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Scott Poulin - Wescott Financial Advisory Group

Soon after Scott Poulin started his career as a management trainee at SunTrust in 1989, he decided to work in the bank’s trust department. “I quickly learned all aspects of wealth management, including investment management, financial planning, tax and fiduciary services,” and realized that this was my calling.”

Today, Poulin enjoys building trusted relationships with Wescott Financial Advisory Group’s clients, who include high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts, foundations, pension plans and institutions. In the Miami market, about 35 percent of the firm’s clients are attorneys.

“As a boutique wealth advisory firm, we can quickly respond to a client’s need and address questions or concerns,” Poulin says. “Since our investment platform is open and not proprietary, our investment advice is transparent and completely void of any conflicts. I think clients appreciate that in today’s competitive environment.”

Factors to consider when choosing a financial advisor include asking for client references, particularly a current client with similar goals as your own. “When speaking with the reference, ask how often the advisor communicates with them, how often do they evaluate their goals and how would they characterize their relationship with the advisor,” he says.

Poulin suggests asking for a formal written outline of the advisor’s services, and the payment process. “You should write checks to a third-party custodian, not to your financial advisor directly,” he says. “Ask if the advisor is going to take on fiduciary responsibility, in which they are legally bound to act in your best interest.”

Since wealth management decisions can be complex, Poulin recommends working with a professional team – including an accountant, attorney and wealth advisor – to coordinate services, particularly when creating estate and tax planning documents. At that time, the assets should be retitled appropriately for the new established entities. It’s also important to have beneficiary designations on qualified retirement plans and IRAs be current and consistent with estate planning documents, he adds.

Poulin also suggests reviewing estate planning documents annually with the financial team. “Create an agenda and action plan with distinct and deliverable dates for accomplishment, including those responsibilities that fall on the client’s shoulders,” he says.

In today’s higher income tax environment, Poulin receives many inquiries from business owners about how they can lower their income taxes. “I often ask them a simple question: ‘Do you have a qualified retirement plan that allows you to add upwards of $250,000 annually, substantially allocated to the business owner?’” Poulin says. “Although my clients usually say, ‘There is no such thing,’ actually, there is an IRS-qualified cash balance pension plan. If designed correctly, upwards of 92 percent of all contributions into the plan are for the benefit of the business owner. The contributions are pre-tax, grow tax deferred, and are 100 percent creditor protected.”

That’s one of the ways Poulin works with clients and family members to build and manage wealth effectively. As he says, “Securing a client’s financial future is a responsibility we take very seriously.”  

Scott Poulin is managing director, client development for Wescott Financial Advisory Group in Miami. Prior to joining Wescott, he had more than 20 years of trust and investment experience working with such organizations as SunTrust, NationsBank, BankBoston, Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust and Coconut Grove Bank.

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