In my June 23rd RANT – “MILES FRANKLIN, PROTECTION PROVIDER” – I described the various products available through our partnership with BFI Consulting of Zurich, a leading provider of Swiss Annuities, Managed Accounts, and Precious Metal storage services. However, given my limited history with Miles Franklin, I could not convey the length – and depth – of our history with the principals of BFI.
Thus, I have brought in David Schectman – Miles Franklin’s founder – for a special guest appearance to discuss the origins of this partnership, as well as its previous success and bright future. Enjoy!
In the late 1980s, I subscribed to the Safewealth newsletter, published by Jean Pierre Louvet. He wrote about Swiss annuities and the Swiss insurance industry. Many of the benefits of Swiss annuities appealed to the same people who bought gold and silver. The annuities offered privacy and an investment denominated in Swiss francs. At that time, the Swiss franc was heavily gold backed, considered “as safe as gold.”
In the summer of 1989, I was introduced to Frank Suess. Frank and his partner (Lou Parente) had recently formed BFI, representing major Swiss insurance companies and banks in offering Swiss banking services and annuities to U.S. and European investors. Frank is a dual U.S. and Swiss citizen, and he and his wife Lilly still split their time between California and Switzerland.
When I met Frank, I worked for one of the largest precious metals companies in the States, where I was a senior broker and the firm’s spokesman for seven years. Fortuitously, Frank asked if I would like to represent BFI in the US. I knew BFI’s products were legitimate, high quality, and unparalleled in the States. Further, I was extremely impressed with both Frank and Lou. They were highly ethical gentlemen, and had come up with a perfect product line for “gold bugs.”
They had the products, but not the sales and marketing expertise to launch their business in America. That was my area of expertise, and I was ready to start my own firm. Thus, I took a chance by leaving my job and starting Miles Franklin, whose main focus was marketing Swiss annuities for BFI. Miles Franklin was the second firm Frank hired, and one of only four representing BFI in the US. We were – by far – the most successful, helping to put BFI on the map.
Within a year, Frank Suess brought in his son, Frank Jr., and groomed him to eventually run BFI. At the same time, I brought my son Andy Schectman into Miles Franklin. We also sold gold and silver, but in the 90s that was no easy task. Most investors were caught up in the Internet boom, so gold and silver investments were an afterthought.
Thus, Miles Franklin’s primary income emanated from BFI referral fees. We developed a very close relationship, and the Schectmans and Suesses were like one big happy family. I can honestly say, the Suesses are the finest, most ethical people we have ever worked with. It was true in the 90s, and no different today!
In 2002 Andy decided it was in the best interest of Miles Franklin’s clients to move their funds from their Swiss franc-based annuities into physical gold and silver. We were certain the precious metals bull market was just beginning; and thus, precious metals the best place to invest. His timing was perfect. At the time gold was selling for around $350 an ounce and silver was around $6.
We had developed a strong reputation with a rapidly expanding client base, and they trusted us. Many of them took our advice and converted their (profitable) Swiss annuities into gold and silver, and all did very, very well. Those Swiss annuity clients are – to this day – some of our most happy and loyal clients. Many of them have been with us for up to 20 years. Both Miles Franklin and BFI had earned their trust, over and over again.
After 2002, the focus of our business moved away from Swiss investing, focused exclusively on physical gold and silver. We cancelled our contract with BFI but continued to stay in touch, and still referred clients interested in Swiss annuities and banking services.
Last March, BFI was at the Casey Conference in Miami. Both Frank Suess Jr. and Andy had workshops there. It was the first time the two had been together in nearly 10 years. They went out to dinner, and discussed the merits of merging our two firms anew. We could help their clients with physical gold and silver purchases, and they could offer ours a wide variety of offshore annuity products and precious metals storage services – the latter in both Europe and Asia.
We believe our two firms share the same commitment to offering the finest products, service and customer education; and in our respective areas of expertise, both firms are considered industry leaders.
Over a decade of working together has taught us there is no one finer to deal with than the Suesses, and Frank Jr. and Andy have a strong personal relationship. We started out together some 20 years ago, and here we are once again, working side by side. No one offers the experience, product lines and sterling reputation that Miles Franklin and BFI bring to the table. We are absolutely thrilled to be back where we started, once again working with BFI.
David Schectman – Founder, Miles Franklin
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