Leading the Growing Single Family Office: When is it time to “Go Professional?”

Authors: Angelo J. Robles, Family Office Association, Jeffrey McChesney, Former CEO of Bridgewater Associates’ founder Ray Dalio’s SFO, Strategic Advisor, Jamie McLaughlin, Founder, J.H. McLaughlin & Co LLC, and Greg Coules, President & Founder, JG Coules Advisors

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When Is It Time to “Go Professional” with a growing single family office

Wealthy families often rely on their personal lawyer, accountant, and/or investment advisor to oversee their financial affairs. That trifecta of longtime, trusted advisors may handle the areas involving their particular areas of expertise quite well in the early stages after a family has a major liquidity event…

Over time, many single family offices (SFOs) expand to oversee increasingly complex and sophisticated investments, properties, concierge services, personnel, logistics, cyber-security, information systems, and other services. As the family’s needs evolve, some, if not many, of its trusted advisors may not be equipped to lead and manage the broad spectrum of disciplines required.

However, rarely do such families consider entrusting day-to-day family office leadership to a seasoned chief executive officer—at least not until a crisis forces their hand. Why haven’t most wealthy families brought in high-quality leaders to manage their affairs?

This white paper reviews the common growth trajectory of SFOs, lists a few indicators that a family office has outgrown its current leadership model, and articulates some reasons that wealthy families tend to resist allowing leadership to evolve as the family office grows. This paper also evaluates the risks of operating without a professional C-level leader who has the specific skill set, track record, and personality to oversee a wealthy family’s financial, physical, emotional, and social capital. It also outlines particular skill sets that a large single family office leader should possess to enable the SFO to thrive. Lastly, we suggest possible ongoing roles for existing trusted advisors after a professional leader replaces them at the helm.

Leading The Growing Single Family Office Topics Covered

  • The SFO Growth Trajectory
  • Indicators to Go Pro?
  • Reasons for Resistance
  • Weighing Risks: Status Quo vs. Professional Leadership
  • Finding the Best Person for the Job
  • Ongoing Roles for Trusted Advisors
  • Conclusion: Hire a Professional CEO or Not?