Client Stories

These one-page client stories highlight ways in which we have been helpful in specific client engagements. Each of these is just a small piece of what we have done and continue to do for these families. You may find that you identify with one of the case studies, or with several. This is not unusual in our experience; families with significant resources often have very complicated financial situations and work with us across a range of issues.

Person helping another person up while mountain climbing.

Getting Help – Resolving household staffing woes.

Many wealthy families hire help, be it a personal assistant, estate manager, or nanny, to name a few. While having assistance can be a blessing, it also brings complexities that can seem overwhelming. Without the proper education and direction, some may be left in unhappy situations, feeling they created rather than eliminated headaches. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Woman standing on a beach with arms stretched out to the sides

Seeking New Clarity – Simplifying and improving an existing financial plan.

Nearly 80, a widowed client sought a clearer picture of her investments and future estate. She had been an active investor for many years, but wanted to ensure that she was optimizing her investments and estate plans as well as minimizing future taxes. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Turbine in a green field

Aligning Values – Transitioning your portfolio to match your beliefs.

Our client had spent many years invested in a traditional portfolio with a large allocation to broad market stocks.  As her adult son became more active in political and social causes, she too began to take an interest in these causes and found her values transformed.  She came to us one day wanting to transform her portfolio to align better with these values. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Closeup of hands moving pieces during a game of chess

Planning the Next Move – Understanding the options before sealing the deal.

Our client was the founder and CEO of a biotechnology company. He learned that the Board intended to take the company public in six months, and the company’s complex structure meant that compensation talks would be equally complicated. Going in alone or uneducated could mean not only getting a bad deal for himself, but also not understanding how it would impact the company he created. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Round image of an open field speckled with wildflowers with a blue cloudy sky and a peek of a pink sunrise.

Giving Creatively – Donating challenging assets.

A client family owned a large parcel of land, a portion of which was covered by a conservation easement.  After more than a decade of ownership, the family was unsure of what to do with the land and was growing tired of the property management challenges.  The lack of a long-term plan left the property — and the family — in limbo. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Hot air balloons

Staying on Track – Keeping your values in focus.

A new client family came to us with an existing plan to develop a vacant plot of land into a community center in their home town. The project had many moving parts and projections of the budget had ballooned to over $50 million. The family wanted to find a way to put its wealth to work in the community, but was struggling with the scale and complexities of the chosen path.  We wondered whether this path was fully aligned with their goals. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

A person holding up a roll of money.

Focusing on the Bottom Line – Investing in a tax-efficient way.

Wealthy individuals have the unique ability to pursue investment strategies similar to traditional institutional investors, such as endowments, but have the added challenge of considering the tax impact of their choices. This impact can be significant, and 2013 tax law changes increased the burden materially. These changes included an increase in the highest marginal tax rate on ordinary income from 35% to 39.6%, an increase in the highest tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends from 15% to 20%, as well as a new 3.8% surtax on net investment income for high earners. All of this is before consideration of state taxes, which can be significant! Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 


Leaving Your Mark – Creating a legacy for family and community.

Many successful families struggle to define and create their “legacy.” The senior generation of one client family wanted to provide sufficient wealth to create opportunities and flexibility for later generations, as well as a platform for significant philanthropic impact. They struggled, however, with how to achieve these goals simultaneously. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Person looking thoughtfully at a yellow and white painting in an art gallery

Preparing to Launch – Teaching financial skills to the next generation.

A client family’s adult daughter, a talented artist, was looking for a way to make a career out of her art. With no experience in building or managing a business, she turned to her team at Ballentine Partners in order to learn some of the skills she would need to be successful. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 

Adirondack chairs

Compounding Difficulty – Keeping shared property a blessing.

Wealthy families often own shared properties in the form of a family compound, intended to be a platform for family gatherings and cohesion. One client family found that, over time, expectations for how such a compound would be used and managed began to change. Significant dissension developed over how to allocate access between family members, manage repairs and upkeep, and, eventually, allow family members to remove themselves entirely. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief. 


Improving Outcomes – Outsourcing your Chief Investment Officer.

A family with aggregate investment assets of about $500 million had a family office with one investment professional and several support staff.  The family office had experienced personnel turnover every few years because the family was not able to create career opportunities for the staff. When their current investment professional had announced her intention to leave, the head of the family decided to explore alternative ways to obtain the services the family needed. Please see disclosures at the end of this brief.