How service design can transform the family office structure

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man (or woman)." Within the private wealth space, this is especially true with no two family offices being the same. Service design makes for an ideal bedfellow for family offices looking to move beyond 'palace politics' and re-engineer their family office structure to meet the changing needs of the market.
family office structure
Operations Updated on October 21, 2022

Family offices are often structured around the nuances of wealth owners hence the belief that no two family offices, like the wealth owners they serve, are the same. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man (or woman).” While the services that are delivered for the family maintain a base-level of efficiency as time passes, inevitably the question arises: are these services as effective as they could be?

For family office managers and wealth owners, it’s tough to benchmark performance or best practices.  There may be some standardised models to imitate in the initial phase of setting a family office up – but very quickly these services become the reflection of their founders. Unique, complex, and highly strategic.

The family office as a service

Although there may be some teething problems, as these organisations mature and the adopted processes become more streamlined, a family-centred set of standard operating procedures is drawn up. These standard operating procedures then go on to govern the workflow of the services delivered and the employee experience in delivering them. It’s at this point that incentives might then be devised to attract a suitable calibre of talent needed to support the initial core of trusted senior advisors.

About the Authors

Kyle Zeno Macdonald

Kyle Zeno Macdonald

Service design & strategic transformation

For the next generation to develop resilient legacies it will require a shift towards: sustainability, innovation and systemic compassion.

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