CLIENT SERVICE LEVELS
We offer three different service levels that include financial planning and investment management: Professional, Executive, and Concierge. 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).
The Professional Service Level is suitable for clients with the simplest or most 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.
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.
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.
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:
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’ 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, rental and small business tax planning; and planning and reporting advice related to expatriation.
Estate Planning: Coordination with clients’ estate attorneys in Japan and other countries during the implementation of Japanese 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 Japan 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 Japan, 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.
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, Japanese, and foreign trust structures and multi generation 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. 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.