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 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.
Many families set up philanthropic programmes, which they may coordinate through their own staff, although a number of financial institutions now have specialist philanthropic teams to assist them.
With growing interest in impact investing for philanthropic ventures, financial institutions are starting to apply more conventional investment methodologies to the selection and monitoring of charitable projects. They can also help families articulate their goals and assess how well they are achieving them.
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.