and larger investment accounts, small business planning or cross-border planning needs. This service level includes the financial planning services of the Professional level, plus up to 20 additional hours of the following financial planning services:
Retirement Planning: Advice related to Social Security Treaties, also known as Totalization Agreements, the WEP (windfall elimination provision), small business retirement plans, social security benefits for foreign spouses and tax efficient funding and distributions of foreign employer pensions and individual foreign pensions. **
Tax Planning: Discussions with clients’ US and foreign tax advisors to ensure the coordination of domestic and US tax planning and reporting; review of US tax returns with international information reporting forms such as FBARs, Form 8938, foreign trust and foreign corporation reporting; advice related to IRS offshore voluntary compliance programs and coordination with tax attorneys and tax professionals working on the submissions; rental and small business tax planning; and planning and reporting advice related to expatriation (surrendering a US green card or citizenship) or naturalization (acquiring US or Swiss citizenship). **
Estate Planning: Coordination with clients’ estate attorneys in the USA and other countries during the implementation of US domestic or international estate plans; advice related to the use of trusts as estate planning instruments; and charitable giving strategies.
Insurance Planning: Insurance policy review and comparisons, coordination with insurance agents and brokers in the USA and other countries, international insurance coverage and other more complex situations such insurance for small businesses and independent professionals. **
Miscellaneous Financial Planning Questions: in addition to the type of questions described in the Professional Service Level, we are available to answer client questions throughout the year on cross-border planning issues such as purchasing and financing real estate outside the USA, funding for college education in a foreign country with existing 529s , foreign banking questions, working as independent professionals in a foreign country, exercising foreign stock awards, understanding foreign severance pay and unemployment benefits, etc. **
** When an Executive Service Level client has exceeded their 20-hour annual limit, additional financial planning services may be provided to clients at their request on a project basis, when advisor capacity allows it, by mutual agreement with their advisor/s. Engagement letters between the client and advisor, describing the scope of the financial planning services, the fee and the delivery deadlines, are required prior to the commencement of any such projects.
This service level is suitable for clients with complex financial planning and investment management needs who want access to our advice with no time limitation. Clients operating cross-border family businesses, those with large international estates, including commercial real estate, US, and foreign trust structures and multigeneration multinational families usually require this level of service.
At this level, we also work in close collaboration with our clients’ advisors, such as accountants, insurance agents and attorneys, and facilitate the coordination of their overall financial affairs. At the request of the client, specialized tax services may also be included at this level, such as US international tax preparation and representation services.
Annual fees depend on the complexity and scope of the financial planning and investment management and fees for the concierge level start at $30,000.
Investment Management Only
The Investment Management Service Level is suitable for clients with simple and stable financial situations, typically with smaller investment accounts, who are looking for professional management of their investments without ongoing financial planning services.
Investment Management: we perform a discovery of our client’s wealth composition (assets and liabilities), risk profile (risk tolerance, capacity and need), investment horizon and financial goals. This information is used to create the client’s individual Investment Policy Statement, which guides our portfolio management process. Please refer to our Investment Principles document for a description of our investment management methodology.
Financial planning services may be provided to clients at their request on a project basis, when advisor capacity allows it, by mutual agreement with their advisor/s. Engagement letters between the client and advisor, describing the scope of the financial planning services, the fee and the delivery deadlines, are required prior to the commencement of any such projects. Please refer to the Professional, Executive and Concierge Service level descriptions below for an overview of the financial planning services we typically provide to clients at those service levels.