Thoreson Steffes Trust Company

Thoreson Steffes Trust Company provides investment and farm management, trust administration, wealth transfer and retirement planning services for a small group of clients to ensure a personal client experience. Our independence as a privately-held company allows us to offer a "conflict free" perspective based on each client's aspirations.

As a state chartered independent trust company, Thoreson Steffes manages over $240 million for individual clients and families in broadly diversified separate accounts. We work closely with our clients, other advisors and financial service professionals to create a seamlessly integrated solution to each client's unique needs and objectives.


Asset Allocation

Asset Allocation is the cornerstone of sound portfolio management. Studies have demonstrated that almost all of investment returns over time are determined by asset allocation and a very small amount by security selection or tactical changes. Almost half of the performance variation between portfolios are determined by each portfolio’s investment policy.

Our asset allocation approach is formed by comparing past market performance with current market expectations for interest rates, growth and current valuation of asset classes to arrive at a forward-looking allocation.

Starting from a strategic position based on the past performance, volatility and relationships between broad asset classes with our outlook, provides a starting point for us to determine the most attractive combination of broad types of investments.

Few of our clients have only a single account and tax status varies by account. Integrating the tax characteristics of different asset classes between accounts with different tax treatment is an opportunity missed by many investment managers to add value in terms of after tax wealth creation or preservation.

Being able to manage different tax regimes within a combined portfolio approach is an opportunity to preserve capital from taxes and enhance wealth creation.


Portfolio Construction

Portfolio construction is the process of selecting the investment vehicles to fund each asset class position.

Investments include:

  • Individual large cap U.S. stocks and American Depository Receipts
  • Individual investment grade fixed income securities
  • Registered mutual funds
  • Real estate investment trust
  • Exchange traded funds and notes
  • Direct investment in real estate
  • Private equity funds, hedge funds and venture capital for qualified investors.
  • Focus on firms we know and understand.

Research and due diligence resources are in place to make informed choices from the extensive number of securities and funds available.

Equity Management

A Disciplined “ Core” Equity Portfolio

  • Thematic long term investments
  • Low turnover to minimize trading and tax cost
  • Tax sensitive where appropriate
  • Research from trusted firms


A Diversified Approach

  • Mutual Funds managed by leading firms with strong research capabilities
  • Diversified by market capitalization (mid and small cap)
  • Geographic diversification into foreign developed and emerging markets
  • Focus on select firms and their strengths
  • Exchange Traded Funds
  • Private Equity, Venture Capital and Hedged Equity


Fixed Income Management

Fixed Income Provides Current Income and Lowers Volatility

  • High Quality Core – A rated or better at time of issue, monitored for change
  • Laddered’ structure in most market environments
  • Broadly diversified across economic sectors for taxable investors
  • State specific when appropriate for tax exempt investors
  • Access to sizable inventory through Charles Schwab’s fixed income trading desk in addition to prime broker relationships
  • Tactical ‘satellite’ exposure to high yield, foreign debt and hedged debt mutual funds as well as short duration and exchange traded funds.


Planning services include

  • Retirement and Cash Flow Planning
    • Monte Carlo Analysis – probability testing to determine the likelihood
      of success
    • When and Where to Withdraw - making the most of assets
      through planning
  • Tax Efficient Wealth Transfer Planning
    • Traditional use of Marital and Credit Trusts
    • CLATs, CRUTs, GRATs (and the rest of the Alphabet)
    • Effective use of Defective Grantor Trusts
    • Filling gaps with Insurance - wealth replacement for illiquid estates
  • Philanthropic Counseling
    • Making a Difference
    • Donor Advised Funds
    • Family Giving and Private Foundations
  • Tax Efficient Investing
    • Making the Most of Volatility
    • Tax Positioning to Minimize Taxes
  • In addition, we coordinate family meetings and assist families in succession planning and wealth education.


The ability to act as a fiduciary is an important part of offering a full suite of services to our clients. In July 2013 Thoreson Steffes Trust Company was chartered in the State of North Dakota as the first new private trust company in over 20 years.

We also coordinate with a South Dakota trust company to leverage the unique advantages of South Dakota trust laws including dynasty trusts, beneficiary-friendly directed trustee provisions and freedom from state income taxes.

Whether acting as trustee or as an agent for someone in a fiduciary role, we bring over one hundred years of combined experience in the trust industry, advanced degrees, professional designations and a focus on continuing education. All of which allows us to bring innovative solutions to our clients.


Because families and their goals are our primary focus, we are flexible and creative. The principles on which our company was founded promote long-term relationships, nimble decision making and seamless communication to you and those important to you.

Tax Management

"It’s not what you make, but what you keep” is an old adage at the crux of tax efficient investing. Tax efficiency can be as simple as taking advantage of tax losses to offset realized gains, or there may be opportunities to take advantage of the tax treatment of different types of personal accounts and charitable trusts to limit income and wealth transfer taxes.

A client with a balanced objective (current income and growth of capital) may enjoy higher after-tax returns by using accounts with different tax treatment to protect short term gains and ordinary income from current taxation while taking advantage of lower long term capital gain and dividend tax rates in taxable accounts.

Real Assets

Real Assets Provides Inflation Protection, Diversification and
Current Income

  • Real Estate - both direct and indirect.
  • Publicly traded REITs or Real Estate Funds or ETFs provide
    current income, appreciation potential and liquidity
  • Real estate securities allow access to multiple investment opportunities, including commercial, multi-family, health care and industrial.
  • Direct real estate provides lower volatility and generally higher current income, but less liquidity.
  • Agricultural real estate also provides commodity exposure
  • Commodities (metals, agricultural and energy) may provide diversification benefits especially during periods of higher inflation.


210 Broadway North

Fargo, North Dakota


PO Box 2396

Fargo, North Dakota



Thoreson Steffes Trust Company