IRS Creates High Wealth Unit
The Internal Revenue Service is putting a sharper focus on tax law enforcement among the nation's wealthiest citizens.
A new IRS enforcement unit called the Global High Wealth Industry group has been created to scour through trusts, partnerships, offshore trusts and other tax-avoidance techniques used by the wealthy, according to recent reports.

The group is part of the IRS's large- and medium-sized business division and is expected to start its work with a "small number" of audits of individuals with assets or income in the tens of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"The economic downturn has put the IRS under pressure to close the revenue gap," said David Gannaway, a former IRS special agent who is now a director with the Marks Paneth & Shron LLP accounting firm in New York City.

GenSpring Launches Family Business Center
GenSpring Family Offices has launched an Orlando, Fla.-based office that is devoted to helping ultra-high-net-worth clients manage their family-run businesses.

The Family Business Center will provide families with business management services in the areas of tax and estate planning, family governance, succession and education, according to the firm.
The center will also host periodic learning events for business-owning families, including aggregating and sharing the best practices of families.

Senior partner Stephen G. Salley will lead the center. Senior partners JoEllen Ross and Mike Henderson, and Daisy Medici, GenSpring's director of family governance, will also staff the center.

"We have learned over the years that there is a vital role for family offices to play in advising wealthy families who do, or will, share ownership of a closely-held business," said Mel Lagomasino, CEO of GenSpring.

Global Wealth Down 11.7% In 2008
Wealth levels declined across the globe in 2008 and profit margins of wealth managers sunk along with them, according to a new study.

The report by The Boston Consulting Group found that global wealth fell from $104.7 trillion in assets under management in 2007 to $92.4 trillion in AUM in 2008, a decline of 11.7% and the first worldwide drop since 2001.

North America suffered the steepest decline, losing 21.8% of its wealth in 2008. In doing so, it fell second to Europe as the world's richest region, according to the report.

Europe saw a 5.8% decline in its wealth, finishing 2008 with $32.7 trillion in AUM, compared to $29.3 trillion for North America. Latin America, where AUM grew by 3% in 2008, was the only region to see an increase.

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