How the wealthy use life insurance to escape estate tax and why the tactic is now attracting scrutiny


Morning everyone! I’m Jeffrey Canestepping out from behind the 10 Things on Wall Street newsletter curtain to help catch you up on all things financial today.

Wall Street may be bracing for a sobering day of third-quarter results later this week, but there’s still a lot of forward-looking initiatives going on, including pushes into crypto and private banking and the boom town that is “Wall Street South.” Ray Daliohenceforth, says he will still be an active investor, post-Bridgewater.

But first: Could I interest you in some life insurance?

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A three-generation rich family strolls down a boat dock on a sunny day

A three-generation rich family strolls down a boat dock on a sunny day

Now is a prime opportunity for rich Americans to transfer wealth to their children and save on taxes.Johnny Greig

1. How do the ultra-wealthy shield their enormous fortunes from taxes? Yes, life insurance is one answer, but it’s life insurance with a twist. This little-known tax tool, which may be coming under increasing scrutiny, is called private placement life insurance, or PPLI. It is effectively a life insurance policy that is owned by an offshore trust. Assets that are put into the trust are treated as premiums, explains Insider’s Hayley Cuccinello.

When structured correctly, the assets in a family’s policy – ​​whether they are stock holdings or luxury yachts – can be passed down to the children without incurring estate tax. That can mean savings in the tens of millions of dollars.

Michael Malloy, a wealth advisor who specializes in PPLI, told Hayley that he advises that clients have at least $10 million in assets to make this tactic worthwhile.

A tax tool for the very rich will not find friends in every corner, however. And that is the case with PPLI, which has caught the attention of Sen. Ron Wyden. The Oregon Democrat has started an investigation into PPLI, saying that he is concerned that “these insurance vehicles are being used without a genuine insurance purpose to invest in hedge funds and other investments while avoiding billions of dollars in federal taxes.”

Read more about what the PPLI fuss is all about here.

In other news:

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, the founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.Eoin Noonan/Web Summit/Getty Images

2. Ray Dalio is still in the game. “I love the investment game, so I’ll keep playing it,” the founder of Bridgewater Associates told the Greenwich Economic Forum. Dalio recently stepped back from the hedge fund behemoth but said in his talk on Tuesday that when it comes to investing, “I’ll keep doing it, coming up with my ideas, and so on.”

3. Take a tour of “Wall Street South.” Ken Griffin’s announcement in June that he would be moving the headquarters of his Citadel empire to Miami from Chicago has swung a spotlight on Miami’s financial district, Brickell. Insider’s Alexandra Hurtado explored the neighborhood (and took photos). Yes, there are steakhouses.

4. Check out Step, a banking app for teens that’s backed by TikTok star Charli D’Ameio and Stephen Curry. Step has announced $300 million in debt funding and the launch of a new service through which crypto — and eventually stocks — will be available on its app.

5. Citizens is expanding in wealth management. The bank is introducing a new private banking offering at customers with $200,000 or more in deposits and investments.

6. Amazon has been on an extended shopping spree with deals for One Medical and iRobot among others. Who’s driving its M&A machine? Insider spoke with more than a dozen people to glean insights into Amazon’s dealmaking team and its strategy.

7. America’s oldest bank is now into crypto. Bank of New York Mellon says select clients can hold and transfer Bitcoin and Ether. It’s the latest initiative under the bank’s new CEO, Robin Vince, who Insider profiled recently.

8. Credit Suisse’s headaches grow. Analysts at Goldman Sachs estimate that the buffeted Swiss bank could face a capital hole of as much as $8 billion in 2024, according to Bloomberg. The analysts say it would be prudent for Credit Suisse to raise capital as it explores a radical overhaul of its investment banking business.

9. Angel investing is no longer just for the superrich. Putting as little as a few thousand dollars into a promising startup is becoming more common.

10. Hey! Are you still reading this, or what? So sorry about that, but it’s true: The pandemic has made us grumpier and more unpleasant, new research shows.

Keep updated with the latest business news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insidera dynamic audio news brief. Listen here.

Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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