Member Spotlight -A matter of trust: why Nevada is the best location for Lou Robinson’s business


Lou Robinson likes to focus on solutions – in both his personal and professional life. When we caught up for the interview, he admitted that following our conversation he was going to be digging his house out from an overnight snowdrift and then helping his neighbour to dig out their house too.

“Yes, I’ll be out there with a shovel,” he laughs. “It’s what you do if you live in Nevada. The kids are off school. No one can get anywhere. You deal with it.” Inclement weather aside, for Lou, Nevada is also a haven for deals; an offshore state onshore, if you like.

Nevada’s very progressive state laws on trusts have allowed Lou to build a successful business helping individuals and families by offering a broad range of trust administration services.

As President and CEO of Alliance Trust Company, he’s a senior player in Nevada’s trust circles, utilising his expertise and full understanding of the favourable legislation and protection for trust assets for the benefit of his clients.

Nevada trust laws

Lou explains the background and the benefits of Nevada’s relaxed legislation on trust: “One of the key advantages of Nevada law is its protection of trust assets from creditors. Nevada is one of the few states that prohibit creditors from accessing trust assets, even for spousal support or child support.”

“In the event of a lawsuit or judgment, the assets held in a Nevada trust remain untouchable, ensuring their preservation for the intended beneficiaries, such as children in a family trust.”

Lou says that, as a result of this level of asset protection, many have described Nevada trusts as offshore trusts without the need for offshore jurisdictions. The favourable trust laws in the state of Nevada provide the grantor with confidence that their assets are protected, keeping in mind trusts are overseen by state regulators.

Alliance Trust Company maximises the benefits of these favourable laws: “For example, there’s a two-year seasoning period. This means that after the assets have been in a trust for two years, they are virtually untouchable, except in the case of federal bankruptcy. “

In the US, trust companies are governed by state law and/or federal law, depending on their charter. In the case of Alliance Trust Company, activities are overseen by state regulators. Regarding Nevada law, there are several unique features: “Nevada legislature has taken the position that this is something of interest for the state. They’ve made our laws some of the best in the country, if not the world.”

Nevada law does not provide exceptions for creditors when it comes to trusts, including alimony and child support: “This makes Nevada trusts essentially bulletproof against creditors, offering a level of security comparable to offshore trusts.”

Attorneys, financial advisors, and high-net-worth individuals

Alliance Trust Company generates business by working closely with attorneys and financial advisors who introduce their clients to the benefits of Nevada law. This means that Lou and his team actively network in the legal and financial services communities across the state and beyond. By partnering with such professionals, Lou’s company leverages their expertise and relationships to establish strong connections with families seeking trust services.

“Attorneys and financial advisors are instrumental in partnering with our team to manage the client relationships and understand their needs, while we act as the trustee, providing the advantages and protections of Nevada law.”

As a result, the clientele is comprised of domestic and international families, with a focus on high-net-worth individuals and families. To that end, Lou and his team have extensive experience working with families from several jurisdictions around the world, including Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

The team assists families in various aspects of trust planning, from special needs trusts to dynasty planning, tailoring individual solutions to meet the specific requirements of each client. With their knowledge of cross-border tax issues and the benefits of Nevada law, Alliance Trust Company ensures that international families receive the best possible guidance and protection for their assets.

Income tax laws

Another Nevada benefit is income tax – or rather, lack of it: “Each of the 50 states has its own income tax laws and there are a handful of states that have no income tax. For example, California has a top tax rate of

13.3%. So if you’re in the top tax bracket in the US, in California, you will be paying more than 50% of your income in taxes.”

Nevada’s favourable trust laws and lack of state income tax create an opportunity for both domestic and international families to have assets protected by the trust and do not incur the need to pay state tax on the income generated by the trust. Additionally, international families appreciate the US’ stable environment and stable currency.

Aside from asset protection, Nevada law also prioritises privacy and confidentiality for trust holders. While the US has implemented the Corporate Transparency Act, trusts are not included in this federal regulatory registry. This means that the details of trusts remain private and inaccessible to the general public. In contrast to European countries with public registries, Nevada allows for greater confidentiality, making it an appealing choice for families concerned about privacy.

Multigenerational planning

Nevada law also permits trusts to remain in existence for up to 365 years, allowing families to engage in multigenerational planning and establish long-lasting legacies. This enables families to create dynastic wealth and ensure the financial well-being of future generations. The extended duration of trusts provides stability and continuity, aligning with the goals of families seeking to preserve wealth and pass it down to their descendants.

IR Global

To expand its international reach and establish connections with professionals worldwide, Alliance Trust Company is an active member of IR Global and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). These memberships allow Lou and his team to network with attorneys, advisors, and industry experts globally, opening avenues for collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Additionally, they attend international conferences and events to stay updated on the latest developments in trust planning and build relationships with professionals from diverse jurisdictions.

“About 80% of our business is US-based, all domestic persons. 20% is international; families all over the world. With IR Global, the idea is to introduce us more internationally to other attorneys, advisors and insurance professionals. Carlos Guzman, Director of Business Development, International, who is located in Mexico, attends a lot of the IR Global events, meeting with other professionals. It’s a very good way for us to get ourselves known to the right people.”

Beginning of Lou’s journey

Lou’s journey to becoming the CEO and President of Alliance Trust Company began as the financial services industry underwent deregulation. Lou has been an entrepreneur since this deregulation, and becoming the CEO and President of Alliance Trust Company is a natural evolution in his career. He is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and culture of Alliance Trust Company.

Lou contributes much of the Alliance Trust Company success to his team, it’s long-standing relationships with families around the world, and a focus on serving others. In addition to servicing clients, Lou and his team are also committed to serving the community though the firm’s Alliance Cares program.

When Lou is not immersed in his work, his main passion is golfing and international travel. As an avid golfer, Lou enjoys honing his skills on the course whenever he gets the chance. He also values the importance of taking his children to see and experience different cultures and perspectives.