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If you have assets, you are probably thinking about asset protection. If you aren’t, you should be. Some things in our lives come unexpectedly. The majority of them have to do with financial losses. Once the disaster strikes, it’s nearly impossible to keep your money safe.
We asked Carlo Scevola, the president of CS&P, a company that offers asset protection services, to share information about the importance of asset protection, the work in the asset protection industry, steps to take to protect the assets, and much more.
Q: What do you wish someone had told you about asset protection 10 years ago?
Carlo Scevola: I wish I had realized how many people had no idea about the importance of asset protection. When entrepreneurs are on their way to developing and growing a business, they seem blinded by the success. Not enough of them have professional advisors who can tell these people about the adverse consequences of the lack of protection.
If I’d made the asset protection services part of my program 10 years earlier, I would have helped more people keep their money safe.
Q: What is an average workday like for you?
Carlo Scevola: It’s not as glamorous as some people may think (laughs). I get up at around 6 a.m. to check emails and answer questions of remote clients who may be located in different time zones. I run through reports and meeting briefs before getting my morning coffee.
I spend 50 to 70 hours a week in the office, depending on how many problems need solving. I believe that taking a personal approach to each client is one of the reasons my business has become as successful as it is today. That’s why I don’t hesitate to meet the majority of our clients personally.
Since our company doesn’t just deal with asset protection advice but also does diplomatic consulting, international tax planning, estate planning, and much more, we have many different teams working in the office. It’s my responsibility to ensure a smooth work process regardless of the staff’s level of expertise.
Most of the time I hold meetings. The number of meetings I hold a week may seem endless at times. However, all of them are a necessary part of the work process and usually bring excellent results. Meanwhile, I allow many employees to have flexible working hours as long as the job is done.
I never go to sleep before checking my email and going over new reports. I try to have at least one day off per week.
Q: How did you get started in this field and what kind of preparation is needed for someone who wants to take care of asset protection professionally?
Carlo Scevola: I’ve wanted to be a lawyer ever since high school. So I went to law school. When spending time in the courtroom didn’t turn out to be as great as I expected, I began looking for other options.
When you are an expert at something, it’s easy to find someone who needs your services. All you have to do is become that expert. Sounds easy? Not really. It takes years of studying and practice to offer sound business advice to someone without looking back. Meanwhile, the law and precedents constantly change. So it’s hardly possible to stop learning. An asset protection specialist is always a student.
For someone who wants to become an expert in asset protection, I would recommend getting experience. You may not be paid much as a newbie, but your salary is the experience. The more cases you go through and the more companies you work with, the more chances you have of becoming successful. In my business, the experience is everything.
Q: In general, are there any specific traits that work well in this career?
Carlo Scevola: Good memory. Ability to learn. Knowing how to work with people. I guess that’s about it. As I said earlier, asset protection needs expertise. If you don’t have a good memory, you are unlikely to become an expert. You always have to learn something new in this business, so if you are a slow learner, you are unlikely to reach special heights.
The ability to work with people is a must. Excellent communication skills and a good sense of humor can keep you on top of your game. A consultant is not just an expert; he or she is a psychologist and a teacher. If you lack “people’s skills”, you had better get some or you are unlikely to succeed in asset protection.
Q: What kind of changes have occurred in asset protection in the last few years, and have they had a big impact on the current business situation?
Carlo Scevola: I can’t say that too many vital changes have occurred in this business. For our U.S. clients, the changes are often occurring on the local level. One state can change the law dramatically, like Missouri did in 2015, simplifying law protection for married couples. Meanwhile, other states can tighten the rope, forcing the business owner to be more transparent about offshore assets. Local laws are the toughest to follow while they require the most attention.
I’m happy to say that in the past few years, many more business owners have become knowledgeable about asset protection. We talk to many clients, who start thinking about protecting their money from the beginning and definitely before it becomes too late.
Q: What first steps should a person take to ensure asset protection, even if the assets aren’t formidable?
Carlo Scevola: I may be biased here, but I would say that hiring a consultant is a must. Making unfortunate blunders with asset protection is highly popular these days.
You can definitely protect your assets without anyone’s help. But you are likely to spend too much time and money on the process while not ensuring proper results.
You may only need one consultation with an expert to proceed in the right direction. The time and money you spend on getting professional advice are hardly comparable to what you could waste if you don’t.
Proper asset protection requires expertise. If you don’t have it, it never hurts to ask.