Discovering “Discovery”

Last week was a very interesting one for me, as I had the opportunity to do a lot of actual learning about the “new “ industry into which TSI Heritage is now immersing itself.

I put the word “new” in quotation marks for a couple of reasons. The area of managing wealth for people outside my own family is still new to me, but that is not the only reason to highlight that word.

Late last year I discovered an organization called FOX, which stands for Family Office eXchange, and once I discovered what they were all about, I knew that we needed to join.  After attending a FOX workshop in Miami in February, it was now time for both Tom and me to attend a new workshop of theirs in NYC.

This workshop was aimed at MFO’s, or, Multi-Family Offices, a subject that I touched on in one of my earliest blog posts. While the idea of MFO’s is already prevalent in the USA, is still a relatively new concept here in Canada.

The good news for us was that while we are relative newcomers to the industry, we were in fact well prepared for the workshop by virtue of the planning and preparation that we had done in setting up our business. Just about everything that we have set up on our website, from service offerings and pricing, to staffing and investment issues, were all pretty much the same as those we learned about. We did not have many “A-Ha” moments.

The one term that was both new and very relevant for me was the word “Discovery”. Probably because there are so many lawyers in the US, some legal lingo ends up being introduced into other areas, in this case, the multi-family office.

What we discovered (pun intended) was that “Discovery” was something that we had planned on doing at the outset with any new client or prospective client. We just didn’t know that that was what it was called! (Much like my own working for a Family Office for years before realizing that I worked for a “Family Office”).

So now we know that each time we meet a new client, the first order of business is to perform a “discovery”.  Others might call it a “check-up”, or a no-obligation-evaluation. It is the process by which the client provides his current paperwork (investment statements, legal documents, etc.) for review.

Discovery is an important step for a number of reasons. For us, if we are to be able to provide proper advice, ideas, and guidance, we need to know where things currently stand. It is only when we can see the whole picture that we can begin to ask the proper questions to make sure that we are recommending things that work with where the client wants to go.

For the client, the discovery is also important. It usually makes them stop and think about each of the accounts and files that he turns over. These were likely set up and organized at different times, for different reasons, based on different priorities and under different circumstances.

Having someone take all this “data”, and turn it into “information”, upon which decisions can be made, cannot help but give wealth owners a sense of relief. Once the discovery is complete, they can see where they are. Once that is well understood and agreed upon, the fun part of figuring out where you want to go can begin.

Steve Legler “gets” business families.
He understands the issues that families face, as well as how each family member sees things from their own viewpoint.
He specializes in helping business families navigate the difficult areas where the family and the business overlap, by listening to each person’s concerns and ideas.  He then helps the family work together to bridge gaps by building common goals, based on their shared values and vision.
His background in family business, his experience running his own family office, along with his education and training in coaching, facilitation, and mediation, make him uniquely suited to the role of advising business families and families of wealth.
He is the author of Shift your Family Business (2014), he received his MBA from the Richard  Ivey School of Business (UWO, 1991), is a CFA Charterholder (CFA Institute, 2002), a Family Enterprise Advisor (IFEA 2014), and has received the ACFBA and CFWA accreditations (Family Firm Institute 2014-2015).
He prides himself on his ability to help families create the harmony they need to support the legacy they want. To learn how, start by signing up for his monthly newsletter and weekly blogs here.