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Wealth Management & Trust
Should your investment program be a trust?
Investors with $50,000 portfolios have stockbrokers, it has been said, while those with $5 million have trust officers.
That may be true, but it’s also misleading.
The fact is, few of our customers are in the truly high-wealth category. A good number of business or professional people, active or retired, count on us to maintain and enhance their hard-won financial independence. Some rely on us to invest significant sums that they have received as a result of a death in the family or the sale of property. All in all, the great majority of trusts in our care are well below the million-dollar level.
What sets us apart is the nature and quality of our work. As we see it, each of our trust customers deserves the first-class service that an investor with $5 million expects to receive.
Is it time for you to move up to a living trust?
These insights into our way of doing things will help you arrive at an informed decision.
First, you should understand that we don’t claim to be “better” than full-service brokers or financial advisors. We’re just different.
Buying and selling. Some investment advisors make their money from the commissions that they receive for buying and selling securities for their customers and from profits on new issues of securities that they underwrite and make available to the public.
That’s not us. We’re paid a fee based upon account size. Our compensation goes up only if the account grows in value.
Financial management. As a trust institution, our sole concern is to do the best possible job of managing money for our customers. We have no stocks to sell, nor do we look to commissions for compensation.
Because we have nothing to sell but service, our success is tightly linked to the success and satisfaction of our customers. We’re aware that in order to prosper we must (1) make our customers’ capital grow and (2) serve our existing customers so attentively that they refer new customers to us.
This attentiveness is reflected in our insistence on viewing each trust customer as an individual with a unique set of financial aims and circumstances, not merely as an “account.”
More than investment counseling
In some respects, our services resemble those that an investor might receive from a top-flight investment counseling firm. But here, too, there can be significant differences. We provide each of our trust customers with complete custodial care and record-keeping services. Indeed, we take care of virtually every investment detail that you can think of. Sound convenient? It is. More important, all this attention to detail can result in significant savings over the years. If you’ve ever mislaid a dividend check or failed to notice that a bond was called for redemption and had ceased to earn interest or overpaid your taxes because adequate investment records were lacking, you’ll understand what we mean.
Unique advantages. By placing their investable funds in what we call a revocable living trust, our customers can take full advantage of our broad and unique capabilities as a trust institution. They (and you) can instruct us to perform a wide variety of special duties, now or in the future.
For example, some of our trust customers have a fondness for roaming the world. Who makes sure that their estimated income taxes, property taxes and other recurring payments are taken care of while they’re away for extended periods? If they wish, we do.
For older men and women, our ability to accept added responsibilities as trustee can result in enhanced peace of mind. It’s worrisome to hear of aging friends or relatives who have become incapable of managing their own finances, and even more distressing to hear of problems arising from the appointment of a guardian or conservator. With a well-planned trust agreement, an older person can decide now to minimize financial–management problems in the event of future illness or incapacity.
Moving up without "tying up"
When talking with potential customers, we’ve learned to expect a comment that goes something like this: “A trust sounds like just what I’ve been looking for—except, I don’t want to tie up my money.”
Like these men and women, you also will be pleased to hear that the terms of a trust can be just as untied as you want to make them. What’s more, the type of trust that we’re discussing is revocable. That means you’re free to cancel the whole arrangement if ever you find a better source of first-class financial management. You’re also free to amend your instructions to us as your plans or circumstances change.
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