If the first thing that comes to mind when someone says “family office” is that stuffy room down the hall and a desk piled with everything from tax returns to your son’s school reports, it’s time to enlarge your business vocabulary. In this context, a “family office” is a private wealth management advisory firm that manages a comprehensive array of outsourced solutions for everything from insurance policies, legacy planning, tax services, investing, charitable giving, lifestyle management, all-around concierge services and more. Consider the modern family office to be wealth management one-stop-shopping for high net worth individuals and companies.
The modern family office is said to have been pioneered by John D. Rockefeller in the early 19th century. Rockefeller established a large cadre of professionals to manage his wealth—believed by many to be one of the greatest fortunes of all time.
Due to the sheer complexity of forces, channels, legal issues, taxes and other ‘issues’ that confront modern companies, family-owned businesses that can’t afford such all-inclusive services often resort to calling their accountant or business manager for everything. This approach has obvious limitations. (What do you mean the season tickets are sold out!?)