Some high net-worth individuals may wish to consider opening a family office. A family office provides a wider range of services tailored to meet the individual and varying needs that are occasionally required. From investment management to charitable giving advice, family offices offer a total financial solution to such clients.
Family offices are essentially private wealth management advisory firms that serve high-net-worth (HNW) investors. They are different from traditional wealth management advisories in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of affluent individuals or families.
Single-family offices serve just one ultra-affluent family while multi-family offices are more closely related to traditional private wealth management practices, seeking to build their business upon serving many clients. Multi-family offices are more prevalent due to economies of scale that allow for client cost-sharing.
Providing advice and services for ultra-wealthy families under a comprehensive wealth management plan is beyond the capacity of any one professional advisor.
We have a team of professionals trained in a range of legal, insurance, investment, estate and tax disciplines to provide the scale of planning, advice, and resources needed in order to offer the following services:
• Budgeting and financial planning.
• Banking insurance.
• Charitable giving.
• Family-owned business management.
• Wealth transfer and tax planning services.
• Asset management.
• Cash management.
• Risk management.
• Lifestyle management.
After a lifetime of accumulating wealth, high-net-worth families are confronted with several obstacles when trying to maximize their legacy, including confiscatory estate taxes, complex estate laws, and complicated family or business issues. A comprehensive wealth transfer plan must take into account all facets of the family’s wealth, including the transfer or management of business interests, the disposition of the estate, management of family trusts, philanthropic desires, and continuity of family governance.
Family education is an important aspect of a family office; this includes educating family members on financial matters and instilling the family values to minimise intergenerational conflicts. Family offices work collaboratively with a team of advisors from each of the necessary disciplines to ensure the family’s wealth transfer plan is well-coordinated and optimized for its legacy wishes. They can also help families articulate their goals and assess how well they are achieving them.
Many family offices act as a personal concierge for families, handling their personal affairs and catering to their lifestyle needs. This could include conducting background checks on personal and business staff; providing personal security for home and travel; aircraft and yacht management; travel planning and fulfillment; and streamlining business affairs.
A major advantage of a multi-family office is the sharing of overhead costs. A multi-family office makes it possible to fund a wider range of expertise than a single family office. It also makes it easier for the professionals to provide truly objective advice because their livelihood is not tied to one particular family.
Financial institutions that offer multi-family office services cover a broad spectrum. They may provide dedicated teams servicing individual families, drawing in additional expertise as required, and deploying team members to assist other clients during periods of reduced activity. Alternatively, family office services may simply mean that the institution provides some of the services that a family office would typically provide, such as fiduciary administration, as well as investment and philanthropy advice. The investment function is often outsourced, though this also varies widely from a fully discretionary mandate to an execution-only service.
HNW families often have to give significant thought to succession planning, creating structures such as trusts or foundations to hold the family’s wealth or shares in the business. It is common for the trusteeship or the provision of council members to be outsourced in order to provide a degree of independence of individual family members. Occasionally, this may be carried out in conjunction with a family council or family charter.
Using a mixture of in-house and outsourced services can provide a useful check on the dependency of the family on their family office. It’s not unheard of for family members to resent the degree of control wielded by the chief executive of their family office. This is often the case where families have failed to identify or communicate their objectives to the chief executive or the wider family group. A family constitution and council can assist in resolving disputes and reducing tensions, ensuring that the family office can concentrate on its administrative responsibilities.
Families with relatively simple assets find it useful to appoint someone to coordinate external advisers. As the asset level and complexity increases, so too does the case for establishing a multi-family office or outsourcing select services.
Either way, it’s useful to consider which functions can be outsourced, whether for reasons of complexity or cost. These clients should also consider creating a family constitution, or at a minimum, a mission statement that will work alongside a family council, to reduce the likelihood of the family office becoming entangled in a dispute or similar.
Whether it is small or large, managed in-house or outsourced, a family office should always be driven by its ultimate goal: to align interests, make it easier for the family to manage its assets, and enhance communication and cooperation.
For a no obligation consultation, please contact us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding Eltoma Corporate Services family office wealth management.
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