Expanding Your Horizons through Conferences And Family Office Events

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Family offices are on the rise and among their key roles is the responsibility to support families and help them diversify. While this can to some extent take place with various internal initiatives, it is also absolutely vital to get out into the outside world, to share and be inspired by others.

As the family office sphere is changing, it pays to be forward-thinking and attend conferences and alternative events beyond the expected family office ones for the opportunity to gain valuble family office insights.

According to the American Stock Exchange international meetings & Events Forecast for 2019, there has been a regular year-on-year increase in meetings and events of around 1.5-2% over the last 5 years. This extends into the family office space, wherever the quantity of events explicitly targeting family office’s has been on the rise. For this reason, it’s crucial to decide on the proper conferences to attend.

Even though these events are increasing in range, the length of the events has been getting shorter. This implies that attendees may contemplate attending a lot of events and prefer to gain a broader perspective from this.

Choosing the Proper Conference

With family offices generating a lot of buzz in recent years, it can mean that some events are little more than marketing activities for sponsors that are trying to target families with investment potential. While this may not always be a bad thing and can open up a wide range of investment opportunities it may be a good idea to get into a dialogue with organizers of the events beforehand. Such a discussion can go a long way in managing your expectations and will provide you with the opportunity to convey what you hope to gain from the event. Time is money and deciding which events to spend your time on is as essential as any monetary transaction.

Finding a conference who understands this can go a long way in ensuring its success. Peter Newton, Director of Events at Campden Wealth features a wealth of expertise in all the intricacies of events and families. “It is crucial for any producer in any business to have interaction with all stakeholders of an event (delegates, previous speakers, sponsors, etc.) to be told how people and families are applying their perspective to addressing these.”

“Family offices are relatively distinctive in that their outlook and horizons are very long-run, therefore what might sound like a vital issue in general terms may only be a short consideration to a family wanting to attain returns over generations.”

Thinking Outside Your Box

For family offices, the perfect conference content should not focus  solely on business, family office insights and financial topics but additionally on a array of the softer factors such as design, digital solutions, innovations and revolutionary thinkers.

David Grammig from Grammig advisory – a worldwide conference broker, points out  “Families all have wealth managers, asset managers, advisers – they don’t have someone speaking directly to them on soft issues. Mental health, disputes, values, etc. – taking family life and business into consideration. Look for conferences that offer a good mix of this in their program as you will probably leave more energized.”

Soft factors are becoming increasingly important for family offices, and embracing them to their fullest often requires creative thinking. Design thinking is becoming prevalent in so many businesses and is now filtering through to family offices. This new-found creative focus also means that a shift is needed in how this creativity is fuelled.

For this reason, beyond the regular family office events, consider something different. Rather than just looking at investment events, also look a bit further at events that challenge your creativity. Expanding your search could not only lead to discovering some exciting investment opportunities but also assist with developing soft assets.

These different conferences and creative festivals aren’t just for the advertising industry and creative professionals. Despite the fact that they do not directly target family offices, they may be very inspirational and even transformational from a business and potentially even, private angle as they provide a platform to connect with business owners and industry leaders.

  • SxSW – South by Southwest is one of the leaders in the interactive media, film and creativity space.
  • FastCompany Innovation Festival – Brings together creators and innovators from around the world.
  • Design Indaba – This is just one of many exciting creativity conferences that explore topics around the intersection of design and business.
  • Consensus – This cryptocurrency and blockchain event promises to give you a glimpse into the future and make sure you’re up to speed with the latest thinking around the space.

Closer To Home

Closer to the family office sphere, it’s also a good idea to consider the various regional summits. They can be particularly interesting, especially when the organizers are putting together such an event for the first time. It is worth paying extra attention to events that take place in regions that you’re looking to expand into, as such conferences offer fantastic networking and contact acquiring opportunities. When looking at regional events, it is essential to note that the conference experience can vary wildly, depending on the particular location and content involved.

Cultural differences are just one factor. In the Middle East, for example, families want to build personal relationships over a period of time, so it takes time before talking business. Families also tend to be very hands-on with their investments, rather than letting these decisions rest with their investment advisors.

Conversely, the approach in Northern Europe is entirely different, with professional management handling most of the investment evaluation process and families focusing on soft issues. Singapore and Hong Kong tend to lean towards a faster-paced approach, which means that families can expect a very different type of event format to those in Europe and North America.

Some of the family office targeted events include; the Global Investment Summit, organized by Campden Wealth, various events by Prestel & Partner, and other regional meetings like the Africa Family Office Summit and the APAC Family Office Investment Summit. It’s also worth considering the events organized by international members networks such as FBN and YPO to build your ties to local families.

Beyond the event

In attending events throughout the year, you open yourself up to gain knowledge, understanding of markets not yet familiar to you but most importantly the opportunity to make human connections which would otherwise have been lost to you. Networking and investment opportunities may be the bait dangled to get you to attend but its the people you meet who will form the rod on which to catch them.

Here, organizers can also support, “To engage beyond an event, organizers should look to online networks, social media groups, webinars, event questionnaires and competitions to keep an audience engaged and deliver additional value for them,” continues Newton.

Attending events as a family office can provide you with an invaluable foundation to make new connections, explore new opportunities and look at your entire operation with the benefit of a fresh perspective.

Attending events as a family office will offer you with a useful foundation to create new connections, explore new opportunities and look at your entire operation with the advantage of a contemporary perspective.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

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