Part I: Services
I recently joined a LinkedIn group for Family Office professionals, where I have come across some interesting stuff, including a discussion thread that has been ongoing for over a month. The thread started with a question, “As an advisor to a family office, what are the most valuable services and qualities that you can offer that family?”
I cut’n’pasted parts of the best replies into my notes, but many mentioned both services AND qualities. So today I will focus on the services, and save the qualities for a future blog post.
I have organized the services into 5 general groupings, and I will go through them in a systematic way, starting with services applicable to most people, to those that are more typically found in family wealth scenarios.
Advice and guidance are the first category, general enough. As for the family aspect, one member added the qualifiers “dynamic, circular and holistic”. So people are looking for advice, and in a family context, it can get more complex.
The next group looks at the role of coordinator or facilitator. Partnering and communicating are also part of this area. The complexities surrounding family wealth require gathering expert advice from a variety of specialists, and someone needs to keep everything coordinated and make sure everyone knows what their roles are and how the pieces of the puzzle are supposed to fit together.
The next category is that of preserving and protecting wealth. Risk reduction is part of this as well. In contrast to people who concentrate on trying to grow their investments, those who have attained a certain level of wealth will often do well to switch to a mindset of conservation and making it last without squandering it.
The fourth category of services that families look for is a gatekeeper. This is someone to whom the family can refer those who come to them with “great investment ideas”. The wealthy are often targets of schemers and dreamers who would like to find a deep-pocketed investor. Those who do not wish to be bothered can institute a simple policy in which they refer these types to their advisor as a first step.
The other side of the gatekeeper role is to provide valid alternatives in which to invest. Not only should they weed out undesirable places to put money, they must also be able to suggest useful types of investments that are not necessarily available to everyone, and which can be very appropriate for families concentrating on a longer time horizon.
And this brings us to the final service area, and the one that applies to almost every family wealth scenario: a multi-generation viewpoint. The younger generations have their own human and intellectual capital, and the advisor should be able to help educate them about handling their family wealth and see that their perspectives are not forgotten.
As the family office business model becomes more prevalent, these are the types of services that more and more wealthy families will be seeking. Many traditional wealth advisors are moving to create the type of advisory service to meet these needs. I believe that it is much easier said than done.
At TSI Heritage, we believe that getting all of these services under one roof will be hard to find for all but the wealthiest families. For those intrigued by the service offerings, it is good to know that a decentralized alternative exists for the “moderately wealthy”.
Is THIS what you were looking for?