Single Family Office Best Practice Checklist
Single family offices are living entities that must evolve as the families they serve grow, adding new generations. We must have a consistent way to respond to industry trends, changes in the investment landscape, technology advances and family needs. To help single family offices navigate, we have created the Family Office Association Family Office Checklist. By consulting with our members, industry experts, thought leaders, and professionals in a variety of fields, we have drafted an invaluable asset for creating and innovating the family office.
SECTION 1: UNDERSTANDING THE FAMILY
Single Family Offices exist to serve the families which founded them. Over time, families change, priorities shift, new members are added, businesses change, and the world in which we operate evolves. In light of these shifts, it is important to continuously strive to understand the family. This section includes:
SECTION 2: 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 list that follows. 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?” By using this checklist and being proactive about the value-add to your family office, you will never be in this position, but will instead continue to shift and grow to accommodate your family’s needs.
SECTION 3: ORGANIZATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
The organizational considerations for your family office are the methods you employ to 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.