Our inaugural Family Office Compass, developed in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for the Family Enterprise, is a practical guide for families who wish to set up their own dedicated family office. With a backdrop of geo-political uncertainty, and the expectation that 70 percent of family offices will experience generational transition in the next 15 years, the world’s wealthy are facing increasing complexities. The Family Office Compass is also a valuable tool for you and your family office to navigate these and other strategic challenges.
Designing your family office begins with a reflection on the purpose of your family office. When you then consider the structure of your family office, understanding what you need from a family office is the first step - which services it should deliver, which impact this has on the cost and complexity of the set-up? Developing your family office within these broader parameters drives the following choices - who do you need to create your family office, where would you like it to be located and which services should be outsourced? The Family Office Compass aims to untangle each of these questions, to help you establish the family office structure that is right for you.
To establish an effective family office, it is important to have a detailed implementation plan. This ensures the family can agree and sign-off major milestones. To do so, appointing a project team, creating a business plan, developing a legal and corporate structure, hiring the key people and choosing the right IT infrastructure are all essential.
Despite having the right infrastructure in place, many wealth owners lack effective control over their family office. The Family Office Compass provides clarity on the governance levels in the family office and on how to implement effective control mechanisms. By setting out the right control mechanisms, responsibility and accountability are clarified, and risk can be better understood and managed.
Many family offices remain at an operational level. Although this will work for a period of time, it isn’t adequate as a family grows or approaches a generational transition. Implementing a long-term strategic dimension allows a family office to plan and respond to the changing nature and activities of the family. By staying relevant to the family’s successive generations, a family office can ensure it outlives its founder, guiding the family from generation to generation to ensure that the family stays unified, develops family talent and preserves and grows the family's overall wealth.