Single Family Offices Best Practices Checklist

Single Family Offices Best Practices Checklist

Single Family Offices Best Practices Checklist

What’s Inside

In this 40-page guide, you will find an actionable checklist of items for evaluating your own family office.

The checklist is meant to stimulate thought, encourage discussion and help you uncover potential weaknesses in your single family office that should be updated or addressed. Family Office Association strives to provide our members with useful tools on the most up-to-date best practices that affect your single family office.

The Family Office Best Practice Checklist contains three main sections:

  • Section 1: Understanding the Family
  • Section 2: The Single Family Office Mechanics
  • Section 3: Organizational Considerations

Each section contains a detailed checklist of items for review/consideration inline with industry best practices. In addition to the annual review checklist you will find helpful resources for pursuing more detailed information on each topic. Additional Resources include videos, podcasts, white papers, research and in-depth Q&As, all available to FOA members via our website.

Section 1: Understanding the Family

Single Family Offices exist to serve the families which founded them. Over time, families change, our priorities shift, we add new members, lose others, businesses change and the world in which we operate is constantly evolving. In light of these shifts, it is important to continuously strive to understand the family that you serve. In this section we turn our attention to:

  • Family Mission and Value
  • Family Governance Structure
  • Family Legacy
  • Family Culture, Brand and Reputation
  • Lifestyle and Care Services
  • Family Member Information
  • Educating the Next Generation in Families of Wealth

Section 2: The Single Family Office Mechanics

The number one question that the Single Family Office should continuously ask of itself is, “Is this the most efficient and effective way to serve our family?”

This question should be asked in a number of ways across a variety of services and functions that you will find in the lists that follow.

By aligning goals and measurement plans to the family’s interests, the family office will prove itself valuable for years to come. When this alignment breaks the question may become “is it time to dissolve the family office?” Our hope is that by using this checklist and being proactive about the value-add of your family office, you will never be in this position, but will instead continue to shift and grow to accommodate your family’s needs.

  • SFO Measurement
  • Meeting the Family’s Needs
  • Human Resources & Family Office Compensation
  • The Cost of the Family Office
  • Succession Planning

Section 3:Organizational Considerations

The organizational considerations for your family office are the methods you employ the execute the vision and strategies of the family.

As Matt Wesley rephrased the popular saying, “Culture eats structures for breakfast,” it’s important to understand that good structure must be responsive to changes in family culture.

At its inception, your family office will have carefully crafted protocols around taxes, estate planning, investment management, accounting, risk management, technology, auditing and philanthropy. Changes in the family dynamics, regulations, asset value and more require a continuous reevaluation of the protocols and procedures around meeting the family’s needs.

This section will walk you through the basic topics that should be reviewed and addressed to ensure your organization continues to serve its mission.

  • Family Office Legal Mechanisms
  • Family Office Tax Strategy
  • Estate Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Accounting & Financial Reporting
  • Risk Management
  • SFO Technology
  • Auditing
  • Philanthropy

Who is the Checklist for?

We have provided the FOA Best Practices Checklist for our member families. The checklist can be used by a family office of any size to evaluate its current effectiveness and efficiency.

While the solutions for your family office will vary based on your individual needs, this checklist will provide a guide for observing and reevaluating the critical components of your family office.

There is value in having a checklist of the important tasks/considerations that should be done regularly. There will always be a need, especially in large or complicated family offices, to consult with experts and specialists. This document, however, provides the rubric for understanding what to look for and which questions are worth asking.

Building the perfect family office isn’t something that’s done in a day…it evolves over time with great care and consideration. I hope this checklist provides insight and help when wading through the complexity of your SFO.

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