RECAP: 2018 FOX Family Office Forum


Virtual Family Offices and Meeting the Needs of Their Clients



Andrew L. Busser, Managing Director of Strategy, Pitcairn
Steven Draper, Partner, Markets & Best Practices, ETON Solutions
Charles B. Grace, III, Managing Director, Family Office Exchange
Dain Kistner, Director of Family Office Innovation, Pitcairn

Session Description: 

The needs and goals of the family inform the attributes of any good family office. How the family office supports the family in that regard is a big question. Increasingly, certain families are considering transforming into a virtual family office, in part at least, as they think about the family client of the future. But what are the considerations that should be addressed as part of such a change? This session explored the impact of such a transformation on oversight, cost, technology, team and advisor ecosystem, as well as insourcing vs. outsourcing of services, among other considerations. What are the different types of virtual family offices that exist? Why have families chosen (or not chosen) this path? FOX Managing Director Charlie Grace and a panel of experts addressed these questions and took attendees through scenarios that explored the various iterations of a virtual family office as well as the lessons learned.


Key Takeaways: 
  • Typically, a Virtual Family Office (VFO) has a lean staffing model (one to two internal staff with role of “super coordinator” supported by third-party service providers). There are little if any “service products” created by the VFO; most prevalent are financial reports minus investment performance reports.
  • A virtual family office model will have lower internal costs compared to traditional single-family office.
  • The VFO maintains a degree of control, customization, confidentiality, coordination and integration of services, and reduced conflicts (i.e. alignment of interest) associated with traditional family offices.
  • VFOs rely more heavily on outsourced services such as the use of an external Chief Investment Officer (CIO), commercial multi-family office, and comprehensive third-party technology with support.
  • Typically, a VFO is a valid option in situations where there is a smaller asset base and less complexity.

Download the Session Presentation >
(FOX Members only)