Last week we looked at the kinds of services that a multi-family office can provide for families that have significant wealth and the complexities that inevitably come along with that wealth.

This week, we will look at the qualities of the people who typically work in a multi-family office, and try to contrast those qualities with those who earn their living in more traditional roles in the wealth management industry.

Let’s start with group of adjectives that should apply to anyone that you would hire for just about any task: responsive, reliable, honest and sharp. This is pretty basic stuff here, and anyone who is missing any of these qualities will not last long in this or any field.

Now we will add collaborative, loyal, understanding and proactive. These go into the kind of relationship that the family should be looking for, which often require a deeper level of working together and the attitude they would expect from their advisors.

A family looking into working with a multi-family office should also be concerned with the following: transparency, integrity, judgment and empathy.  The professionals you want to deal with when looking after your family wealth need to have all of these attributes in order to be successful and provide the kind of service that is required at this level.

Many of the qualities that I have listed thus far could be considered “motherhood” statements, but I think that they are still important considerations. But now we will kick it up a notch and look at things that become truly important in a family wealth context, and areas where traditional wealth managers may fall short.

Knowing what the head of the family wants without being told (reading their mind) is something I have heard stated a few times. Acting like a part of the family even when you are unrelated, putting the client’s needs before your own, and being ahead of them when thinking through multi-generational issues, are also the kinds of attributes one should look for.

The last batch of qualities I want to bring up are part of the high standards of ethics and professionalism people should look for. Independence of thought and treating the family wealth in the same way they would their own should be part of the picture too.

The most successful family office pros value the process over any product, and the service over any sale.

I believe that wealth owners owe it to themselves and their families to have their family wealth treated in a comprehensive way, by objective advisors who take the time and make the effort to get to know them and their families.

If you have advisors on your side who have all the qualities we have looked at in this blog, you should consider yourself on the right track towards handling your family’s wealth needs for many years to come.

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.