First Financial Trust, A Subsidiary of the Savings Bank: Your Best Interest Is Our Only Interest

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Client Stories

INSTITUTIONAL / NON-PROFIT

The Situation

Not all non-profits are the same. Each business has its own opportunities and challenges, goals and objectives. Through our community involvement, we came in contact with a growing non-profit organization that had no real handle on their investments. They were working with a broker for over a decade and at a point where they simply received and filed away their quarterly reports. They admitted to not knowing much about the investments and rarely, if ever, spoke with their broker. Upon reviewing their statements, we found that their money sat in the same few mutual funds for years without rebalancing. In addition, all of the funds had high fees that were eating into their returns. They weren't sure what to do and needed help building a plan.

Our Solution

Recognizing that they needed help, the non-profit organization's board asked us to review their portfolio and make a proposal for how we would manage the account. We started by sitting down with the board members and talking through their goals and objectives in order to develop an Investment Policy Statement, something they were lacking. We conducted a full analysis of all the accounts and paperwork and then proposed a plan and recommendations to identify risk tolerance and portfolio constraints. The Investment Policy Statement is a critical component to any non-profit's program and outlines their goals, risks, requirements, restrictions and liquidity needs. Think of it as a framework for the fund and a way to stay on track. We reviewed the Investment Policy Statement with the board and it became the unifying document to guide the business and the investment approach and practices. We set-up regular check-ins and the client is thankful to have their investments better aligned with their objectives. We gave the non-profit business a new level of structure and organization to help them invest and we put their best interests first.

WEALTH MANAGEMENT

The Situation

Wealth management can be complicated especially with life's uncertainties. One of our clients, small business owners, were in the process of selling their company and needed to figure out what to do with the proceeds. As a husband and wife team, with a family to think about, they wanted to be able to invest in another business in the near-term, while planning for their future. In short, they needed a wealth management strategy.

Our Solution

Here at First Financial Trust, we are all about the big picture. It's not just about meeting short term or long term goals, it's about looking at the full view and helping our clients understand all of the pieces and how to put them together. We started spending time with the husband and wife to understand their entire situation. We learned about their goals and objectives and how they wanted to live their lives. We learned that the wife had several old 401ks sitting around that could be consolidated into a rollover IRA to simplify her investments and record keeping. We learned about the sale of the business and how they wanted to invest those proceeds for growth. They still had to pay for college and also wanted to start up and fund a new business, while at the same time ensuring they had enough money for retirement. We recommended an investment strategy to invest some of the proceeds from the sale, and helped consolidate all of their 401ks and other investments, including their lump sum pension distributions. We also helped them set their children up with smaller investment accounts to help them save for their future. Our investment management approach takes a holistic view and simplifies and organizes what can be overwhelming and challenging. We make wealth management understandable and achievable for everyone involved.

TRUST ADMINISTRATION

The Situation

As a trust fiduciary, we work with all sorts of family dynamics, including situations where family members do not always see eye to eye. One of our clients is a multi-generational family. They had a trust that had been passed down for three generations and First Financial Trust was the trusted fiduciary and administrator. After the death of the patriarch, the trust was in question. There was a contentious divorce, real estate held in the trust and the children did not agree with the stipulations outlined in the trust. There were competing interests complicating the situation and the family needed help.

Our Solution

Our extensive expertise in trust administration sets us apart. As one of about 50 nationally chartered trust companies in the U.S., we bring a unique prospective to help our clients with the many complexities of trust administration and fiduciary responsibilities. In this family trust situation, there was a vacation home held in the trust. Many investment firms don't want to handle real estate held in a trust because of its many complexities. We see the different facets of a trust, such as real estate, as a way for us to help our clients. In this case, we helped the family come to a decision on the vacation home and handled all of the coordination to help them keep the property while also renting it out. This was the best of both worlds as the family was able to continue to enjoy the property while also generating extra income in the trust. We met with the real estate management company and accommodated all of the details to make it happen. We sat down with the family to review all of the particulars and explained the legal standards of the trust. We acted as the intermediary and were able to ease the tension as a trusted partner. We managed the property for the family, along with distributing the assets and ensuring the children were taken care of. The family was thankful for the relationship with FFT and they were able to set aside their differences and find a way to move forward with our help.

TRANSITION PHASE

The Situation

Life can often feel like a series of transitions. Not all of them are easy to navigate, especially when they affect your financial well-being. Here at First Financial Trust, we have years of experience helping our clients through a number of transitions such as divorce, living in retirement, the death of a spouse, and a number of other life changes. One of our clients had lost her husband and was still living in their home. She reached the point where it was just too much to maintain on her own and she needed to consider her options for selling the house and moving to assisted living.

Our Solution

We knew that this would be a challenging decision for our client, so we visited her at her home and sat down to discuss the options with her. She shared the type of living situation she wanted and we did a full facility search. We narrowed down the options of a number of properties that could give different levels of care, so as she needed more help, it could be available for her. Once she chose where she wanted to live, we completed all the applications and logistics of moving and getting her settled. We took care of the financial aspects and paid her bills and even helped to take care of the dog. She is happily settled in her new home and we have begun to work with the next generation in her family to ensure that their estate and financial plans are in order.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS

The Situation

For a growing number of families, protecting the financial future of a family member with special needs is both an important and personal decision. At First Financial Trust, we're well versed in administering Special Needs Trusts. We are dedicated to protecting both the financial future of all beneficiaries and serving as an alternate economic resource for the diverse needs of the individual with special needs. One of our clients needed help administering a Special Needs Trust for their daughter. They wanted to give her the independence of living on her own by providing her with the financial and personal support of the right investments and trust officers who would make sure she is safe and receives the best care.

Our Solution

There is a tremendous hands-on aspect to administering a Special Needs Trust. As part of our relationship building with our clients, we get deeply involved. We worked closely with the family's special needs trust attorney, who created the trust document. Our role as fiduciary was key in administering the trust to provide everything for their daughter including food, clothing, shelter, therapy, medication, in-home care, education and even discretionary funds for items such as electronics, travel and entertainment. As a true fiduciary, we took the administrative burden off the family and helped them give their daughter the independence she so wanted in a safe and financially sound way.