Inside the Family Office “To Do” List

Date: Apr 11 2017

Family Office Exchange

The impact of the work accomplished each year by FOX family council members is impressive. We gather these peer groups of 25 wealth owners or family office executives twice a year, and my favorite session of the first meeting of the year is called “Accomplishments and Initiatives.” In this session, every council member seated around the table has an opportunity to share his or her greatest accomplishment of the prior year and number one initiative for the current year. Each year, I am blown away by the progress that these family office leaders are able to make with their (often) small-but-mighty staffs.
This session is powerful for several reasons:
  • Sharing accomplishments allows each member to demonstrate his/her unique knowledge and experience so others in the group know who they can reach out to for advice on these issues.
  • Putting your top priorities for the year on paper and sharing them in front of your peers causes you to be thoughtful about your goals and helps the FOX team and your peers know how they can assist you throughout the year.
  • Pausing to celebrate each member’s accomplishments is really important, and, too often, we move to the next item on the list without stopping to honor the work that went into these successes.
  • Everyone in the group walks away with a tremendous amount of learning (e.g., key takeaways, lessons learned, trusted resources) about projects that they may face at some point in the future.
In the first quarter of 2017, we hosted seven family council meetings with family leaders and family office executives in the U.S., London and Australia. Looking across these meetings of like-minded peers – whether it’s family enterprise leaders, family office CEOs, or CFOs and other financial executives – gives you a sense of the depth and breadth of work happening in family offices. Following are just a few examples of the things that top their “to do” lists:
2016 Accomplishments
  • Created a framework for our first 5-year strategic plan.
  • Completed major restructuring of G3 asset and trust holdings.
  • Executed a successful offsite, live test of our business continuity plan.
  • Chartered a Private Family Trust Company.
  • Simplified the HR function by consolidating the number of providers (employee benefits, payroll service, retirement plan administrator, workers’ compensation & HR compliance) into a cost-effective, streamlined Professional Employer Organization (PEO) relationship.
2017 Initiatives
  • Establish an IT Security Plan for the office staff and family clients.
  • Develop a new family office governance structure.
  • Perform a strategic review of investments, debt, and cash flows for each family branch.
  • Restructure the asset allocation and investments for several trusts and move investments to a new investment structure and provider.
  • Create a multi-generational Philanthropy Plan for the family enterprise.
Everything on these lists has significant, long-term impact for the multi-generational families that these office executives serve, and everything on this list happens alongside the magnitude of day-to-day activities that consume the typical family office staff (illustrated below).
Click image to view larger
What’s on your list for 2017? Think about sharing it with peers you trust, and don’t forget to pause every now and then to celebrate your success.