The pinnacle of ultra-high-net-worth financial services is a “Family Office.” It’s a firm dedicated to meeting all the needs of one, or perhaps a small number, of very wealthy families.
But changes in the financial services landscape have made the family office model more accessible. New technology, new approaches to financial advice, and a new business model for advisors and investors have allowed for a much broader array of services that can be accessed in various ways.
At the core, it’s a way for a trusted financial professional to partner with you in all aspects of your life – because your money usually impacts every area. It’s a very modern approach.
What is a Family Office?
The family office model goes beyond investment management and financial planning to offer a very comprehensive model that can include:
- Complex or Executive compensation
- Business planning for business owners
- Tax planning and preparation
- Legal services for estate planning (wills, trusts, etc.)
- Divorce planning/blended families
- Wealth preservation across generations
- Risk planning
- Life planning
- Career coaching
- Behavioral finance
- Financial literacy for children
- Resources for therapy
A financial professional is often the one person in your life who sees across every aspect. This puts them in a unique position to be able to help you. And since money comes into play in every area, having a professional with an eye on preserving and maintaining your wealth while solving issues is a significant advantage.
How Are Advisors Able to Provide All These Services?
A generation of financial advisors that have embraced the fee-only, fiduciary model is the foundation of providing family office services to a wider range of investors.
These advisors are specific about who they serve and can build specialized expertise to bring exactly what is needed to their clients.
They focus on creating trusting partnerships and working with clients across the broad range of everything that touches their clients’ lives.
Instead of relying on analyzing a range of documents, family-office advisors often begin the discovery process with a conversation about you. They want to understand your history, your goals, the challenges you face – both internal and external – and the ways in which you are comfortable moving forward.
One common refrain is that they want to be your first call, no matter what the situation is.
They Are Your CFO, Your Quarterback
The family office model puts you at the center, and your advisor coordinates all the resources you need. They bring together the right professionals, whether through partnerships or in-house in their firm.
This means that for any given issue, there’s a seamless process from identifying the problem, creating a strategy, considering the implications on all areas of your plan, and executing the solution.
The right professionals all play their role – but they are orchestrated by one entity with one goal – to preserve and grow your wealth and ensure your family is secure.
The range of professionals a family office may work with include:
- Tax Attorneys
- Estate Attorneys
- Mortgage brokers
- Real estate professionals
- Insurance brokers
- Business brokers
But the true value, beyond coordinating every aspect of your financial life, is that they are your sounding board. They can help you – and your family – go beyond wealth to create the life you want, according to your values.
How Do You Know If a Family Office is Right for You?
- Start by assessing your situation. What are your needs right now? What is likely to happen in the future?
- Understand yourself. Are you comfortable with the high degree of trust and collaboration necessary to have a successful relationship?
- Are you motivated to work with your advisor to create a comprehensive plan that can then be implemented?
The Bottom Line
Working with a financial advisor has changed, and it’s possible to find a model that works for exactly what you want to achieve. The family office brings benefits that were previously unavailable except for the very wealthy, and it incorporates a new way of thinking about wealth.
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The information contained herein is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not exhaustive. Diversification and/or any strategy that may be discussed does not guarantee against investment losses but are intended to help manage risk and return. If applicable, historical discussions and/or opinions are not predictive of future events. The content is presented in good faith and has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The content is not intended to be legal, tax or financial advice. Please consult a legal, tax or financial professional for information specific to your individual situation.
This content not reviewed by FINRA