Effective wealth management for high-net-worth families is always a balancing act between maintaining the status quo and taking on acceptable risk. It is often complicated by the sheer number of legal and financial advisors involved, who may unfortunately lack the incentive or the ability to align their various areas of responsibility with one another.
Consider the complexity of your family’s assets, investments, income sources, and tax planning activities. Decisions in any of these areas affect each of the others, which is why you need a coordinated wealth management team—including legal, taxation, and investment advisors—to consider and reevaluate your best interests on a continual basis.
The complexity of wealth management for high-net-worth families is one of the principal reasons to seek out a family office. With so many experts under one roof, an effective family office can create a wealth management strategy that stewards your resources to provide for your family’s needs now and well into the future.
The Complexities of Wealth Management
Highly effective wealth management is an art unto itself. The planning and management of investment strategies should be handled by experts who have intimate knowledge of your family’s multifaceted goals and who know how to allocate your resources to achieve them. Consideration of each family member’s current pursuits and future plans should figure into any strategy devised by a wealth management team.
Armed with deep knowledge about your family and where it’s headed, the right wealth management team can be on the lookout for new ideas that serve the family’s needs and create stability through diversity. This includes experimenting with non-traditional portfolio components, depending on the family’s risk tolerance or aversion. It’s important for high-net-worth families to understand that technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and the investments that suited the family in the past may not continue to serve them into the future.
High-net-worth families need the peace of mind that those advising them on wealth management strategies are pursuing the family’s best interests. Working with a family office ensures that the advice you receive is truly impartial and in your best interests. While banks may have an obvious preference for their own instruments, a family office lacks such potential conflicts and can act purely as a fiduciary on your behalf.
High-net-worth families demand a level of service and communication from their wealth management team, as well as a willingness to continually consider and reconsider the plan based on opportunities that seem to continually present themselves to those of significant wealth.
How your family pursues and achieves meaning and fulfillment in life has much to do with managing your wealth on your terms. Investing for social impact is more than a trend, and a family office can take these and other wishes into account when planning a wealth management strategy that serves multi-faceted needs.
Can a Family Office Help?
Yes, a family office is an ideal solution for wealth management for high-net-worth families. With tax professionals, estate planners, CPAs, lawyers, trust-formation services, and life insurance consultants all under one roof, the team assigned to manage your account is able to seamlessly strategize about your goals and the best way to achieve them on a daily basis.
In addition to providing the highest level of wealth management service, a family office can also relieve you of day-to-day tasks that drain your time and complicate your life. A family office can take over functions such as bill paying and payroll, hiring and scheduling household workers, organizing vacations and business trips, and management of your residence while the family is away. Most family offices also offer tax preparation services and are able to tend to all matters involving trusts, partnerships and corporation formation, charitable giving, and more.
Why Use a Family Office for Wealth Management Instead of a Random Group of Providers?
Think about your wealth management team the way you might think of your household staff. If you want your home to be organized and well run, and ultimately support the needs of those who live there, the people running it need to coordinate with each other, right? The house should have a manager, someone who oversees and keeps tabs on everything that needs to be accomplished. There are probably a variety of people to handle household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, and working with the children. But what if the cook couldn’t coordinate effectively with the person who does the food shopping? What if the person who handles the laundry doesn’t know when certain items are needed for important meetings or parties? What if the cleaning person doesn’t know that the kitchen is about to be renovated? What if the nanny doesn’t know that the parents are going away for a long weekend? The result would be that the house would be managed ineffectively, and by extension, so would the family’s lives. All of the service providers who work in the home need to coordinate with each other on a daily basis—they cannot operate in a vacuum. Similarly, it’s difficult if not impossible to effectively manage your assets if a number of isolated people working in different parts of the state or even the country are giving you advice and making decisions about your investments.
No one, single advisor can provide the breadth and depth of advice and services you require to manage and grow your assets. A multi-disciplinary approach is required by a team consisting of experts across many fields, including, legal, estate, investment, insurance, business, and taxation in order to best protect your wealth and spot opportunities to grow it. The great advantage of working with a family office for wealth management is that experts from all of these fields work together on a daily basis and are coordinated by your account manager for a stress-free process that optimizes results and lets nothing slip through the cracks. Not only is the approach of a family office more effective overall, it is also potentially significantly more cost effective as the office creates economies of scale by handling more than one account.
Another oft-overlooked but essential role that may be played by a family office is that of educator. The family office can and should ensure that all adult family members understand how assets are being utilized and the various strategies that are in place for managing them. The family office can reinforce the family’s monetary philosophy as successive generations assume their roles in the family business and head off internal strife that may result from a lack of strategic understanding.
Be assured that you need not fire those trusted advisors who may have been with your family for years or decades when you contract with a family office to handle your wealth management. A good family office will encourage you to retain the advice of an advisor you trust should you wish to do so; he or she may provide valuable stability as you transition into working with a family office as well as oversight in the long term.
How to Choose a Family Office
As in all relationships, your gut feel of the firm’s principals and team members will go a long way toward determining your comfort level with a family office. Get to know all of the firm’s executives, and spend time in the office to get a feel for the way the team works together.
Another important factor, of course, is the fee structure of the family office. There are multiple ways to compensate a family office, including by hourly fee, flat fee, or as a percentage of your assets. Work with the team to understand your options and to find the most cost-effective arrangement for your family.
When discussing terms with a prospective family office, it’s important to have an ongoing dialogue about any questions and concerns that family members may have. Keep in mind the following questions when speaking with the team:
- Will you state in writing that your financial advisors act as fiduciaries?
- What qualifications do your advisors possess?
- Do you offer all of the services I need? Will anything need to be handled outside of the family office?
- How do you report the family office’s activities on my behalf?
- Do all of the office’s employees have clean compliance records?
- Are you willing to work with my existing advisors when required?
FBO Services—Stress-free Wealth Management
A successful wealth management team must be experienced, proactive, and agile. You’ve worked hard to put your family in a position of strength, and we work hard every day to ensure that your assets are working for you. We know the strength that comes from having multiple voices at the table, all collaborating to support your goals and preserve your legacy.
FBO Services offers a wide range of family office services that are designed to ease the administrative, wealth management, and tax related facets of your personal and professional life. From organizing your household staff to general accounting and tax preparation to developing the most nuanced wealth management strategy, FBO Services has both the expertise and the bandwidth to simplify and enhance your life in a variety of ways.
FBO Services understands the needs of high-net-worth families like yours—after all, that’s why the company was founded. FBO’s president and founder Joe Roskos has an impeccable reputation in the world of finance. His firm, Joseph W. Roskos & Co., was the successor to the Pew Family Business Office, which was later sold to the Bryn Mawr Bank Corporation. Having honed his leadership skills over decades of work in a family office environment, Joe formed FBO Services to serve a select group of high-net-worth families in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
Our team consists of a diverse group of professionals hailing from prestigious backgrounds in client services, tax consultancies, corporate law, estate law, accounting, business administration, personnel management, wealth management, and more.
The right team of wealth management professionals can elevate your investment strategy to serve your family’s goals in more ways that you can imagine. Talk to FBO Services about how we can assist you in leveraging your wealth to achieve even more.