Family offices have long been trusted partners for families and individuals with exceptional wealth, helping them with their investment and non-investment needs so that they flourish across generations. The concept dates back to the late 1800s when individuals such as J.D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan founded their own family offices to manage their vast financial wealth. And while single-family offices still exist today, the modern multi-family office model has been thriving as well, allowing wealthy families across the globe to manage the myriad complexities that come with their wealth and financial assets.
Here are 5 ways family offices can help in managing wealth:
A Unified Strategy
Underpinning all the benefits and services of a family office is the need for having a unified approach. This is the most important aspect for HNI and UHNI families, as there is an extraordinary amount of coordination that goes into managing their everyday affairs. From wealth managers and tax advisors to legal counsel and personal assistants, there are myriad people and teams involved. A family office cuts through this complex landscape to build a unified team of seasoned experts, to provide a plethora of services, such as investment management, legal & tax services, business advisory services, real estate management, estate & succession planning, and OCI & NRI services, all under one roof. This helps create a single entity that can manage, coordinate and oversee all functions, creating a seamless centralised experience for the client family.
Also, family offices follow an institutional approach. A typical family office comprises a team of professionals from different verticals, helping to maintain continuity even if one person were to exit the team. This ensures that the client’s family is not adversely impacted in any way and that the work to manage their affairs and interests continues smoothly.
Family offices prefer to have a long-term approach when it comes to wealth creation and management, with the goal of helping clients create long-lasting wealth that can be passed down from one generation to the next. This holistic approach to wealth management guides all their asset allocation strategies, by opting for financially sound investments guaranteed to yield high returns in the long run. This approach is especially helpful for those individuals who are recipients of sudden cash windfalls and wealth due to inheritance or selling their company etc. In such cases, family offices can act as the perfect allies, helping individuals to manage wealth and money in a way that can last for generations to come.
Non-Traditional Approach to Investments and Wealth Management
Family offices step away from the traditional way of viewing investments and give equal, if not higher, importance to keeping risk as an important parameter. To help with this, family offices have experienced teams who have witnessed multiple market cycles and who ensure that client portfolios and requirements are well understood. Investment plans are then made and reviewed on the basis of the overall framework set out for each family. An exclusive engagement with the family ensures all stakeholders are encouraged to gain an understanding of the family finances. This ensures that investment decisions are aligned with a family’s core values.
Family offices also always ensure that their client has access to liquidity in case of financial emergencies. This has become even more important in the context of the pandemic, and a VUCA world where the next unexpected crisis could be just around the corner.
An open architecture allows family offices to analyse investment opportunities impartially. Family offices function on a transparent fee-based advisory model, which means that they are client-aligned, and their only objective is to enable the client families to achieve their short and long-term financial milestones.
Family offices have a strict governance structure in place that helps discern information about a family’s overall values, timelines, risk appetite and vision for their wealth. Armed with this information, these governance mechanisms incorporate quicker feedback loops, reports on investment performance and much more, enabling families to make quicker, more informed and precise decisions about their investments.
Family offices also help client families with various non-financial aspects, including protecting the family’s interests in areas such as philanthropy, supporting generational transitions via mentorship and guidance, and implementing the family’s long-term vision and goals to ensure that their legacy is protected.
A family office’s holistic and integrated approach helps high-functioning client families to save time through effective delegation, management, and execution of activities. With numerous streamlining tools, such as dashboards that help collate reports and various performance metrics in one place, family offices enable clients to have more free time on their hands that can be best used to build value in other ways.
Bolstered by its young workforce and strong startup ecosystem, India is determined to become a global economic powerhouse and the next decade will see immense amounts of wealth being poured into the country. The increase in the number of HNIs and UHNIs and more unicorn companies will, thus, make family offices even more relevant to the economic landscape as they will play a key role in managing this wealth and legacy for businesses-owning families and individuals.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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