National Director, Tax Research

Robert Dietz

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Creating Strategies to Navigate Tax Obstacles

I simplify the complexity of tax and estate planning for our clients and their professional advisors. As a Wealth Strategist, my role is to help clients understand and evaluate myriad available planning strategies and find what suits them best.

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

Bernstein’s rigorous, research-based approach to wealth planning is unique amongst the landscape of asset management firms. As I reflect upon my Bernstein career, the best part of it is being able to contribute to our revered wealth planning research—and seeing clients reach their financial goals firsthand as it is applied. I enjoy doing theoretic research, developing and implementing strategies to suit specific client situations, and seeing those strategies dramatically improve our clients' financial plans. Creating and fine-tuning strategies is intellectually stimulating. Successfully applying them to client situations is satisfying. My areas of research generally revolve around two topics 1) tax law changes and tax policy and how that impacts clients' financial plans 2) the application of various lifetime wealth transfer strategies and income tax planning strategies. Aside from seeing its tangible benefits, teaching clients and financial advisors about the research is rewarding.

Tell me about an example of how you helped someone find purpose in their wealth.

To help our clients accomplish varying financial goals, Bernstein takes a rigorous, analytics-based approach to wealth management. In this manner, I work with clients and their chosen advisors to evaluate the trade-offs between various wealth planning strategies. Both value the clarity that our analytical approach brings to the planning process. I particularly thrive when teaching others, who have no background knowledge, about complex concepts. My educational style is rooted in using concrete numerical examples and real life situations to demonstrate application of principles. Educating through storytelling is my gift. An integral part of my role is expanding Bernstein’s wealth planning research options, which is the cornerstone of our firm’s foundation. Our research is why clients, from all corners of the world, choose to work with us. We are at the forefront. Specifically, my own research focuses on tax and financial planning strategies for individuals and families.

Which book had the most profound impact on you and why?

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin The leadership principles described in this book have a direct application to personal and professional life. Plus, like any memorable mission statements, they are straightforward and extraordinary in terms of their impact. The fundamental principles of extreme ownership, keep it simple, and prioritize and execute are genius. Extreme ownership is about taking total responsibility for one's actions and realizing that everything starts and stops with you, from leading a team to delegating tasks. Personal success is defined by others. Keeping it simple, in terms of strategy, is key to accomplishing any mission. It is, quite frankly, easier to achieve your objective when there is less friction or room for things to go wrong. Finally, to successfully execute a plan one must know which targets are critical and prioritize them in the appropriate order.