When laying out an Asset Protection Code of Ethics, there are many opinions we can discuss on the issue. There are several sides to any position, so just like politicians, there are many strong opinions, and they rarely choose the same solutions. The cornerstone of our philosophy is this:
“The best way to not get caught for doing something wrong is to not do something wrong.” E. Dover.
Most asset protection attorneys understand these ethics, yet not all practice them. A foreign practitioner’s advice could be find in that practitioner’s jurisdiction. Following the same advice could land a client in hot water in the United States. Since our company is based in the U.S., our information is based on the premises that we want to continue to serve for many years. We do not care to have people in big black SUVs pulling up in front of our office and taking our computers.
This organization has seen too many foreign asset protection practitioners give advice that simply violates the laws in this country. Residing here, we cannot afford to do so. It is too common that people use the “whatever it takes” excuse. They offer questionable shortcuts without the client’s best interest in mind. Bending rules is not a practice we prefer to employ here. The bottom line is that the intent of these rules is not to pass judgment on anyone. They are just to state the obvious.
General Asset Protection Code of Ethics
- Do No Harm
The provider will treat the client ethically so that the provider does no intentional harm. The provider will apply care to ensure that he or she does not take action that may harm a client or his or her business. Only employ strategies that will help ensure the safety and beneficial results for clients.
- Avoid Conflicts of Interest
Providers will not advance their private interests at the expense of their clients, their company, or their co-workers.
- Tax and Legal Compliance
Provider will not knowingly help a customer to engage in illegal activities, including but not limited to, the following:
- Tax evasion from the US or any other country
- Illegal gaming/gambling
- Attempting to protect assets from a government agency including, but not limited to, the IRS, FTC or any other US or foreign government agency.
- Illegally trading with a forbidden country. (As of this writing, this includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan.)
- Drug or weapons trafficking.
- Money laundering
- Any other illegal or suspicious activity.
- Laws and Regulations
Service provider will enforce and follow all laws and regulations that relate to services the provider performs for the client. Provider will closely maintain ethics. Moreover, if any issues do arise, provider will take compliance measures to ensure the ethics of the client transaction. If uncertainty about such an action does exist, then the provider will conduct the appropriate research and take measures to ensure the ethics of any move before making it.
- Treatment of Clients
The information provided by the business will not mislead, offend, or do harm to the intended consumers. Avoid misleading tactics, like a “bait and switch” where the information given to the customer does not clearly link with the actual services received. Whereas the number of possible future scenarios, future costs and “what if’s” are too numerous to cover, representative will honestly answer questions about the service being provided.
- Legal Responsibilities
Provider will maintain all laws, as they apply to the industry and etiquette. Information provided by the business will not be misleading. In addition, provider will uphold all state and federal regulation standards with respect to client interactions and services.
- No False Representation of Business
Provider will not make false representations. This rule also means that if the company provides various services, they will continue to present ethical, factual, and correct information to the client. If potential client wants to utilize the services of the provider for illegal purposes, the provider will openly communicate the concerns and if client persists, provider will refuse to do conduct business with potential client.
- No False Representation of Self
Self misrepresentation is not acceptable. Business associates shall communicate honestly with the client and the company they represent. Thus, provider will be forthright about the business associate’s work and background. Furthermore, misrepresentation of one’s self includes misrepresenting matters such as one’s educational background and work experience.
- Equal Treatment
Associates must treat all clients equally. A business associate cannot treat one client that may bring more benefits to the business associate or company in any special way. Associates must give clients an equal amount of attention. If a conflict of interest occurs based on the needs of clients, the business associate must review that conflict of interest with the company.
- Set Reasonable Expectations
Ensure that benefits a business associate discusses a client are within reason and can be accomplished. Ensuring empty or false promises of certain accomplishments will be avoided by the provider at all costs. Upon meeting with clients, provider will ensure that they are disclosing the most common expectations.
- Resolving Disputes
When resolving company and third party disputes, provider attempt to resolve the matter quickly, if possible. Provider will follow company policy and procedure, and discuss the matter with both clients and business associates, if needed. Company protocol will be followed, but so will legal requirements.
- Privacy Requirements
The company and its business associates will uphold strict confidentiality requirements with clients. Information that could potentially harm a client will remain within privacy requirements as long as those same requirements are also upheld by the law. Thus, client activities and actions will remain as confidential as legally and reasonably possible.
Asset Protection Provider Rules
- Putting the Client First
Not all clients are as aware as others regarding the knowledge about the company’s particular market. As such, no company business associate will utilize this lack of information to take advantage of any client. The client’s best interests, and not the business associate’s interests, must come first, and be applied as necessary to adequately assist the client. Furthermore, all clients are treated equally, and given proper ethical consideration.
- Keeping Client’s Needs Confidential
The personal and financial information of the client will be kept confidential. No company business associate will be allowed to violate this, unless on certain legal terms. However, in most cases, release of such records does not occur, and both the company and the company’s business associates must maintain a strict privacy code as far as the company’s clients are concerned.
- Professional Requirements
The company itself, and the company’s business associates, are expected to maintain a high level of respect and professionalism towards the clients, the company, and its coworkers. Foul language, for example, is not allowed. Professional dress and presentation are both required when meeting with customer in person. Since business associates are an example of, and reflect on, the company standards, all matters of professionalism must be closely upheld and maintained in matters of speaking, working, dress, actions, etc.
- Competency Requirements
Laws, regulations and conditions change. So, the provider is expected to be on path of continual learning. Physicians, attorneys, judges and other professions each have a set code of ethics they are to follow. They require continuing education. So must this industry; Asset Protection Code of Ethics, continuing education, and insuring consultants are well-informed. Thus, the company and its business associates are constantly reviewed for competency standards. In order to ensure that business associate performance is up to par, reviews and evaluations are conducted on such members to ensure both productivity and success for all business associates.
Also, business associates receive background and educational checks to ensure that their knowledge meets the standard requirements of their positions. If a business associate falls below competency, proper review tactics will be utilized to guide that associate back into the correct direction, and assist that business associate to better performance standards. In order to ensure that business associates continue to assist clients correctly, competency will continually be examined.