Date: Mar 12 2019
FOX Councils provide an exclusive, small-group setting to share knowledge, discuss experiences, and gain insights. Our FOX Financial Executive Council, consisting of CFOs, controllers, and tax managers who work in family offices, met in January. We asked one of the Council Chairs, Jane Flanagan, to share what’s top of mind for these members.
Q: One of the great benefits of the council is that members have the opportunity to share their challenges and what’s top of mind for them. Can you share some of the top concerns?
The councils are very much a safe, confidential space, but I can share some very high-level themes. Tax reform is top of mind for everyone. Other topics that we discussed were strategies for onboarding family office board directors, client satisfaction surveys, and advice for training older family members on technology.
Q: You curate the topics for the council agenda based on feedback from the group. What topics did you discuss in January?
We covered a number of topics, hearing from both industry experts and council members sharing their knowledge and experience:
- One of our council members shared a case study about how their family office conducted a best practice insurance review with an independent consultant,
- An industry expert shared an overview of how tax season will be affected by tax reform,
- FOX provided an overview of our proprietary research on compensation and benefits, and
- An industry expert discussed how automation can improve efficiency and free up staff to focus on high value activities.
Q: What were the key insights on these topics?
There were a few items that were noteworthy:
- The case study on the insurance review was very informative. One thing that stood out for me is that, while family members may have personal relationships with their providers, looking at coverage across the broader family allowed them to identify coverage gaps and secure better coverage for a better price. I think this is a great reminder for families that periodic insurance reviews are a good idea.
- The bad news from the tax discussion is that reform didn’t actually make the process easier. A key takeaway is that you can expect to spend more time preparing and, as a result, will likely see higher accounting fees.
- A key takeaway from the Compensation and Benefits Survey is that family offices benefit from long-tenured staff. However, leaders need to focus on the future and how they will attract new talent as more executives get closer to retirement.
- While many families are still in the early stages of thinking about automation for their offices, our expert predicts that by 2025 bots will be as common as excel. This is definitely something worth thinking about now.
Q: If someone in a financial executive role is interested in networking with other true peers at FOX, what would you recommend?
I’d suggest a couple of things:
- This council provides a unique opportunity to build relationships with peers who understand what you do every day and share your challenges. Our next meeting is July 15-16 in Chicago.
- Our annual FOX Family Office Forum follows this meeting on July 16-17 and provides a great opportunity to get an industry update and learn with your peers. To learn more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOX Councils produce smarter leaders because they gain insights from the best source possible – other successful leaders.
- Learn – gain knowledge from the experience of highly accomplished and hard-to-find peers
- Exchange – share ideas and challenges in a confidential space and walk away with strategies to address real-life issues
- Build – create lasting relationships and gain a supportive network for unbiased and honest feedback
Visit familyoffice.com/council to learn more.