One of the most effective ways a wealth advisor can deliver consistent value to their clients is to engage in efficient tax-management of their portfolio. This has ALWAYS been easier to explain than to illustrate to our clients. . . and it is very difficult to explain. The team at Claris has spent the past five years trying to figure out a way to effectively capture and display the mechanics and value of this aspect of comprehensive wealth management. Neither us, nor our partners at Buckingham and DFA were aware of a tool that could show clients the exact value of tax-loss harvesting and dividend and capital gain avoidance. With this in mind, and due to a fortuitous introduction to the folks at the Center for Finance and Accounting Research (CFAR) at Washington University’s Olin Business School, we entered into an agreement that tasked a team at the CFAR to develop the tool we have long desired.
The goal from our perspective was to tap into some stunningly bright minds that could take data from several disparate sources and integrate it into a tool that we could utilize in two ways: 1) to evaluate the consequences, both positive and negative, of certain tax management moves and 2) to show our clients the impact, in real-world dollars, of our work. The final year graduate students, from the graduate degree areas of finance, fintech, and accounting received the opportunity to work on a real-world wealth management project. This project was their practicum and they were graded on it. It is safe to say that both Claris and the students were winners in this collaboration. We now have a customized, proprietary tax-management tool that we very much look forward to using to deliver even more value to our full-service wealth management clients. A special shout-out to Jenna Morris of Anders for acting as a liaison between Claris and Wash U and to our own Chris Bettonville for all the great behind the scenes work with the Wash U students to get this tool developed.