March 1, 2021
An introductory guide
People with money to invest are often self-reliant, well enough informed to be able to sort through sales pitches and make up their own minds. They follow the financial press and apply their life experiences as they weigh their investment decisions.
But sometimes people cannot be do-it-yourself investors. Sometimes they don’t want to be. In certain situations it’s desirable, even essential, to choose an investment manager. And in making that choice, more and more people are looking for a source of investment guidance that is objective and unbiased. Rather than being on guard for hidden agendas and conflicts of interest, they are looking for an arrangement that is, under the law, structurally immune to such a development.
That’s the financial service that we offer.
What we are
We are a corporate fiduciary. That means that we are a business organization that is permitted, under the law, to serve as trustee and administer investment programs for individuals, families, businesses, and endowments. For this service we are compensated by reasonable annual fees, tied to the market value of the funds in our care. Our operations are subject to a variety of internal and external regulatory oversights.
But what most clearly sets us apart from our competition are the values that we live by, the code of fiduciary responsibility, the high standards of trusteeship.
Trustworthy by design
The list of specific duties expected of a trustee is extensive—preserve and protect trust assets, invest and administer with care, maintain records, keep beneficiaries informed, deal with beneficiaries impartially, and so on. Every decision made and action taken by a trustee is evaluated against a standard of fiduciary duty, which may be summarized as follows:
• To take just as much care of the trust property as a prudent businessperson would take of his or her own property.
• Not to make a penny of personal profit out of the trust. (The compensation of a professional trustee is limited to the trustee’s fee.)
The trustee must be faithful to the trust and its purposes while remaining loyal to the trust client or the other beneficiaries. Conflicts of interest must be avoided. Conflicts that cannot be avoided must be resolved in favor of the trust and its beneficiaries. Always, and in all ways, a trustee must be a faithful steward, never engaging in self-dealing, never acting in its own interests.
If this all sounds rather old-fashioned, that’s a criticism that we welcome. Because it is these high standards of stewardship, in the final analysis, that contribute so significantly to our clients’ financial peace of mind.
If you already use our asset-management services, you know about these benefits. If you don’t, there’s no time like the present to find out.
Would you like to know more?
Trusts remain mysterious to many, but they need not be. Economic uncertainty, tax reform proposals, longevity, and a range of other factors are transforming how trusts are planned, drafted, and administered. How could a modern trust benefit you and your family? We would be pleased to explore that question with you.