The concept of a Family Office (FO) has been around for many years. Today, as a family’s financial complexity increases, the need arises where it makes sense to move beyond working with individual lawyers, accountants and investment managers, to working with a dedicated team of professionals who can apply an integrated approach in managing their affairs. Family offices can manage just about everything for the wealthiest families including tax planning, investment management, and generational continuity using family trusts, philanthropy and estate planning.
The more complex your situation, the more you need the intellectual strength and coordination of a family office. When taking into account the costs of setting up a dedicated Single Family Office (SFO), the assets required would generally be in excess of $200 million to be economical. With the advent of the multifamily office (MFO), families with assets of closer to $10 through to $200 Million and more can now benefit from the services of an MFO and have it still make economic sense.
The benefits of the MFO/FO are many, from providing independent objective investment advice, to the breadth and integration of all of the services. Because an MFO Advisor oversees a family’s entire finances, it is in a unique position to advise and guide the families decision-making. In addition, by working with the entire family including the children and the grandchildren, planning moves beyond purely financial advice to encompass the family’s broader goals. It is common that family meetings are coordinated by MFOs, and children and grandchildren are counseled from an early age on investments, taxes, estate planning, and philanthropy. Lastly, one of the elements most appreciated by clients is the low client-to-advisor ratios which allow greater focus and attention on each family with multiple meetings during the year.
Working with an MFO involves building long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect. The work can be profoundly personal and therefore if you determine that an MFO makes sense for your family, it is important to find someone you know and feel comfortable confiding in to oversee and advise on your families affairs.