Webster’s defines “engagement” as an emotional involvement or commitment. The DDK Group believes that it is a culture of commitment to our clients that sets us apart.
We pledge to our clients that we truly care about great outcomes and take great joy in their successes. We celebrate with our clients victories both small and large, and we are there for them through life’s obstacles as their point people in troubling times.
From a small business started in 1892 to what is now a 4th generation owned and managed family business, our team works closely with the third, fourth, and fifth generations of the family which totals 4 separate and distinct family units. Maintaining family ownership of the business, while continuing to grow by selective acquisitions have been the family’s major goals. Minimizing the impact of an almost certain estate tax has also been a focus for the family. Our 15-year relationship started with a simple family need; a new investment advisor. Their existing New York based money manager relationship had not developed into what the family was hoping for. We began our relationship transitioning the existing assets to their new home at Baird. From there, the relationship began to grow as we got to know members from all three family generations. We opened the family’s eyes to the fact that a wealth manger can do much more than simply recommend what stocks and bonds to buy and sell. We quickly turned our focus on the longer term goals of passing the family business and wealth to future generations, while balancing that desire with both current and future charitable goals. We began working, and continue to work, closely with the family’s existing estate planners and tax advisors. To date, we have helped the family successfully transfer nearly $50 million of wealth to future generations, and have maintained and helped establish private foundations and donor advised funds for members of all 3 generations. As we move forward, our hope is to continue to build and develop relationships with the family, and make sure the wealth the family has created can be used to better the lives of the family members and the communities in which they live. Our latest initiative is to implement socially and environmentally conscious investment portfolios to ensure the family’s values are aligned with their investment decisions. We feel this will provide more fulfilment to the family, as well as build a stronger relationship with the family and the DDK Group at Baird.
Years of advanced education, risk-taking, and sacrifice finally paid off for this couple when they sold their family-owned business for $80 million. Overnight, trusts and a charitable foundation that had only existed on paper were suddenly funded with cash. The entrepreneurs were worried about their unanswered questions; have we sold the company for enough money, how do we preserve and grow this wealth for our children, grandchildren and charity, and lastly, how should we invest the cash?
To them, operating the business was easy but investing was difficult – these were uncharted waters for them. In order to navigate the proper course, DDK met with the family as a group and then each family unit individually, flushing out all of their goals and concerns. Even though members shared the last name, little else was the same. After designing and presenting plans that answered everyone’s key questions, DDK used Baird’s research and buying power to implement the cash systematically with proven, efficient money managers.
Together we successfully navigated the Great Recession of 2008 which occurred not long after the company was sold. As the years went by, the sale became more of memory and life normalized; that was until the patriarch passed away unexpectedly. We were the family’s second call. The matriarch had left the family administration to her husband and others. Now she was suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable role. DDK helped shoulder these new responsibilities by first establishing an on-going family meeting that addressed the family’s critical questions. The first meeting was used to explain the new estate entities, their purpose, their tax implications, and the necessary investment adjustments. DDK also quantified the family’s estate tax exposure that now seemed more real and looming, helping to design strategies to attack the issue.
Today we continue to serve the family with their other advisors, focused on maximizing their investment, income tax, and estate planning outcomes or whatever else becomes important to them.
We were introduced to our client and his family shortly after he had left senior management at one of the world’s largest industrial companies to become president and chief operating officer at a Midwest public company with a proud long tradition of reinvention and growth. He had been identified as the likely successor to the current CEO with the transition to occur in the next few years. He was elevated to CEO and Chairman of the Board two years later.
While short term compensation was in keeping with industry norms for a company of its size the true value of our client’s service to the company would be reflected in various long term incentive programs tied to several underlying metrics, the most important of which was the creation of shareholder value through stock price growth.
While taking care of the client’s relatively modest outside investments by developing a well –diversified, tax efficient and low-cost portfolio, we were keenly aware of the tremendous role that the company’s stock owned long or to come in the form of option exercises and restricted stock grants and performance share grants would play in planning for the family.
Over the years we developed and executed sophisticated estate and gifting and charitable plans using appreciated securities, primarily company stock, to transfer a very substantial portion of the clients’ wealth to their philanthropic causes as well as their children and grandchildren while reducing or eliminating income or gift and estate taxes which would otherwise have been due upon such transfers.
A relationship built on trust and hard work over more than a decade with an informed and engaged client family has resulted in tremendous results for all of the constituents the clients wished to serve – their children and grandchildren, the company and its shareholders, their vast and grateful charitable causes, and their own desire to travel extensively and live life to the fullest!
Baird does not offer tax or legal advice. Experiences sited here are for illustrative purposes only. This is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities, products, or services. This is not the experience of all clients. Each investor's situation is unique, and there is no guarantee of the same or similar results. All investments carry some level of risk, including loss of principal.