Things to consider when starting a Single-Family Office

A Family Office provides a structure for managing the wealth and other important services used by a multi-generational family. The scope of functions required by your family may vary, but would include some or all the following:

  • Investment Management
  • Bill Paying and Cash Management
  • Trust Management
  • Estate Planning
  • Management of family member staff (gardeners, housekeepers, etc.)
  • Family Governance and Family Meetings
  • Family Member Education
  • Family Medical Coordination
  • Insurance
  • Management of the Operations and Technology to run the office.

Since each family has a unique set of needs regarding these services, a completely customized approach for dealing with the culture of the family while meeting their needs is optimal. This can be achieved by establishing a Single-Family Office.

Given the scope and complexity of these services, when starting your family office, it is important to select the appropriate set of trusted expert experienced advisors.

It is apparent that the Family Office team needs a diverse set of skills. The office can use either all in-house staff or a mixture of in-house and outside service providers to cover all the skills needed. There are many factors that go into determining the right balance for your organization. The primary expertise needed by every family office include:

  • Investment management (whether selecting managers or selecting direct investments)
  • Accounting (financial, partnership, trust and investment)
  • Law (tax, estate and trust)
  • Technology
  • Operations management.

In addition, the office needs to be organized with a systems / process view of the full business.

Starting an SFO takes time and thoughtful planning. It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to become fully established. The following is a list of the high-level steps that need to be included:

  • Create the Family Office Compass. This Family Office Compass describes the drivers (family make-up, financial goals, level of risk tolerance, etc.) of the family as per the Family Office Club.
  • Select the appropriate mix of internal and external team members and service providers
  • Set up needed operations and systems
  • Define the family governance process.

Elite Technology Consulting focuses on the Operations and Technology needs of the Family Office but can help the family understand the other issues above and guide the process toward successful selection of all the necessary team members and partners. We have a well-established methodology for defining your requirements, evaluating alternatives and selecting the best partners. Elite Technology can provide project management, business analysis, operations and systems support and software development, as needed, to design and implement the appropriate set of integrated systems to meet the needs of your Family Office.

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