In a previous article, we’ve discussed the single family office. In this article, we will look at the multi-family office.
The single, most basic definition of a multi-family office is that it manages the wealth of several families. Such an organization would take on the responsibilities of tax and estate planning, lifestyle management, investment advice, risk management, objective financial counsel, coordination of professionals, foundation management, and investment advice, and so on.
Characteristics of Multi-Family Offices (MFO)
First, an MFO would have independence. It usually follows a “service delivery model”, wherein the interests of its clients would always come first. It provides objective advice, but it does not sell or be compensated for products that the clients use.
Second, an MFO provides a wide range of services that all it’s clients need. The goal of all the services is to create a secure financial universe for the families it is serving.
Third, an MFO usually offers multi-generation planning services, which means that the organization would work with entire families for the purpose of passing down the wealth in a tax-efficient way.
Fourth, a high average account size, typically in the tens of millions, but a low client to employee ratio is set. This system would allow for more focus to be given to each of the families the organization serves.
With these characteristics, it is quite common to expect the following benefits from hiring an MFO:
- Proactive and object advice that is often cross-planted from interaction with other families
- Creative solutions based on the professionals’ experiences and background
- Coordination of a team of advisers
- Integration of services
Why should you use it?
As your wealth grows, control becomes a struggle. Therefore, you need someone or a group of individuals to manage your wealth so you don’t have to spend much time manage it yourself.
A once-complicated system is now simpler and more direct, like below:
YOU MFO BANKS, INVESTMENTS, ETC
Because its role is very crucial in the growth and management of a families portfolio, it is very important the family completely trusts their financial advisor. Compared to private banks, an MFO has a low turnover of staff so it’s easier to build very strong relationships between the family and the advisors. Remember that the MFO will also be guiding the future generations through mentoring and education so a strong and lasting relationship is a must.
Be warned, though, that the use of the term “family office” is not protected so anyone can present themselves as an MFO although they aren’t really. Some investigation will be required before a decision is made.