Q&A with John Prescott
President of John Prescott Advisors LLC.
Family Office Insights sits down with John Prescott, President of John Prescott Advisors LLC, to discuss how his consulting firm is designed to provide confidential private client services based on a true fiduciary relationship.
Family Office Insights is a voluntary, “opt-in” collaborative peer-to-peer community of single family offices, qualified investors and institutional investors. Join the community here www.familyofficeinsights.com
Tell us about your background and your company, John Prescott Advisors LLC.
As a lawyer by trade and with over 20 years of experience managing a single family office, I’ve helped my clients achieve their long-term personal and financial goals through a true confidential and fiduciary relationship. Prior to starting John Prescott Advisors LLC in 2016, I represented and advised wealthy clients as an attorney, chief operating officer and general counsel for over 30 years.
John Prescott Advisors helps high net worth clients by assuming the role of a single family office through the management of third party professionals, and by offering family governance, and planning liquidity events by incorporating business, tax, and estate planning techniques to maximize return. This model worked incredibly well for the family office I managed. Under rare circumstances but in increasing numbers, I am also available to advise successful and interested families who may be interested in planning, engineering or executing an exit strategy. The process of expatriation is a means to protect a family’s assets and wellbeing in the event of future events that threaten their way of life. The number of families choosing to explore citizenship options to protect themselves is rising. I directed an incredibly complex and nuanced expatriation program that involved the establishment of new offshore citizenships without being a tax resident of any country. I successfully crafted the transfer of businesses and assets on a worldwide scale with the establishment of offshore vehicles to hold title to comply with local laws and regulations. Significant immigration and visa planning was also necessary for ease for worldwide travel, including visits to the US as a non-citizen. Preparation for an uncertain future requires the consideration of a broad range of potential outcomes. Internal and external forces affecting the US in the future may create the platform to have an exit strategy in place for a peace of mind.
Who is your ideal client?
I take on a limited number of families to provide the most dedicated and attentive service to those 2-4 complex families at a time. I am also available to help individuals and families with discrete assignments on a project basis. We best advise ultra high net worth individuals and families without a comprehensively functioning single family office who need organization, cooperation, and strategy to meet their goals. I work with third parties like estate planners, investment advisors, and insurance professionals to achieve maximum returns. By hiring third party advisors on an as-needed basis, we are able to select the most qualified professionals at a cost-efficient rate. Having a full-time in-house team for all these areas is complex, and may be unnecessary, and inefficient. My job is to work with my clients to select the best expert advisors and manage them to provide the best service for the best price. For families or individuals anticipating liquidity events, we have deep experience in advanced planning and post event strategies to help maximize value and assist in accomplishment of pre-determined goals. For individuals and families considering an exit strategy, having an exit plan in advance of needing to execute one may provide families with the peace of mind that they are prepared for whatever the future holds. Some of the steps necessary to establish an acceptable lifestyle offshore take time. Citizenship acquisition can take several months or even years to complete. Determining which programs fulfill a family's requirements and waiting for due diligence to be performed can also take several months to complete. Determining which jurisdiction(s) to establish offshore structures to hold assets and establishing the structures can also be performed in advance. Investigating tax and residency requirements where you will reside is essential. In summary, advanced planning of an exit strategy can allow a family to execute the exit more rapidly and efficiently. If done successfully, clients can enjoy the benefits of multiple citizenships, escape from US taxes and regulations, and hold visas and residency cards allowing freedom of international travel, including significant time in the US. The major components of the process involve the establishment of offshore vehicles to hold assets, citizenship acquisition, health care options, and an analysis of foreign laws to avoid becoming a tax resident of any country. The tax implications are significant and require analysis on a case-by-case basis. The process can result in a very significant financial benefit to the expatriate.
What are some of the challenges you face in this market?
There are two primary challenges for my business. First, it can take time to be considered and become someone’s trusted advisor. Secondly, most individuals already have a circle of advisors that they have confidence in. They may be reluctant to bring in a new outside advisor. We attempt to address the first issue by demonstrating that we are a true fiduciary with no conflicts of interest with our clients. We address this second issue in two ways. We will do a review and make recommendations on a person’s existing advisors. If after the review, the client is satisfied with the present group, we are happy to work with the existing team. If there is a need to replace an advisor or modify their role, we can make recommendations from our vast network of professionals to fill the necessary function. Having an outside perspective really works in this role and allows the client to have an objective – and honest – external viewpoint on how his operation actually functions. This is particularly important if the client is preparing for or has experienced a liquidity event. The advisors that provided maximum benefit when the client’s wealth came from an operating business may not be the best fit when the wealth is transformed into investable assets. Getting through this barrier though, can be a challenge because existing team members can feel threatened about this.
It’s also worth mentioning that often times when a family is first considering whether to start a family office after a successful liquidity event, they might think they have to hire a complete staff, engage a full-time CIO, COO and GC with a long term contracts, secure offices, and end up having a multi-million dollar a year budget. They might have a net worth of $100 Million, and while that is certainly significant, it is not enough to have that kind of yearly expense. They do this because they think they need to have a “full on” family office. Sometimes they don’t know how to go about creating the best structure for them. I am here to advise on early stage family office structures as they grow and mature, by providing sound expert strategy and contracted experts that will round out the needs of their office without that multi-million dollar a year price tag.
Who are your key competitors and how are you different?
Competitors are primarily the private banks, trust companies and multi-family offices that offer advisory and family office services. My differentiating key is beginning each client relationship with the establishment of a fiduciary relationship of trust and complete loyalty. Most advisors cannot make this assertion. I have no products to sell or outside commission to earn. I receive no financial benefit from any recommendations I make. My compensation comes from the services I provide directly to my clients. This transparency is key in all of my referrals. My only goal is to improve the lives of the individuals and families I work with. On the expatriation side, I am experienced with all aspects of that process. I have managed everything from offshore investment vehicles to foreign healthcare laws. There are very few people who have my experience in this area.
How are you changing the landscape of your industry?
We are completely dedicated to our clients. There are no conflicts of interest that come from referral fees or commissions on recommendations we make. We are completely transparent. We offer the full range of family office services at a small fraction of the cost of a brick and mortar operation.
What’s your mission?
To provide real fiduciary services to people.
What’s next for you?
My focus is to grow this business and learn new aspects of the advisory side to better serve all of my clients. I enjoy the challenges of working on new projects while meeting new people and finding solutions that maximize the returns for my clients. I love the structure I’ve built in my business of thorough transparency, complete client fidelity, and ethical business dealings. I want my clients to feel that I’m the guy that let’s them sleep at night because I have everything covered.
John Prescott is a lawyer who, for over 20 years architected and managed a single family office for a family of significant means. My work for this family culminated with a large liquidity event and the engineering of a successful expatriation project. I now run an advisory firm focused on two primary areas: Helping clients establish their own single family office structure by coordinating and managing their third party experts and also advising successful families who may be interested in evaluating, establishing and/or executing an exit strategy.
We begin with the establishment of a true fiduciary relationship based on complete loyalty to the client. Most advisors cannot make this assertion. I have no products to sell or outside commissions to earn. I receive no financial benefit from any recommendations I make. My compensation comes from the services I provide directly to my clients. My only goal is to improve the lives of the individuals and families I work with.
Preparation for an uncertain future requires the consideration of a broad range of potential outcomes. Advance planning is critical to meet the challenges posed by events, which may affect a family’s wellbeing. Internal and external forces affecting the US in the future may create an environment where an exit strategy is critical to maintaining the safety and security of your family. Understanding the process of a potential exit now, may give a family piece of mind and more confidence about the future.
An expatriation project is complex, nuanced and requires coordination of actions and attention to detail. If done successfully, clients can enjoy the benefits of multiple citizenships, escape from US taxes and regulations, and hold visas allowing freedom of international travel, including significant time in the US. The major components of the process involve the establishment of offshore vehicles to hold assets, citizenship acquisition, health care options, and an analysis of foreign laws to avoid becoming a tax resident of any country. The tax implications are significant and require analysis on a case by case basis. The process can result in a very significant financial benefit to the expatriate.
For more information, please reach out to John directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.