Law Firm Consulting is a specialized field. Very few people are able to successfully operate in two separate industries. The skill set requirement to consult to law firms is the consultant must have a solid understanding of the legal industry as well as be an expert in an additional industry.
Innovative Advisory Group (IAG) is able to fill this void for law firms with the Financial Services Industry, Self Directed IRAs and Self Directed 401ks. IAG has a rare combination of expertise within the financial services industry. Their knowledge of compliance, rules and regulations, operations, financial planning, self directed IRAs, self directed 401ks, and pertinent case law make them a valuable addition to any law firm’s expert legal counsel. We are not attorneys, we just make attorneys better at what they do best – with strategic knowledge support.
Have any of these situations ever happened to you?
If you have been in practice for a number of years, it is highly likely that you have come across one or more of these situations.
Do you need help with account consolidation and summary of assets?
- You are working with a client who has one or more accounts at different financial services firms (broker dealer, registered investment advisor, insurance company, mutual fund company, trust company, non-depository bank, etc) and you are trying to figure out how to dissect the holdings, how they were set up, and how to remove them from their current location. Or maybe you are at an impasse with one of these firms to accomplish your objective, just because you are an attorney. How would you figure out the best way to find these answers? Who would you go to?
- The operations and protocol for financial services firms are not easily found by searching the internet, they are not taught in law school, and your local financial advisor probably doesn’t have the experience in some of these areas to answer all your questions. Your client is looking to you for answers, and you are supposed to be the expert, what do you do?
- If these firms are uncooperative, you might try sending a legal demand notice, but it might also cause the process to seize up, then you are stuck in your current position for a much longer period of time. You need someone who can understand how the industry works, the subtleties, the processes, and what is generally required to meet your objective without resorting to stronger legal measures.
- You need someone who can decipher the financial services industry language quickly.
- You need a “special advisor” to show you the way – Someone who understands how the wealth management profession really works, someone who can save your hours of time researching a subject which you may not have a background in, someone who you can trust to know the right answers, right now.
Is your client looking to invest in an alternative investment inside a self directed IRA or self directed 401k?
- You have a client who either currently has or wants to have an alternative investment, such as real estate, ownership in a local business or his private company stock, in his IRA or 401k plan. You have not seen this type of setup before and are unaware of all the subtle rules, regulations, tax law, and case law pertaining to this type of investment. How can you properly advise your client? You can certainly read all the relevant case law, Internal Revenue Code, ERISA law and other pertinent rules yourself, but what if you miss something? You could ask another attorney, but there are very few in the US who specialize in this area, and fewer if any who understand the investment side of the transaction. How can you get your answers?
- Having a client invest his IRA or 401k account into an alternative investment such as real estate is not a common happenstance for most attorneys. Less than 5% of the population is currently investing in alternative investments with their IRA or 401k plan, and less than 20% is even aware that this is possible. How can you find an expert when there are so few available?
- Many self directed IRA custodians now require a “special advisor” for certain types of transactions. Where would you find one of these special advisors?
- You need someone who is an expert, someone who you can trust, someone who is one of the industry’s foremost experts in this field to help guide you and your client through this process.
Does your client have an annuity or 401k plan?
- You have a client who inherited an annuity held inside a 401k plan and they need to find a way to transfer it to an inherited IRA. At the same time a relative is disputing the beneficiary claim. How can you easily untangle this situation so you have a better understanding of how to strategically approach this case?
- While you probably have a very confident idea about how you are going to approach this case, you may not fully understand the operations, procedures, structure and tax implications pertaining to 401k plans, and annuities. What type of annuity is it? Is the stated amount on the statement the cash balance or death benefit? What are the distribution amounts required and by what date? Are you aware of the tax implications if certain deadlines are not met? Annuities are complicated investments, and this is compounded by the fact that rarely is the owner or beneficiary fully aware of their structure. If they are not aware of how the investment is structured, then it is up to you to figure this information out. Where would you go to get this information? If this asset is being contested, then the annuity company may not be forthcoming with any information, and if they are, they might accidentally provide incorrect information? How would you know unless you had someone who can quickly review a situation such as this to get you all the facts. This will keep you one step ahead of your opposition.
Is your client looking to buy a franchise?
- Your client is buying a business franchise. He has tasked you to review the franchise agreement and set up an operating agreement for the business. This may be a standard task since you review and create documents as part of your daily activities. You are probably quite good at deciphering them and pointing out many of the legal loopholes, and other potential issues which may occur from a legal perspective. What about the due diligence of the franchise itself? Who is going to do the due diligence on the franchisor and the master franchise?
- Constructing an operating agreement for a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) for one of your clients is a fairly straightforward task. While most businesses can be set up with the same template and some minor adjustments, you may not fully understand this business in the same way your client does. You may not fully understand the potential risks the business will face and the future needs which this business will encounter. You cannot be an expert in every type of business. How could you? How can you provide a more thorough service for your client without learning about a whole new industry?
- Experience is an important part of the process. Experience helps illuminate the potential problems which can arise from operating a business. It can also provide some foresight into potential issues that the company will experience down the road. How can you assess these potential risks if you have not had the experience before? You need some advice from someone with experience in these areas.
- Due Diligence is an under appreciated task when purchasing an investment. Frauds have been committed on and off Wall Street largely due to a lack of proper due diligence. Despite the enormous fraud committed by Bernie Madoff, people continue to invest in funds and investments that they have not completely researched. You want to help your client, where can you go to provide thorough due diligence for your client’s investment? How can you add this service for your client to distinguish yourself from the competition? If you are looking to be different, to be better than your competition, this is one way to do it. In-house due diligence.
- Strategic planning is an important part of risk management. Have you been able to think through all the risk with this new business venture? Risks which could potentially be mitigated with the correct language in an operating agreement or partnership agreement. Risk management which addresses the issues before they become a problem? The best way to reduce risks in any endeavor is to mitigate them before they happen. Having a “Strategic Advisor” assisting you with the investment side of the process can provide your client with a high-touch service which other attorneys are not capable of offering.
- After all of your work is done, how can you be sure the client will follow through properly? You can never be sure that the client is going to implement the operating agreement correctly, or fund the trust that you set up for him (assuming he understands it), or thoroughly do due diligence on the new franchise he is looking to buy. How do you address these problems? How are you able to address all of the operational issues? This is where a “Special Advisor” to your firm can help. Our Special Advisors can help you outsource tasks such as these to an expert who thoroughly understands certain areas, so you can get the answers you need in a timely fashion.
- Does your law firm need someone with in-depth knowledge and experience of the financial services industry?
- Have you worked with clients who have a specific financial asset that you need a better understanding of how it works?
- Have you ever had a situation where you wanted to get a better understanding of how the financial services industry worked before proceeding with your case?
- Have you ever wanted to strategically consider all your options with your client before presenting a solution to them?
You can now have access to your firm’s own Special Advisor to the financial services industry. Contact us to learn more about how you can become a better and more competitive legal expert to your client.
Innovative Advisory Group is an Independent Registered Investment Advisor with a specialized understanding of the investment advisory industry, compliance, operations, regulatory and legal issues. We are not attorneys, we just make attorneys better at what they do best – with strategic knowledge support. Contact us to learn how we can assist you.