(Russ Alan Prince for Forbes) -- The global super-rich have personal fortunes of US$500 million or more. In most cases their wealth is considerably more. Their personal and business interests span countries and continents. Most have multiple citizenships by design. Also, they tend to – in one manner or another – leverage the single-family office business model, broadly defined. It is evident that the global super-rich make extensive use of high-caliber wealth managers and other professionals such as accountants and attorneys.
Wealth management usually incorporates investment management capabilities with wealth planning. With respect to investment management, the global super-rich understandably have a world view looking for opportunities wherever they may be. An important consideration when investing is managing currency risks, a service they rely on wealth managers to perform.
For many of them wealth planning – income tax planning, estate planning, asset protection planning, and international tax planning – proves to be more important than investment management. Mitigating taxes and protecting their affluence can be more fruitful than finding new investments.
According to Cliff Oberlin, chairman and CEO of Oberlin Wealth Partners, “By understanding the tax regimes in various international jurisdictions, we can often help our clients capitalize on the situation through versions of international tax arbitrage. This approach enables these individuals to legitimately lower their taxes without causing any problems for their businesses or themselves and their families. Many times, engaging in international tax arbitrage is one-time sophisticated tax planning. There are no off-the-shelf solutions as each client has a unique set of circumstances.”
Because of the different political regimes that impact some of the global super-rich, making certain a portion of their wealth is always available to them is essential. “Having their assets diversified geographically and benefitting from regional and local asset protection laws and regulations can ensure they have significant monies at their disposal no matter what political changes occur,” says Rick Flynn, managing partner of FFO Business Management & Family Office and author of The High-Functioning Single-Family Office.
Various strategies mitigate the impact of taxes. According to Frank Seneco, president of Seneco & Associates, an international advanced planning boutique, “Many of the global super-rich have an increasing interest in private placement life insurance. This is a function of their residence and the associated tax implications. The ability of the global super-rich to select the investment professionals who will manage the monies in the policies is also proving very appealing.”
The global super-rich are financially distancing themselves from everyone else including the ultra-wealthy. For them, the world provides enormous business opportunities. At the same time, to protect and maximize their affluence requires state-of-the-art wealth management.