Profile beneficiaries, trustees, and trust corpus for trusts (e.g., revocable, dynastic, QPRTs) and life insurance policies.
Tame all the complexity created by varied ownership interests in business entities. Track different classes of equity, options, warrants, and acquisition costs.
Catalog homes, boats, cars, collectibles, and intellectual property. Archive title documents, purchase contracts, receipts, photos, etc.
Whether a multi-million dollar mortgage or $20K loan to a cousin, get full visibility across the family as to principal, interest rate, maturity date, and collateral.
Keep track of account values, beneficiaries, and account numbers for checking, savings, securities, 401K, IRA, and credit card accounts.
Map security interests, guaranties, co-tenancies, leases, licenses, and judgments. Chart agency and personal relationships too.
The best advisors to families of even modest complexity are in the operational risk management business.
Their focus is 'no surprises and smooth transitions.'
They don't wait for something bad to happen to review a family's financial and legal relationships.
And they use Complex Interests.
While the trend in software development is browser-based applications with data in the cloud, we went in the opposite direction with Complex Interests. Our application is Windows based, desktop software.
While the option exists to put and access the data in the cloud, keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the data typically entered into our software, most customers prefer to have full physical control over their database.
Matter: In Complex Interests, a "matter" is a universe that the user cares about. In most situations, this will be a client family. However, it could be any complex job, e.g., a forensic accounting investigation, a large corporate merger, or a divorce where the bifurcation of assets is complicated. A single-family office would likely only ever have one matter, while an accounting firm would likely maintain several matters in Complex Interests. The number of matters created is not relevant to Complex Interests' pricing.
Concern: A matter is made up of concerns. A "concern" is anything that is deemed relevant to the matter, e.g., a person, bank account, business entity, trust, debt, real estate, personal property, etc. The number of concerns used across all matters determines the cost for licensing Complex Interests.
From an installation perspective, Complex Interests is essentially made up of three components. The first is Microsoft SQL Server. The user is responsible for licensing this component directly from Microsoft. (Microsoft SQL Server Express edition is free, can be licensed upon install, and works perfectly with Complex Interests.) The second component is Complex Interests' server module, which sits alongside Microsoft SQL Server. The third component is Complex Interests' client module, which is installed on each client workstation that will use Complex Interests.
Complex Interests operates on an annual license scheme. The execution date of the Complex Interests software license agreement sets the annual term. License fees are based on "concern capacity," i.e., the number of concerns that can be simultaneously active within the software. Concern capacity is added to the license at a cost of $40 / concern.
The annual license can be renewed each year for the existing concern capacity at a cost of $10 / concern. Failure to renew the annual license will cause the ability to add, edit, and delete concerns or other records managed by the software to become disabled. Under a non-renewed license, the software will continue to function as read only.
An accounting firm is using Complex Interests on behalf of two families (matters) with 50 concerns each. That firm would purchase a license with a concern capacity of 100 concerns at a cost of $4000 in the first year, and $1000 each year thereafter.
In 2008, the "CFO" of a small, self-managed family office in the Washington, DC metro area asked the question "if I got hit by a bus, how would my family know or understand what we have?"
The issue was not that the other family members weren't capable of stepping into the CFO's shoes. Rather, the issue was that the family had complex interests: three operating companies (some with non-family partners), several real estate holdings, various alternative investments (including direct venture investments), and a comprehensive estate plan. There was no database, map, or handbook that sensibly laid out all of these diverse pieces and explained how they were connected to the various family members.
Had the CFO been hit by a bus in 2008, the family would have had to expend significant resources pulling together information gleaned from past tax returns, personal financial statements, and documents buried in file cabinets to try to put the puzzle together. Of course, the family would have never actually known whether it was successful because it could not have tracked down and advocated for interests it did not know about, e.g., what if the family members never found a particular life insurance policy, stock certificate, or promissory note to cousin Bob in the files? What became clear was that the worst time to go through what is essentially a full-scale forensic investigation into the family's interests is after the person with all the "institutional" memory of the family's interests is no longer around to help out.
In search of a solution to this problem, the CFO discovered that the state of the art at the time was something called an "estate binder," essentially a 3-ring binder with every pertinent document printed out in its 12-point Times New Roman glory, accurately tabbed and referenced in a detailed table of contents. While certainly a good start, the CFO thought "I'd rather be hit by a bus than be a survivor and have to read all of that!"
So the CFO created a database-driven software program that like an estate binder would put all pertinent documents in one place but would also have a user-friendly layer on top of it that would make it simple for anyone to understand all of the family's complex interests and how they were related to one another. After many years of using it himself, the CFO created a commercial version of the software in 2015 and introduced it to the public to see if anyone else was interested in using it.
He called it Complex Interests.