Craig Kleis

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Integrity and knowledge you can count on

Discussing and planning wealth is a very personal matter. It must be done with someone whose integrity and knowledge you can bet your bottom dollar on. Clients know I do everything I can to plan for the ever-changing investment and tax landscape.

What has inspired you to stay at Bernstein for as long as you have?

Bernstein’s culture of integrity, and M.O. to always doing what is best for the client, has kept me at the firm since 2005. Unfortunately, many investment firms are not structured in a way where sincerity is at the forefront. With research at its core, Bernstein is constantly innovating, evolving, and finding new ways to offer solutions to our clients. Yet, our perennial goal is that clients will always come first. This is simply a matter of fact. The Bernstein team provides solutions that allow our clients to access the markets in a manner that suits them best. In addition, we continue to help our clients answer the question, “What am I missing?” from an allocation and tax and estate planning perspective—versus the easier question, “Will I be okay financially?

Tell me about the types of clients you work with.

My clients tend to be business owners and executives who have amassed wealth by means of their companies. Most successful businesspeople are very driven. Yet, they know how to play hard in addition to working hard, which is presumably why we connect. This describes my personality type as well. Most of my clients have acquired more wealth than they will ever need to live a very comfortable lifestyle. They require thoughtful planning and analytics to assist them and their other advisors. My clients also need strategies that determine how, how much, and when is the right time to transfer their surplus wealth to other beneficiaries. The estate tax avoidance achieved from this degree of planning often results in millions of dollars of additional wealth for my clients, their families, and the charities to which they donate.

What passions do you pursue outside of work?

After I clock out, I’m usually off to hang out with my wife and three kids. As a family, we enjoy spending time with friends. My boys and I enjoy watching sports on TV together, especially football and the NHL playoffs, which we always look forward to. I also dust off my math, science and history skills when I help my kids with their homework after school. Weeknights and weekends are filled with activities of which I’m oftentimes the coach. If I’m not with my family, I am most likely spending time at my cabin or on the golf course. When it’s cabin time, I like to fish or am out exploring the woods on my dirt bike, four-wheeler or snowmobile.