Ready or Not - Your Future Family Office is Here

Date: Oct 08 2020

Bill Sullivan, President, Family Office Exchange

President of the Family Office Exchange, Bill Sullivan, shares key areas of change to help us understand the evolving landscape of the family office.

First, as the modern family evolves, families are experiencing a change in priorities and more complex family dynamics are now the norm. Families also see an increasing focus on impact investing and the rising generation is often the key driver to clarify the family value proposition and contribution.

Further, today’s family office requires thoughtful engagement from all generations for the sustainability of the broader family enterprise. As such, Sullivan recommends the family office emphasize governance and communication to build trust and cohesiveness. We also see a shift in philanthropic priorities, as some family members prefer to make a meaningful impact during their lifetime, while others want to leave a philanthropic legacy.

As families experience changes to the overall enterprise vision, they see the benefits of working collaboratively on shared family goals, and committing to a holistic enterprise view improves the chances the family stays together and has greater impact.

As well, Sullivan reports a shift in the talent profile and shares how families are now looking at different roles within the family office, including:

  • The Integrator of Financial Services
  • The Risk Manager and Mitigator
  • The Strategic Enterprise Advisor
  • The Personal Advisor and Consensus Builder
  • The Educator and Mentor
  • The Champion for Change and Transition Manager

Family offices are employing many new tech tools to help with collaboration and communication, and Sullivan reports how the proliferation of technology is transforming the family office.  

As information access and transparency provides consolidated information to inform decisions, the family office becomes more transparent, digital and analytical, as well as more educational.

Data driven insight and decision making enables more informed decisions and problem solving and makes the office more professional, more strategic, and a lot more impactful.

Automated data collection and reconciliation increases efficiency and supports more accurate decision making.

Enhanced risk assessment and mitigation offers a holistic and comprehensive view of how risk affects the family in all of its dimensions.

Interconnectivity of machines, devices, sensors, and also of people allows for the curation of an immense amount of data, both financial and non-financial.

While historically family offices were forced to employ more general wealth management technology solutions, today’s family offices can leverage new technology solutions built specifically for the family office. These solutions create significant cost savings and truly support the family to manage wealth and automate critical functions.

Sullivan leaves us with four areas the family office should address as they evolve to the future:

  1. Ensure technology is involved in every aspect of your strategic planning.
  2. Get your data right.
  3. Identify opportunities to automate processes and reporting.
  4. Focus on integrated delivery of services both internally and through third party providers.

Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan is the president of Family Office Exchange (FOX). He is a thought leader who understands the role that disruption and innovation will play in transforming our industry. He leads FOX in helping members to understand and plan for future transitions in the family enterprise, the family business, and the family office.

Areas of Expertise: Enterprise Families, Disruption, and Innovation

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