Strategic Planning and Wealth Preservation: The Role of a Wealth Management Expert

Wealth management is not merely about growing assets; it’s equally about safeguarding them and ensuring longevity. 

Strategic planning and wealth preservation, when you have significant assets, are essential for ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals.

“Wealth planning is about aligning your financial resources with your life goals,” says Marco Belda.

“It’s not just about having a lot of assets but managing them in a way that serves your purposes – whether that’s retirement, passing on wealth to the next generation, philanthropy, or simply ensuring a certain lifestyle.”

Belda, a wealth management expert, is the co-founder of GPS (Global Portfolio Strategists), Brazil’s largest wealth investment firm. 

The company manages billions of dollars for its clientele and is the country’s premier independent wealth management and conflict-free advisory firm. 

Catering to high-net-worth individuals, GPS operates under the regulation of AMBIMA and CVM, Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission.

With a history of advising thousands of entrepreneurial clients and generating substantial wealth, Belda can offer a valuable roadmap for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of wealth preservation.

“People spend countless years investing in becoming professionals like lawyers, engineers, doctors, or entrepreneurs, all in pursuit of success and wealth accumulation,” says Belda.

“For some, this includes the added advantage of inherited wealth. Yet, there’s a significant oversight in our educational systems: they rarely teach us how to manage and preserve this wealth effectively. Wealth management is an intricate skill set, usually not addressed in standard educational curriculums.”

As a wealth management expert, Belda says his role extends far beyond just astute investment decisions: “It involves a deep understanding of the nuanced layers of an individual’s life and financial circumstances. A skilled wealth advisor does more than oversee your finances. They take a deep dive into the genesis of your wealth, your reactions to financial ups and downs, your genuine risk tolerance, and factors like family dynamics such as relationships, marital status, age, divorce, and plans for succession.”

He adds the first step in strategic planning is understanding the individual’s situation: “Everyone’s financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance are different. A deep understanding of these elements is crucial in crafting a strategy that works.” 

This personalized approach sets expert wealth management apart from generic financial advice.

Belda also emphasizes the importance of a long-term perspective in wealth preservation: “Short-term market fluctuations can be distracting and lead to hasty decisions. A long-term view helps navigate these volatilities and ensures that the wealth preservation strategies stay on track,” he explains.

Belda is an eminent personality in the financial world with decades of experience. He spent time as Co-Director & Partner at GPS Planejamento Financeiro BR in São Paulo, where he was pivotal in establishing the firm as a leader in wealth management in Brazil and internationally. He excelled in asset management, significantly enhancing and evaluating client portfolios. 

Belda’s strategic investment analysis fostered collaboration with global and local financial entities. His skill in engaging with fund managers worldwide ensured continuous monitoring and validation of the firm’s investments, diversifying across hedge funds, fixed income, high yield, equity, private equity and real estate.

As Managing Director at GE Capital N.A, Structure Finance Group for South America Brazil, Belda spearheaded capital market operations throughout South America. He led various financial strategies, including bridge financing, Sale Leasebacks, debt restructuring, and M&A activities in the private sector. 

Serving as Vice President at ING Barings, New York, Brazil , he focused on investment banking operations across Latin America. He specialized in transactions with the private sector and worked with multilateral organizations like OPIC, Miga, and the World Bank. He led the Corporate Finance Group in Brazil, emphasizing corporate restructuring and raising external funds through various financial instruments.

In his earlier career, Belda’s role at Citibank N.A. Brazil as Vice President of Underwriting involved managing debt and equity issuance operations, business relations with multinational corporations, and significant contributions to the bank’s credit department, focusing on company analysis and credit line approvals.

Academically, he has earned his Economics degree from São Francisco University and participated in a Financial Management Program at Stanford University. Completing a Commercial Green Belt in the USA and the New Management Development Course in Brazil underscored his commitment to continuous learning.

Having spent many years in the finance industry, one of the core strategies Belda also advocates for is diversification: “Diversification is not just about having different investments; it’s about creating a portfolio where the different assets complement and balance each other,” he states. 

“This approach is vital in mitigating risks and ensuring steady growth over time.”

Estate planning is another critical aspect of wealth preservation, and Belda insists on its importance. 

“Estate planning ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after passing. It’s also about minimizing the tax burden on your heirs,” he clarifies. 

This process involves wills, trusts, and other legal instruments.

Belda also points out that tax efficiency is a key component of strategic wealth management.

He says: “Understanding the tax implications of your investments and using strategies to minimize tax liabilities can significantly impact wealth preservation. This can include decisions on investment types, retirement accounts, and charitable giving.”

Belda also highlights the importance of assessing and mitigating potential financial risks: “This could involve insurance, hedging strategies, or simply adjusting the investment portfolio,” he explains. 

“Understanding and managing risks is fundamental to protecting wealth.”

For individuals with significant wealth, involving family in wealth management decisions can be beneficial. 

Belda says: ” Educating the next generation about wealth management is important. Involving them in discussions and decisions helps in smoother transition and continuity.”

He also points out the importance of understanding global economic trends: “We live in an interconnected world. Global events can have a significant impact on individual portfolios.” 

Belda adds: “Staying informed and adjusting strategies accordingly is part of effective wealth management.”

He believes owning wealth brings with it not just personal but familial responsibilities. And he notes while you don’t have to become a financial expert, it is important to understand how to review financial performance, handle risks, and establish relevant benchmarks: “A proficient wealth advisor will guide you through these areas, ensuring that their responsibilities are in harmony with your needs and understanding,” explains Belda.

Mark Abrams was the former Head of Rabobank’s Western Region in North America. A high-ranking executive, he became a client of GPS and worked directly with Belda.

He says: “Marco was highly attentive to family businesses, particularly regarding their sustainability and succession planning. I recall introducing him to several individuals. In one instance, a family business was facing turmoil following the founder’s death, with siblings disagreeing on management. 

“Marco was responsible for implementing a structured approach to how the business was conducted. He established an oversight board comprising family members while ensuring a clear distinction in roles for executive officers. 

This intervention transformed a potentially disastrous situation for the family business into a success story, earning me considerable positive feedback from the family member I introduced to Marco. 

“He is helpful, serious, responsible, thoughtful, and generous with his time and a trusted professional.”

Priscila Albertotti Menezes has known Belda since 2001, when she started working at GPS Planejamento Financeiro where they had some clients.

She worked as a banker assisting clients with their investments, financial structure, and succession issues: “Marco is a great professional, he always pursues to have a macro view of the situation, and he is very detail-oriented, supportive and helpful,” Menezes says.

“He is hard-working and super ethical, always acting correctly and transparently, even if this means longer or harder work.”

Natalia Destro, Head of the Wealth Planning Team for Julius Baer Brazil, says: “Marco has always stood out for his performance and work ethic. He had great results as a founder and entrepreneur and has great expertise in wealth management.

“He provided tips on working with clients and relationship managers, so I could excel in an area where I was operating alone. Marco is great at motivating people.”

Strategic planning and wealth preservation are key to ensuring that your wealth serves your life goals and endures for future generations. 

Belda believes wealth management plans must be reviewed and adapted regularly: “As your life circumstances change, so should your wealth management strategy. Regular reviews ensure that the strategy remains aligned with your goals.”

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