11 Jul The Family Office More Than Asset Management Services for Families
My longest-standing client often repeats it to me: “the role of the family office is to help manage and perpetuate a family’s assets over the long term, but also, and above all, to promote family harmony.”
It was not so long ago that the work currently undertaken by family offices was carried out by notaries, proxy holders, and account managers. As we have entered the 21st century, affluent families are seeing the management of their financial interests becoming increasingly complex. Asset allocation, legal structuring of assets and tax planning must now be considered on an international scale. Especially since globalization not only affects people’s investments, but also their family life as members find themselves scattered all over the world.
While the family office is an extension of private management, it also aims to provide wealthy families with global support, centralized within a dedicated and, above all, independent structure. The ambition of the major banks to develop private banking services or personalized services comes up against several pitfalls: the mobility of employees preventing a long-term relationship with their customers; the difficulty linked to the size of the entity preventing genuine personalized service; and especially the internal pressure within the bank to seek to sell its own financial products.
The great strength of the family office lies in the qualities evoked by its name: “an office at the service of a family.” That is, a personalized structure on a human scale managing the specific needs of a family. To meet the increasingly complex needs of families, a family office like Blue Bridge plays a coordinating role by integrating the various services that can anticipate and respond to families’ aspirations. These services include wealth engineering, wealth management, international financial planning and taxation, insurance, estate planning, as well as family governance, the education of family members, and philanthropic ambitions.
Wealth management is at the heart of the family offices’ business. In order to avoid any conflict of interest, this activity must be carried out under the principle of an open architecture. The role of the family office will be not only to design the optimal asset allocation, but above all to select the most efficient managers worldwide, who are best suited to the personal circumstances of families. In addition to access to a very wide range of products, investors benefit from constant monitoring and control of their investments by regularly re-evaluating the choice of managers based on their performance and macroeconomic analysis.
Looking to the future, we see today an increasingly intangible and global world on the horizon … a world where the speed of information exchange and financial flows will continue to accelerate, creating paradigms of opportunities and concerns as well as growth and instability. It is gratifying to note that in the face of such turmoil, one of the oldest human structures, namely the family, can continue to exercise its influence and its cohesive role.
The family office is at the service of families and will be increasingly useful and necessary to them, not only for the wise and rational management of their assets over the long term, but also for the establishment of solid structures ensuring cohesion and harmony between family members around common values and projects.