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Delap Wealth Advisory Helps Families Build Intergenerational Wealth and Positive Social Impact

Delap Helps Families Build Intergenerational Wealth
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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In a Nutshell: With family wealth comes complexity. Like organized noise becomes music, achieving unified family wealth management with positive social impact is possible through coordination. Delap has a multigenerational history of providing tax, audit, assurance, and business advisory services. Delap Wealth Advisory extends that legacy using a shared vision approach, precisely dedicating resources to advance the client’s goals, which is why the firm has been recognized with our Editor’s Choice™ Award. Sometimes, pushing a button here upsets a predicted result there. Delap ensures that doesn’t happen.

Families that build significant wealth in business have an opportunity and responsibility to pass assets on to heirs in ways that produce a positive social outcome. Delap Wealth Advisory is ideally positioned to provide insights and management to help wealthy families achieve their goals.

The registered investment advisory practice is wholly owned by Delap, LLP, which has nearly a century of experience as a provider of tax planning, audit, assurance, and business advisory services. A team of about 130 achieves a collective impact on client relationships.

Delap Wealth Advisory logo

Because the alternatives to productive wealth management are wasteful spending or loss of asset control through taxation, the goal at Delap is always to supersede the “finger in the wind” approach with sound planning.

Delap, which has been recognized with our Editor’s Choice™ Award as a leader in the wealth management space, produces comprehensive plans based on lifetime cash flow projections to support family goals. It then overlays advanced tax planning and growth location strategies to optimize risk-adjusted after-tax outcomes for families intergenerationally.

Delap initiated its wealth advisory practice about seven years ago and now manages more than $500 million of client resources. Jared Siegel leads the wealth advisory team as a partner and chief development officer at Delap.

“We work with wealthy people who have tremendous financial complexity in their lives,” Siegel said. “We step in and create a financial plan that functions like a sheet of music so the client’s disparate advisors have a unified goal.”

That process takes many forms depending on circumstances, timelines, and objectives.

“Every client has a bespoke service plan based on their needs and preferences,” Siegel said. “We’re a team of talented individuals, but working together enables us to manage more effectively than if we were in silos.”

Comprehensive Wealth Management for Entrepreneurs

Most Delap wealth advisory clients come to the firm after business success. They’re interested in serving or exiting the business while planning for retirement and wealth transfer to heirs in a tax environment that may not work to their advantage.

They may also desire and see the advantage in deploying assets to create positive outcomes for others — hence Delap’s emphasis on ESG investing, screening investments using environmental, social, and governance criteria.

“We believe not all decisions are financial decisions,” Siegel said. “We seek to understand how people want wealth to impact their family and community.”

Jared Siegel
Jared Siegel, partner and chief development officer at Delap, heads the wealth advisory team.

Delap integrates wealth advisory services with tax and financial planning and coordination of non-liquid assets to address these concerns. To do that, it concertedly shuns hot market trends for an evidence-based approach.

“Our investment thesis is that markets work and prices are fair,” Siegel said. “We describe ourselves as an evidence-driven firm using decades of peer-reviewed empirical data to extract truths from the market and allocate broadly to asset classes worldwide.”

Balancing those concerns requires an ongoing facilitative discovery process. Onboarding starts with weighing quantitative goals against qualitative ones. Quantitative goals are easy to enter into an Excel spreadsheet and measure. The non-financial aspects of wealth require a thorough understanding of the client’s perspective.

The team inventories financial needs, wants, and wishes to create a cumulative lifetime spending requirement. That enables it to identify opportunities for heirs and the role charity can play earlier. It then integrates financial and estate planning strategies to locate growth appropriately and grow more tax efficiently.

“We believe planning is an iterative and ongoing process,” Siegel said. “Knowing that the only thing promised to us by the future is uncertainty, we refresh the plan annually to continue progressing.”

Shared Vision Capacity Allocates Resources Strategically

The industry journal InvestmentNews noted Oregon-based Delap as the fifth fastest-growing US wealth management firm in 2023. Its highest client concentration is in its home state and neighboring Washington, but it works with clients nationwide, in the UK, and in the EU.

Many Delap clients are concerned with the US federal estate tax, which puts them in a group with cumulative wealth generally more than $20 million-$25 million.

Complexity dogs wealth management for business owners in many ways, most emphatically in the tangle of technical and professional service providers attached to their finances. Those can be a bear to coordinate.

Delap shared vision approach
Delap provides a bespoke service based on a shared vision approach.

“Dealing with people in various companies who are compensated and evaluated differently can be challenging,” Siegel said. “The client ends up playing a game of professional services telephone where financial perspectives clash with or contradict legal and other views.”

Siegel often uses a Rubik’s cube analogy to describe this complexity. When an individual service provider tries to solve its side of the cube, it may inadvertently disrupt the sides of the cube other providers had previously solved.

That’s where Delap’s organizational prowess comes to the fore. Clients remain with the firm over the long term and refer others because Delap solves the entire puzzle, working in a shared vision capacity where everyone on the team has a distinct role.

As the team kicks off a relationship, touchpoints are frequent. Ongoing work with Delap takes on a bespoke problem-solving nature where creativity intersects with tried-and-true investment philosophies.

“As the world and taxes have become more complicated, our shared vision approach allows us to narrow our technical focus as team members,” Siegel said. “Working together in a unified fashion for the client’s benefit enables us to increase our firm’s impact on the client’s life.”

Structuring Wealth to Support Greater Family Flourishing

Delap’s evidence-based approach leads it to predictable conclusions regarding investing and wealth management, a fact clients undoubtedly welcome.

For example, although the firm acknowledges that concentrated positions can often create wealth, it holds fast to the notion that diversification is the only proven way to preserve it. Its evidence-driven portfolios are globally diversified and overlaid with appropriate tax strategies.

“Scarcity can provoke the perception of increased value, so a scarce resource in and of itself isn’t necessarily attractive,” Siegel said. 

A differentiator based on Delap’s business client base is that it spends significant time planning around illiquid assets that don’t trade in capital markets. Its comfort level with those asset classes is extensive, particularly considering performance after tax. It seeks to ensure that investments requiring some level of illiquidity are additive within the overall context of the portfolio.

“I’ve spent more than 10,000 hours in advanced tax planning meetings, which is unusual among my peers,” Siegel said. “Strategies we can implement before, during, and after liquidity events increase the wealth families retain after tax, spurring planning conversations around how we structure wealth to support greater family flourishing intergenerationally.”

The nature of Delap’s business means that it measures success as an outcome of systems and processes. It believes that if it becomes a better firm, it will naturally become bigger. Therefore, it seeks to retain and expand current relationships while preparing for referrals.

“We’re laser-focused on improving our quality of service and execution of our existing client relationships, which generates additional opportunities for us,” Siegel said. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to alleviate financial anxiety. The extent to which we can do that is a significant measure of success.”