When a Trust or Inheritance Comes Your Way…

By Peter Krull

We have had several clients over the past few years who have inherited investments or trusts from parents, grandparents, etc. While this event is typically a bittersweet occurrence, there is often a second level we have to address.

Many of the younger clients inheriting the wealth do not have the same values as their parents or grandparents. And so when they receive inherited assets they often find investments that are not aligned with their values, including fossil-fuel companies, defense contractors and big pharmaceuticals.

What we hear from many new clients is that the financial advisor who had been managing the account previously was not interested in transitioning the account to one with responsible investments. Occasionally this is a difficult situation to resolve – many times the advisor has been a family friend for many years. Sometimes, simple inertia takes over and the account stays where it is for years.

But eventually folks find their way to us. What we do is empower clients to be changemakers and invest with their values. We work with clients to identify those investments that do not represent their interests and use a tax-managed approach to divest and reinvest in more appropriate opportunities.

The truth is that you do not have to settle for investments that keep you up at night. You can change and you can make a difference. Better yet, you can do so and still have competitive returns. All you have to do is ask.

Peter Krull is President & Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.

Asking the Right Question

Does it seem to that you’re always looking for “the answer?” We have a tendency to focus on finding the answer without spending enough time on making sure we’re asking the right question.

Ten years ago I was lucky enough to ask the right questions: Is there a way that I can help my clients invest differently? Can I help them invest with their social and environmental values?

Of course, conventional investment minds said no – the answer is that you invest traditionally and donate your excess profits to the cause of your choice. That answer wasn’t good enough, so I kept asking questions.

Is it possible to generate competitive returns with responsible investments? Can we empower clients to be changemakers through shareholder advocacy?

With a little research and some friendly guidance, the answers to those questions presented themselves quite clearly as YES. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve continued to ask relevant and insightful questions for the past ten years.

We ask clients about their values, their philanthropic interests, their families, hobbies and even their pets. We ask how we can provide even better service.

A couple of years ago, a client asked if we could create a basket of sustainable stocks for him to invest in because it wasn’t available. That’s how the Green Sage Sustainability Portfolio began.

What questions can you ask, both of yourself and of us? Is there a product or service that you are interested in? Are you happy with your level of service? Your performance?

I encourage you to be “askers,” both in your personal life and professional life. You never know what you might get.

For more information on asking, I’d recommend reading A More Beautiful Question by Warren Burger. Here’s the link on Amazon.

Peter Krull is President & Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.