Transcript of interview with one of AFE’s Generationally Wealthy Clients.
We are pleased to release the transcript of the podcast audio interview with one of AFE’s Generationally Wealthy Clients. This interview is a rare opportunity to hear directly from an executor of a family estate, who is responsible for the allocation of the family wealth portfolio. He gives a heart-felt view into his research process, and his conclusions regarding international diversification of wealth, golds role in the portfolio, and also why he chose to use AFE in particular to provide the logistics for safe custody of his precious metals.
Jon Ward: Hello, I’m Jon Ward on behalf Anglo Far-East. In this special edition, we’re going to be discussing international diversification and the role of gold in protecting wealth not just for a few years but for generations. I’m joined first by Alex Stanczyk, Chief Market Strategist for Anglo Far-East. Welcome, Alex.
Alex Stanczyk: Hi, Jon, it’s great to be here. I’m very excited today because we have a very special guest – one of our generationally wealthy clients who is willing to grant us an interview and talk about his views on international diversification, his views on gold, and also a little bit about his views on Anglo Far-East. It’s a very special opportunity and a rare treat for us to have someone who’s an executor of a family estate (generational wealth) be willing to share his views in a public interview about these kinds of topics. We’re very grateful to have that opportunity, and with that said, I’m going to hand it back to you, Jon, to begin the interview.
JW: Thank you, Alex, and welcome to our guest, G.P.
GP: Good morning. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to be with you, Jon, and also an honor with Alex as well.
JW: G.P., you’re the executor of a large family trust that has been in existence for several generations. Would you tell us how you see that role and what you regard as your primary obligations?
GP: I’d be happy to do so. Part of that might be beneficial to the audience, and I certainly want to thank the audience for listening in as well. It’s been a very interesting journey for me to go back over a period of time in order to share a little bit with you because of the process I went through that you want me to speak about. My role goes way back over 25 years, but a few years ago, in 2007, I found myself in a situation where the circumstances in the economy and also in the political situation were changing dramatically. I recognized that there was a very serious storm cloud on the horizon, predominantly as a trustee in the financial markets and certainly security policies, interest rates, and many other things that were beginning to change. As a result of that, I contacted the family attorney in a private conference call to begin looking at these concerns.
I asked him if these concerns or considerations were something I needed to pay attention to, because it seemed to me that I needed to do some due diligence. In altering the current portfolio and management of the portfolio, that took me in a direction I think is important to share. I began to look at why these things were happening and the impact on the free markets, and I was very concerned about the cause and effect and the possibility of risk ramifications. At this same time, I was not well informed on these trends that were happening.
When I took the case and actually started to proactively do research or due diligence, I started to get involved in environments that I wasn’t usually participating in. There were two situations that caused me to act in a way that I called the “threat assessment” action regarding this dark storm, feeling and being aware that something was terribly wrong that needed to be corrected. The portfolio at that time was in traditional types of investments such as bonds, cash, municipals, and blue chips. They had been in that role for a very long period of time, but like cycles of nations, cycles of economics, cycles of war and many other things, it appeared to me that adjustments needed to be made.
I was looking at the inflation factor, dollar debasement concerns, the stealth taxes that were happening, and a number of other factors that were reducing the productivity of the trust itself to a negative rate of return. Needless to say, if you’re a trustee and have responsibilities that I’ll get into in a minute, it was important for me to determine what had to be done, but on the other hand I was in a learning process.
There are two factors I want to bring forward that you asked about. Number one was being in that role — how did I view that role, and what were my obligations? First of all, when you’re governing other people’s money, you’re dealing with parents, with beneficiaries, and with different factors of belief systems and different concerns. Under a legal responsibility of governing as a stewardship, the responsibility of management of something entrusted to one’s care, you don’t take that very lightly. I didn’t, so it was a concern for how I was actually going to move forward on this.
From a stewardship standpoint, I first took the lead on the heart and the legal responsibility, the approach to wealth management and the trends that were happening, and also the council of wisdom. The bottom line on this is I did deep research and I started to connect with economists and financial experts like James Rickards, for example. I was looking for anybody and everybody, including scripture in the Bible, to come up with a summary of what I felt were the threat assessments, and I listed them. The second part of the obligation had to do with the emotional and spiritual side for me. That was the capital preservation and growth by addressing the whole issue of threat assessment, the possibility of risk, and to mitigate those risks. I see those today as I did then as the two critical factors.
JW: I want to pick up on one thing and make sure I heard you right. You said you addressed several factors. Did I hear you say you addressed the heart first?
GP: Yes, I actually did, Jon.
JW: What did you mean by that? I’m very curious what you had in mind when you said that.
GP: There are three components to the way I view the world and the way I conduct my own personal behavior and relationships that I try to practice. First is the heart, then the head, and then the wallet. So I started with the heart to be sure I was in alignment with respect, responsibility, honesty, and truthfulness with my family members. That’s the reason why I started there to respectfully gain their insights and perspective in my conversations with them.
JW: That’s impressive and intriguing. I’d like to ask you about one specific dimension of the explorations you did, and that is international diversification, by which I mean owning assets in more than one jurisdiction. Did that become part of your strategy, and if so, how and why and what kind of research did that entail?
GP: That’s a very important question I find in my sphere of influence, relationships, friends around North America, and even internationally. It’s what I’ve come to recognize as the following: Something I feel very strongly about is how can we, with family members or trusts or children or anyone that is awake and aware, come into an environment or live in an environment and continue to be in the mindset, under the assumption that unacknowledged risk of putting everything into one jurisdiction, one environment, one political system, one banking system or one regulatory system, and actually assume or guarantee to our spouses or children and the legacy that we all want to leave that everything is going to be okay? That we’re going to listen to the mainstream media and the political folks? That we’re just going to continue our journey and say it’s all going to work out? I think that’s a very dangerous situation to be in, and it was one that woke me up in a very significant way as something that needed to be pondered and really contemplated. I realized that even though I’ve traveled internationally since I was a kid, I really never thought about it in terms of wealth management or preservation of capital.
How can we ignore several of these very important factors that are happening right now? How do we reduce or increase the shield of guarding our assets? If we don’t do that, then that puts us in a very dangerous and vulnerable situation, because we’re not diversifying or looking beyond the borders and getting educated and informed. We’re facing a sovereign debt situation not only here in the United States but a possibility of insolvency also in Europe and Asia and particularly right now Japan that is on life support and worse off than we are.
This caused me to begin the journey down the path as a family trustee for my parents and the inheritance and the game plan that had been perfect for twenty-some years but had become imperfect. There are some real strong legal mandates as trustee that have to come in place – in other words, vulnerability by doing the wrong things especially if they’re severe. So this is why I have been able to think out of the box in order to accommodate the internationalizing and diversification into multiple jurisdictions, to provide safety, security, and of course also possibilities of growth and protecting the assets.
JW: I noticed the word ‘multiple.’ It would seem from what you’re saying that any and every jurisdiction could carry some degree of risk, so how did you research various jurisdictions and weigh the risks that each presented?
GP: Initially, it was a very narrow consideration of options, and let me share with you how I went through that process. I had already started on a personal level to begin investing in precious metals and hard assets. My background was international investing, and because I was looking at real estate outside the United States, I was looking for commercial real estate and trends. That put me into an environment where I became familiar with a lot of people, which is a great way to accelerate education especially if they’re honorable, moral, and ethical people with long histories of progress and success along with the bad stories they have experienced. The key point here is to surround yourself with the right kinds of people who have the appropriate moral compass and wisdom.
I went through a process of doing research with developers, with entrepreneurs who have been involved internationally, and also by doing website research on key tags that would give me insight. As a result of that, moving ahead a little bit to your question, I narrowed it down to one country in terms of precious metals. I know there are many others, and there are places to store, and so on, but I narrowed it down to one. I was holding personal but was not necessarily doing too much in the precious metals that would justify internationally, so I didn’t know a whole lot about it, but that changed quite rapidly.
From a research basis, those tipping points I mentioned were the ones I invested a considerable amount of time on. From 6:00 in the morning to midnight, I was on a path to address the issue that I was called to by my parents many years ago to take care of, be careful, and ensure that family members would be protected against significant downside, which we know there always are.
JW: If I may ask you – and it’s up to you if you’d like to share this – what was that one jurisdiction where you placed greater confidence?
GP: I had spent time in Europe on some travel trips and so on, so although I had not been there, it was Switzerland.
JW: Which makes a lot of sense.
GP: Yes. As it turned out, it was a tremendous blessing having that preliminary background, but frankly, the firm of AFE opened my eyes substantially, and I know you want to talk about that a little later.
JW: What was is it that you saw in Switzerland—from your perspective—that gave you greater confidence in that jurisdiction?
GP: Well, I’m a lover of history. My family goes back to Europe, Germany, Great Britain, and I have a lot of Scottish and Irish in me. I was somewhat aware of the history of Switzerland, but the thing I noticed there was the banking history and the difficulty of access from other nations that might have an interest in taking over the country. I was vaguely aware that there were a fair amount of precious metals refineries there and that their constitution was bulletproof, so that awareness was part of me confirming my decision. I did the research, I got online, I went through political, I went through monetary, I went through wars, and I went through a lot of things in the journey as I was moving more and more towards a hard asset precious metal shift out of the paper marketplace into hard assets.
JW: That’s exactly what I’d like to ask you about next, G.P. What prompted that shift, and what is the role of gold in your family’s portfolio as you are managing it?
GP: Something I want to bring through to you and Alex and also to the audience is that risk mitigation was a critical factor — the international diversification and owning of assets that are safe and protected in a jurisdiction that has a long history of protection and multiple scales. I’ll expand on that in a minute, but it’s very interesting to notice that today the Americans in particular are on automatic behavior to the degree that just because they were born in the United States, there’s this assumption that things are not going to change, that we’re not going to experience some things that most of the world has experienced. I think it’s just the lack of education or lack of learning, but beyond that, I thought to myself – and this is the heart side – how can I tell my wife, for example, that all of the plans we had been making over the years moving into those golden years, and all the money, would be just slipped away?
I cried over that, just the idea. It wasn’t my agenda, but it was certainly a realization that we’re not prepared, many women in particular. They don’t understand the financial risk, political risk, and the dangers that are currently there. We have the danger of the dollar, political influence on the dollar, monetary policy, and many, many other things that would extend this call and conversation a lot longer. So as I moved more and more into the security, if you will, it became a confirmation on my part.
By the way, on two different occasions we made trips down to meet with Alex, and we had fairly long and in-depth conversations. I’m sure Alex will remember that the rest of his life, because of the length and detail of questions. I had already spent a great deal of time looking at a lot of other things, but I had to be sure. The nature of Switzerland is the first thing that caught my attention, but let me share with you a striking contrast as I looked at other locations in the world in order to make the move I had to make. The first thing that struck me the most and still is in my head to this day was the concept of ‘think outside the bank.’ That just rang with me so huge given all that’s going on and has been going on from 2007 – 2008 all the way up to the present, with the banking world itself, monetary policy, interest rates, and everything else. That really stood out and connected with me.
The second thing had to do with the AFE management team, having the opportunity to spend time face-to-face with Alex, and also the chance to meet some of the other management. They are just down-to-earth, highly knowledgeable, highly practical, and have the spirit of service and stewardship. Another factor that came in was the ability to liquidate portions should that be an issue. Global liquidity in multiple currencies was very liberating based on what I had already studied about other locations, storage, and privacy, and it was completely outside the banking industry. That was impressive to me. I absolutely loved the educational side of the crash course by Chris Martenson that is posted on AFE’s website. The website is very unusual and very, very accommodating to the average person, or the person who has a little bit more capital. It’s educational in format, very insightful, and very much an awakening experience.
I have to tell you and bring this in as a compliment to you, Jon. Just recently you did an interview on the key custodial and jurisdictional safeguards. It was fabulous, just so clear, and so understanding of the difficulty people have to go through in making decisions. If we are not in disinformation today, I don’t know where we are — we’d have to be on another planet, because this is not the one! It seems to be a very popular trend that the world is full of disinformation, a lack of a moral compass a lot of times, and a lack of honesty and truth in representing exactly what they are, what they’re saying, and what they’re doing. That’s very difficult today, so my compliment goes to the entire team in the history of AFE, because going through their process really clarified a lot of those concerns about confiscation. It impressed me regarding Switzerland, the contract law, the Swiss private immovable property, the international law, and the Swiss law — there were so many things you incorporated into that recording. It gave not just me, but also my wife, a level of confidence and understanding.
This is one of the advantages: I perceive AFE as seeing the future in advance, preparing for it, and accommodating it by providing strategies and solutions that are very innovative, very unique, and very exclusive in taking care of their clients, whether they’re institutional or mom and dad or whatever entity. That is huge in a day of misinformation, so my confidence has never been higher, and that’s really why I was open to the idea of having this interview.
There’s much more I would like to share, but the point is the key list that was created, the teaching about history that connected to me, geography protection, military and legal, and also the fact that Switzerland is neutral. People don’t think about these things. I didn’t even think about wars or another nation invading for oil; I didn’t think that deeply. For example, political instability in the world is really a serious threat to our wealth, to our savings, and to our very way of life in North America. I don’t want to take all your thunder here, Jon, but I feel AFE in all aspects is a benchmark to start with to investigate, to communicate with, to research with the team, and to understand the uniqueness here. And by the way, I’m not being paid for this, am I, Jon? I don’t think so!
JW: No, indeed you’re not! Thank you for your comments, G.P. In terms of mastery of the Swiss story, all credit goes to AFE’s founder, Philip Judge, who I was interviewing on that broadcast.
Let me ask you a final question here. You’ve gone on an extraordinary journey. From the beginning, you were really maintaining a traditional portfolio, I guess based primarily in the United States, of Wall Street-based stocks, bonds, cash, and so forth. Over the course of 25 years, you shifted to a radically different organization of your family’s wealth including a significant portion of it in precious metals with a focus on international diversification. Stepping back from that whole journey, are there any overall global insights or wisdom that you’d like to share with our listeners who are concerned about protection of their own wealth?
GP: Yes, and if I may, I’d like to add a comment to what you just said. I started in 2007 on a very aggressive pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, truth, and trends. If you saw my library, it’s huge. Because of that, I believe I was called — against my family — to move forward based on the covenant made when I was asked by my dad to take care of it on behalf of the family. I made a decision to go from a dangerous environment that was only going to get worse over time. From 2007 up to the present today, it’s almost like we can’t even recognize the two time cells, if you will. There’s so much tension taking place, so much more risk today.
So in the fall of 2010, I made the decision and began to move all of it, not all into hard, but into a number of different formats that were backed by precious metals, by gold. And that cost me on a relationship level. Even with my openness, candor, truth, research, and everything, it put a big concern, because they did not understand, they did not want to understand, and they did not want to recognize the changes taking place in the world and the risk that involved, as much as I had done the education. I’ve since been confirmed on those decisions by over 25 individuals who are people I respect and admire. Actually, Alex confirmed the direction as well. So just so you know, what I did was controversial, but you know, all we have to do is be informed.
To your point, I would like to share this with everyone. Number one is to understand that gold is very critical to your financial life, because it is unlike stocks, bonds, real estate (especially in North America), life insurance, annuities, paper money — that is toxic and has no value attached to it whatsoever, zero. It doesn’t say on the dollar bill that this is a silver certificate; it has a different message counter to everything we believe in, in the Constitution. Even your business doesn’t depend on any formal institution, certainly not on the government financial situation. The ugly irony about gold, so to speak, is that confiscation is possible. That would confirm our darkest worries that something’s terribly wrong, and also about the government and the choices they’re making and the danger in their political agendas that are not really very favorable to the American people.
We’re also seeing that in Canada, it’s not just America. I’m a patriot; I didn’t come across on the Mayflower, but my family did. I have family members going back in history that supported George Washington and delivered meat and were in the wars, so I’m a patriot, yet I did find that something was terribly wrong. At this very moment when the government is stripping off of us all means of being independent, I want to give a warm-hearted message to everyone who may be wondering what to do. That’s a classic question for all people: ‘What do I do? I know there’s a problem, I can sense it, but what do I do?’ My recommendation is to get to AFE, get connected, get educated and informed, and don’t waste a moment of time. That is from the heart.
On a practical level, I think it’s important to recognize that freedom is ultimately dependent upon sound money. So if we love our freedom – and I know we all do as human beings – it’s really vital and necessary that you secure the audience, you secure your financial freedom with some of your own sound money that’s valuable worldwide. When you look at the central banks and the East, central banks are buying a lot of gold – India, China, Russia and others. Why? Why aren’t we buying? Why aren’t we being challenged and encouraged by the government to buy gold, to buy silver, to protect against the global reset and the debasement of currencies? I’ve heard numbers from smart, insider economists ranging from 40 to 50 to 90 percent. Do I know that it’s going to happen to that degree? No. Do I know it’s going to happen soon? Yes.
So everyone who listens to this recording, I urge you to not waste any time. You’ll get the education you need, the insight, and the wisdom if you reach out to this extraordinary management team that has the heart and head and is passionate about service and contribution, making a difference in people’s lives. I’ve never seen anything quite like it to the level or degree that they go.
JW: Thank you, G.P., for an extraordinary illuminating conversation about your experience in managing generational wealth. Now back to you, Alex.
AS: Thanks, Jon. I also want to give a heartfelt thanks to G.P. for his graciousness with his time and being willing to discuss these issues which are obviously close to the heart. He’s been very candid in sharing his research and diligence and what he has looked at. Some people may be a little bit uncomfortable talking about these kinds of things but do realize in the back of their mind or sense that there are certain things needing to be addressed. Very few people have the courage to step up and look directly at these issues and then spend time, energy, and diligence to do the real research necessary to find solutions. So again, thank you, G.P. for being on the call with us, and, Jon, thanks for hosting as always.