Insurance Dedicated Fund Administration
MAS Advisors works closely with RIA subadvisors to create a diverse array of customized investment vehicles for variable life and annuity company separate accounts.
Our flexible investment process adheres to a strict set of rule-based protocols to comply with IRC §817(h) diversification rules and reduce investor control exposure so that investments are suitable for private placement variable universal life insurance and variable annuity contracts.
Our funds are designed specifically as Insurance Dedicated Funds (IDFs) so that Wealth Advisors can provide fee-based management of their client’s insurance assets. IDF strategies are developed and advised by MAS Advisors in close collaboration with the Wealth Advisor who subadvises on one or more Fund Series. Wealth advisors are compensated under a fee structure for advising on assets; not selling insurance.
As advisors to the Fund, MAS Advisors shoulders all fund administration responsibilities, providing a comprehensive suite of platform services including accounting, reporting, and compliance. Our exclusive focus on the IDF space solidifies our expertise, efficiency and responsiveness..
Investment Research & Due Diligence
Our team is continuously sourcing potential investment opportunities through its network of peer RIAs as well as via professional contacts, manager referrals, service providers, third-party platforms, and industry conferences.
As part of a sound risk management approach, MAS conducts investment and operational due diligence on all current and prospective managers, which includes a thorough understanding of investment processes and risk controls, onsite visits, legal and regulatory checks, and verification of service providers such as custodians and auditors, among other factors.
Portfolio Construction & Risk Management
As an independent asset manager, MAS Advisors conducts its investment process in-house, from economic research to investment selection. Whereas the former attempts to identify and forecast the most salient aggregate economic trends that drive investment returns, the latter focuses on utilizing that analysis to select the most appropriate investment vehicle to express such forecast in an investment portfolio.
Our open-architecture platform provides us unrestricted access to unique, best-in-class investment managers in a cost-efficient manner, eliminating unnecessary intermediaries. Our global investment universe encompasses a wide array of asset classes and products including, but not limited to, hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds.
The MAS Advisor asset management platform is based on academic research and is designed to create virtually unlimited qualified insurance-only portfolio strategies, from benchmark-constrained to absolute return strategies, and from factor-investing to other risk-based strategies - among others. Our investment process accounts for all relevant parameters and adheres to a strict risk management process to monitor investment portfolios once approved and implemented.
We place a special emphasis on volatility and liquidity management to cover policy-driven needs such as fees, policyowner loans, surrenders, and death benefit payouts. Importantly, since variable life insurance and variable annuity contracts enjoy tax-free compounding of returns, we have the flexibility to pursue alternative investment strategies that would otherwise be tax-inefficient. Hedge fund investment strategies create their own unique set of valuation and liquidity challenges including gates, lock-ups, hold-backs, and side pockets.
We continually review all strategies against current and forecasted economic conditions to assess their continued viability. Also, we continuously monitor investment performance against class benchmarks, to assess not only relative performance but also possible style drift, and look for material operational changes that might negatively affect future returns, such as manager departures, regulatory actions and persistent outflows in the case of funds.
Financial planning is at the very core of the life planning services we offer to individuals and families seeking to build, protect and manage wealth over time. Retirement income planning; education, tax and estate planning; and insurance services are among the many components of a comprehensive plan designed to help you pursue multiple financial and lifestyle goals.
We believe that without a plan in place to pursue established goals, it’s nearly impossible to measure your progress along the way. That’s why our approach to financial planning seeks to help you:
- Fully assess your current situation, goals and desires
- Overcome obstacles and challenges
- Recognize and pursue opportunities
- Learn new ways to minimize taxes, increase savings and invest more effectively
- Adapt strategies to changing life goals or market events
- Pursue multiple objectives and life-stage goals
- Achieve a greater understanding of financial management principles
- Simplify the wealth management process while reducing financial anxiety
Our Planning Process
Our progressive planning approach recognizes that informed investment decisions reflect your tax, retirement, estate, lifestyle, and insurance considerations. Holistic planning starts with a comprehensive written financial plan to address not only the needs of the individual, but also families and trusts, and privately-held business. The plan design accounts for your specific goals and reflects your preferences for wealth creation, debt management, taxes, risk, and future estate planning needs. Once we determine which investment vehicles are appropriate, we then help you implement your plan.
Over time, we closely monitor, rebalance or reallocate funds when necessary to maintain a course of action best aligned with your goals. Regular plan reviews ensure that the plan continues to keep pace with your changing goals and needs.
1 l Monitor Your Finances
There is no mistaking the headache that comes with trying to monitor your finances across multiple channels. That is why our team is pleased to offer a single, secure location where you can access your accounts, assets, and insurance policies. We will provide a personal website designed to give you a clear picture of your bottom line, no matter where you are or where your assets sit. Each secure website consolidates and updates the balances of all your assets and liabilities, including those held elsewhere, on a daily basis. Customized reporting tools (paper-based and electronic) that reflect everything from your bank accounts to investment funds are right at your fingertips 24/7.
2 l "What-if" Scenario Planning
This in-depth tool allows you to explore your options based on a single objective or event, such as early retirement, purchasing a vacation home, or even unexpected disability. Without this tool, it may be difficult for you to know whether your assets are in the most productive place. Scenario planning also helps you discover cash flow projections and different retirement models that make sense for you. You can even categorize your spending, which can help with budgeting and tax planning. Whether you are looking to pay for college expenses or for retirement, this tool will open your eyes to how today’s decisions will impact your tomorrow.
3 l Protect Important Documents
We all have critical documents that are not always accessible or organized when we need them most. With an online vault, you can rest assured that your insurance policies, income tax returns, passports, estate planning documents and property deeds are all in one place. You can even include cherished family pictures and photos of your valuables. This vault allows you to upload and access your documents from a computer, tablet or smart phone.
Corporate Retirement Plans
Retirement Plan Consulting Services
Our knowledgeable team provides performance and expense analysis, fiduciary mitigation, and insight on a wide array of investment offerings, enabling us to deliver a retirement plan that will serve the best interest of you and your plan participants. We cover all the facets of your plan’s operations— including compliant plan design, service provider monitoring, investment menu updates and vendor benchmarking. In addition, we meet the needs of participants by providing plan investment education and objective investment strategies.
Our balanced approach will enable you to understand and address your fiduciary responsibilities, plus assist in drafting plan documents, setting investment policy and attending to other critical procedures.
Our comprehensive services include the following:
- Investment advisory – assistance with selection and monitoring (open architecture platforms)
- Assist with preparation and review of the plan’s Investment Policy Statement
- Quarterly communications
- Annual trustee meetings
- Annual plan and Investment Policy Statement review
- Investment option review
- Fiduciary responsibility checklist
- Plan participant education
Retirement Plan Fiduciary Services
As an ERISA 3(21) fiduciary advisor and 3(38) investment manager, we are able to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of fiduciary care and guidance for company sponsored retirement plans. We adhere to the high standards of fiduciary excellence in the investment selection process, and assist you with these and other plan services:
- Quarterly platform investment review and recommendations for changes
- On-going review and adherence to the plan’s Investment Policy Statement
- Annual trustee meeting to review all aspects of the plan’s investment offerings
- On-site participant meetings
- Investment education and guidance
Due Diligence Procedures and Documentation
Today’s increasingly volatile global economic climate makes it critical for retirement plan sponsors and fiduciaries to develop and maintain investment due diligence procedures and supporting documentation. We will work with your retirement plan committee to develop and maintain your plan's investment strategy, which is documented through a formal investment policy statement.This investment policy statement is used as a guide to evaluate your current investment offerings and measure them against applicable indices and the broader universe of investment options. This results in the confidence and knowledge that your plan's investments are fully diversified, well managed, and aligned with the stated objectives of your investment policy statement.
Plan Participant Services
We believe a successful participant education and communication program is critical to the success of your retirement plan. We work with the retirement plan committee to create the most appropriate program for your particular needs and employee population.
- On-site group participant education and enrollment meetings
- Account information available via internet or telephone
- Updates on the current market environment
- Consulting service to assist individuals with general investment allocation guidance
- Rollover consultations available for post-termination needs
- Investment newsletters available on weekly, monthly and quarterly basis
Preparing for a DOL Audit
In recent years the DOL has dramatically increased the number of personnel responsible for investigating potential violations of ERISA fiduciary, reporting, and disclosure requirements. The DOL conducts investigations of fiduciaries and service providers to ensure that they operate plans in the participants' best interests. In addition to requiring that violations are corrected, the DOL has the authority to levy penalties and fines in appropriate cases. The easiest way to avoid investigations and penalties is to take a proactive approach. We are uniquely positioned to assist you in proactively preparing for a plan audit. Charlie Auerbach began his career with the IRS in New York City, holding positions as a Revenue Agent, Audit Reviewer, and Appellate Conferee. He understands what auditors are looking for and how to prepare for a DOL audit. By performing a Comprehensive Retirement Plan Risk Assessment, Wealth Strategies Group can help you quickly identify risks and recommend corrective actions, potentially saving you and your business significant time and money.
Business Planning Services
Business Succession Planning
Succession planning helps to ensure that a smooth transition can occur when you’re ready to retire or sell your business. We believe succession planning should include the long-term goal of retirement, but should also focus on contingency planning to protect against unexpected events. We can provide a referral to an outside team of professionals1 to assist you in developing a succession planning strategy that seeks to help you:
- Time your exit to maximize value (eliminating the risk of a fire sale)
- Ensure continuity of service for your clients or customers
- Provide for an efficient transfer of business to a successor or buyer of your choosing
- Retire on your schedule
- Remove emotional decision-making
- Provide career-path opportunities to existing associates and/or elevate key employees to owners
- Coordinate with your personal estate plan to minimize estate taxes
- Plan for the unexpected
Executive Compensation Planning
Stock Option Planning
The tax implications associated with exercising stock options are complex and timing is critical to minimizing taxes on gains. A comprehensive analysis of your stock option portfolio can provide the critical information and insight you need as you explore various approaches to making the most of this important aspect of your compensation. We provide the insight and objective guidance you need to help develop short-term and long-term stock option strategies.
Deferred Compensation Planning
Deferred compensation refers to any arrangement in which a portion of your income is paid out at a specific date after which the income is actually earned. Common examples of deferred compensation include stock options, pensions, and non-qualified deferred compensation retirement plans. The primary benefit of deferring compensation is the deferral of taxes on the compensation until the date you actually receive the income.
Having a plan in place to minimize taxes on deferred compensation can be critical to helping you reap the benefits of this income source. The regulations governing when and how deferred compensation is taxed are complex and difficult to sort through. Our experienced advisors can help develop tax-efficient investment strategies tailored to your needs and situation.
Foundations & Endowments
Our advisors are adept in developing prudent strategies for Foundations and Endowments that seek to effectively balance your needs for preservation, growth and cash flow. We serve as ERISA fiduciary advisors, helping to ensure you receive unbiased advice and recommendations designed to serve the needs of your organization.
We understand the importance of developing an appropriate asset allocation that considers the spending policy of your organization. We will carefully analyze your organization's projected cash flow and risk tolerance, and develop an asset allocation that seeks to align your investment portfolio with your needs.
Through continuous monitoring of your needs and portfolio, we seek to maintain an appropriate balance over time. This adds significant value, especially in a volatile market climate. Of course, no strategy, including asset allocation and rebalancing, can guarantee against loss of value or guarantee performance.
Corporate Retirement Plans
In today’s increasingly complex retirement plan arena, plan fiduciaries are required to accept greater responsibility than ever before. It is the responsibility of the company officers, directors and key employees, acting in the capacity of qualified plan fiduciaries, to select and monitor the investment advisors that provide services to your company’s retirement plan. That makes selecting an advisor for your plan one of the most critical decisions you will make for your company, employees, officers and directors.
So how do you choose the right advisor for your plan?
For many years, the retirement plan industry has worked to assist financial advisors with the education, knowledge and experience required to effectively provide retirement plan investment management. However, it’s important to note that established certification programs and industry designations are not required for financial advisors operating within the retirement plan arena. As a result, some advisors lack the industry expertise, legislative and regulatory knowledge, and most importantly—the ability to act in a fiduciary capacity—that you rely on to assist with plan compliance and drive participant results.
A Fiduciary advisor will always:
- Accept co-fiduciary responsibility in writing
- Demonstrate prudent investment processes in place and in use
- Provide a written Service Agreement
- Make complete disclosures regarding any potential conflicts of interest
Adhering to a high standard of fiduciary care
We’re passionate about helping you provide an effective retirement plan to your employees. Our professionals bring a broad range of core competencies and credentials across employee benefits and asset management disciplines.